The City of New Haven is not a well-known tourist destination, but it does offer several places of interest for visitors. It is perhaps best known for Yale University. The city is mostly residential in nature, but there are many shops, cafes, and fine restaurants. Ethnic restaurants are popular in the Port of New Haven as well, and visitors can easily find Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Eritrean, Mexican, Indian, French, Thai, and Malaysian cuisines. A largely pedestrian center city also offers a growing nightlife scene. With many nearby parks and trails, bicycling and hiking are popular pastimes.
The Port of New Haven has a humid continental climate. Summers are humid and warm to hot with frequent thunderstorms, and winters are cold and humid with much snow. Spring and fall are wonderfully pleasant with moderate precipitation. Weather patterns minimize the marine influence of the Atlantic Ocean, although temperatures can vary significantly from coast to inland areas. Temperatures range from an average high of 28 °C (83 °F) in July to an average low of -8 °C (17 °F) in January.
The Port of New Haven boasts an unusual ancient graveyard under the Center Church. The Crypt is open from April through October. The 137 graves, dating from the late 17th Century to the early 19th Century, include the city's founders and earliest citizens. Benedict Arnold's first wife is buried there, as is the family of President of Rutherford Hayes. The Port of New Haven's Center Church was built over a part of the town's cemetery in 1813, and the gravestones and remains were left in their original positions, where a crypt was created. The Port of New Haven Crypt is an extraordinary colonial burial ground, remaining relatively untouched for several centuries.
The Port of New Haven's Green is over 350 years old. The site of frequent festivals and events, it is known as one of the United States best 100 public spaces. The 6.5-hectare privately-owned park is located downtown. It is the original 1638 central square for the original Puritan colony, it was a commons known as the marketplace for the Port of New Haven. Today, it is the site of the famous New Haven Jazz Festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year as well as many other music concerts and daily activities. In its early years, the Port of New Haven Green was home to a school, a watch house, a prison, and the First Methodist Church. It also housed several different statehouses from the city's days as co-capital of the State. New Haven's militia used it as a parade grounds, and it was a burial ground for residents in the Port of New Haven's first century. Even though the gravestones were moved, the remains of from five to ten thousand people were not moved (refer above to The Crypt). Descendants of the city's first settlers own and maintain the green.
The Port of New Haven's most famous landmark is Yale University. In addition to being one of the United States' premier institutions of learning, Yale offers several museums and facilities for the arts. The Yale University Art Gallery contains more than 185 thousand works of art, organized into ten areas that include British Art (the largest collection outside the United Kingdom). The Peabody Museum of Natural History offers an outstanding collection of more than 12 million specimens from around the world that support natural and environmental research. The Collection of Musical Instruments houses almost a thousand instruments and related items that document the music traditions of Western Europe and America. The collection includes string instruments, wind instruments, keyboards, non-western instruments (mostly Asian), and a variety of accessories and publications related to the history of making music. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the university's repository for literary works, early manuscripts, and rare books including literature, theology, history, and natural science. The collection supports research into a wide range of eras and topics including, but not limited to, medieval, Renaissance, and 18th Century studies; art history, photography, and printing; American studies; and modernism in art and literature. The Sterling Memorial Library, an architectural treasure finished in 1930, boasts 15 stack levels and eight floors of reading rooms, work areas, and offices. The collections are primarily focused on the humanities and social sciences.
In addition to its museums and libraries, Yale is a leader in theatrical arts. The Yale Repertory Theatre is an outstanding professional American theater that produces new plays and innovative interpretations of classics. "Yale Rep" has produced more than 100 premieres, including Pulitzer Prize nominees (and two winners) and has hosted trend-setting directors, designers, and celebrated actors. The Yale Rep has won over 40 Tony Award nominations (and eight wins). The Yale Cabaret has enjoyed over 40 seasons of innovation and experimentation in performance art. Port of New Haven audiences are surprised, entertained, and challenged by the demanding and edgy performances.
The Port of New Haven is also home to the Knights of Columbus Museum that honors the history and memory of that organization. Upon entering the two-story atrium lobby, visitors immediately notice the ancient cross that crowned St. Peter's Basilica for almost 400 years. The museum contains a theater with a short informative film about the organization. One exhibit is dedicated to the organization's founder, Father Michael J. McGivney. The Christopher Columbus Gallery explains the genesis of the organization's name and explores its relationship with the world-famous explorer, including artifacts from his second voyage.
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