The most fun you can have in New Haven without spending a ton.
As New Haven goes through a sort of revitalization, with apartment buildings sprouting up like wildflowers and even enormous furniture stores/ropes courses/water shows making appearances, the truth is, New Haven can be a pretty expensive place to entertain yourself.
Whether you want a slice of apizza or a gourmet grilled cheese or a fancy cocktail, New Haven has your back. But it comes with a price. And let’s face it: Rents around here aren’t cheap, so saving a few bucks here and there is important.
However, winter is coming, and that limits your options. No Concerts on the Green or swimming at Lighthouse Park.
But there are plenty of options out there if you know where to look! Lucky for you, you know me. And I’m almost as good at saving a few bucks as I am at spending it. So without further adieu, I present my top options for Elm City on the Cheap — The Cold Weather Edition.
Yale Art Gallery is so, so free.
Did you know that the Yale Art Gallery costs nothing? Zip. Zero. Zilch. And the new renovations have made the space more beautiful than ever.
They also happen to have some pretty awesome art there. They’ve got Van Goghs. They’ve got Picassos. They’ve got Monets. They’ve got Lichtensteins. They’ve got Pollocks.
All that’s missing is you.
Tuesday is Cheap Movie Night!
Every Tuesday, Bow Tie Criterion in downtown New Haven has a cheap movie night, where you get tickets for only 6 bucks. Sure, Bow Tie isn’t the best theater. The employees seem totally ambivalent and the last few times, they’ve managed to screw up the lights and/or sound.
But these were aberrations, and for the most part, it’s a pretty awesome time. And if you really want to get fancy (and leave town), the new Cinemark in North Haven also has cheap Tuesdays actually lets you reserve their luxurious lounge chairs ahead of time.
All you need is a car. Or bus fare. You have bus fare, don’t you?
Free Shows Wednesday at Bar
Every Wednesday, Manic Productions puts on a free show in the back room at Bar. Generally, these features local bands (like Glamour Assassins, featuring our own writer, Gil Morrison!), but often, there are touring bands looking to do a warm-up gig or just play a cool weeknight show.
But wait! There’s more! If you buy your drinks in the back, they also offer $3 Bud/Bud Light/Well Drinks. Now, I don’t know what kind of vodka they use in their well drinks. At my age, I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s best not to ask too many questions.
But that means for 10 bucks you could take in a few drinks and an awesome indie show on a Wednesday night. At these prices, you can’t afford not to!
Prefer Comedy to Music? Try Joker’s Wild Open Mic.
Not a big indie music guy? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Every Wednesday, Joker’s Wild does an open mic on Wooster St. with a $5 cover, and you know what? Some of those comedians aren’t bad at all. (Some of them are horrible, though, which is almost more fun.)
And they have 50 cent wings. I know what you’re thinking, “How bad are these 50 cent wings at a comedy club?” Well, as someone who has had them, I can tell you… they are… not.. that… bad.
Plus, you’ve always wanted to try comedy, haven’t you? Of course you have. Everybody has. Go on. Do it.
Let’s Go Ice Skating!
When was the last time you went ice skating, huh? I bet it wasn’t last week.
Over on State Street is Ralph Walker Rink, and do you know how much it costs to go ice skating for residents? Four bucks! Sure, the skates are another four bucks to rent, but that’s less than 10 bucks! And you can ice skate! Think how romantic it’ll be.
Oh, you’re going alone? Psht, so what. You’re a beautiful strong independent man/woman who don’t need no date to have a romantic skate session!
Public skate is available throughout the week, please see the schedule.
Check Out Space at the Leitner Observatory!
Space is so hot right now. Sure, you could just look at pictures of space on the Internet like some kind of recluse.
Or you could go down to Leitner Family Observatory, and enjoy one of their free public viewing evenings through their awesome telescopes. They also provide free planetarium shows (with a suggested donation). Check their calendar for more info.
When In Doubt… There’s Always the Library
New Haven has an absolutely fantastic free library. It’s even called the New Haven Free Public Library. It’s got the word “free” right in there!
Not only do they have a tremendous selection of books, but they also have a shockingly enormous collection of DVD’s, and they even have an online collection where you can have books sent to your Kindle.
And if your WiFi were to, say, accidentally get turned off so the book wasn’t returned right away, I mean… accidents happen, right? Not that you’d do anything amoral like that.
(But I probably would.)
So there you have it! My selections for the best way to enjoy New Haven on the Cheap! And of course, if you do want to go out, check out our Happy Hour Rankings, which will help you find the best drink specials around.
Now get out there and have an awesome, affordable time!
Did we miss anything? Got any suggestions? Let us know!