Marsh Botanical Garden is situated within the precincts of Yale University. Its name pays tribute to Othniel Charles Marsh, who bestowed this property upon the university. Beatrix Farrand planned the landscape of the garden that houses a wide variety of plant species. Faculty, students, nature lovers, researchers and many other visitors head to this botanical gardens that has four greenhouses, perennial beds, seasonal plants and much more.
An easy drive from downtown New Haven, this park is a beautiful respite from the harried city pace. As you meander along the curved, tree-lined roads up to the summit, you will be greeted by a spectacular view of the city, Long Island Sound and the New Haven Harbor. There is a prized bird sanctuary, picnic and playground facilities, and if you are in the mood for a brisk walk, there are 10 miles of hiking trails. Enjoy the great outdoors right in the city.
The New Haven Town Green is one of New England's oldest, completed in 1638. Portions of the Green were used as a cemetery until the 1820s when the Green became overcrowded and headstones were moved to the new Grove Street Cemetery; however, the bodies were not dug up and between 5,000 to 10,000 still remain. The 16-acre public park is a popular site for concerts and picnics, and an overall excellent gathering place for locals and tourists alike. The Green is also the location of a memorial to the Amistad captives. Along the Green there are three churches built in the 1810s: Center Church, United Church and Trinity Church.
Football fans everywhere are indebted to Yale coach Walter Camp for his 1879 codifying of American football as we know and love it today. Yale's Bulldogs play against other Ivy League teams from September through November, and, in alternate years, the renowned Harvard-Yale game attracts audiences and fans from afar. This is a big sporting event in New Haven and if you have the chance to catch a game, it is well worth it. Tailgate parties start the festivities prior to the match, so grab a picnic lunch and party in the parking lot before the big event. Games are played at Yale Bowl.
Lake Compounce Family Theme Park is the one of the oldest continuously operated theme parks in the United States. The amusement park and adjoining water park are two of the hottest summer attractions in the region, as well as the Wildcat, (a wooden roller coaster built in 1927 and reconstructed with new wood in 1985) and a carousel built in 1911. This is the perfect spot for some family fun or to just admire this historic and fun-filled attraction.
Also known as Mount Carmel Park, the Sleeping Giant State Park lives up to its billing as an untouched wilderness with 1,465 acres (593 hectares) of sweeping semi-arid expanses. The gateway to Connecticut's countryside, the park is named after the Sleeping Giant traprock mountain that dominates its surroundings from an impressive elevation of 522 feet (159 meters). The grounds are riddled with a superabundance of hiking trails and picnic areas that add up to 32 miles (51.44 kilometers) of outdoor recreation. The park's southern shores are home to some of its most complex ecosystems, thanks to the life-sustaining waters of the River Connecticut's tributaries, which is also a popular fishing zone swarming with trout.
This greenway and trail started out as a canal when it was first built in the 1820s. Since then, it has gone from canal, to railway line, to finally this park and greenway trail that leads from New Haven to Northampton. Much of the trail is paved for all kinds of recreation including hiking, running and biking.
If you're a tennis fan, you MUST catch a game at the beautiful Connecticut Tennis Centre. Located on the Yale University campus, it is the fourth largest tennis centre in the world. Every year, history is created on these courts, which play host to the ATP International Tennis Tournament. Greats, such as Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova have slammed balls here. You'll also find university students sharpening their tennis skills when you stop by. Or if you're lucky, Venus Willaims or Lindsay Davenport in action.