We asked the members of the Yale community to share their favorite campus spots and Yale traditions to create this ultimate campus guide for new and returning students. Browse our categories below to find peaceful study spaces, late night eats, favorite traditions, and more.
Favorite Study Spots
From prominent campus landmarks to lesser known spaces, discover the perfect spot to focus on academics or hold a study group with friends.
Sterling Memorial Library is one of Yale's most iconic buildings. Located in the heart of Central Campus, it is the largest of all the Yale libraries, housing more than 2.5 million resources on 16 floors of stacks.
The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library, formerly known as Cross Campus Library, performs double duty as both a study space and a student cafe. The underground library spans two floors that house part of Yale's collections, including media equipment.
Located within Yale Law School, the Lillian Goldman Law Library supports ongoing legal research with a collection of print and online sources. The library also houses a collection of rare historical law books from English, American, European, and Roman law.
Located in Sterling Memorial Library, the Linonia and Brothers Room is known for its leather chairs and academic lounge ambiance. The room is also known as "the green room" in homage to the iconic green carpet. Although women had been students in the graduate and professional schools since the late 1800s, they were not permitted to study in the L&B Room until 1963, the result of lively campus protests.
Located on the corner of York and Chapel Streets, Rudolph Hall stands out among campus' Gothic and Georgian styles as an example of Brutalist architecture designed by architect Paul Rudolph. Also known as the Art and Architecture Building, it now houses the Yale School of Architecture.
Yale College students don't have to travel far to find fantastic study spaces. Each of Yale’s residential colleges has its own library. Some alumni favorites are Davenport, Timothy Dwight, and Branford.
The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library houses one of the largest collections of music and music research materials in the United States. Notably, the collection includes rare editions, archives, photographs, and The Oral History of American Music.
The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library is located within Yale School of Medicine's Sterling Hall of Medicine. The library is made of two wings — the Historical Library reading room and the periodical room — with a central rotunda that honors Harvey Cushing, who graduated from Yale College in 1891.
The Starr Reference Room, also known as the Starr Reading Room, is the main reading room located within Sterling Memorial Library. The a barrel vaulted ceiling is meant to evoke the feeling of a monastic refectory, making it a peaceful place to reflect and study.
Located across the street from the Peabody Museum of Natural History sits Yale School of Management's Evans Hall. This delightfully contemporary building houses state-of-the-art classrooms, meeting spaces, and a dining hall that collectively encircle a central courtyard.
Where to Find a Caffeine Fix
Morning, afternoon, or night, sometimes a good cup of coffee or tea will make your whole day a little brighter. Check out these top spots to find the perfect latte, chai, mocha, and more.
A true New Haven staple since 1975, Atticus Bookstore Cafe is more than just a caffeine spot. Here you can shop for books, gifts, and other items — or grab a table and stay for delicious breakfast or lunch!
Blue State Coffee is a cafe with a mission to make the local community a better place. Make a purchase at any one of the four locations around town and you'll receive a token to use to vote for a local nonprofit to benefit from a portion of Blue State's recent profits. Not to mention, their coffee is pretty great, too!
Founded in 1985, Willoughby's Coffee and Tea is well known in the New Haven area for their high-quality, freshly roasted coffee. With two New Haven locations and two shoreline locations you are never too far from a delicious drink.
The Jitter Bus is a mobile coffee and tea cafe regularly located at the corner of Grove and Hillhouse and it's definitely an alumni favorite. We've heard the cold brew with caramel, dirty chai, and iced mocha are all worth tasting.
G Cafe Bakery opened in 2014, but it has already become a top spot for Yalies. The bakery is best known for its freshly baked German breads, but they also offer a wide variety of cafe treats, coffee, and tea.
Located across from Rudolph Hall and the Yale Repertory Theater, the Book Trader Cafe is an independent cafe and used bookstore. Stay for lunch, browse the unique selection of used books, and maybe even trade some of your own.
Opened in 1975, Claire's Corner Copia offers some of the best organic, vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free meals in New Haven. If you're only stopping in for a coffee or tea, don't miss the selection of mouth-watering baked goods like their famous Lithuanian coffee cake.
Yalies on Science Hill can find great coffee and tea at Steep, located in the Yale Science Building. This light, airy cafe offers single-origin coffee, organic teas, cold-pressed juices, kombucha, pastries, snacks, and delicious sandwiches. Better yet, Steep offers 24-hour options so you can fuel up any time day or night.
If you're looking for a restful spot to relax and enjoy high-quality coffee, Maison Mathis is a great choice. This Belgian-style cafe offers waffles, pastries, and more all while paying tribute to European style and flavors.
Favorite Late Night Eats
With dozens of restaurants all within walking distance of Yale's campus, there's no shortage of delicious choices. Find something great to eat — even late — with these alumni picks.
Often open late on weekends, Louis' Lunch is your stop for late night, traditional style burger cravings. This family-run restaurant was established in 1895 as is famously known as "the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich." Just don't ask for ketchup!
Mamoun's Falafel offers Halal and vegetarian options and is open until 11 p.m. for late-night cravings. Known for their famous falafel pitas, this New York City staple has a location in the heart of New Haven.
Junzi first opened in 2015 after launching at Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. Here, you'll find a a modern twist on traditional northern Chinese food made with an emphasis on healthy, seasonal ingredients.
Yale College students can find late-night eats right at home at any of the residential college butteries. Each buttery is known for its own signature item, including favorites like the Ezra, the Buffchick Wrap, the Magic Milkshake, and the Slammer.
Since its founding in 1979, Ashley's Ice Cream has grown from a New Haven treasure to a Connecticut favorite. And Ashley's ice cream is made with all-natural, fresh ingredients. Did you know? Ashley's is named after Ashley the Whippet, a famous frisbee-catching dog.
Located on Crown Street, Mecha Noodle Bar offers a selection of Vietnamese pho and Japanese ramen bowls, appetizers, and more. Fun fact: in Vietnamese, Mẹ means "mom" and Cha means "pop," inspiring the restaurant's name.
House of Naan offers a modern take on Indian favorites. Open for lunch, dinner, and late-night happy hour, there's always a good time to check out their unique offerings.
Craving something sweet? Insomnia Cookies has you covered! Open on weekends until 3 a.m., you can satisfy your sweet tooth with cookies, ice cream, cakes, and more.
A longtime alumni favorite, York Street Noodle House is known for tasty dim sum and filling ramen bowls. York Street Noodle House is conveniently located near the Yale Repertory Theater and the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media.
Must-Try New Haven Pizza
When we asked about top restaurants, we received so many pizza suggestions that we gave them their own category. New Haven "apizza" is a style all its own that can't be missed!
Since its founding in 1925, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is considered by some to be the birthplace of New Haven style apizza. Located on Wooster Street, Pepe's is famous for its white clam pizza prepared in its coal-fired brick oven.
Sally's Apizza is a longstanding contender among New Haven style pizza's "founding" restaurants. Sally's was established in 1938 by Salvatore Consiglio, nephew of Frank Pepe himself, and is well known for its plain tomato "pie."
Family owned and operated since 1969, Yorkside Pizza is a New Haven staple. Known for more than just great pizza, Yorkside also offers soup, salads, traditional Greek dishes, and more.
A New Haven classic, Modern Apizza has been serving up "pies" since 1934. Unlike some of the other well-known pizza establishments that rely on wood or coal-fired ovens, Modern is famous for its oil-fired brick oven.
Originally opened as a bar and dance club in 1991, BAR expanded into a pizza restaurant and microbrewery in 1995. Since then, it's been a contender among the likes of Pepe's, Sally's, and Modern as an example of the best New Haven style pizza has to offer. An alumni favorite is BAR's famous mashed potato and bacon pizza.
Est Est Est Pizza has proudly been located on Chapel Street since 1973 and has been ranked among the Top 10 pizza restaurants in New Haven. "Est" also takes pizza on the road with its unique pizza truck, that serves all of Connecticut.
Alpha Delta Pizza serves up pizza way beyond the standard dinner rush, staying open until 3 a.m. on weeknights and 4 a.m. on weekends. Located on Elm street, it also offers gryos, fried seafood, and halal options.
Pizza at the Brick Oven has been offering New Haven-style pizza on Howe Street since 1991. Each handcrafted "pie" is cooked to perfection in their wood-fired oven. In addition to pizza, it offers a full menu of calzones, salads, and more.
Yale Traditions That Can't Be Missed
While our campus and city have so much to offer, there are a few Yale traditions that just can't be missed. Here are the recommendations our alumni shared after reflecting on their own experiences.
Yale's famous Handsome Dan has been a campus mascot since the original Dan in 1889. Today's Dan, also known as Kingman, is just about the cutest bulldog we've ever seen. And just this year Dan isn't the only big dog on campus — Service Dog Heidi has joined our Yale community, making Yale the first Ivy League school with a service dog as part of its police department.
Every year, the Yale Symphony Orchestra presents a special Halloween Show on October 31 at midnight. An incredibly unique performance, the orchestra plays a medley of pop music, movie soundtracks, and classical pieces alongside a film written, produced, directed, and starring orchestra members.
Every year, Yale and Harvard face off in a football rivalry that dates back to 1875 that is known as "The Game." Alternating between Yale Bowl and Harvard's campus, students, alumni, and Bulldog fans alike cheer on Yale with traditional songs like Cole Porter's (Yale College Class of 1913) "Bulldog" and "Boola Boola."
The first-year Holiday Dinner is a Yale tradition that cannot be missed! Held annually at the Commons, the dinner features a "parade of comestibles," as Yale Hospitality staff proudly present its edible creations.
East Rock Park offers more than 10 miles of hiking trails, including a 285-foot climb to the park's summit. From here, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of New Haven. The park is also known for the Iron Bridge that overlooks the Mill River and Pardee Rose Garden and Greenhouse which features a picturesque collection of roses and other flowering plants.
Mory's was founded in New Haven in 1849 as a public alehouse, but it wasn't until 1863 that it gained popularity among Yalies. In 1912, the current location on York Street was opened and the public house became a private association. Today, Mory's is well known for the tradition of the Mory's cup and as a haven for many of Yale's a cappella groups, especially the Whiffenpoofs.
Yale hosts a number of exquisite, free galleries and museums right on campus. The Yale University Art Gallery's collection of more than 300,000 items features art in all media and is known for the paintings, sculpture, and modern art on display. The Yale Center for British Art holds the largest public collection outside of the United Kingdom solely devoted to British art. Recognizable by its distinct marble panels, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds such treasures as the Gutenberg Bible and the Langston Hughes Papers. Currently undergoing renovations, the Yale Peabody Museum is home to more than 14 million specimens including fossils, meteorites, pottery, and more. And that's only the start of Yale's galleries and museums!
The Yale Alumni Association does not hold any affiliations with the private businesses mentioned in this article. Off-campus establishments were independently recommended by members of the Yale community. Note that business availability and hours of operation may vary from those mentioned in this publication.