Monday, April 2, 2012

New Haven City Guide: 24 hours in the Elm City

I have loved going to school in New Haven. Over the years I've organized a list of some of my favorite things to eat/do/see around here, which I share with people when they ask for suggestions. I'm not sure how many posts this will eventually take, but I thought I'd start with my perfect day in New Haven, with all the suggestions included in walking distance from Yale's campus. I'm starting late, at 10:00am, because I'm a college kid, and therefore inevitably sleep in late. (All of the suggestions are hyperlinks, so just click through for opening times, menus, reservation information, etc)

10:00am - Breakfast at Heirloom at The Study
There are several great breakfast/brunch options around New Haven, but the Study has the edge in that it's both centrally located and has delicious food. I love the Huevos Estudiados and the Heirloom Smoke Pastrami Hash. If sweet breakfast is your thing, the Bananas Foster French Toast is pretty great too.

Bananas foster french toast via lovetwoeat

11:30am - Wander around the Yale Center for British Art
Just down Chapel Street you'll find the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. I'd start with the YCBA, but these next two can be done in whatever order you see fit. The YCBA is truly one of Yale's treasures. The Tudor portrait collection is fantastic, and the exhibitions are consistently some of the best I've seen. The Center was designed by Louis Kahn, and it's a truly beautiful building for a truly beautiful collection. I'd also recommend checking out the gift shop.

1:00pm - Next up is the Yale University Art Gallery, also designed by Kahn. The collection ranges from early American photographs to japanese prints, and each floor is worth a quick walk around. I especially love the colonial American section, which includes silver pieces made by Paul Revere.

2:30pm - Make like the college kids do and skip lunch in favor of a snack at Blue State Coffee. There are two locations on Yale's campus affectionately referred to as Wall and York, due to their addresses. This chain was started by a now Yale graduate who had the simple idea to start a coffee shop where some of the proceeds would be donated to local non-profits. I love their nutella panini on cranberry walnut bread, and their hot chocolate is especially good.

3:30pm - Both Blue States are close to my favorite library on campus, the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library. While the reading room is closed to the public you can walk around the first and second floors and enjoy both the wonderful exhibitions which showcase some of the most unique pieces the Beinecke has, as well as get a chance to see the famous Gutenberg Bible and the Audubon elephant folio.

Inside of Beinecke via book-worship

4:30pm - Chill time! My sister complains that my family does not do enough of this on vacation so just for her I built in a few hours for reading, catching up on email, and changing before the nights activities. If you're looking for a hotel in New Haven the aforementioned Study is very nice but my personal favorite is Hotel Duncan, right next door and creepy as all get out.

6:00pm - Before dinner at Caseus (up next) I like poking through the racks at favorite vintage store, Fashionista. They have an amazing selection of vintage fur and jewelry as well as some really great vintage dresses. I use this place all the time when I'm costuming. The owners are worth chatting up.

7:30pm - Dinner at Caseus. There are tons of great restaurants in New Haven but Caseus is by far my favorite and the most likely to please everyone in a crowd including picky eaters, children, and foodies. Their cheese selection is, of course, unbelievable, but it's the poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds) that get me every time. Reservations are a must, several days in advance if possible.

9:30pm - My current favorite bar on campus is Rudy's. If you've been to New Haven in years past you might have gone to old Rudy's to sample the famous frites. New Rudy's is...well...different. The frites are still the same (and amazing) but the decor has gone upscale and there's lots more room. Diehard Rudy's fans hate the new place, I happen to love it.

11:00pm - If you can get tickets I'd catch a show at the Yale Cabaret. The shows are often (of course not always) inventive and interesting and plus you get to see Yale Drama Students/directors/and designers doing their thing.

1:00am - If you're still awake the last stop should be Louis' Lunch. The hours are erratic, the crowd is colorful, but the burgers are amazing. I'd recommend ordering rare, with onions, a potato salad, and foxon park orange soda.

Classic hamburger via a hamburger today

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