New Haven has a town’s scale, with low buildings, tree-lined streets, and pockets of stores and restaurants to serve local residents. It also has the resources and conveniences of a city, with a downtown of office buildings, courthouses, and hotels, many of which surround the central Green that adjoins Yale’s Old Campus.
The downtown area is small and inviting, easily traversed by foot. Bordering the Yale campus are cafes, bookstores, clothing boutiques, art supply stores, and a variety of small retail shops. Restaurants surround the campus, allowing students to walk from Paul Rudolph Hall and sample the best of American, Chinese, Cuban, Eritrean, Ethiopian, French, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Nuevo Latino, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese cuisine.
New Haven enjoys outstanding cultural attractions for a city of its size. In addition to Yale’s own concerts and recitals, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and New Haven Chorale also perform regularly at Woolsey Hall. The Yale Repertory Theatre, on campus, and Long Wharf Theatre, nearby, are two of the leading repertory theaters in the country. The Shubert Performing Arts Center just off campus brings in touring companies and nationally known performers. In addition to the lively theater and concert venues on and off campus, popular, folk, and rock artists also perform regularly at the New Haven Green, Toad’s Place, and other jazz and dance clubs.
Most students of the School of Architecture live within short walking distance of Paul Rudolph Hall, in neighborhoods that retain the flavor of the many different religious and ethnic groups that followed the Puritan settlers into the city. Neighborhood festivals punctuate the year, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Santa Maria Maddalena Festival in Wooster Square, a traditionally Italian neighborhood famous for its restaurants; the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration between New York and Boston; and the Fiestas de Loiza, a celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican culture in the Fair Haven district. In June, the annual International Festival of Arts and Ideas brings over 100,000 people to the downtown area for events and performances by artists representing more than two dozen cultures.
New Haven is ringed by parks, including East Rock and West Rock parks. There are many public tennis courts and eight golf courses within the area, including Yale’s own golf course, considered to be one of the best collegiate courses in the world. There are nearby skating and skiing facilities.
New Haven is one of the major stops on the Amtrak high-speed Acela and regular train service between Washington, D.C., and Boston. Metro-North also provides frequent train service between Manhattan and New Haven. By train, New Haven is approximately ninety minutes from New York City and two and one-half hours from Boston, depending upon the service selected.
New Haven is directly served by American Airlines at Tweed-New Haven Airport with taxi service to New Haven. Frequent limousine bus service to New Haven is also available from the major airports of Bradley (Hartford, Connecticut), Kennedy and LaGuardia (New York City), and Newark (New Jersey).