Originally Posted by Roxannor
Any tips, advice that you want to share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
OK, New York is almost too big to take on and there are a lot of people on here who can do it. So I will take on the others. Here goes:
: It's a big city, so as in NY the more time you have, the more you can go beyond just the surface. A lot of Philly is very gritty and not all that safe, but there is plenty to see in areas that are not dangerous.
If you're interested in the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the neighborhood just to the SE of that, Society Hill, is beautiful, with some narrow and cobblestone streets and old brick rowhouses. Just beyond that, South St. from Front to about 10th(?) has some funky stores and cafes and such.
Farther south is the Italian market, which runs along S 9 St near Washington Ave. Where 9th crosses Passyunk is where you'd find the better-known cheesesteak places (Pat's and Geno's, I prefer Pat's) but Tony Luke's on Oregon Av. near I-95 and Front St is probably better. Not much to look at but great cheesesteaks.
City Hall (Market and 14th, which is Broad) is gorgeous, and the Philly Art Museum, NW of City Hall along Ben Franklin Pkwy is good, and the place where Rocky finally made it up the stairs on his early morning runs. A nice view of the city from the steps. Not far to the north is Eastern State Penitentiary, a closed prison that is downright spooky. Behind the museum in Fairmount Park, which is very big and is nice. The famous Philly boathouses are on the river behind the museum, but are best seen (lit up at night) from 76 on the other side. The Philly Zoo is excellent and is in the park.
The Franklin Institute (Logan Sq, near 20th and Vine) is a great science museum, a lot of interesting and interactive stuff. South of that at 18th and Walnut is Rittenhouse Sq, which is another nice area.
The Penn campus, west of downtown around 34 St, is pretty nice. There are plenty of nice areas on the periphery of the city, and outside it, but it's not clear you'd have time.
: Although its reputation is not great, I absolutely love New Haven. It has more to offer than just about any other city its size in America and I know it better for having lived there.
Start at the Green. The New Haven Green is surrounded by beautiful buildings. On the north side you'll find a church, some white clapboard houses from the 1700's, the New Haven public library and courthouse. On the east side is City Hall (worth stepping into the lobby if it's open), and the federal courthouse. On Temple St., which bisects the Green, there are three churches in the park itself, the middle of which (called the Center Church) is a classic white New England steeple.
The west side of the Green, along College St., is the Yale old campus. Yale is the third US university (in age) after Harvard and William & Mary, and the old campus is worth a look.
Chapel St. going westward from the Green is the main drag of New Haven for walking and shopping. You'll also find Yale-affiliated art museums here.
Just west of the Old Campus, on High St, is the Harkness Tower, which is a symbol of Yale. Just south of this, in a windowless building at 64 High, is the infamous Skull and Bones. The area between High/York contains some of Yale's residential colleges, as does the area north of Elm St.
I would definitely take High St and cross north of Elm to what's called cross campus. The main library is on the left, and the Maya Lin Yale Women's Table on the right at the cross-path. This sculpture marks the number of women to graduate from Yale each year since its founding in 1701. The number for the early years is always 0 and it gets bigger as time passes.
On Wall St, between York and High, is the Yale Law School, a beautiful building with a courtyard worth seeing if it happens to be open. Between High and College Sts on Wall is the Beineke Rare Book Library, which has no windows to protect the books, and the Commons, which is one of the nicest college cafeterias imaginable. If you go through the doors under the dome in the corner you'll see inside a marble memorial to everyone from Yale who died in every war the U.S. has had. Also on this block, at the NW and SE corners, are the HQ of other Yale secret societies.
On Grove St., behind the Law School, is the Grove St. cemetery, which is very interesting and has a lot of Civil War graves and the graves of Eli Whitney, Roger Sherman, a local who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the father of S.E.B. Morse.
Even more to the north is Yale's Peabody Museum (science), large and beautiful homes along St. Ronan St. and Livingston St. near East Rock Park. East Rock Park has a lookout point with a big column on it, from a cliff overlooking New Haven. To get there, take Orange St. north to the end, and turn left. Follow the winding road up the hill into the woods.
Also worth seeing, to the east of downtown, is Wooster Sq. Wooster Square itself, and Court St. on its west side, are beautiful, and Wooster St. is home to excellent Italian restaurants and two pizzerias that New Haven is famous for, Pepe's and Sally's. There is always a line there, and for my money I'd rather go to BAR on Crown between College and High, where they have great pizza as well and no wait. The place is a brewpub, but the dining room is not a bar atmosphere. There are always families with young kids and senior citizens joining the various Yale people. There are of course a lot of other great places to eat in New Haven.
Also within city limits, but farther afield across the harbor, is the New Haven lighthouse, which is in a park (beach) with a working carousel.
In New Haven, as in Philly and New York, given enough time you can keep exploring and find even more great stuff beyond city limits.