Downtown shoppers and diners can enjoy free parking, win $1,000

Do your holiday shopping in downtown New Haven, and you could end up with a gift for yourself — including a $1,000 shopping spree — thanks to a series of special events organized by Yale University Properties and the Audubon, Broadway and Chapel Merchants Associations.

Holiday shoppers
There are over 50 shops in downtown New Haven, offering everything from baubles to cutting-edge fashion. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Highlights include a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree, get a free picture with Santa, participate in a “Gift with Purchase” program, and enjoy a “Taste of New Haven” holiday food and shopping tour. There will also be live entertainment Thursdays through Sundays, and free parking in select locations.

Over 50 shops to explore

There are over 50 shops in downtown New Haven, offering everything from boutique baubles to cutting-edge fashion.

The Broadway retail district will offer late-night store hours until 9 p.m. There, shoppers will find such stores as Apple, J. Crew, Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Jack Wills, and the GANT Campus Store.

The shops on Chapel Street — including Wave Gallery, idiom, Lisa Jones, Celtica and derek simpson … goldsmith — will offer late-night hours every Thursday till 8 p.m.

Hungry shoppers can find family-friendly dining options in the Audubon/Whitney district, home to Moe’s Southwest Grill, Gourmet Heaven, Clarks and Katalina’s Bakery, among others.

A complete list of downtown stores is available at

Free parking

Shoppers with a receipt from a downtown store can receive free parking in the Chapel York Garage at 150 York St. or the Broadway Center Lot every Thursday and Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and any time on Saturdays and Sundays.

“$1,000 Thursdays”

Visitors to downtown New Haven on Thursday nights in December can win a $1,000 New Haven shopping spree. Pick up a $1,000 shopping card at participating stores between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and travel to 10 shops and boutiques in the Audubon, Broadway and Chapel districts to receive a special stamp. No purchase is necessary. Then, return the stamped card to Info New Haven at 1000 Chapel St. One winner will be chosen each week for four weeks.

Free pictures with Santa

Children can have their pictures taken with Santa for free at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Yale (located in the Broadway District next to the new Apple store) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 2-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Guests will receive both a print and digital photograph as a holiday keepsake.

“Gift with Purchase” program

Those who shop and dine in downtown New Haven can bring their receipts to INFO New Haven, 1000 Chapel St., between Nov. 25 and Jan. 15 to receive a voucher for a free beverage. Some restrictions apply. A complete set of rules and a list of participating restaurants is available online or by calling INFO New Haven at 203-773-9494.

“Taste of New Haven” tour

Participants in the “Taste of New Haven” holiday food and shopping tours on Saturday, Dec. 17, can learn about the culture and history of New Haven while sampling some of its culinary treats and discovering the wide variety of offerings in its stores. There are two tours, each featuring special discounts and raffle prizes.

The midday tour will take participants along Chapel Street. The food and drink stops include Sushi on Chapel for Japanese cuisine, Oaxaca Kitchen Bar & Restaurant for Mexican fare, Pacifico for Nuevo Latino offerings, and Bangkok Garden Restaurant for Thai food.

The evening tour will take participants to the Broadway shopping district. The food and drink stops include Blue State Coffee, Box 63 (a firehouse-themed restaurant), Thali Too (an Indian restaurant), Yorkside Pizza, and Ashley’s Ice Cream.

Visit the Taste of New Haven website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Live entertainment

Local school musical ensembles will perform every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Chapel and Broadway retail districts.

For more information on free parking, holiday events, stores and shopping hours, visit

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