What to Do in Connecticut – Unique and Fun Activities in the Constitution State
Wondering what to do in Connecticut after your cross country move? Don’t worry – the Constitution State is packed with exciting ventures for both families with kids and adults with an appetite for fun. While exploring the scenic shoreline and historical sites, you can enjoy a wide range of activities, from antique shopping to zip-lining from a casino roof. Keep reading and find out more!
What is Connecticut Best Known For?
First things first, what is Connecticut known for? Before you learn what is there to do in Connecticut, here’s a list of historical and fun facts about the Nutmeg State.
Historical facts: the people of Connecticut are often referred to as Yankees or Nutmeggers. The nickname is probably connected to sailors who brought the spice home from their voyages. Later on, it became the most popular condiment in 19th century New England. The name Connecticut is derived from a Native American term meaning “beside the long tidal river” (Quinnehtukqut.) The indigenous Native American community belonged to the Algonquian family and was the largest of the Pequot tribes. In 1614, a Dutchman called Adriaen Block was the first to research the Valley. After that, English colonists arrived from Massachusetts to Windsor, the first permanent settlement. Windsor later joined with the colonies at Wethersfield and Hartford to establish the Connecticut Colony in 1636.
Fun facts: the Nutmeg State is home to the oldest newspaper now published in the United States: the Hartford Courant, established in 1764. It’s also the birthplace of the first hamburger (1895,) the Polaroid camera (1934,) the airplane (1939,) and the color TV (1948.)
Bonus fact: some famous Nutmeggers include:
- Revolutionary War figures Ethan Allan, Nathan Hale, and Benedict Arnold
- Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth
- Legendary figure skater Dorothy Hamill
- The incomparable Katharine Hepburn
- Heartthrob musician John Mayer
- Famous writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain
- The inventor of vulcanized rubber Charles Goodyear
- Lexicographer Noah Webster.
Is There Anything Fun to Do in Connecticut?
Unfortunately, the small coastal area is not that familiar to those living outside of New England. The Nutmeg State is often mistakenly categorized as a ‘drive-through’ on your way to more exciting destinations. Sure, it may not be as exciting as moving to the Bahamas, but it still has its charms. While it is flanked by several prominent tourist spots in New York and Massachusetts, there are plenty of interesting things to do here as well. Coming here will be as thrilling as moving across the world without the trouble of breaking the language barrier. Keep reading, and you’ll see what we mean.
Instead of Bar-Hopping, Try Museum-Hopping
From what you’ve read so far, you can probably tell there is an abundance of cultural heritage concentrated in the area. Luckily, there are just as many institutions dedicated to preserving the numerous landmarks and historical sites. A trip to these museums makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon with your family and can turn into a lovely habit. It’s also a great way to brush up on American history and culture if you’ve been living overseas for a long time.
Mark Twain House
Visit the Mark Twain House & Museum, which houses a permanent display on the life and career of Mark Twain as soon as you arrive. Their program includes a daily showcasing of Ken Burns’s mini-documentary series and various classes and workshops for aspiring writers. The house is a national historic landmark that allows visitors to learn more about the famous writer and his legacy. It’s also where Twain wrote his most famous books, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Guided tours are available every day, starting at 9:30 am, and the Museum Center is open for self-guided visits as well.
Mystic Seaport Museum
The Mystic Seaport Museum is the leading maritime museum in the world. It was established in 1929 and hosted four National Historic Landmark vessels. Among other exhibits, you’ll be able to see the Charles W. Morgan, the oldest merchant ship in America, and the world’s last wooden whaler. The grounds cover an astounding 19 acres on the Mystic River shore in Mystic, CT. The premises include a recreated 19th-century coastal village, formal show spaces, a working shipyard, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
At the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, they create an experience that encourages lifelong learning. With both indoor and outdoor adventures, the museum offers interactive and informative exhibits that give children, families, and educators space to learn and develop. The “Energy Lab” provides hands-on displays teaching how energy can be generated by the sun, the wind, the power of water, and the combustion of fossil fuels. The “Tot Town” display is an imaginary world that has shrunk to a toddler’s size. The “Build It!” exhibit helps children understand architecture and building design. Your youngsters will see the world in a different light after moving to Connecticut.
Field Trip to the Mystic Aquarium
You can enjoy all kinds of treats at the Mystic Aquarium, including pancakes and pizza, while you visit one of our nation’s biggest aquariums. Chill out with African penguins and hear all about these adorable creatures from the experienced staff. The Aquarium also helps you relax with the Whale Experience service, where you get to swim in the ocean and see a beluga whale up close. Check out the video below and learn more about these incredible animals.
Visit the Legendary Yale University
Even though it’s just for a couple of hours, you can fulfill your parents’ lifelong dream of going to Yale University. The Ivy League students host regular free tours at one of the oldest colleges in the United States. You’ll get to learn about the school’s rich 300-year past and have a chance to see the Sterling Memorial Collection, as well as the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection. Locals have linked Yale’s gothic style architecture to the magical school of Hogwarts, so this is a must-see for any Harry Potter fan.
Yale University Art Gallery
The Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven is the oldest art museum located on a college campus. More than 250,000 artifacts in the collection date from ancient times to modern days and depict cultures from around the globe. The Gallery contains three architecturally distinct structures, including a 1953 masterpiece of contemporary architecture designed by Louis Kahn.
Try Going on Historical Tours
If you think museums are boring, there are always more entertaining ways to get to know your new home. Why not try going on historical tours? The groups are usually small, with a maximum of five participants. There’s no better way to explore some of the best places to live in Connecticut after your long-distance or overseas relocation.
New England Seacoast Villages
This is a small, private group tour of two historic villages located along the shoreline. The tour begins in Noank, a shipbuilding village at the mouth of Mystic River, and ends in Spicer Mansion, a genuine historic landmark. You will learn about Native American tribes, English sailors, and other tales of yore. This is a rare snapshot of New England’s maritime past and local culture.
Mystic Treasures (Private Group Tour)
Mystic is a charming seaside village in New England. The private group tour is an interesting and enjoyable way of experiencing this unique place. The guide is a long-time resident named Bill, who knows all about Mystic’s fascinating history. With a profound understanding of what makes this place unique, he is a professional and engaging story-teller. The program covers colonial and shipbuilding history, whaling, rum racing, Native American wars, and local culture.
New Haven’s Ghost Walk
Explore New Haven on an evening walking tour of some of the spookiest sights in the area. You will also get to learn about the historical and architectural backgrounds of the city’s most haunted locations. The longest-running ghost tour company includes visiting the Skull and Bones Society, New Haven Public Library, New Haven City Hall, and Grove Street Cemetery. This one is not for the faint of heart!
Have Fun at the Hartford Scavenger Hunt
Visit the finest landmarks and hidden treasures, all while answering trivia questions and solving puzzles. The Hartfeld Scavenger Hunt is perfect for getting to know your new home, or even bachelorette parties and corporate team building activities. The hunt will lead you and your loved ones through the cultural and geographical Hartford sights in search of glory and hidden treasures.
Parks and Recreation – Connecticut Style
Enough with all the boring history stuff? What do Connecticut people do for fun? Well, if you’re a nature enthusiast moving with dogs, you’re in for a treat. Nutmeggers are blessed with some of the best hiking trails and most beautiful parks in the country. Also, with the coronavirus outbreak, there’s no better time to get into some outdoor activities.
HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods
Experience the excitement of ziplining, taking off from the rooftop of Fox Tower at the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Starting at 350 feet, the staff first trains you for the jump. After you’ve received the proper guidance and supplies, you are connected to the cable safely and allowed to take off. The glide lasts for more than one minute, just enough time to take in the beauty of Long Island Sound.
Hiking Yoga Class At Silver Sands Beach
WalkAboutYoga is the only class that combines both hiking and yoga. The 75-minute lesson teaches you the principles of Hatha Yoga and how to stimulate your entire body softly. WAY follows the basis of vinyasa, with a focus on healthy alignment and breath-work. Whether you are a beginner or recovering from an injury, or you have a steady yoga routine and want to work on your balance, strength, and endurance, all-level classes are available. And if you just want to marvel at Milford’s gorgeous beaches while taking care of your health, join the walkabout!
Bushnell Park on Trinity Street in Hartford is a beautiful haven with beautiful fountains, statues, a pond, and a stage pavilion within its premises. It is an outdoor arboretum of rare and exotic plants and home to a gorgeous 1914 carousel. You can pick up a brochure and take a stroll to the majestic forest or join a guided tour of the Memorial Arch of Soldiers & Sailors. The park also hosts several public events and activities.
What to do in Connecticut? Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough,” said Mark Twain. Well, we think the same goes for wine and pizza! If you’re a foodie at heart, you’re going to like what you read next. Living in Connecticut will do wonders for your palate.
Connecticut Wine Trail
“Taste the adventure” on the Connecticut Wine Trail. The tour includes two dozen wineries where you can try the finest wines in Nutmeg State. The ambiance is fascinating because most wineries are housed in historic barns or fieldstone houses. For example, one of them is located in a vintage airplane hangar from the Second World War. Some include live music or pairings of cheese and cookies, nights of improv, nights of tapas, nights of movies. Some have restaurants; others offer packed lunches and picnic spots. When you become a member of the Connecticut Farm Wineries Passport scheme, you can collect stamps from the wineries and enjoy their special offers. It seems like a good investment in the future. Also, if you’re worried about how to stay in touch with friends from expat communities after relocating, send them a bottle of red. It’s a lovely way to let them know you’re still thinking of them!
Mystic Pizza, made popular by the eponymous film, has been serving slices since 1973. Many of the pies are made with a “secret formula” that’s been passed down through generations. Take a bite, and it feels as if you’re moving to Italy instead! If you’re a Julia Roberts fan, you’ll be pleased to learn the restaurant has a remarkable resemblance to the one in the film. Sadly, it wasn’t actually filmed there due to a scale and scheduling problem.
Two Roads Brewing
Two Roads Brewing in Stratford was established in 2012 by a group of friends. It is widely considered one of the best breweries in Connecticut. Housed in an old computer factory, its name derives from a poem by Robert Frost. The award-winning brews are worth a visit of their own, but there are a variety of enjoyable activities throughout the year, including Oktoberfest, outdoor films, food truck visits, and more. A short distance from the Metro-North train, Two Roads also provides free shuttle service from the Stratford train station and Bridgeport’s Port Jefferson Ferry Landing. It’s not as big of a journey as moving to India, but the shuttle is still a nice ride.
Is Moving Internationally to the Nutmeg State Worth the Trouble?
If you want to start calling yourself a Yankee soon, make sure to hire Connecticut international movers to help you with the whole moving abroad process. A reputable international moving company will relieve you from any moving stress and offer a variety of affordable services. Moving overseas doesn’t have to be complicated, and you will definitely benefit from professional assistance. For instance, you won’t have to worry about obtaining boxes and moving supplies since their packing services include packing materials as well, let your overseas shipping company take care of it all. If you’re in between apartments or need extra space for your belongings, find a company that provides storage units. You can also request a free quote and get a handle on your finances if you’re worried about the cost of living in Connecticut. It won’t be as expensive as moving to Dubai, but it’s good to know where you stand in advance. A professional team of experts will handle everything, you just make sure to bring all the documents needed to travel abroad. With professional assistance, you’ll be putting nutmeg in your pork in no time!