The street is named after Trinity College, which is on its west side. Also on the street, just to the south, is Gonville and Caius College. St Michael's and St Mary's Courts in Gonville and Caius lie across Trinity Street on land surrounding St Michael's Church. St Michael's Court was completed in the 1930s when its south side was built.
Michaelhouse, a former college of the University of Cambridge, was established on Michaelmas Day 1324. It was named after the parish church of St Michael on the magna strata or High Street, as Trinity Street was then known. Michaelhouse was combined with King's Hall to form Trinity College in 1546.
Bowes & Bowes was a bookshop and publishing company at 1 Trinity Street, on the corner of King's Parade. It had a claim to be the oldest bookshop in the United Kingdom, since books had been sold on the site since 1581. Bowes & Bowes closed in 1986 and its successor, Sherratt & Hughes, closed in 1992. Since then the site has been occupied by the Cambridge University Press bookshop.
The Hawks' Club, a social club founded in 1872 for sportsmen at the university, was originally in Trinity Street, but by the 1890s it had moved to a property owned by St John's College in All Saints' Passage.