Downtown New Haven

New Haven has many great neighborhoods, but perhaps none contain all the allure of living downtown in the heart of the Elm City.

The glitz. The glamour. The pulsing sound of sirens. It’s got it all.


But is living Downtown all it’s cracked up to be? Is it worth the hassle to be able to walk anywhere you want? Below, I’ll discuss everything I loved and hated about living downtown, and then you can decide for yourself! Or leave an angry comment telling me why I’m wrong and am also not very good looking.

Pro: In the Heart of It All

You’ll be the first to know when a cool new restaurant opens, and you’ll probably be the first person to try it since you’ll happen to wander by for their soft opening. You can put Restaurant Hipster on your LinkedIn profile, right?

Hipster Millenial
“I thought the soft shell crabs were just okay.”

When there’s some big band playing, you’ll notice it cause there will be a line out the door at College Street Music Hall. Or a street festival or Happy Hour in the Plaza.

Con: You Will Be Asked For Money 20 Times a Day, Every Day

I’m not going to insult people who are struggling with homelessness or hunger or mental health issues. (You can go to open mic for that!)

However, New Haven has its fair share of panhandling, and if you live/work downtown, you are going to experience a lot of it. Every errand you run, every trip you make, someone is gonna ask.

Which is part of the downtown experience, but also will make you a little numb to it, which sucks.


Pro: Easy to Check Things Out Without Committing

If I want to check out a concert at the Arts & Ideas Festival (going on now!), it’s a whole thing. I need to grab everything I need, load up my bike, ride downtown.

Loaded up bicycle
“OK, I’m ready to go!”

If you live downtown, you don’t have to do anything like that. You can just walk out the door, check it out. If you don’t like this particular world music mamba folk fusion band, you can just go home. No muss, no fuss!

Con: It’s Hard To Just Go Home And Not Do Anything

Every day you walk home, you’ll be confronted with people going out. People in tight pants and dresses ready to have the night of their lives. They’re probably posting motivational Instagram stories right now.

Sleep less and dream more
You hear that, subconscious? Make with the dreams!

And you’re just trying to go home and relax with your significant other. It’s not easy. That temptation is always there. So you either need to get really good at ignoring it, or really good at ignoring your doctor, who is just pleading with you to drink a few less cocktails a week.

Pro: Easy Access to Good Times!

“Josh, we’re downstairs grabbing a beer, come down!”

I can’t tell you how many times I got this text from friends while living above Cask Republic. It’s often really nice to be able to just pop in and have a couple of beers with your friends without making a huge fuss about it.

Friends having drinks
You might be happy, but you’ll never be Person Having A Beer With Friends In A Stock Photo Happy

Even better that you don’t have to worry about driving home or finding a good Ramen place after said beers.

Con: Much Harder to Come Up With Excuses

You’re already in your pajamas. You’ve loaded up your save from Grand Theft Auto V. The cat is curled up on your lap. Your phone dings.

“Josh, we’re downstairs grabbing a beer, come down!”

Ugh. I just want to chill out. I have my Video Game Pants on.

Snarl Pajamas
So I was Googling “Pajamas” and then this picture of someone’s Second Life Pajama Concepts came up and it is honestly creepy as hell so anyway so now it’s in the blog.

But your friends aren’t going to accept Video Game Pants as an excuse, no matter how many times you use the term. “We’re literally DOWNSTAIRS, Josh. You can come down for ONE DRINK.”

I’m sure there are people who can have ONE DRINK. But I was never one of them.

Pro: You Can Have a Super Cool Bachelor/Bachelorette Pad

If you’re in a financial position to have one of those sweet luxury apartments downtown, I’m not gonna lie… it’s pretty cool.

When you’re at the bar you can be like “Oh let’s go grab a drink at my place, it’s a block away.” Assuming you’ve learned not to be creepy.


Or even out with friends and you’re all like ‘Oh hey let’s take a break and smoke a joint at my place, it’s upstairs!’ Guess what: You have six new friends now.

Cons: Parking Ain’t Free

When you’re looking at rent downtown, you’ll probably be like “Oh, sure, $1400 a month is a lot, but I can afford that, and think how sweet it’ll be!”

But you’re not considering that your car, which you probably own cause you live in Connecticut, is gonna have to go somewhere. And parking in the garages downtown can be anywhere from $140-200 a month, depending on which dubious organization runs it.

If you’re willing to go a little further, there are some lots that are more like $75/month, but now you’re walking 4-5 blocks to your car. Which, by the way, doesn’t make groceries super fun to deal with.

Lady holding groceries
This lady is ready for anything but your bullshit.

The Verdict: Go For It… For a Bit

Personally, I really enjoyed living downtown and I do miss it form time to time, but you know what else is nice? A little bit of quiet. Some more trees. Not constantly smelling urine.

I think if you’re young-ish, can afford it, want to go out a lot, it’s a great spot to be. You’ll have a fun time. You’ll see people out.

Downtown Line
Okay not everything is worth the wait actually.

But sooner or later you’ll start having dangerous thoughts like, “It might be nice to own a home,” and “How hard could it be to fix up a house?”

You poor fool.



One Comment

  1. I lived on court street and was the best to walk downtown but yea the sirens seemed a constant background companion and I got to know most of the peeps on the street. Right on article.

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