31 Things to Do in Central Connecticut this Winter Last Updated: January 2021
Temperatures are dropping, snow is falling — it’s winter in Connecticut. While the air is cooling down, seasonal fun is heating up — and you can be sure businesses are working hard to keep you safe. From active adventure and family fun to relaxation and romantic escapes, here’s your guide to the winter season in Central Connecticut.
Just be sure to check with each location before venturing out as hours may change due to COVID-19.
1. Hit the slopes. Experience downhill thrills skiing at Mount Southington and Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield – you can even try snow biking and tubing too. Not snowing out? No problem. Both spots make their own snow!
2. Ski cross-country. After snowfall, rent equipment and try cross-country skiing at Winding Trails in Farmington and ski across 350 acres of pristine woodland.
3. Rock climb indoors. Test your climbing skills at gyms such as Stone Age Rock Gym in Manchester, Prime Climb Mountain Fun in Wallingford, and City Climb Gym in New Haven.
4. Swing up high. Experience the world's largest indoor ropes course and channel your inner tightrope walker as you take on the 56-foot tall ropes courses and climb through cargo nets, angled rope ladders and more at IT Adventure Ropes Course in New Haven.
5. Go on a winter hike. On days with less snow, venture to great hiking trails like Giuffrida Park in Meriden, West Rock Ridge State Park in Hamden/New Haven, Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Farmington, and Penwood State Park in Bloomfield. You can even bring Fido along for the adventure!
Below are a few more spots to find active adventure:
Rest and Relaxation
6. Pamper yourself. Get the relaxation you deserve by booking a massage, facial and more at Delamar Spa in West Hartford or By the Sea Day Spa in Branford.
7. Float your cares away. Experience peace like you never have before with sensory deprivation therapy at Imagine Float in Avon. This activity has even been known to lower blood pressure!
8. Treat your inner yogi. Spend an afternoon trying new yoga poses at West Hartford Yoga, Breathing Room in New Haven, or Root Down Power Yoga in Glastonbury.
9. Experience mindfulness. Center yourself on meditation retreats at Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford, Hartford Mindfulness Center, or sound healing retreats at The Sound Retreat in Chester.
10. Browse downtown. Bundle up on a mild winter day and stroll walkable downtowns such as Chester, Wethersfield, The Shops at Yale in New Haven, and West Hartford for an afternoon of relaxation and window shopping.
Below are a few more spots to find rest and relaxation:
Arts, Culture & History
11. Appreciate the arts. Explore stunning masterpieces at art museums such as Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, New Britain Museum of American Art, Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, and the Guilford Art Center.
12. Admire murals. On a mild day, get out and about in downtown Hartford to find the great murals throughout the city.
13. Visit history. Step back in time and learn about Connecticut’s rich history at museums such as the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, New Haven Museum, New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, and the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington.
14. Go antiquing. Spend a peaceful day browsing vintage treasures at Antiques Depot in Old Saybrook, Antiques on the Farmington in Collinsville, Key to the Past Antique Center in East Haven, and Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven.
15. Follow the footsteps of the Gilmore Girls. Although the town of Washington in Litchfield Hills is frequently considered the inspiration for Stars Hollow, several Connecticut towns actually inspired the stories of Rory, Lorelai and Luke. Check out these Central Connecticut towns that helped inspire the show.
Below are a few more spots to find arts, culture and history:
Food and Drink Adventures
16. Take a food tour. Get out and explore Connecticut’s favorite flavors on a Taste of New Haven Tour throughout the city.
17. Try the nation’s #1 pizza. Did you know the country’s best pizza is right in New Haven? Try #1 pizza joint, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, and while you’re in town, sample slices at the other award-winning New Haven pizza spots like Sally’s Apizza, Modern Apizza, and BAR.
18. Be a brunch buff. Add excitement to your weekend with waffles, eggs, bacon or perhaps a mimosa or two. Check out brunch spots like Abigail’s Grille & Wine Bar in Simsbury, The Place 2 Be in Hartford, Pond House Café in West Hartford, Bella’s Café in New Haven, and La Luna Ristorante in Branford.
19. Eat by the fire. On a cold night, warm up by the fire at Union League Café in New Haven, Griswold Inn in Essex, Millwright’s in Simsbury, and Cava in Southington.
20. Sample brews. Connecticut’s craft beer scene is growing. Visit breweries like Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, No Worries Brewery in Hamden, East Rock Brewing Company in New Haven, Hops on the Hill in South Glastonbury, and City Steam Brewery Café in Hartford. Many even offer curbside pickup or delivery!
Below are a few more spots to find food and drink adventures:
21. Play the arcade. Experience indoor fun like never before at Nomads Adventure Quest in South Windsor. The whole family can enjoy activities like laser tag, glow in the dark black light mini golf, thunderbowl bowling and more.
22. Challenge yourself. Test your skills at escape rooms like Escape New Haven and Mission Escape Games in West Hartford.
23. Try virtual reality. Escape to new worlds with virtual reality experiences at The Vault in Seymour.
24. Find fun on the farm. Connecticut farms are always a great spot for families. Preparing for the holiday season? Round up the family for a festive trip to Christmas tree farms such as Dzen Family Christmas Tree Farm of South Windsor, Rose’s Berry Farm in South Glastonbury, Joseph’s Tree Farm in Hamden, Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, and Miller Tree Farm in Durham. During maple season, visit Hydeville Sugar Shack in Stafford Springs, Hurst Farm Country Store & Greenhouses in Andover, or Bartlett Farm in Guilford.
25. Feel the need for speed. If you’re in the mood for some fast-paced fun, try go-karting at OnTrack Karting in Wallingford
26. Make learning fun. Explore children’s museums with the whole family. Visit animals at Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester or experience interactive activities at The Children’s Museum in West Hartford.
27. Skate the day away. Get nostalgic and take the kids indoor roller skating at Ron-A-Roll in Vernon or Middletown Roller Skating Rink.
Below are a few more spots to find family fun:
28. Take a winter stroll. Walk hand-in-hand with your special someone through peaceful parks such as West Rock Ridge State Park in Hamden, Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford, and Elizabeth Park in West Hartford.
29. Escape together. Take advantage of winter rates and whisk your special someone away to romantic hotels and inns like Saybrook Point Resort & Marina in Old Saybrook, Chester Bulkley House B&B in Wethersfield, Scranton Seahorse Inn in Madison, and the Madison Beach Hotel.
30. Paint your love. Looking for a new fun date night activity? Master the art of painting together at one of Connecticut’s painting studios! Create a classic beach scene or fruit basket at Essex Paint and Sip in Essex or try a virtual painting class together by Painting with a Twist in Hartford.
31. Dine on a train. Board a vintage locomotive together and enjoy a four-course meal on the Essex Clipper Dinner Train.
Below are a few more spots to find romantic escapes: