Headed to New Haven for...pizza. What else?
November 22, 2020 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Staying overnight in New Haven tomorrow, coming from NYC. Primary reason for visit is to try their pizza, after having New Haven pizza in another city I want to go to the source. I'm not sure what COVID restrictions are like there, but what would be some fun things to do? It looks like a nice town to explore on foot, and I won't have a car but will be staying in the center of the city in a hotel. I like to walk around and explore architecture, take photos, etc. Would also love it if there's an amazing local coffee shop to check out. For pizza (no cheese), I've been told that Frank Pepe's is the spot. So just anything interesting in general that a solo traveler can fill a day with. Thanks!
posted by signondiego to Travel & Transportation around New Haven, CT (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Official info on the CT virus situation here. In general, compliance with distancing and mask protocols has been pretty good in CT, but there are always exceptions, and there is definite restriction fatigue.

As for sites to see, there is Yale. The University has a bunch of museums, including some mentioned here. The Peabody Museum has dinosaurs and stuff. And of course there is the University bookstore, if you are into that sort of thing.

More general info here.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:39 AM on November 22, 2020

Jordans Furniture has a cool zipline/indoor ropes course that I've been dying to try since it opened (I live across the country now but am from that area). A brief glance at the website looks like it's still open but perhaps needs reservations - may be something to look into?

East Rock park has some easy walking/hiking trails if the weather is decent (you might need to get a ride share there).

Long Wharf has a lot of food trucks that are pretty good, if you need other non-pizza refreshments.

I love just browsing Ikea, too, especially if they have fun seasonal stuff. Hope that helps!
posted by carlypennylane at 9:05 AM on November 22, 2020

The local bookstore/cafe where at least four generations of Yale students have flirted over John Donne is Atticus, but I have no idea how ambitious their coffee program is these days.
posted by praemunire at 9:30 AM on November 22, 2020

Coffee shop: Pistachio Cafe newly opened this fall by an artist/architect originally from Syria.

The famous pizza rivalry of New Haven is Pepe's vs. Sally's, so you might also want to try Sally's in order to compare.

Louis' Lunch supposedly invented the hamburger. Closed Monday but you could go on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the Peabody museum is closed for renovations. The Yale Art gallery is closed for Covid. Artspace gallery is closed Monday/Tuesday just as their regular hours. The Ely Center (tiny art space in an old house) is open according to their website, but you should call or email to check.

As you walk around, you might enjoy seeing the gargoyles of Yale.
The arts district known as Ninth Square has some new murals.
posted by xo at 9:46 AM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also the New Haven train station is a thing of beauty.
posted by jessamyn at 9:51 AM on November 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

The architecture is great. Sterling and Beinecke are the big can’t miss buildings but there’s so much wonderful detail all over the place. In addition to exploring campus architecture, don’t miss Grove Street Cemetery. +1 East Rock which is probably lovely this time of year. Try lots of pizza places and form an opinion on which one is best! I like Bar, personally.
posted by phoenixy at 10:02 AM on November 22, 2020

Hi, active New Haveners here! We aren't as strict as Vermont but things are closed and limited.

Looking at things:
The Yale museums and libraries are closed because pandemic. HOWEVER - you like architecture and we got that. If you do go towards the IKEA, you can see the Pirelli building, which is undergoing renovations to be a mid-century hotel. We got brutalism. Hell, you can eat a meal outside or inside with dividers at Harvest, which is in the well next to/among a Louis Kahn. One of the waiters there is a huge architecture buff. The New Haven Preservation Trust is your jam here, and has, for instance, a self-guided tour list;the last one there one starts downtown but goes about 3+ miles out from downtown, so it's a good starting point but not a great thing to do without a car. Public art is also a thing, although sometimes it's hidden on campus quads. list here. The other thing to see is Grove Street Cemetery, which is a garden park style with Egyptian Revival gates and lots of famous dead people.

Buying things:
The Yale-landlorded shops ARE open and I get a ton of ads for their promotions right now. You'll be near those. IKEA has had wicked lines outside it every time I've driven by lately.

Eatin' things:
The pizza situation is a pre-pandemic pit of opinions! I am a Modern person, but it is closed on Mondays. Pepe's, Bar, and 163 (which is in the East Rock neighborhood) are all open on Mondays.
The area around Broadway and the Green have several coffee shops - I'm partial to the Blue States. Almost all of the coffee shops are take-out only right now. (that link above may be helpful.) On Monday, during the lunch time, if you *don't* want pizza, come over towards the hospital and eat at a food truck; Lalibela is your best bet other than Thai if you don't eat dairy. (Otherwise the Ay Arepa truck is my recommendation.)

For getting around:
Uber and Lyft are both present here; otherwise, use the 777-7777 or Ecua-Mex taxis. I won't give you the 'it's a goddamn city, pay attention' discussion since you're coming from NYC, but be aware that people love running red lights and the big intersections are where people get killed.

You, or other visitors to my cool little cold and slightly grimy city can me-mail me for any other particulars.
posted by cobaltnine at 10:22 AM on November 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

I wouldn't go to Atticus. The coffee is terrible and the food is overpriced. For another, better New Haven institution, I would try Koffee? on Audubon St. and Whitney Ave., if it is, in fact, open. I hear about a new bookstore on York St. called Grey Matter, but I haven't been there. Book Trader cafe on Chapel and York has high turnover of inventory and good food. Sadly, the "Yale bookstore" is just a Barnes and Noble. It's really hard to have a bad slice of pizza in New Haven, so wherever you go should be tasty.
posted by 8603 at 10:25 AM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

If all of the cafes really are takeout only, I would go to Willoughby's on Grove St. and Whitney Ave. for a cup. (It has very limited seating even in regular times.) They roast their own beans and the coffee has a distinctive flavor.
posted by 8603 at 10:37 AM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Would definitely be great if the coffee shop was open for dine-in, but not a requirement. These suggestions look amazing, thanks! And looks like I've hit the usual snag of small businesses being closed on Mondays, but there's always Tuesday if I took a late train back. Thanks again!
posted by signondiego at 11:22 AM on November 22, 2020

New Haven pizza is the best pizza. And I say this as a native New Yorker.

This will probably strike many as sacrilege, but I'm-a say it, anyway: Modern Apizza is better than Pepe's. Pepe's is great, but Modern is better.
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:54 PM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Blue State coffee ... Atticus has good food but the coffee is so-so.
posted by mccxxiii at 5:44 PM on November 22, 2020

New Haven apizza episode of The Pizza Show on YouTube, from 2016, touring the various establishments.
posted by XMLicious at 9:53 PM on November 22, 2020

So how did it go?????
posted by 8603 at 5:33 AM on November 26, 2020

Response by poster: My roommate tested positive for COVID before I left. So I wasn't able to go, but I did test negative. Hopefully get to reschedule this soon. Every answer was a great one and I have my places picked out!
posted by signondiego at 5:53 AM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

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