If I were a Yale tour guide…


Ariadne de Gennaro

The Yale Tour. We have seen them all. The large groups of parents and students standing in a semi-circle on the cross campus, all surrounding a singular student wearing their blue lanyard with the large text: “Yale Tour Guide”.

The Yale Admissions Tour traditionally takes attendees from the Visitor Center to the Cross Campus, Silliman College, Beinecke Square outside the Schwarzman Center, the Women’s Table outside the Sterling Memorial Library, and the old campus courtyard.

But sometimes when I walk past these tour groups, I wonder if I could ever show them the best parts of Yale – the real parts. What if I could? Where would I take them?

To get a better idea of ​​which places on campus are hidden—or not-so-hidden—gems, YDN sat down with students to hear what they had to say.

When prospective and current students look at what Yale is really like, study locations often top the list of places to see. After all, a student’s duty is to do their homework. After completing three years of study as an undergraduate, Sarah Guan ’23 has a few secret study places she left at YDN.

“I love Kroon Hall, which is the forestry school,” Guan said. “I like studying there because there’s lots of natural light and there’s a very green, woodsy feel to it. It makes me very calm when I study.

Sunlight. Green. Calm. All the things we love to hear when it comes to a place we could be for hours, grinding psets and diving headfirst into readings.“I really like Bass too. If you go down the stairs, there’s a bunch of these comfy, cushioned seats. I really like to take my shoes off and study there, just sit cross-legged,” said Guan.

OK, Sarah, you look like you’re getting pretty cozy! We like to see it. Sometimes the hardwood chairs in the library just aren’t enough. Soft sofa seats may be just what you need to end the last paragraph of your article.

“And then if I really need to grind,” Guan explained, “then I’ll go to a classroom, like HQ, where I really need to be in that space or I need of a whiteboard.”

Yes, we’ve all been there. Papers, half-terms, psets galore! A classroom in a building such as HQ, WLH, or LC is probably where you should be.

The News also spoke to Pierson College senior Adam Zhang ’23 about his favorite places on campus. In terms of studies, despite being an undergraduate, Zhang often finds himself in the fortress of glass walls that is the School of Management.

It’s a “really a great place to study… [it has] really high ceilings, these glass walls, huge windows, lots of space, it’s super clean,” Zhang said.

Equipped with modern and state-of-the-art facilities, the Edward P. Evans Hall is home to the Yale School of Management. As Adam describes it, the space seems like the perfect recipe for a productive study spot when you really need to relax.

Zhang also talked about how he loves being “away from the craziness of campus,” so he likes to find spaces outside of campus to turn to when he needs a breath of fresh air. One place in particular is the Grove Street Cemetery, which is located across from the Schwarzman Center.

“During the summer I went there every day just to walk around and be still. Even throughout the school semester I found a few days where I can just go and get away and be alone or with a friend. It’s really quiet, it’s even quite beautiful, especially now that the leaves are starting to change color. And, yes, it’s a little shrine, even though it’s a cemetery. It’s kinda weird to say that.

Especially as a student, it’s easy to get overwhelmed during stressful times, like the height of mid-season. But having places that can keep you grounded is essential to maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. For Adam, the cemetery is that place.

And of course, we can’t forget how beautiful the Yale campus is. Bethel Asomaning ’25 has described some of her busiest and Instagram-worthy spots.

Asomaning told the News that she loves spending time at Beinecke Plaza because “it’s a place that I really enjoy…I remember coming to Yale for the first time and thinking that it was the nicest place on campus.”

For Asomaning, another of his favorite places is “the lawn of Steep and Steep itself”.

“I think it’s a really beautiful place, especially overlooking Hillhouse,” Asomaning said.

Within the Yale campus, the abundant greenery and natural elements are often refreshing to look at after a day spent buried in books or studying in classrooms and libraries.

So to sum up, the best Yale tour would visit the School of Forestry, Bass Library, Humanities Quadrangle, School of Management, Grove Street Cemetery, Beinecke Plaza, and Steep Cafe. Not sure if this is very doable for a walking tour leading dozens of students and potential parents…

At the end of the day, while there are never objectively better places on campus, it’s clear that everyone is capable of finding their favorite spots, and that’s what really matters.