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Hamden Connecticut's Sleeping Giant Mountain from the Quinnipiac river.

Hamden is a suburb of the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Quinnipiac University has a sigificant impact on the town. The town's nickname is "The Land of the Sleeping Giant". It had about 61,000 residents in 2010.


The main industries in the town are retail trade, computer products, manufacture of wire and cable, concrete, pump mixer products, fabricated metals, construction and business services. Business services account for half of employment in the town, with retail trade accounting for about a quarter, and manufacturing accounting for about 10%. Hamden is a residential suburb for New Haven, with more residents commuting to work in New Haven than residents working in Hamden.


Hamden was purchased by William Christopher Reilly and the Reverend John Davenport in 1638 from the local Quinnipiack Native American tribe. It was settled by Puritans as part of the town of New Haven. It remained a part of New Haven until 1786 when 1,400 local residents incorporated the area as a separate town, naming it after the English statesman John Hampden.

Largely developed as a nodal collection of village-like settlements (which remain distinct today), including Mount Carmel (home to Quinnipiac University), Whitneyville, Spring Glen, West Woods, and Highwood, Hamden has a long-standing industrial history. In 1798, four years after Eli Whitney began manufacturing the cotton gin in New Haven, he made arms for the U.S. government at a mill site in Hamden, where a waterfall provided a good source of power. At that site, Whitney introduced the modern era of mass production with the concept of interchangeable parts.

Whitney constructed stone houses for his employees in the nearby area, which is still referred to as Whitneyville; this is believed to be the first example of employer-provided homes in U.S. history. In 1806, the dam that Eli Whitney built at the mill site was enlarged to create a reservoir, Lake Whitney.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Hamden received a steady influx of immigrants, most notably from Italy and Ireland. During the post-war period, Hamden underwent significant suburban development. Much of the southern section of town is urbanized and is difficult to distinguish from neighboring New Haven. The northern section of town, however, retains a more rural character, and has the distinct neighborhood of Mount Carmel. This area of town is the location of the Sleeping Giant hill formation that is the source of the town's nickname.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The easiest way to get to Hamden from the surrounding towns is via I-95 (exit 48 to I-91 follow to exit 10) or the Merritt Parkway (exits 60-63).

By plane[edit]

  • Bradley International Airport, 11 Schoephoester Rd, Windsor Locks (right off exit 40 on I-91, about 45 minutes from Hamden), +1 860 292-2000. The closest international airport.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak, 50 Union Ave, New Haven, +1 203 773-6000. Trains run through about 46 states. You can catch the train at the Union Station in New Haven. It is most frequently used to travel to work or into New York City.

Get around[edit]

The Wilbur Cross Parkway runs through the center of the town serving as a connection to Hartford to the north and the New York metropolitan area to the south. The town is connected to Interstate 91 via Connecticut Route 40, a spur expressway to the Mount Carmel section of town. The main route from the town center to New Haven passing through the commercial areas of Hamden is Dixwell Avenue (Route 10). Another route to New Haven via the Spring Glen and Whitneyville residential neighborhoods is Whitney Avenue.

CT Transit operates buses stopping in main areas such as the Hamden plaza, Hamden Hills/Centerville, Circular Avenue, and Putnam Place. Regular cash fares are $1.25 but you could also purchase a 3-, 5-, 7-, or 31-day pass. These prices range from $7.50-45. The main bus routes in the town are the Dixwell Avenue (238) and the Whitney Avenue (228/229) routes. Other secondary routes serving the town are the State Street (224), Winchester Avenue (234), and Shelton Avenue (237) bus routes.

The major thoroughfare through Hamden is named Whitney Avenue in honor of Eli Whitney, and it runs past Whitney's old factory, now the Eli Whitney Museum.


Clark's Pond, near the Quinnipiac University campus
  • 1 Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Ave, +1 203 582-8200. Across from the picturesque Sleeping Giant, Quinnipiac University is a private university that offers 52 undergraduate majors and 20 graduate majors as well as the JD (law) program. With its modern brick buildings and scenic grounds, Quinnipiac provides its students with the feel of a small, New England town. Quinnipiac University (Q1030044) on Wikidata Quinnipiac University on Wikipedia
  • 2 The Eli Whitney Museum, 915 Whitney Ave, +1 203 777-1833. The Eli Whitney Museum is the site of the former Eli Whitney Armory, where muskets and rifles were produced during the 1800s. The museum's main attraction is the Cotton Gin exhibit (invented by Eli Whitney). The museum still houses the original water powered machinery used at the factory during the Industrial Revolution. Eli Whitney Museum (Q3867595) on Wikidata Eli Whitney Museum on Wikipedia
  • 3 Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, 3011 Whitney Ave, +1 203 582-6500, . $5, children and students free. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (Q22058816) on Wikidata Ireland's Great Hunger Museum on Wikipedia


  • 1 Sleeping Giant State Park, 200 Mount Carmel Ave, +1 203 287-5658, . 8AM-sunset. A monumental park, it is meant for those of any age to hike and enjoy the scenic climb as well as the view from the top of the whole town of Hamden and its surrounding areas. The mountain got its name because it is in the shape of a sleeping giant. There is an authentic stone castle at the top. It is perfect for picnics and walks. Sleeping Giant State Park (Q29478675) on Wikidata
  • The Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop, 915 Whitney Ave, +1 203 777-1833. This museum is home to the famous cotton gin. It provides much historical readings and galleries on Eli Whitney and his invention. It is great for learning and getting hands-on experience for families or children on a field trip.
  • Farmington Canal. This paved trail runs through Hamden into its neighboring town, Cheshire. It goes along side a canal that was used in the 19th century. This trail is used to for leisure for those of any age throughout the town. From bicycle riding and roller blading to walking and jogging, it is meant for any of these and utilized quite frequently in the warmer months.
  • Sleeping Giant Golf course, 3931 Whitney Ave, +1 203 281-9456. Sleeping Giant Golf Course is a 9-hole public golf course nestled next to Sleeping Giant State Park. Sleeping Giant Golf Course is a friendly course for beginners and intermediates alike. Tee times are available in advance and there is also 300-yard driving range open until sunset. Clubs and carts can be rented from the pro shop.
  • Lake Wintergreen, Wintergreen Ave (take Exit 60; turn right off the exit ramp onto Dixwell Avenue/Route 10 South; take a right at the next light onto Benham Street. Follow Benham Street to the end. Turn left onto Main Street; at a sharp left, turn right into the parking lot for the Lake Wintergreen area). Lake Wintergreen (part of West Rock State Park) is a large lake located in the west part of town. Lake wintergreen offers car top boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, mountain biking and horse back riding. There are various walking/biking trails along the lake with a map key for referencing. There is no parking fee for Lake wintergreen.
  • The Space, 295 Treadwell St, +1 203-288-6400. "Connecticut's premiere all-ages music and arts venue" The space is a small friendly venue/concert hall popular with the younger crowd but appeals to all generations. The space is a volunteer-run facility, that has shows mostly put on by locally or regionally known artists. The space has an annual Battle of The Bands competition where 10 local bands play and compete to win the title.
  • Hindinger Farm, 810 Dunbar Hill Rd. Hindinger Farm has been a family owned farm since 1893, Located in the Wintergreen section of Hamden, Hindinger farm sells fresh home grown produce, know for their fresh corn, strawberries and fruit pies. Hindinger holds an annual strawberry festival which includes a barbecue, strawberry recipes and even a petting zoo.


The Hamden Plaza Dixwell Ave. has come a long way since it was opened in 1978. There is a wide assortment of well-known chain and department clothing stores throughout the whole plaza. You can find a variety of stores such as Walmart, Kohl’s, Marshall’s, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Bob’s, Bonton, and more.


  • Copa Cafe, 3500 Whitney Av, +1 203-281-0505. Spanish/Portuguese in the American style.
  • Glenwood Drive-In, 2538 Whitney Ave, +1 203 281-0604. If you miss the 1950s and have a craving for hot dogs? Then Glenwood is the place for you! Having been voted #1 hot dogs in Connecticut Magazine and being around since 1955, Glenwood Drive-In isn’t going anywhere! Providing a blast from the past, every Wednesday Glenwood holds antique car shows in their parking lot for all those who wish to enjoy the classic menu and atmosphere of this Hamden institution.
  • Wentworth's Ice Cream, 3697 Whitney Ave, +1 203 281-7429. If you're in the mood for real homemade ice cream then Wentworth's is the place to visit. Located in a house about a century old and designed like an old-fashion ice cream parlor, Wentworth's provides parlor chairs around tiny tables. On those warm summer days you'll find people enjoying their ice cream in the charming white gazebo and benches located on the grounds.
  • Eli's Brick Oven Pizza and Market, 2402 Whitney Ave, +1 203 288-1686. Eli’s Pizza offers thin-crust brick oven pizza like no other in town. Dine in and enjoy anything from pizza to salads and fine Italian cuisine, or take something home from the spacious take-out room like stuffed breads and pre-packaged dinners. Prices are very low and most entrees are under $15.
  • Ristorante Luce*, 2987 Whitney Ave, +1 203-407-8000. Ristorante Luce serves regional Italian cuisine and has a large selection of fine wine. It has a relaxed Tuscan atmosphere and was awarded "The most romantic restaurant in New Haven County" by Connecticut Magazine.
  • Eli's On Whitney, 2392 Whitney Ave, +1 203-287-1101. Eli's is an American style restaurant that serves anything from fresh fish and steaks, to their signature buffalo wings. Eli's also has a popular bar with a large selection of drinks. Downstairs Eli's offers a large banquet room available to be rented for various functions.
  • The Corner Deli, 2773 Dixwell Ave, +1 203 288-9800. The Corner Deli is very popular, especially with Quinnipiac and Hamden High School students. The Corner Deli offers an array of sandwiches and salads such as the "Pastrami Monster" and the "Chicken Fajita Wrap." During the week the deli gets very busy during lunch hours so call ahead for your order.
  • Ixtapa Grille, 2547 Whitney Ave, +1 203 230-2586. Ixtapa Grille serves authentic Mexican cuisine, ranging from the standard tacos and burritos to more exotic dishes. Ixtapa has a small bar in the back and offers various mixed and frozen drinks. The desert menu also has many authentic Mexican deserts such as their well known fried ice cream.
  • Ashley's Ice Cream, 2100 Dixwell Ave, +1 203 287-7566. Ashley's ice cream Was voted the #1 ice cream parlor in Connecticut, with up to 24 flavors daily and a weekly special. Ashley's also makes ice cream cakes and various other ice cream deserts available to purchase in store or have made.
  • Ray & Mike’s Deli, 3030 Whitney Ave. +1 203 287-8710 This take-out counter style deli/convenience store is home to some of the most talked about subs in town. From buffalo chicken, to steak & cheese, you can get any sandwich you want from the size of a small roll up to the giant sub which is about a foot and half long. Quinnipiac students often occupy the deli and it’s great for a quick stop on your break from work.


  • [formerly dead link] Side Street Grille, 15 Dickerman St, +1 203 407-1539. Restaurant and bar, Side Street is on a side street off of Whitney Ave. Great food, drinks and comedy nights, Side Street attracts more of a younger crowd due to the presence of Quinnipiac University right down the street. Though it can be pricey, they offer a wide variety of beverages and dishes that sound too appealing to pass up.
  • [formerly dead link] The Playwright-Irish Pub and Restaurant, 1232 Whitney Ave, +1 203 287-2401. Whether you are Irish or not, the Playwright is the place to drink in Hamden! This restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily, offers take out, and provides traditional Irish music every Sunday and Tuesday! Bartenders with authentic brogue accents and a dining room that resembles an Irish cottage, its no wonder no one ever wants to leave this Irish vacation!
  • Dunn's Pub, 2345 Whitney Ave, +1 203-287-0664. Dunn's is a down-home Irish pub with a friendly atmosphere. Dunn's offers happy hour M-F.
  • SBC Restaurant & Brewery, 1950 Dixwell Ave, +1 203-288-HOPS (4677). SBC Restaurant & Brewery serves brunch lunch and dinner with American and barbecue style dishes. The restaurant houses a full brewery where 28 home style brews are made. SBC also provides catering for various functions


  • Clarion Hotel & Suites, 2260 Whitney Ave, +1 203 288-3831. In the center of Hamden, this hotel is easily accessible to all surrounding highways. It is less than ten miles to Quinnipiac University, Southern Connecticut State University, and Yale University. The hotel is approximately 45 miles to Bradley International Airport. Free wireless internet is available and the hotel is 100% smoke-free.

If you would rather stay in a B&B type setting, Hamden's neighboring town, New Haven offers a few.

  • 'Touch of Ireland Guest House, 670 Whitney Ave, +1 203 787-7997. Located on one of Hamden's main roads that leads straight into New Haven, this charming 1920s colonial B&B was named a 2008 Editor's Choice in Yankee Magazines Travel Guide to New England.
  • [formerly dead link] Farnam Guest House, 616 Prospect St, +1 203 562-7121. Located near Yale University Art Gallery, the Shubert Theatre, the Yale Peabody Museum and other local attractions, the Farnam Guest House can be found in the "most exclusive and elegant neighborhood in New Haven." Luxurious furniture, a classic Georgian staircase and a grand piano are only a few features that this majestic home offers.
  • Days Inn, 3400 Whitney Ave (I-91 & Route 40, Exit 10), +1 203 288-2505. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. from $59.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Hamden
HartfordNorth Haven  N Connecticut Highway 15.svg S  New HavenNew York City

This city travel guide to Hamden is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.