Ice-carving, Santa, and carriage rides among downtown holiday offerings

Santa shakes a young boy’s hand on Broadway in New Haven.

The Shops at Yale will celebrate this holiday season with free four-hour parking, $250 shopping & dining gift card giveaways, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carving demonstrations, storytelling with Santa, caroling, weekend crafts, and an ice-carving competition and a cappella concert.

Below is detailed information regarding each event. Information can also be found  online  at the Shops at Yale website.

Free four-hour parking

  • Dates: Nov. 23–Dec. 24
  • Locations: 56 Broadway, 255 Crown St., and 161 York St.

Enjoy free four-hour parking with a $30 or more purchase from any of The Shops at Yale retailers. The free parking offer is available seven days per week at the following surface lots: 56 Broadway across from Apple and L.L.Bean; 255 Crown St. behind Wave Gallery, idiom Boutique and Raggs for Men & Women; and 161 York St. behind Neville Wisdom Fashions and Derek Simpson Goldsmith. Simply show your store  receipt to the parking lot attendant when exiting.

Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

  • Dates: Nov. 23–24, noon-4 p.m.
  • Locations: Chapel Street Historic and Broadway districts

Roaming greeters will be out on Chapel Street and Broadway on Friday and Saturday with special   discounts to retailers at The Shops at Yale. In addition, greeters will have surprise giveaways for customers with a shopping bag from any retailer at The Shops at Yale, such as $10 gift cards to downtown merchants, free canvas totes, and more.

On Small Business Saturday, enjoy popcorn, giveaways and raffle opportunities at the New Haven INFO Center at 1000 Chapel St. The Shops at Yale will host ice carving demonstrations 1–3 p.m. in front of Wave Gallery, 1046 Chapel St., roaming yuletide carolers, a craft activity 3–5 p.m. at Hull's Framing, 1144 Chapel St., and free four-hour parking at 56 Broadway, 255 Crown St. and 161 York St. with a $30 or more purchase from any of The Shops at Yale retailers.

Ice-carving competition & a cappella concert

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 8, noon–4 p.m.
  • Location: Broadway Island, 56 Broadway (across from Apple/L.L.Bean/Urban Outfitters)
An ice sculpture of a reindeer.

Eight professional ice carvers will each transform three blocks of ice (900 pounds) into a sculpture in only four hours. Internationally recognized, award-winning sculptor Bill Covitz from Ice Matters in Cheshire, CT will be on-site for a second year.

Enjoy live performances by several a cappella groups, including The Yale Alley Cats, Something Extra, Whim 'n Rhythm, The New Blue, Proof of the Pudding, Guilford Carolers (formerly Guilford Voices), Yale Out of the Blue, and more.

Hot cocoa and other specialty drinks will be available at Crêpes Choupette on Broadway Island, Maison Mathis, and Blue State Coffee. Crêpes Choupette on Broadway Island will offer a sweet or savory crepe and beverage at a special price for the event.

This event is free and open to the public. There will be photo opportunities with the ice sculptures after the event, and a chance to enter The Shops at Yale raffle to win gift cards and other prizes. Free  event parking is available at the 150 York St. Garage, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.. Bring your parking ticket to The Shops at Yale tent on Broadway Island across from FatFace for a validation stamp during the event.

Ice-carving demonstrations

  • Dates: Friday & Saturday, Nov. 23 & 24; and Sundays, Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23, 1–3 p.m.
  • Location: 1046 Chapel St., in front of Wave Gallery and L’Occitane En Provence

Watch as professional ice carvers create a themed ice sculpture in front of Wave Gallery and L'Occitane En Provence at 1046 Chapel St.. The ice carvers, from Ice Matters in Cheshire, CT, will begin with a 300-pound solid block of clear ice, measuring 40” tall x 20” wide, and transform it into a Holiday Bear on Black Friday (11/23), the Elm City Elf on Small Business Saturday (11/24), Handsome Dan (12/2), a snowman (12/9), Santa (12/16), and a Nutcracker (12/23). The ice carvings will be accessible for photo opportunities after the demonstrations  end.

Horse-drawn carriages

  • Dates: Sundays, Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23; and Saturday, Dec. 8, noon–4 p.m.
  • Location: Downtown New Haven
A horse-drawn carriage on Chapel Street in downtown New Haven.

Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides this holiday season in downtown New Haven. Pick-ups and drop-offs will take place on the corner of College & Chapel streets, across from the New Haven INFO Center at 1000 Chapel St., and at the corner of York and Elm streets (across from Patagonia New Haven and GANT). Rides are free with a purchase of $30 or more from any retailer at The Shops at Yale.

Storytelling with Santa

  • Dates: Saturdays. Dec. 1, 8, 1, and 22 at The Yale Bookstore, 77 Broadway, with free face painting; Sundays, Nov. 25 and Dec. 23 at Willoughby's Coffee & Tea, 194 York St.; and Sundays, December 2, 9, and 16 at Claire’s Corner Copia, 1000 Chapel St.

Santa will visit The Shops at Yale and read various stories to children from 1 to 3 p.m. at each venue. Free snacks will be provided. There will be photo opportunities for the whole family. This event is free and open to the public.

Free weekend craft activities

  • Dates:
    • Saturdays: Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22 at Hull's Art Supply, 1144 Chapel St., 3-5 p.m.;
    • Sundays: Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23 at The Yale Bookstore, 77 Broadway, 2-4 p.m.

Family-friendly craft projects, such as Thanksgiving Day and holiday card making, rock painting, gel plate painting, and more. These craft activities are free and open to the public.

Caroling

  • Dates: Friday & Saturday, Nov. 23 & 24; Saturdays, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 23
  • Location: Chapel Street Historic District and Broadway District

Connecticut Yuletide Carolers in traditional Victorian garb will perform at The Shops at Yale from 1 to 5 p.m. along Chapel Street and Broadway.