For an easy day trip this fall, consider New Haven. The Connecticut college town touts a multi-flavored restaurant scene, cultural venues, a walkable downtown and, of course, Yale University — and all just about two hours from NYC. Here’s what to do here in a day.
Get into Yale via a campus tour. Daily guided walking tours highlighting Yale’s history and architecture depart from its visitor center (Mon.-Fri., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 1:30 p.m., FREE; 149 Elm St., 203-432-2300, visitorcenter.yale.edu). While on campus, visit the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (121 Wall St., 203-432-2977, beinecke.library.yale.edu), a repository for valuable literary works. Yale University Art Gallery showcases pieces relating to Eastern and Western culture and dating from ancient times to modern day (closed Mon., FREE; 111 Chapel St., 203-432-0600, artgallery.yale.edu). The Yale Center for British Art houses the largest collection of its kind outside of the United Kingdom (closed Mon., FREE; 1080 Chapel St., 203-432-2800, britishart.yale.edu).
New Haven is noted for thin-crust pizza baked in coal-fired ovens — thanks to two rival Wooster Street spots: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (157 Wooster St., 203-865-5762, pepespizzeria.com), aka Pepe’s, known for its white clam pie, and Sally’s Apizza (closed Mon-Tues; 237 Wooster St., 203-624-5271, sallysapizza.com), started by a relative of Frank Pepe’s. For something completely different, get the mashed potato pie from BAR (254 Crown St., 203-495-8924, barnightclub.com), a restaurant and weekend nightclub.
Beyond pizza, Louis’ Lunch (261 Crown St., 203-562-5507, louislunch.com) is credited with creating the hamburger sandwich. Claire’s Corner Copia (1000 Chapel St., 203-562-3888, clairescornercopia.com) is a beloved vegetarian enclave. Discover more good eats with Taste of New Haven, a walking tour company (tasteofnewhaven.com).
Elm City Social (266 College St., 475-441-7436, elmcitysocial.com) presents shared plates plus playful garnishes in craft cocktails like the Rubber Ducky (we’ll give you one guess what it is). Try the inventive libations at Ordinary (closed Sun.; 990 Chapel St., 203-907-0238, ordinarynewhaven.com).
Catch some early night music. The College Street Music Hall (238 College St., 203-867-2000, collegestreetmusichall.com) and Café 9 (250 State St., 203-789-8281, cafenine.com) schedule live acts regularly.
For theater buffs
With a history of Broadway tryouts, the Shubert Theatre (247 College St., 203-562-5666, shubert.com) stages contemporary performances and classic hits. Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel St., 203-432-1234, yalerep.org) features new plays and reinterpreted classics. Long Wharf Theatre (222 Sargent Dr., 203-787-4282, longwharf.org) produces dramas, comedies and new works.
New Haven is under two hours from midtown by car via I-95, or a two-hour train via Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal to Union Station (one way $17.75/off peak, $23.50/peak).