two people walking out of a store with shopping bags in their hands in downtown New Haven.

Vibrant Downtown

Each year, more than 3 million people visit downtown New Haven, and it’s not just because of the pizza. With its boutique shops, award-winning restaurants, scenic parks, and world-renowned museums, New Haven has quickly become a destination city.

In fact, in 2023, the New York Times named New Haven one of the top 52 places to visit in the world, calling the city “a home to tinkerers and rebels, a treasure trove of contemporary art and architecture,” with “one of the best food scenes in the country.”

The New Haven renaissance didn’t happen overnight. Nor was it inevitable. It was decades in the making, and Yale has played a critical role. Over the past thirty years, Yale has made historic investments to create jobs, increase tax revenues, attract new businesses, empower minority entrepreneurs, and help reshape the city’s public image.

By the numbers


Annual visitors to downtown New Haven


Independently owned and regional merchants


of The Shops at Yale businesses are minority- or women-owned

The Shops at Yale

In recent years, New Haven has experienced something of a renaissance. Take a stroll down Chapel Street or Broadway and you’ll see why. New shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions have helped attract visitors far and wide, with local merchants and national retailers thriving side by side.

The Shops at Yale features more than 80 stores, eateries, and attractions with convenient parking and beautiful bluestone sidewalks. But Yale doesn’t just lease these properties. The university also works closely with tenants to help them succeed, hosting merchant association meetings, organizing events to draw visitors, overseeing advertising and promotion efforts, and investing in property improvements. Visit The Shops at Yale website to learn more about the best places to eat, shop, and explore.

Sometimes big organizations don’t want to hear about what you need or have to say, but Yale listens. —Kim Poole, owner, More Amour Boutique

Through Yale’s Community Investment Program, Yale doesn’t just provide support for businesses once they’re up and running. It also helps promote diversity among aspiring entrepreneurs by helping recruit minority and female-owned businesses to our retail districts.

Market New Haven

In 2000, Yale, the city of New Haven, and the business community formed Market New Haven to ensure our hometown’s public image matches the reality of New Haven, a diverse and vibrant city with so much to offer.

More than two decades later, the impact is undeniable. Through advertising, public relations, strategic collaborations, and popular events like Restaurant Week, Market New Haven continues to make sure everyone knows the Elm City is the place to be.

Yale wants us to succeed. And they do everything they can to make that happen. —Claire Criscuolo, owner, Claire’s Corner Copia

Community Events

Chalk art festivals. Acapella concerts. Ice carvings. There’s always something happening in New Haven. Yale works every month to fill the calendar with an exciting and diverse array of activities.

Yale’s always putting on events to bring people downtown, which translates into activity and sales. You can sense the community. It’s very supportive. Everybody wants to make a lasting impact.
—Kimberly Pedrick, owner, idiom and dwell

These events not only help promote our small businesses and stimulate our local economy, but they also strengthen our sense of community by bringing people from all walks of life together. Keep up with what’s happening each week by viewing the New Haven Activities Calendar.

Kim Poole

Community Voices: Kim Poole

When Kim Poole opened More Amour Boutique in March of 2020, she had high hopes. After years of working for some of the biggest names in retail, she was excited to have her own clothing store. Then the pandemic hit, and Kim wasn’t even sure she’d make it through the first month. But when faced with adversity, she didn’t throw in the towel on her dream. She did what she always does: She buckled down and got to work. With steadfast support from Yale, Kim was still able to grow her new business and make a name for herself in the New Haven community. “Yale has been there for me from the beginning,” she says. “They helped bring back customers during the pandemic. They always checked in to see how the store was doing. They even had the mayor come do a walking tour to highlight our shop. Sometimes big organizations don’t want to hear about what you need or have to say, but Yale listens.” More Amour Boutique is one of 11 Black-owned businesses leasing retail spaces from Yale University Properties.