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New Haven Downtown Introduction Walk (Self Guided), New Haven

New Haven, Connecticut is known worldwide as the home of Yale University, one of America's oldest and most prestigious education institutions. No wonder, the bulk of local attractions are one way or another associated with Yale, e.g. the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and more. Other notable sights include the City Hall, the County Courthouse, the New Haven Free Public Library and the Grove Street Cemetery featuring 19th-century Egyptian Revival gateway. To explore New Haven and its attractions in more detail, follow this orientation walk.
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New Haven Downtown Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: New Haven Downtown Introduction Walk
Guide Location: USA » New Haven (See other walking tours in New Haven)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: AudreyB
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • New Haven City Hall
  • New Haven Green Park
  • New Haven County Courthouse
  • New Haven Free Public Library
  • Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Lafayette B. Mendel House
  • Grove Street Cemetery
  • Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
  • Battell Chapel
  • Yale Center for British Art
  • Yale University Art Gallery
  • Louis' Lunch
  • Chapel Street
New Haven City Hall

1) New Haven City Hall (must see)

The New Haven City Hall is located in the Downtown section on the east side of the New Haven Green. The city hall building, designed by Henry Austin, was built in 1861. The building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is significant early examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture in the United States. The city hall building's most striking feature, formerly, was a clock tower that rose above. It is shown in historic drawing among the accompanying photographs.

In January 2012, a PureCell Model 400 was dropped into place behind City Hall in the Millennium Plaza. The heat produced by the fuel cell will be used to heat and cool City Hall and the Hall of Records. It will supply 60 percent of the buildings’ heating needs, and 30 percent of cooling needs. According to Giovanni Zinn of the city’s Office of Sustainability, the PureCell can help the city save up to $1 million in energy costs over the next ten years.
Sight description based on wikipedia
New Haven Green Park

2) New Haven Green Park (must see)

The New Haven Green is a 16-acre (65,000 m2) privately owned park and recreation area located in the downtown district. It comprises the central square of the nine-square settlement plan of the original Puritan colonists in New Haven, and was designed and surveyed by colonist John Brockett.

Today the Green is bordered by the modern paved roads of College, Chapel, Church, and Elm streets. Temple Street bisects the Green into upper (northwest) and lower (southeast) halves. The green is host to numerous public events, such as the Festival of Arts and Ideas and New Haven Jazz Festival, summer jazz and classical music concerts that can draw hundreds of thousands of people, as well as typical daily park activities.

As New Haven Green Historic District, it was designated a National Historic Landmark District on December 30, 1970. The Green is a traditional town green (commons) and was originally known as "the marketplace". It was completed in 1638. The Puritans were said to have designed the green large enough to hold the number of people who they believed would be spared in the Second Coming of Christ: 144,000. In its early years, the Green held a watch house, a prison and a school. The upper Green also once held the First Methodist Church.
Sight description based on wikipedia
New Haven County Courthouse

3) New Haven County Courthouse

The New Haven County Courthouse is located in the Downtown section of New Haven. The building was built in 1917 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 16, 2003.

It faces onto the New Haven Green. Specifically it is located on the northwest corner of Elm and Church Streets, facing the northeast corner of the green, across Elm Street. It contains "several of the city's grandest interior spaces".

The courthouse was designed by William H. Allen and Richard Williams. Their Beaux Arts architecture design won a design competition over submissions from several well-known architects. Significant court cases tried at the courthouse include Griswold v. Connecticut (a historic trial involving women's' right to birth control) and the trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale. The building was under threat of demolition in 1956.
Sight description based on wikipedia
New Haven Free Public Library

4) New Haven Free Public Library (must see)

The New Haven Free Public Library is the public library system serving New Haven. The system began in 1887 in a leased location but quickly outgrew its space. The Ives Memorial Library is the main branch of the system and is located on the New Haven Green. The neo-Georgian building was designed by Cass Gilbert and finished in 1911. This building was renovated and expanded in 1990.

Murals in the main library originated as Public Works Administration projects. Two lunettes in the main hall, designed by Bancel LaFarge of Mt. Carmel, Connecticut, depict scenes from New Haven's history. The Rip Van Winkle murals in the meeting room were painted in 1934 by a team of artists led by Salvatore DiNaio and Frank J. Rutkowski. There is also a set of stained glass windows in the Ives Library designed by David Wilson of South New Berlin, New York including circular and rectangular laylights as well as rectangular and half-round windows.

There are also neighborhood branches in Westville (Mitchell), Fair Haven, Dixwell (Stetson) and The Hill (Wilson). The Wilson branch features an art installation by Leila Daw depicting patterns of immigration. The library has hosted many programs for children and adults, such as the Create a Comic Project.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

5) Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church came into existence in 1865. The building in which it is located is from 1870, but is home to the church only as of 1916. The structure is a perfect example of High Victorian Gothic style designed by David Russell Brown. The edifice features brick and Portland brownstone, beautiful stained glass windows, angel figures, sculptures and an impressive rose window as a symbol of the church. The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Connecticut and is noted as a national landmark.
Lafayette B. Mendel House

6) Lafayette B. Mendel House

The Lafayette B. Mendel House is an historic Italianate house designed by New Haven architect Henry Austin. It was the home of Yale University physiology professor, Lafayette Benedict Mendel from 1900 – 1924. The Lafayette B. Mendel House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The building now houses a law firm. Mendel helped bring the study of nutrition into the scientific realm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grove Street Cemetery

7) Grove Street Cemetery (must see)

Grove Street Cemetery or Grove Street Burial Ground is located adjacent to the Yale University campus. It was organized in 1796 as the New Haven Burying Ground and incorporated in October 1797 to replace the crowded burial ground on the New Haven Green.

The first private, nonprofit cemetery in the world, it was one of the earliest burial grounds to have a planned layout, with plots permanently owned by individual families, a structured arrangement of ornamental plantings, and paved and named streets and avenues. Many notable Yale and New Haven luminaries are buried in the Grove Street Cemetery, including fourteen Yale presidents; nevertheless, it was not restricted to members of the upper class, and was open to all.

Initially consisting of six acres (24,000 m²), it has been expanded to nearly 18 acres (73,000 m²). The perimeter of the cemetery was surrounded by an eight foot (2.4 m) stone wall in 1848-49, and the entrance on Grove Street is a brownstone Egyptian Revival gateway, designed by Henry Austin, and built in 1845. The lintel of the gateway is inscribed "The Dead Shall Be Raised."; the concluding period has been called the most eloquent and sublime piece of punctuation in stone. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It then included one contributing site, three contributing structures, and 15 contributing objects. The Grove Street Cemetery was further designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Secretary of the Interior in 2000.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

8) Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (must see)

Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library was a 1963 gift of the Beinecke family. The building was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft of the firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, and is the largest building in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. It is located at 121 Wall Street in the center of Yale University in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is more commonly referred to as "Beinecke Plaza".

A six-story above-ground tower of book stacks is surrounded by a windowless rectangular building with walls made of a translucent Danby marble, which transmit subdued lighting and provide protection from direct light. The public exhibition hall surrounding the glass stack tower displays contains, among other things, one of the 48 extant copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

Two floors extend under Hewitt Quadrangle. The first level down, the "Court" level, centers on a sunken courtyard featuring sculptures by Isamu Noguchi that are said to represent time (the pyramid), sun (the circle), and chance (the cube). This level also features a reading room for researchers, offices and book storage areas. The lower level of the building, two floors below ground, has compact shelving for books and archives.

Operation hours: Monday to Thursday: 9 am – 7 pm; Friday: 9 am – 7 pm; (Only The Exhibition Gallery) Saturday: 12 pm – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Battell Chapel

9) Battell Chapel (must see)

Battell Chapel at Yale University was built in 1874-76 as a Civil War memorial, with funds donated by Joseph Battell and others of his family. The chapel was designed by Russell Sturgis, Jr. in High Victorian Gothic style of rough brown sandstone. It was the third of Yale's chapels and is the largest on-campus house of worship.

The Apse Memorial Windows were designed by the architect Russell Sturgis and installed by Slack, Booth & Co. of Orange, New Jersey in 1876. At the top of the center window appears the name of an early benefactor of Yale University, Elihu Yale. The chapel was built to provide space for daily chapel, which was mandatory at Yale for students until 1926. Built together with Durfee and Farnam Halls at the corner of College and Elm Streets, the chapel was also part of an ongoing program to build up the perimeter of Old Campus and separate it from the rest of the city. The Battell Chapel clock, with chimes consisting of five large bells that rang at each quarter hour, was at one time the clock to which others at Yale was synchronized; however, the chimes have been silent for years.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Yale Center for British Art

10) Yale Center for British Art (must see)

The Yale Center for British Art is an art museum at Yale University which houses the most comprehensive collection of British Art outside the United Kingdom. It concentrates on work from the Elizabethan period onward. The Center was established by a gift from Paul Mellon of his British art collection to Yale in 1966, together with an endowment for operations of the Center, and funds for a building to house the works of art.

The building was designed by Louis I. Kahn and constructed at the corner of York and Chapel Streets in New Haven, across the street from one of Kahn's earliest buildings, the Yale University Art Gallery, built in 1953. The Yale Center for British Art was completed, after Kahn's death, in 1974. The exterior is made of matte steel and reflective glass; the interior is of travertine marble, white oak, and Belgian linen.

The Center is affiliated with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, which sponsors the "Yale-in-London" undergraduate study abroad program, publishes academic titles, and awards grants and fellowships. The collection consists of nearly 2,000 paintings and 100 sculptures, with an emphasis, reflecting Mellon's interest, in the interval between William Hogarth's birth (1697) to J. M. W. Turner's death (1851). The Center is open to the public free of charge six days a week, and is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.

Operation hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm; Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Yale University Art Gallery

11) Yale University Art Gallery (must see)

The Yale University Art Gallery houses a significant and encyclopedic collection of art in several buildings on the campus of Yale University. Although it embraces all cultures and periods, the Gallery possesses especially renowned collections of early Italian painting, African sculpture, and modern art. Its holdings of American decorative and fine arts are amongst the best in existence.

The Yale University Art Gallery is the oldest university art museum in the western hemisphere. The Gallery was founded in 1832, when patriot-artist John Trumbull donated to Yale College more than 100 paintings of the American Revolution and designed the original Picture Gallery. This building, on Old Campus, was razed in 1901. The Gallery's main building was built in 1953 and was among the very first designed by Louis Kahn, who taught architecture at Yale. A complete renovation, which returned many spaces to Kahn's original vision, was completed in December 2006 by Polshek Partnership Architects. The older Tuscan romanesque portion was built in 1928 and was designed by Egerton Swartwout. A 10-year renovation project is due to be complete in 2011.

The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program. The Gallery’s encyclopedic collections number more than 185,000 objects ranging in date from ancient times to the present day. In 2009, the museum mounted an exhibition of its extensive collection of Picasso paintings and drawings, in collaboration with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Operation hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 am – 5 pm, Thursday until 8:00 pm (Sept–June); Saturday-Sunday 11 pm – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Louis' Lunch

12) Louis' Lunch

Louis' Lunch advertises itself as the first restaurant to serve hamburgers and as being the oldest hamburger restaurant still operating in the U.S. Opened as a small lunch wagon in 1895, Louis' Lunch was also one of the first places in the U.S. to serve steak sandwiches.

According to family legend, one day in 1900 a local businessman dashed into the small New Haven lunch wagon and pleaded for a lunch to go. Louis Lassen, the establishment's owner, hurriedly sandwiched a broiled hamburger between two slices of bread and sent the customer on his way, so the story goes, with America's first hamburger being served. In 1907, Lassen moved the business to Temple and George Streets. After a decade there, he left his lunch wagon for a square-shaped little brick building that had once been a tannery. Forced to move to make way for development in 1975, Louis' Lunch moved a fourth time, relocating the tannery building to its present location, 263 Crown Street in New Haven, CT.

The fourth generation of Lassens own and operate Louis' Lunch today. Louis' Lunch hand forms their hamburger sandwiches from ground steak made from a secret blend of five different cuts of beef. The hamburgers and steak sandwiches are then flame broiled vertically in the original antique stoves.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chapel Street

13) Chapel Street

The Chapel Street Historic District is a 23-acre (9.3 ha) historic district in the Downtown New Haven area of the city of New Haven, Connecticut. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. You can find here an array of interesting of shops and places to eat and drink.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in New Haven, Connecticut

Create Your Own Walk in New Haven

Create Your Own Walk in New Haven

Creating your own self-guided walk in New Haven is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Religious Buildings Walk in New Haven

Religious Buildings Walk in New Haven

New Haven is home to a number of beautiful churches, the majority of which feature mostly Gothic style. You can see examples of Georgian, Federal and Colonial styles of architecture. You will also have the possibility of visiting the city's three famous churches near New Haven Green Park.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Yale University Walking Tour, Part II

Yale University Walking Tour, Part II

Yale University is one of the world's most significant educational institutions. As Yale's campus is rich in architectural splendors, there's a beauty of structures not only on the territory of the campus. Come and continue your trip on the grounds of the extraordinary campus and its surroundings founded in 1701.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Yale University Walking Tour, Part I

Yale University Walking Tour, Part I

Founded in 1701, Yale ranks among the oldest, free educational institutions in the U.S. Due to its age, Yale University has a great historical and architectural beauty. Its halls and institutions preserve the spirit of history and education. Feel comfortable to learn and enjoy the facilities of Yale University.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Museums and Galleries Tour

Museums and Galleries Tour

As New Haven is home to Yale University, the city houses some of the most significant collections of art and natural history in the world. These are the Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. There are also galleries supporting the city's current artists. Take a look at the legendary collections of New Haven.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
New Haven's Historical Buildings Tour

New Haven's Historical Buildings Tour

New Haven is a city of architectural diversity, hence the variety of architectural styles depicted in its churches, houses and buildings. Almost every corner has a building that is somewhat related to art and history. Take this tour and enjoy New Haven's greatest sites.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles