10 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Evening Last Updated: May 2021

One of the things we love most about summertime in Connecticut is that pleasant period at the end of the day when the sky turns purple, the midday heat breaks, and many of us are ready to unwind. While we may not be able to enjoy all our favorite places on our free evenings this summer, the state is filled with many great ways to safely enjoy the end of a busy day.

Drive-In Movie

This throwback treat is a great way to get your movie fix while remaining socially distant. Head to the Pleasant Valley Drive-In in Barkhamsted or the Mansfield Drive-In out east and you will experience the magic of dusk as it deepens around the big screen. It’s a great activity for kids who’ve never experienced it before. New for 2020, the Parkage Cinemas in Manchester if offering drive-in movies and Foxwoods Resort Casino has summer drive-in movies Thursdays through Sundays.

Evening Concert

Revive your spirit with live outdoor music by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra or experience a diverse line-up of thirteen Jazz, Pop, and Classical performances at the MoCA Outdoor Summer Concert Series in Westport. And be sure to check our events page for more upcoming concerts – new events are added every day!

Up on the Roof

When you feel like getting out, one safe way is to keep the festivities outdoors, and even better, on the roof. Some of the places where you can give it a go are the spectacular Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury, Elbow Room in West Hartford, the rooftop beer garden at Area Two by Two Roads Brewing Company and, the rooftop bar at Cava Restaurant in Southington. 

Poetry in a Garden

The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival at Farmington’s Hill-Stead Museum is one of Connecticut's great cultural treats which can be enjoyed safely. Attendees are encouraged to come early to walk the trails on the extensive grounds and picnic in the garden as the music and poetry take hold.

The Show of Swallows

This doesn’t happen until late summer, but the earlier you can reserve a space, the better. In late August and early September, a spectacular show of nature takes place at the mouth of the Connecticut River when as many as a half-million birds, mostly swallows, converge just before sunset over their roosting island. They create an extended ballet in the air before finally coming down to earth in what’s been described as a “funnel” or “rain.” Anyway, see it for yourself on the river (and probably never forget it) with the knowledgeable folks at Connecticut River Expeditions and their boat RiverQuest, a fantastic way to safely enjoy the outdoors.

Hooked on Evening Fishing

Not that you can always believe a fisherman’s story, but many swear the fish bite harder and more frequently once the sun begins to go down. Whether you catch much or not, fishing from the shore is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s long dusk hours while remaining socially distant. Check out a guide to some of Connecticut’s best spots on state-owned property along the shore, below.

Sip and Stroll

The Connecticut Wine Trail boasts over 40 wineries and vineyards. Relax, and enjoy the stunning scenery while sipping on award-winning wines, some now offering special outdoor tastins to ensure a safe experience. Not into wine? No worries – Connecticut is home to many breweries that offer outdoor seating, dining, and music … like Urban Lodge Brewery in Manchester.

Sunset Cruising

Float on Connecticut waters at sunset time and allow yourself to unwind. Board sunset cruises by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, RiverQuest in Haddam, or Argia Mystic Cruises. Want more ways to take in the sunset? Try these breathtaking spots!

The Sycamore Scene

Anothe great social distancing outing spot, The Sycamore Drive-In in Bethel (est. 1948) was around long before the movie American Graffiti made drive-ins cool again, and its timeless charms are maybe best appreciated on a summer evening.  Get there on one of their Summer Cruise Nights and safely grab a burger and a homemade root beer to go. Prefer hot dogs? Go to Blackie’s in Cheshire (est. 1928) at dusk and feel the years peel back. Discover more drive-in eateries here!