Locals Love: Stamford Last Updated: November 2023

There’s nothing like discovering something unexpected. For our “Locals Love” town series, we put the spotlight on Stamford, asking a handful of locals about the best things to do, eat and see in their city. From cocktails with a view, to a carousel ride in the park, to a treasure hunt through an antiques wonderland, they gave us great recommendations. So if you want to experience Stamford like a local, start with the suggestions below. Then visit Stamford Downtown and Stamford's official site for even more ideas. 

How to Get Here

The city of Stamford is less than an hour from New York City by train, and both Metro-North and Amtrak trains stop here. One of Connecticut’s busiest cities, Stamford has a world-class restaurant scene, as well as lively nightlife and great arts and cultural activities for families too.

See all the transportation options near you with the CTrides transit finder.

Where to Stay

The majority of Stamford’s downtown hotels can be found within walking distance of the train station as well as in the midst of terrific restaurant neighborhoods. These include the Stamford Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Sheraton Stamford Hotel, Hilton, and the stylish The Lloyd

Where to Play

In the up-and-coming Harbor Point district, you can stroll the boardwalk, stop into bars and restaurants, even rent a kayak or a paddleboat. The district hosts live music and performances, block parties, farmer’s markets, craft shows, movie nights, and more throughout the year. There’s even a trolley from downtown and the train station to take you there. This is also the spot where you will find SoundWaters, a replica of a 19th-century schooner offering afternoon and sunset sails in Long Island Sound.

The Avon Theatre Film Center plays first-run independent and art films you might not see at your local multiplex. For entertainment that's a little bit different, Stamford Media Center is where some of today’s most popular daytime “talk” shows— Like Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, and Steve Wilkos— are filmed, and you can get tickets to be in the audience.

Where to Find a Hidden Gem

Off the beaten path, you’ll find a few hidden gems that are favorites of those “in the know.” 

Franklin Street Works is a contemporary art space offering ongoing exhibits and programs, as well as a unique farm-to-table café of its own.

In the heart of downtown Stamford, Mill River Park is experiencing a resurgence. It’s now home to a new carousel, walking and biking paths, and will soon be getting a fountain and an ice rink. Just north of downtown, Mianus River State Park offers hiking and wildlife viewing away from the city lights. And the nearby Stamford Museum & Nature Center is home to acres of nature trails, a planetarium, an interactive museum, animals, and even a working farm.

Want more?

Visit Stamford Downtown to find more great places to stay, play, eat and explore, as well as a regularly updated calendar of community events.