- Winter Activities in Connecticut
- CT Winter Activities for Families
- Outdoor Physical Activities in Connecticut in the Winter
- Indoor Physical Activities During CT Winters
- Eat Some Good Food
- Historical and Scientific Outings
- Unique CT Shopping
- Even More CT Winter Activities
- Get Out There and Have Fun
Winter Activities in Connecticut
Winter is a magical time in Connecticut, filled with sparkling snow, festive lights, and tons of opportunities for fun. Therefore, finding things to do in Connecticut in the winter is just as important as any other season!
While the cold weather may have you bundling up, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy all the exciting activities and experiences that CT has to offer. Whether you’re a family or a couple, you’ve got everything from snow sports to hearty meals (with drinks). Connecticut is brimming with possibilities that will make your winter season truly unforgettable.
20+ Cozy Things to Do in the Winter in Connecticut
Winter is a magical time in Connecticut, filled with sparkling snow, festive lights, and tons of opportunities for fun. While the cold weather may have you bundling up, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy all the exciting activities and experiences that CT has to offer.
Whether you’re a family or a couple, you’ve got everything from snow sports to hearty meals (with drinks). Connecticut is brimming with possibilities that will make your winter season truly unforgettable.
So, here’s a list of 20+ things to do in Connecticut in the winter.
- Gliding down snow-covered slopes at one of the many Connecticut ski resorts
- Having family fun at places like the Connecticut Trolley Museum and the New Haven Museum
CT Winter Activities for Families
Here are some Connecticut winter family outings which are enjoyable for people of all ages:
1. Mystic Aquarium
A visit to Mystic Aquarium is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly winter day. It’s home to all kinds of marine animals, including Beluga whales, penguins, seals, and sharks.
It offers a very cool experience for the whole family. There are also interactive exhibits for little ones. What’s more, you can stay indoors during your entire visit if you choose to.
With its impressive exhibits, engaging activities, and captivating marine life, visiting Mystic Aquarium is among one of the better winter activities in Connecticut. While you’re in town, Mystic also offers plenty more to do.
2. Lake Compounce Holiday Lights
Experience the magic of the holiday season with the Lake Compounce Holiday Lights in Bristol. This is America’s oldest amusement park and they offer this event roughly between the third week of November through the end of the year.
Bundle up and walk around the park, which is adorned with tons of lights and other special holiday season perks. Notably, the park claims to have Connecticut’s tallest Christmas tree, which they open up with a special ceremony at the beginning of the season.
3. Drive-Through Lights in Motion
If walking around viewing holidays isn’t your thing, consider taking a drive through a winter wonderland with Lights in Motion in Hebron. This mesmerizing display of Christmas lights is among one of the most convenient winter attractions in Connecticut because you don’t even have to get out of your vehicle to enjoy.
Perfect for a cold winter day, you and your family can also tune into the provided radio station to listen to holiday music that’s synchronized with the lights on your 20-minute drive through the display. It’s tons of fun.
Outdoor Physical Activities in Connecticut in the Winter
For those who enjoy exercise as well as the cold, Connecticut provides a good range of winter sports and/or outdoor activities that will raise your pulse and adrenaline. Here are some nice options:
4. Ski and Snowboard
Hit the slopes at one of Connecticut’s ski resorts, where you can enjoy a day of slalom skiing and snowboarding fun. With destinations like:
- Mohawk Mountain (Cornwall, near Litchfield)
- Mount Southington (Southington)
- Powder Ridge Mountain (Middlefield)
- Ski Sundown (New Hartford)
You’re sure to find the perfect spot for your winter adventures. These resorts offer an array of snow trails to explore, private or group lessons, and adaptive lessons for those with disabilities, making them ideal for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.
5. Snow Tubing
If flying down a hill without skis is your thing, then try snow tubing. The ski resorts in the above list also offer this as an awesome thing to do in Connecticut in the winter.
6. Ice Skating
Connecticut even has a few ice skating rinks. Ingalls Ice Rink at Yale in New Haven is a popular choice, offering a spacious and well-maintained rink for skaters of all ages and abilities. It’s great for families, couples, and individuals.
7. Woodsy Walks and Hikes
Exploring the beauty of Connecticut’s winter landscape with walks and hikes through through the woods is great. Some options include:
- Sleeping Giant State Park offers stunning views of New Haven and the Long Island Sound.
- West Rock Ridge State Park in Hamden features a 1.5-mile trail that loops around the serene Lake Wintergreen.
- Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam has gorgeous hiking trails and a picturesque waterfall.
- Hammonasset Beach State Park is located along the southeastern Connecticut shoreline, is huge, and is flat.
So dress warmly, tighten your boots, and set off on a tranquil trek while walking, hiking, or cross-country skiing in CT in the winter. A nice benefit: winter hiking in Connecticut is often free.
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Indoor Physical Activities During CT Winters
The state offers a variety of indoor venues offering things to do in Connecticut during the winter. Indoor winter activities are a great way to pass the time if being outside isn’t an option.
8. Roller Skating
9. Rock Climbing
10. Indoor Adventure Course
Need something new and exciting to try as a Connecticut winter activity? Then head down to Jordan’s Furniture in New Haven (yes, it’s a furniture store) and enjoy, “It,” the world’s largest indoor ropes course. It includes everything from zip lining to wall climbing.
11. Gymnastics with Little Ones
Introduce your little ones to the world of gymnastics with classes and open gym sessions at local centers. Waterford Gymnastics Center in Waterford and Farmington Valley Gymnastics are two popular bets. Another consideration would be your town’s own parks and recreation department.
Eat Some Good Food
While technically a year-round thing, dining out is also one of the best things to do in the winter in Connecticut. You can get out of the cold and enjoy some good eats all over the state, from New Haven to Pomfret. Here are some considerations and categories to help you expand your palate:
12. Get Away with Dining and Bed & Breakfast Pairings
Warm up by the fire at cozy hearthside dining establishments throughout Connecticut. Enjoy the inviting ambiance of a crackling fire as you savor delicious comfort food and seasonal dishes. Some delightful hearthside and/or fine dining spots with nearby in the state include:
- Max Fish and Connecticut River Valley Inn (Glastonbury)
- Winvian (in Morris, accommodations and restaurant all in one)
- Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse and The Inn at Longshore (Westport)
- The Griswold Inn and Noah’s at 63 Main (Essex)
- Elizabeth’s Farmhouse and Inn at Fox Hill (Pomfret)
Consider a winter weekend getaway with one of these pairings!
13. Local Brews and Wines
Sample local brews and wines at Connecticut’s breweries and wineries, perfect for a winter outing. The Connecticut craft beer scene continues to grow, so winter brewery options will only increase in number as time goes on. Some of the acclaimed breweries in the state include:
- WeHa Brewery (West Hartford)
- Fox Farm Brewery (Salem)
- Stony Creek Brewery (Branford)
- Two Roads Brewing (Stratford)
- Kinsmen Brewing (Milldale)
- Gouveia Vineyards (Wallingford)
- Stonington Vineyards (Stonington)
- Priam Vineyards (Colchester)
- Saltwater Farm Vineyard (Stonington)
- Arrigoni Winery & Cider Co. (Portland)
Each of these breweries and wineries produces exceptional drinks which showcase the unique of beverage industry here in CT.
14. Parkville Market
Explore the diverse culinary offerings at Parkville Market, a food lover’s paradise in Hartford. With about 25 different vendors under one roof in a food hall setup, you’ll find an incredible variety of cuisines to satisfy your cravings.
Best of all, Parkville Market offers an experience to lots of different cultures, from Taiwanese street food to Jamaican cuisine. With its lively ambience and tantalizing dishes, Parkville Market is an ideal spot for both food enthusiasts and casual diners.
15. For Hot Chocolate Lovers
Obviously, we have to talk about hot chocolate since this is a post about things to do in CT in the winter. According to Reddit, Sift Bake Shop in Mystic and Heirloom Market in Old Wethersfield are two of the best bets in the state.
Historical and Scientific Outings
If learning interests you, our state is a treasure trove of information that will captivate your imagination:
16. Connecticut Science Center
With lots of educational things for kids and adults alike, Connecticut Science Center in Hartford is a great Connecticut winter outing. Located downtown and comprised of four floors, this location is jam-packed with STEM offerings.
What’s really cool about Connecticut Science Center is that most of its 160+ exhibits are hands on, covering everything from Earth’s history to engineering. Therefore, not only can you walk around and look, but you can actually try things out yourself.
17. Niantic Children’s Museum
Engage your child’s imagination at Niantic Children’s Museum, featuring hands-on exhibits and activities designed for young learners. With interactive indoor displays like the Discovery Room and Imagination Station, your kids can explore new concepts and ideas through play and experimentation.
18. Submarine Force Museum
Dive into maritime history at the Submarine Force Museum, also known as the USS Nautilus Submarine Museum, in Groton. This military museum is essentially a “live” tour of USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of submarine history.
19. Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum showcases CT’s maritime heritage through exhibits and historic ships. Wander through the picturesque grounds and marvel at the impressive collection of historic watercraft, including the 1841 Charles W. Morgan whaleship, the last of its kind.
Outside, you can bundle up and walk through Seaport Village, a recreation of a 19th-century village with historians portraying skilled artisans practicing traditional seafaring trades. This experience is cool for both history admirers and those who know nothing about maritime history. The proximity to downtown Mystic is a plus, too.
20. Mark Twain House
Also in the capital city of Hartford is The Mark Twain House and Museum. Yes, this was the American author’s actual house for some time. It’s now a guided tour museum in modern times, complete with events and speakers on a weekly basis. Oh, and it’s even an event and wedding venue.
21. Florence Griswold Museum
Experience the artistic legacy of Connecticut at the Florence Griswold Museum in East Lyme. , home to American Impressionist art and a beautifully preserved historic house.
Nestled along the banks of the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme, the museum features a stunning collection of artwork, much of which showcases the natural beauty of New England.
While visiting the area, art enthusiasts should also consider heading down I-95 to visit the Yale Center for British Art.
22. Head to a Library or Bookstore
Escape the cold with a visit to a local library or bookstore, perfect for browsing and finding your next great read. Connecticut is home to an impressive array of libraries, including the historic Sterling Memorial and Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Libraries at Yale.
For those in search of a unique literary purchasing experience, Book Barn in Niantic offers an extensive selection of new and used books housed in a charming labyrinth of barns and sheds. In the wintertime, Santa tends to visit and free cups of hot chocolate are given out.
So, get a cup of hot chocolate, cuddle up with an engaging book, and immerse yourself in the pages of a captivating story during the CT winter.
Unique CT Shopping
And last but not least, find unique gems at Connecticut’s enticing shops in the southeastern part of the state. Here are some ideas for indulging in a little retail therapy:
23. Olde Mistick Village Shops
Browse the quaint shops and boutiques at Olde Mistick Village, a charming shopping destination in Mystic. This is super unique as a true New England, historic strip mall of sorts. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you explore its diverse offerings.
Here’s why visiting the village is a fun activity in the winter: the Christmas spirit. Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, the lights that the shop owners collectively put on display make for an awesome stroll on any given day of the week in December.
While you’re here, check out Mango’s Pizza, which is one of the best in the area.
24. Stonington Borough
If small town charm is your thing, then go ahead and visit the endearing shops and restaurants in Stonington Borough, a scenic coastal village near Greater Mystic. With its historic architecture and stunning waterfront views, Stonington Borough is the perfect setting for a leisurely shopping excursion.
And there’s a special sight in the borough in the winter: the Lobster Trap Tree. This seasonal art exhibit, set up next to fishing docks ever November, is one of the more unique and fun things to check out in the winter in Connecticut.
25. Velvet Mill Treasures
Uncover hidden treasures at The Velvet Mill, a historic mill building turned shopping destination featuring unique vendors and artisans. Located in Stonington, the Velvet Mill is home to over 30 unique businesses, including art studios, meals and snacks, and an awesome brewery called Beer’d.
Browse the diverse offerings, from vintage and upcycled items to handcrafted furniture and local art, and discover the perfect gift or addition to your home. Best of all in the wintertime, everything’s indoors.
Even More CT Winter Activities
Be sure to head over to my all-season post on CT date ideas for even more plans!
Get Out There and Have Fun
In conclusion, there surely are plenty of winter Connecticut activities for everyone. Our state is great year round, but it really does shine in the winter, too. If you have some other suggestions for this list, please drop a comment below or reach out to me directly!
I used the following references at different points in this post:
- “The art of drinking red wine in winter,” delicious
- “Beer scene grows in New Haven, challenges brew,” Lile Belle Poling, Yale News
- “It Adventure Ropes Course,” CT Visit
- “History and Mission,” Connecticut Science Center
- “The Mark Twain House,” The Mark Twain House & Museum
- “While We Are Closed,” Yale Center for British Art
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