Next Stop: Mystic Last Updated: August 2023

Mystic was ranked #4 in USA Today’s 10 Best Summer Places to Visit in the US. Now is the time to see what this iconic seaside destination has to offer. Called a "chef’s paradise" by Bloomberg and known for its top shelf seafood, this town boasts many claims to fame — from Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium to Julia Robert’s favorite Mystic Pizza. See for yourself what makes Mystic so attention-worthy.

Foodie Finds

As a seaside town, what better food to try first than seafood? The MarinerS&P Oyster Restaurant and BarGo Fish RestaurantOyster Club and Red 36 are all home-runs. Find your deep-sea favorite!

Whether you’re a pizza fan, movie lover or both, Mystic Pizza is a good choice. Discover the famous location that helped kickstart careers of today’s stars, most notably the legendary Julia Roberts.

While Mystic Pizza is a claim to fame, Mystic offers other great pizza options with all different vibes. Try Mango’s Wood Fired Pizza Co.Angie’s PizzaStonington Pizza Palace, and Pizzetta, complete with a new vegan menu.

Brunch, anyone? Visit Chapter One, voted the "Best Brunch in Mystic." With live music, good eats and an early buzz, chances are you won’t need an alarm to wake up in the morning.

Find more Mystic restaurants here.

Sweet Stops

If you're looking for sweets, you simply must stop at award-winning Sift Bake Shop, where you can taste creations by Adam Young: past winner of Food Network's Best Baker in America. Then indulge your sweet tooth at Mystic River Chocolate. An incredible, handcrafted drinking chocolate café, original soft serve ice cream recipe, and frequent surprises make the shop a dessert dream. Or try Franklin’s General Store which remains the largest, single-store producer of fudge in the country, with 36 kinds made fresh in store!

Mystic Sweets & Ice Cream Shoppe, located near the drawbridge, houses an assortment of sweet treats with great attention to detail and theming. And across the way you’ll find sundaes, cones, and more at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream.

Hit the Town

Dive into the nautical spirit of Mystic bars. With area-appropriate decor, your inner sailor may find it difficult not to ask for another round. The Port of Call, ranked in Esquire’s 24 Best Bars in America, offers a classy, upper-deck, cocktail-driven dining experience, and even drag shows. Or sit back just downstairs at Dive, a more relaxed pub with beer, bar bites, and vintage games. 

Views of the Mystic River never disappoint at Red 36. Complete with an extensive raw bar, fresh seafood and revitalizing cocktails, this docked destination a must-do. Restaurants by day morph to bars at night, like Friar Trucks TavernChapter One, and Harp and Hound Pub.Expect trivia nights, bands, and karaoke.

For a unique nightlife experience, check out Mystic Darkroom, an immersive, glow in the dark atmosphere catering to those who want to spice up their night the most. Leather couches, private booths, spectacle lights and special effects make it the evening’s crowd-pleaser.

Find more local spots below.

Breweries & Vineyards

Love a good drink? Bank and Bridge Brewery has production quality brews and exceptional culinary focused food in downtown Mystic. Veteran owned, their signature brews are available in-bank and to-go. Barley Head Brewery is a local, family-owned brewery with 4-6 beers changed weekly, with many ingredients sourced locally. Plus, Mystic River Chocolate started brewing house-made craft beer! Explore what’s on tap with a sweet twist.

Want to keep sipping? Grab a glass and learn the ins and out of making Mystic wine, starting with the vineyards where the grapes are grown, including Saltwater Farm VineyardPreston Ridge VineyardMaugle Sierra Vineyards Stonington Vineyards.

World-Class Casinos

Connecticut is one of the nation’s top states to find premier casino gaming. Just 20 minutes away from Mystic, you’ll discover world-class casinos Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. From slots to top tier table games, bet on a great night of gaming.

The casinos offer all kinds of ways to feel lucky – beyond the gaming table. Dine at celebrity-owned restaurants like Foxwoods’ Guy Fieri’s Foxwoods Kitchen + Bar or Mohegan Sun’s Michael Jordan's Steak House. Hit nightclubs like Shrine or Avalon. Or even try unique activities like visiting the Gallery Selfie Museum, tearing up the track at SuperCharged Indoor Karting, seeing a a Connecticut Sun game, or zipping over the trees at HighFlyer Zipline, the world's only zipline off a 33 story hotel tower!

Family Fun

Bringing the kids? Great. Mystic does family-friendly very well. Many have heard of Mystic Aquarium, with the iconic beluga whales who love to smile for the camera. Plus find interactive exhibits featuring penguins, sea lions, and more. 

Take on the Schooner Brilliant, the oldest sailing education program in the United States. Or have fun up in the trees with ropes courses and Ziplines at Mystic Tree Trails Adventure.

Find more ideas here.

On-the-Water Outdoor Adventure

Adventure Mystic brings the best summer outdoors activities to you with easy access. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned pro, experience new locations to paddleboard, kayak and bike. Blue Heaven Kayak and Paddle Board Rentals is another great option depending on where you are Mystic. And you simply can't miss a majestic cruise on the Argia.

Dog-friendly parks and beaches mean your best friend can experience much of what Mystic has to offer. Check out Haley Farm State Park and Bluff Point State Park. For beaches, designated areas allow dogs to be off-leash, to both roam around and even swim!

Planning the perfect beach day? Find more nearby beaches below.

Museums & Tours

Learn more about Mystic’s deep ties to sailing and seafaring at Mystic Seaport Museum, a renowned maritime museum, which showcases historic ships, a 19th century seafaring village recreation, and various other interactive displays. Board massive ships and go hands-on.

Discover some of the most colorful and imaginative local art at Mystic Museum of Art. With over 200 pieces in the exhibit, expect a variety of artistic styles and forms. Or Learn the intricate art of glassblowing at Studio Jeffrey P’an.

With Mystic Boat Adventures, drive your own boat around Mystic River and Fishers Island Sound with a tour guide to help you along. Or board Historic Harbor Tours and learn the vast timeline of a colonial New England gem. For a more atmospheric tour, go with Mystic River Cruises, highlighted by the 1947 classic wooden motorboat used for private tours.

Mystic Seaport Express leisurely takes you along the upper section of the Mystic River, seeing “Captain’s Row” and Mystic Seaport Museum on the way. Tip: ticket purchase includes admission to Mystic Seaport Museum, where the Express tour ends!

Find more ideas below.

Rest & Relaxation

Refresh Your Soul does exactly what their name implies. Take a mental break and work with counseling, or practice mindful meditation. Find your physical balance yoga, reflexology, massages and more. When you see the light crashes of Long Island Sound once you step out, it’s the icing on the cake.

Norwich Spa at Foxwoods is the place to clear your mind and destress. A collection of unwinding activities includes a whirlpool, steam room, sauna and lounge area. If you prefer something out of water, try a massage, body therapy, or even a brief nap on the poolside veranda.

Shop 'Til You Drop

It’s newcomers’ tradition to walk down Main Street in Mystic. Start at the village’s bascule bridge and work your way down to Olde Mistick Village, perfect for when shopping, dining and entertainment is all part of your ideal vacation. Or head toward the casinos for great shopping, including the Tanger Outlets, featuring over 80 brands.

At Curated, find distinct art sculptures, jewelry and ceramics you might want to make room for in your travel bag. Rochelle’s Boutique is the pinnacle of local fashion finds, offering a variety of trendy items that go right into your main wardrobe. Discover your chakra at Becca Rose, with unique and intuitive tarot readings.

Mysterious Mystic

They don't call it "Mystic" for nothing! Mysterious experiences await visitors looking for something extra intriguing. Learn about Mystic haunted legends and spooks when you take a Seaside Shadows Downtown Mystic tour or Mystic Moonlit Graveyard Tour.

Triumph the three mysteries of Mystified Escape Rooms, whether you opt for The Paradox, Keeper of the Light, Rendezvous With the Renaissance, or do them all! It’s 60 minutes of immersive puzzles and pure fun. Embrace your inner nerd at Cloak and Wand; a complete wizarding and witchcraft experience, find what magic awaits you. Make sure to stop by the Potion Bar for magical masters (and non-magical apprentices.)

Tap into your spiritual side when you shop or try a Reiki session at Holistic Mystic. Find crystals to align your energy at Desert Rose, or build your own Goddess Garden. And receive a Tarot Card reading at Astrology Boutique.

Theater & Performing Arts

Audiences are roaring at the Mystic area stages. See classics along with new musicals and plays at these terrific theaters, including the renowned Garde Arts Center, the Winner of the 2022 Outstanding Historic Theater Award (League of Historic American Theaters).

Stay in Style

When you're done adventuring, stay overnight at one of Mystic's premier accommodations. Experience the waterfront views at the Steamboat Inn, boutique style and downtown-convenient Whaler’s Inn, or sprawling variety of the Inn at Mystic, by the water and in the center of everything.

Other great picks include: Howard Johnson InnHoliday Inn ExpressMermaid InnStonecroft Country Inn Bed and BreakfastHilton Mystic, and Mystic Marriott.

Plus, find hot spots at Airbnb and Vrbo … they don’t disappoint! Seaside getaways, cozy cottages and grand guesthouses all provide different experiences for Mystic travelers.