TV & Movies

5 Ways To Enjoy A Gilmore Girls Weekend In New Haven, Connecticut

Pizza, books, and coffee — what more could you ask for?

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham in Gilmore Girls.
CBS Photo Archive/CBS/Getty Images

The leaves have turned, the air is crisp, and Gilmore Girls is playing nonstop on your TV. With its autumnal title card, the early 2000s show remains a seasonal favorite for its snappy dialogue, heartwarming melodrama, and small-town charm.

If you’re looking to experience some of that beyond your TV screen, consider a trip to New Haven, Connecticut.

While the show was filmed mostly in a Warner Bros. Studios backlot in Burbank, California, its fictional town pulled inspiration from Washington, Connecticut. Drive about an hour southeast, and you’ll be in New Haven, which Rory called home during her time at Yale University.

Downtown New Haven’s marketing team recently invited me to spend a weekend checking out all the Gilmore Girls-esque things to do there, from walking the school’s campus to touring the town via its pizza, which has Lorelai written all over it. The town’s more than an Ivy League enclave, and surprisingly gave me big-time Stars Hollow vibes.

Here are five ways to enjoy a Gilmore-approved weekend in New Haven.

1. “More Coffee, Please”

The Atticus Bookstore Cafe.Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images News/Getty Images

This almost goes without saying, but you must fuel up on caffeine before embarking on a busy day of sightseeing. New Haven has enough cafes to meet Lorelai’s endless “More coffee, please!” demands: G Cafe Bakery, Book Trader Cafe, Atticus Bookstore Cafe, Common Grounds, or even the restaurant Zeneli.

2. Walk Around Rory’s Alma Mater

The Yale Daily News building.Bustle/Gabrielle Bondi

Since New Haven is home to Yale, booking a free campus tour will take you to many familiar places from the show. You can visit the first year’s quad, where Rory’s dormitory is located, or stop outside the Yale Daily News building, where the budding journalist got her start.

3. Marvel At (Or Smell) Some Books

The Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University.Bustle/Gabrielle Bondi

Naturally, a visit to Yale would be incomplete without books. One of Rory’s favorite places on campus is the Sterling Memorial Library, where, in one Gilmore Girls scene, she famously stops to smell a book. While Rory enthuses over the library’s vast collection (2.5 million books!), the stunning Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses a million, is also a must-stop for any book lover.

Of course, if you need to stock up on your TBR collection, there are also plenty of bookshops in town.

4. Eat Your Heart Out On A Pizza Tour

Frank Pepe’s pizza.The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Pizza is one of Lorelai’s four major food groups, and New Haven is known for its Italian pies (aka apizza). With several places to choose from, the best way to experience them all is with the Little Italy Pizza Tour. You’ll learn about the history of the city’s Italian community while enjoying 8-10 slices, from Sally’s famous plain tomato pie to Frank Pepe’s white clam pizza.

If pizza’s not your thing, New Haven boasts a variety of restaurants to choose from, whether you want to enjoy a more upscale (Emily Gilmore-approved) evening at Heirloom, a neighborhood favorite like Villa Lulu, or simply want a late-night cheeseburger at Louis Lunch, which claims it’s “the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich.

5. Don’t Forget The Art Scene

Now, if art is your thing (and who can forget Lorelai and Rory’s participation in Stars Hollow’s Living Art festival), add Yale’s impressive Art Gallery to your itinerary, which hosts work from Monet and Van Gogh, among others. There’s also the Yale Center for British Art. It’s currently closed for building conservation, but the museum still hosts off-site exhibitions throughout campus.

The Yale University Art Gallery.Bustle/Gabrielle Bondi

As for your evenings, consider seeing a show at one of the local theaters. Rory may be notorious for her critical arts reviews in the Yale Daily News, but the plays at the Yale Repertory Theater, which hosts a rotating series of productions, would surely earn her approval.