The New Haven Bucket List

A friend of mine recently asked me about what things she absolutely had to check out in New Haven, which got me thinking that a New Haven Bucket List is a prime idea for a post.  So, without further adieu, and in no particular order except my own mind, I present the New Haven Bucket List:

Food and Drink

1. Try Pepe’s World Famous Clam Pie (Tip: You can actually call ahead and pick it up rather than wait in line. Unless you’re just really, really into lines. Which, you know… is definitely not on the list of signs of sociopathy).  You should probably also try Sally’s and Modern so you can get into arguments with everybody else about it.


2. Eat Malaysian at Bentara. Eat Indian at Thali (or Thali Too). Eat Mexican at Mezcal. Eat Italian at L’Orcio.  Eat sushi at Miya’s (resting easy at night knowing you’ve helped with the East coast’s most sustainable sushi restaurant).

3. Savor a delicious beer at Prime 16 (also, the burgers are divine, and free tastings on Wednesdays), Cask Republic, and Delaney’s. Try them all! (Please don’t. Your insurance won’t cover the several ambulance trips).

4. Eat a hamburger at Louis’ Lunch. Don’t ask for ketchup, fool! Consider that they invented the hamburger and how improbable that is. Do not voice your suspicions.

5. Visit Old Rudy’s (Elm Bar) and New Rudy’s. Try the frites at New Rudy’s with samurai sauce.

6. Eat at one of the fanciest restaurants in New Haven (Union LeagueIbizaCaseus). Get somebody else to pay.

7. Have a cocktail at the Anchor and Firehouse 12. Admire everybody’s flannel and awesome bangs.  Might as well stop at 116 Crown, but you might have to take out a second mortgage for their fancy drinks.  Catch some blues or some jazz at the Owl Shop as well, and smoke a cigar while you’re there.

8. Watch a European Football game at Anna Liffey’s. Or any of the other 800 Irish pubs in New Haven (seriously, how does a city of this size sustain this many Irish pubs?). Root for anybody you want as long as it’s not Manchester United.

Outdoors and Recreation

9. Hike up to the top of both East Rock Park and West Rock Park.


10. Attend a Kickball Game, or heck, join a team at CT Ivy. You may want a designated driver.

11. Do a bike ride with the guys and gals of Devil’s Gear Bicycle.

12. Visit Lightouse Park and ride the carousel. Or just hang out on the beach. Or have a picnic. What am I, your mother?

Culture and Events

13. Watch one of the Jazz Series at Firehouse 12.

14. Check out the Yale Rare Manuscript Library.


15. Visit the (totally free and totally fuckin’ amazing) Yale University Art Gallery.  Note that there is a sculpture garden behind it which is actually accessible via a path next to the Skull and Bones building nearby. (Or so people tell me.)

16. Attend a summer concert on the green. (Note: While drinking alcoholic beverages is not technically permitted, I’ve never seen anybody given a hard time about it.)  The Arts and Ideas Festival is a great showcase of World Music, to start.

17. Check out a Yale Hockey Game at one of the most loved (and hated) pieces of sports architecture: The Whale Rink.


18. Check out the New Haven Public Library or any of its many convenient branches.

19. Go to a midnight showing at the Bow Tie Cinemas downtown. Or better yet, become a member and go to Tuesday Nights for 6 measly bucks.

20. Take in a night of theater at the Shubert, Long Wharf Theater, the Yale Repertory Theater, or heck, even the Yale Cabaret if you long for a life of bursting out into songs, you sick fuck.

Odds and Ends

20. Go dancing at Bar (Tip: They don’t start charging cover until 10pm).  While you’re there, you should probably go ahead and try the mashed potato pizza.  With bacon.  Yep.  Just trust me on this one.

21. Take a train from Union Station to Grand Central Station in this little town called New York City. Also, revel in the fact that you can drink. On the train. No, seriously. (Pro tip: A ziplock bag of ice is like a cooler you can throw away!)

22. Walk around Yale University. Try not to make contact with anybody in a sweater vest.


23. While you’re at it, check out the secret society, Skull and Bones. Try to imagine what’s going on in there. Realize it’s probably stupid, and those jerks didn’t invite you anyway.


Not pictured: Joshua Jackson’s acting career dying a slow death.

24. Attend a Yale/Harvard tailgate. Notice I didn’t say “game.” Because watching Ivy League football is like being punched in the crotch repeatedly, except at least with the crotch punching you don’t have to wear a jacket with elbow pads.

25. Go to a Flights of Fancy event.

26. Go to a ClueFest Event (Note: You should probably bring some locals for this one.)

27. Watch Shakespeare in the Park or any of the other events held at Edgerton Park.

28. Enjoy a few laughs at Joker’s Wild or Fistful of Jokes at Cafe Nine.

And finally…

29. Lament the existence of Yalies like a true Townie, only to realize that without Yale, New Haven is just another Hartford.  Or worse yet, Bridgeport.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Don’t forget the British Art Museum, Peabody, and symphonies/concerts at Woolsey Hall.

  2. No mention of Owl??????

  3. CT Boom| Connecticut. INSIDE OUT. - pingback on February 1, 2013 at 10:30 am
  4. great post – but as much fun as Cluefest is, it’s even more fun to volunteer for it! Try it out : )

  5. :mrgreen: go to the New Haven St Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the largest single day spectator event in CT. The 6th oldest in the country and the best place to hang with your closest 300,000 friends. Sunday March 10 2013 1:30 PM

  6. 30 Get Mugged
    31 Lose your job in the defense industry.
    32 Run over a hipster.
    33 Move the hell out of New Haven.

    I’ve lived in New Haven for most of my life, and quite frankly I just don’t give a rat’s ass about any of this stuff. New Haven never became what I thought it was going to be. It never became what it should be.

  7. 34. smack a jaded and bitter townie upside the head. live anywhere long enough and you might forget all the great things about it too.

  8. 35. Remember those Coliseum moments; watch New Haven Nighthawks or Knights fight scenes on “Last Days of the Coliseum,” or on you tube.

    36. Walk the finished/unfinished New Haven sections of the Farmington Canal Trail.

    37. Take an autumn train ride and tour at the Shoreline Trolley Museum.

  9. Done all of this

    Shoreline Trolley Museum is in East Haven. Don’t do that.

  10. The New Haven Shit List | Shades of Zero - pingback on January 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm
  11. Hey hey…let’s not hate on Bridgeport totally. As a Bridgeport –> New Haven (and back again) commuter, I can honestly say that Bridgeport isn’t all bad. BPO – represent!

  12. Two corrections to #20:
    (1) The Yale Cabaret does mostly straight theater, not musical stuff–though the cafe-type setting, and the fact that it’s run entirely by drama school students, definitely make a place worth checking out. (The drama school’s own larger productions, separate from the Yale Rep and the Yale Cabaret, should also be added to your list.)
    (2) There are two items labeled #20. The second one should actually be #21.

  13. Visit the New Haven Museum. Very interesting historical exhibits With photos and paintings of old New Haven.

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