The shadow of Yale University  looms large over this sprawled-out city perched on Long Island Sound. But said shadow is a benevolent one, and in most ways has become happily integral to the flavor of the city with its young, educated population, lively arts culture, and diverse restaurant scene.
Truth be told, however, Yale is hardly New Haven’s sole educational resource. They may not have quite the brand recognition, but other institutes of higher learning include the University of New Haven, Albertus Magnus College, and Quinnipiac and Southern Connecticut State Universities—each of which has contributed to the city’s cultural life from their start.
The city itself—one of the country’s oldest—was settled by Puritans in 1638, primarily along its harbor, which was used for shipping, commerce, and, of all things, oystering. (Still today, upwards of 30 percent of the state’s oysters come from New Haven.) After thriving as an active port for three centuries, New Haven fell under the malaise that struck many other Connecticut cities in the mid-20th century, effectively making Yale  an island in a city with a reputation for drugs and violence.
More than any other city in the state, however, New Haven has experienced a miraculous rebirth in the last decade—led by an active decision by the university to invest in the city’s infrastructure and improve its image. Nowadays, the city is known around the state as a funky and educated oasis. The liveliest areas tend be around the tree-lined green of Wooster Square and the College-Chapel Street districts.