1) Visit every residential college: Each of the 12 colleges has its own unique layout and architecture. The courtyard is inevitably the center of residential college life, where students eat outside, play frisbee or do homework during nice weather.
2) Visit Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History: The Peabody houses world-class collections of dinosaur fossils and other natural phenomena, along with a collection of Incan artifacts that may soon be gone if Peru’s planned lawsuit against the University is successful. The walk up Whitney Avenue toward Science Hill (turn right off College Street onto Grove Street and walk two blocks until you hit Whitney) will give you a sense of one of New Haven’s downtown neighborhoods.
3) Go to a talk: Each day, experts and celebrities visit Yale for Master’s Teas, lectures and symposia. On Wednesday, Ron Shapiro, the former president of Atlantic Records (who has worked closely with Jewel, Brandy, Matchbox 20 and Kid Rock) will be speaking at 4:30 p.m. at a Calhoun College Master’s Tea.
4) Look for tombs: Many of Yale’s mysterious secret societies, such as Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, and Wolf’s Head, occupy windowless stone buildings on campus. Just don’t knock on the door …
5) Eat like a true Yalie: Head out to Ivy Noodle for some cheap noodles, pick up some Mexican food at Bulldog Burrito, or grab a quick slice at Yorkside Pizza and Restaurant. When you eat dinner at 5:30 and go to bed at 3 a.m., your stomach will be grumbling for food come the late hours of the night.
6) Get your weenie on: Exam time is approaching, and the perfect place to observe the harried Yalie in his native environment is in the depths of Cross Campus Library, where students crowd desks and pack into weenie bins — tiny study spaces. Scheduled for renovations later this year, CCL is a little grungy and a little funky, but is one of the best places on campus for people-watching.
7) Check out the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library: The Beinecke is home to Yale’s oldest books, including a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, and the interior of the modern building is beautiful. Although the exterior of the building appears to have opaque marble paneling, the facade actually filters sunlight so that rare materials can be displayed without damage. Plus, the library currently has an exhibit on Rachel Carson, the founder of the contemporary environmental movement.
8) Get caffeinated: Koffee Too?, Starbucks and Book Trader are some of the many local coffee shops that are filled with Yalies nonstop, whether they are catching up on some reading in the afternoon or preparing for an all-nighter during reading week. And Koffee Too? has great cookies.
9) Get avant-garde: Head over to the Yale School of Art on Chapel Street, where graduate students’ artwork is usually on exhibit. The School of Art is located in a vibrant part of New Haven’s commercial district, surrounded by restaurants and shops.
10) Have lunch at the Doodle: If you’re looking for a taste of authentic New Haven, Yankee Doodle is the place to go for greasy burgers and milk shakes. It’s a tiny joint located in the Broadway shopping district next to TYCO, and it has nourished hungry Elis since 1950.