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Most of the major attractions are associated with Yale University and, except for the Peabody Museum, are within walking distance of one another near the New Haven Green, which is bounded by Elm, Church, Chapel, and College streets. The Green is divided by north-south Temple Street, with government and bank buildings, including the Gothic Revival City Hall, bordering it on its east. There's a retail district on the south and some older sections of the vast Yale campus to the north and west.

Facing Temple Street are three historic churches, all dating from the early 19th century. Next to Chapel Street is Trinity Episcopal Church, a brownstone Gothic Revival structure; the Georgian First Church of Christ/Center Congregational Church; and the essentially Federal-style United Congregational. The First Church of Christ is of greatest interest, built atop a crypt with tombstones inscribed as early as 1687. Tours are conducted Tuesday through Friday between 10:30am and 2:30pm.

The oldest private home in New Haven has been turned into the Yale Visitor Center. It's a Colonial-era building (erected in 1767 by John Pierpont, grandson of one of Yale's founders) facing the north side of the Green at 149 Elm St., near College Street (tel. 203/432-2300). While its primary mission is to familiarize prospective students and their parents with a 1-hour guided walking tour of the campus, the center also has an introductory video and maps for self-guided tours. It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Guided tours are available Monday through Friday at 10:30am and 2pm, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30pm.

It is impossible to imagine New Haven without Yale, so pervasive is its physical and cultural presence. The most evocative quadrangle of the sprawling institution is the Old Campus, which can be entered from College, High, or Chapel streets. Inside, the mottled green is enclosed by Federal and Victorian Gothic buildings and dominated by Harkness Tower, a 1920 Gothic Revival campanile that looks much older.

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