I’ve recently participated in an article published at Redfin and, with permission, am reposting it here. I love how many things they’ve pulled together! Enjoy.
Originally published on Redfin on January 17th, 2023
Connecticut is renowned as the “Constitution State,” having been the birthplace of the first written Constitution of a democratic government. Approximately 3.6 million people call this state home, which is known for its beautiful fall foliage, the headquarters of ESPN, Yale University, and its captivating coast.
Whether you live in a house in Bridgeport, CT, or rent an apartment in Stamford, CT, there is no shortage of activities to do. But as the weather changes, you may wonder what activities are open. To help you get started, we reached out to locals to share their favorite activities to do in Connecticut during all four seasons. From exploring Parkville Market to Hawk Week, keep reading to see what they had to say.
Things to do in Connecticut during the winter
“In the winter we love eating at Parkville Market in Hartford before heading to a museum, an event at the XL center, or the Bushnell Theater,” shares local photographer Cate Augello Photo. “Parkville Market is a food hall in an old Lumber company building and features private rooms with picnic-style tables and games on the upper level.”
Cate notes that there are at least 20 different food vendors with all types of delicious eats. There is certainly something for everyone.
Blue Ox Axe Throwing
If you are looking for some indoor activities to escape the cold, Axe throwing is a great option to get your blood pumping. Blue Ox Axe Throwing in Wallingford is a local facility wherein you can book a lane and get to throwing.
Winfield Street Coffee
Local Megan MacPherson shares, “My favorite thing to do in Connecticut during the winter is to visit Winfield Street Coffee in Stamford for a cozy coffee. The drinks are delicious and help keep me warm.” Winfield Street Coffee is a popular Connecticut coffee shop with the intent of gathering community through creative food and delicious coffee.
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Designated as an Estuary of National Significance, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk offers patrons a glimpse into different exhibits where they can learn more about and experience different animals from meerkats to harbor seals.
When the weather drops and the snow starts to fall, a favorite activity in Connecticut is to enjoy winter sports like skiing. Connecticut is home to several ski resorts such as Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort, Mohawk Mountain, Mt. Southington, and Sundown.
Things to do in Connecticut during the spring
Wicked Tulips Flower Farm
“One of my favorite places to visit in Eastern Connecticut during the spring is Wicked Tulips Flower Farm in Preston. This farm is one of New England’s largest tulip farms, with countless rows of gorgeous tulips ready for picking.” notes local Dacia Vu Photography.
Wicked Tulips Flower Farm is not only a beautiful, scenic place to visit, but also a fun outdoor activity for anyone. The tulip farm is open in season, and tickets are sold to visitors, which include ten tulip picks to bring home with you.
Dacia also shares that tickets sell out often, so getting on the farm’s mailing list is important to stay informed about opening dates and ticket availability. The farm also allows for professional photography with the purchase of a permit.
Visit Bushnell Park
Bushnell Park is an urban park located in Hartford. There are many attractions to check out at the park including arch tours, the corning fountain, and the Bushnell Park carousel.
Road trip through the northeast corner
Connecticut is an incredibly scenic state to drive around, especially in the northeast corner, which is also known as the quiet corner. The landscape is interwoven with farms and forests, large boulders, and stone walls. One of the best things to do during the spring is to take a drive through the area and admire the beauty.
“I love to drive out to Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Moosup for a delicious turkey sandwich made with their farm-raised turkeys while I look at their sweeping pastures,” shares Sterling Organic Farm, which provides organic Connecticut vegetables and flowers. “Then I like to head up to Soleil Bakery in Woodstock to grab a delicious pastry for dessert. My final stop would be Preston Ridge Vineyard in Preston to pick up a bottle of locally made Connecticut wine.”
Check out Sift Bake Shop
The Season 2 winner of Food Network’s Best Baker in America, Adam Young owns Sift Bake Shop, a French-focused bakery in Downtown Mystic.
“Many visitors come from all over to visit this landmark. The bake shop is gorgeous. It looks like an art gallery for food. I highly recommend the chocolate croissant, ‘Ebbieoche’ (cinnamon sugar croissant), and their delicious macaron cookies,” raves New England lifestyle blog, Knot So Loud.
Stroll through Yale University
During the springtime, be sure to take a walk through Yale University to see beautiful cherry blossoms spread amongst stunning architectural buildings. Some notable sites to check out include Harkness Tower, Connecticut Hall, Sterling Law Building, and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Things to do in Connecticut during the summer
Wining, dining, and hiking
“During the summer, our favorite things to do in Connecticut includes wining and dining on the wine trail in Northwest CT. On a clear day, add in some hiking at Haystack Mountain and enjoy views of mountain peaks in three states from an impressive stone tower,” shares Norfolk-based Manor House Inn.
Visit Connecticut’s oldest village
Summer is a spectacular time to visit the charming, perfectly-preserved coastal village of Stonington where there are many landmarks and sites to explore.
Stonington Borough, a website dedicated to Connecticut’s oldest village, recommends the following while you’re in the village: “Wander along a salt marsh meadow teaming with wildflowers and panoramic views of Little Narragansett Bay; climb to the top of the Lighthouse Museum for a view of three states; and finish off your day with a delicious seafood dinner and a sunset view.”
Two Roads Brewing Company
With more than 120 brewery options, Connecticut has so much for the beer lover or casual beer enthusiast to explore.
“One of our favorite stops on any given weekend during any given season is Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford,” shares CT Beer, a website dedicated to craft beer in Connecticut. “Connecticut’s largest brewery continues to impress with its diverse lineup of beers and show-stopping visitor experience.”
He also shares that in 2019 the brewery opened a second brewing facility called Area Two, which is across the parking lot from the original Two Roads and specializes in sour and barrel-aged beers.
“Both brewing areas have ample indoor and outdoor seating, and together they form a brewing campus that is a must-visit for any state beer fan.”
Collinsville is one of those rare small towns that has a bit of everything and is fun to visit all year round. However, Connecticut family and newborn photographer Kara Summerson Photography recommends visiting in the summer because of all the activities available.
“There are many things to do during the summer like kayaking and paddleboarding on the river, the weekly farmer’s market, walking or biking on the rail trail, and checking out the dozens of small businesses that offer retail, recreational activities, and delicious food. There is also often live music on the weekends.”
Located in the heart of Avon, Dom’s Creamery offers is a delicious ice cream shop that offers some of the most unique flavors.
“You’re going to want to try their Parmesan Fig or Ube (a purple root native to the Philippines) ice cream. Take your scoop, savor it, and then head next door to Dom’s Coffee and Dom’s Cheese for some coffee and cheese bites,” raves lifestyle photography R Winkler Photography.
Things to do in Connecticut during the fall
“My favorite thing to do in Connecticut in the fall is to visit the small towns of Litchfield County and pretend I am a character from the show Gilmore Girls,” notes Planned Wanderings, which offers travel details and guides. “I love being around for one of their unique fall festivals, like the Scarecrow Festival in Litchfield or the Kent Pumpkin Run. Top it off with a visit to one of the local bookstores and a cup of coffee in the town gazebo.”
Located in northwestern Connecticut, Litchfield county is Connecticut’s largest county by area.
Visit a pumpkin patch
La Photographie Boudoir shares, “My favorite activity to do in Connecticut in the fall is to take a drive and visit a pumpkin patch. The color of the autumn leaves is so vivid, especially in October. Connecticut has so many options for pumpkin patches, but Pumpkinseed Hill at Jones Family Farms is incredible, with plenty of gourds to choose from.”
Hammonasset Beach State Park
“One of my family’s favorite activities during the fall is to visit Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison,” says newborn photographer Catherine King Photography. “We love camping and swimming on the gorgeous sprawling beaches, fishing and riding our bikes on the paved bike trails, hiking the trails, and visiting the nature center.” Hammonasset Beach State Park is a two-mile-long beachfront park that draws around one million visits annually.
Have you ever wanted to visit the last surviving steam-powered cider mill in Mystic? Well, now is your chance.
“B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is a destination that is a must-do on your fall bucket list. Opened from September to late November, they serve up the most delicious cider donuts, various apple pastries, and apple cider. There’s even wine and hard cider tasting on the weekends. The smell of B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is so good that it should be a candle,” adds Knot so Loud.
Quaker Ridge Hawk Watch
A favorite activity in Connecticut during the fall is the Quaker Ridge Hawk Watch at the Audubon Center in Greenwich.
Sustainable and healthy food delivery service Mike’s Organic notes, “Quaker Ridge is the highest point in Greenwich, and due to thermals, thousands of raptors migrate over that point in the fall months. Late September is the perfect opportunity to see a variety of hawks, eagles, and falcons.”
Elephant Trunk Flea Market
“Plan your fall foliage drive through Litchfield County on a Sunday, so you can stop along the route at the famous Elephant Trunk Flea Market in New Milford,” notes east coast living guide Connecticut in Style, “Since 1976, treasure hunters, antique collectors, farmers, foodies, and deal seekers have flocked to this one-of-a-kind New England tradition, a truly fun and immersive experience.”