A surprising Connecticut city
New Haven is “complex and layered,” said Freda Moon in The New York Times. Home to Yale University, this city of 130,000 has often been a “poster child for the troubled college town,” but a visitor sees a different place. From its historic central green, the city fans out past Yale’s neo-Gothic towers into working-class neighborhoods of “faded but elegant” Victorian homes. Start on “boutique-lined” Chapel Street, where the Yale Art Gallery, reopening Dec. 12 after a major renovation and expansion, makes its large collection viewable for free. The “equally impressive” Yale Center for British Art (also free) “holds the largest collection of British art outside Britain.” Two world-renowned pizzerias can be found near cozy Wooster Square, but the dining scene has multiple highlights. Grab a quick drink in a vinyl booth at the Anchor—a must stop on a “retro bar crawl”—before heading to a play at the Long Wharf Theater, a major Broadway feeder.

Seattle’s new computer museum
It used to be that the only thing for a tech tourist to do in Seattle was drive out to Microsoft and “take pictures of a bunch of boring buildings,” said Donna Gordon Blankinship in the Associated Press. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen changed that in October when he opened the Living Computer Museum (livingcomputermuseum.org), filling it with old machines from his own collection. Allen’s shrine to the computer age is free of “Do Not Touch” signs. “This is a place where you’re welcome to pull up a chair and relive the days when you played Congo Bongo on a Commodore 64 instead of doing homework.” Middle-aged visitors are fairly likely to see the first personal computer they ever touched, but “the centerpieces of the collection are the bigger, older, flashier machines,” like the cubicle-size Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-7. The museum isn’t “just for techies”: You don’t need to care about code to learn valuable history.