New Haven  is a city in Connecticut, and is perhaps best known as the home of Yale University . With a downtown population density of 6,000 people per square kilometer, New Haven has one of the densest downtown areas in the United States. As a result, hundreds of shops, cafes and top-rated restaurants have proliferated, and the area has recently become a major regional tourist attraction for shopping and dining. Ethnic restaurants include Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Eritrean, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, Mexican, Thai, Indian and Malaysian cuisines, among many others. According to the Hartford Courant, New Haven has more pedestrian activity than any place between New York City and Boston, and also has a burgeoning nightlife scene.
The area is a center for bicycling and hiking, with nearby East Rock Park, West Rock State Park, and Sleeping Giant State Park. Together, they provide many miles of hiking trails and summits with expansive views over hundreds of square miles. Bicyclists enjoy cruising along the beautiful shoreline, or along the Farmington Canal Trail, a former canal and railroad that has recently been converted for recreational use.
Free community bike rides leave various bookstores and cafes each day; check with the Devil's Gear Bike Shop to rent cycles or find out about community rides. Local beaches are also a short bike ride or drive from the city center, and provide additional recreational opportunities.
Dine at one of Wooster Street's popular Italian Restaurants. New Haven is famous for its old-world style pizza.
Visit the Crypt, an ancient graveyard under the Center Church on the Green. It is open April-October, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm ET. See http://www.newhavencenterchurch.org/crypt.html for more info.
St. Patrick's Day Parade, one of the oldest in the United States.
Visit Summit of East Rock Park and West Rock Park where you can see the Three Judges Cave and hike along miles of trails.
Tour Yale University.
See an avant-garde jazz concert at Firehouse12, a firehouse converted into a modern bar and cutting-edge concert venue/recording studio.
See a show at the famous Toad's Place, a must for any music lover.
Bicycle along Farmington Canal, or shoreline bike routes.
When visiting, pick up a copy of the Downtown Guide at a local shop or restaurant. It will provide you with up-to-date information on the hundreds of restaurants downtown, as well as shopping opportunities. New Haven abounds with hundreds of retailers, ranging from pricey local boutiques to art galleries to national chains such as Urban Outfitters.
New Haven has many famous pizza parlors and is often credited with having introduced pizza to the United States, although New Havenites themselves often contend that New Haven-style apizza is a separate food from pizza altogether. The pizza has a thin, bitter crust, offset by high quality ingredients, making for one of the world's best pizza experiences. The most famous apizza locations are Pepe's and Sally's, which are over 80 years old and usually have lines going around the block. Modern Apizza—a more recent arrival further from the city center—has nonetheless usurped these establishments as the local favorite in recent years. For a real New England New Haven experience, order the white clam back pizza—the simple toppings of garlic, olive oil, and New England clams against the backdrop of the bitter, oven-scorched crust for a delight of the senses.
While it is a bit sacrilegious to pass through New Haven without trying the pizza, the small city has an astonishing wealth of fine dining establishments—easily rivaling the dining scene of any of New York's outer boroughs. The blocks just south of Yale University along Chapel, Crown, and George Streets are home to the majority of the city's best restaurants. The two "top" restaurants that vie for the attention of elitist Yalie parents are Roomba and the Union League Cafe, but there are fantastic options around every corner in this part of town to try.
Crown and Chapel Streets run through downtown New Haven and are packed with hundreds of restaurants, cafes, wine bars, lounges and the like. New Haven is the primary entertainment destination for the 800,000 people who live in the immediate area. When driving, watch pedestrians since the crowds can be thick, especially on weekends.
As with nearby New York City, New Haven's crime rate has gone down considerably since the early 1990s, and it is now considered to be a safe city, at least in the downtown area. Today, there is very little risk involved with traveling to New Haven's tourist attractions as streets bustle with crowds generated by hundreds of restaurants, cinemas, theaters, cafes and stores. Luxury apartments and million-dollar condominiums have proliferated, adding a large population base to formerly industrial or commercial zones. In such areas, the downtown area is generally safe at night, but like other cities, late night travel through certain city neighborhoods outside the downtown, without someone who knows the area, is not recommended. When visiting, exercise the same precautions you would use in any large city.
Surrounding towns have their own appeal, including the shoreline area with the towns of East Haven, Branford, and Guilford. Hiking and camping are abundant in the area to the north and northwest of New Haven. And New York City is 1 hour 45 minutes away on the Metro-North train.