Blake Walsh

21 Best Things to Do in Norwalk, CT

  • Published 2022/09/01

Located in Fairfield County, Norwalk ranks sixth among Connecticut’s largest cities.

Known as the “Oyster Town,” Norwalk had been a significant oyster fishery provider since the early 19th century, contributing a lot to the city’s economy.

Norwalk has a lot to offer, an area where you can stroll along the beach, see a beautiful lighthouse, learn about protected islands, marinas, and fish.

A unique connection between history and the coast explains how Norwalk is easily accessible by car, train, bicycle, boat, or water.

The culture and class of Norwalk are evident.

Let yourself enjoy Norwalk’s offerings now; you’ll be glad you did.

Here are a few of the best things to do in Norwalk, CT:

Chilling Out at Calf Pasture Beach

A small pier at Calf Pasture Beach

Laura Stubbs /

Strolling around Norwalk would never be complete without visiting some of its beaches,

A park and beach in Norwalk, Connecticut, called Calf Pasture Beach, have rich historical significance.

There are both public and private transportation options available to get to the beach.

People at the pier of Calf Pasture Beach

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Every day here is jam-packed with exciting activities!

Baseball/softball, volleyball, a skate park, a playground, a refreshing splash pad, sun and sand sports, the sailing school, bocce ball, basketball, and a 3/4-mile stretch of picturesque coastline with breathtaking vistas are just some of the activities available.

The waters of Calf Pasture Beach

Laura Stubbs /

Special activities are also organized throughout the season, ranging from antique car displays to fantastic free concerts!

Picnic tables will be available at Shady Beach on a “first-come, first-served” basis and will be assigned to those who arrive first. So be sure to come early!

Picnic tables at Calf Pasture Beach

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Dropping by at East Norwalk Historical Cemetery

Memorial at East Norwalk Historical Cemetery

Jsileisvp, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The East Norwalk Historical Cemetery, established about 1655, is Norwalk’s oldest cemetery, and it contains the graves of many of the area’s first immigrants.

Originally known as the East Norwalk Fire District of the Town of Norwalk, the cemetery was owned and managed by the Third Taxing District, which was formerly known as the Down Town School District.

Often, a grave is buried without a headstone because the remains were buried before headstones were common, so there are no marks or traditions connecting the grave back to the family.

Headstones at East Norwalk Historical Cemetery

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Walking at Mill Hill Historic Park

Signage of Mill Hill Historic Park

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Aside from going to Oak Hill Park, you can also visit Mill Hill Historic Park.

Just by walking around, you can see this gorgeous overlooking view of the Norwalk Harbor because the park is located on top of Mill Hill.

Old schoolhouse at Mill Hill Historic Park

Miro Vrlik Photography /

A living history exhibition hall made up of three structures up to 280 a long time ancient is also found on the spot.

To the east of these structures lies Norwalk’s third-oldest cemetery, where land concessions to the city’s early inhabitants resulted in family burial plots being provided by the city.

Law office at Mill Hill Historic Park

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Visiting Stepping Stones Museum for Children

The museum is not just for adults; Stepping Stones Museum offers excellent deals for Children and families to experience the history and creative arts.

You can find it in the Central part of Norwalk, Connecticut.

Hands-on explorations for children as young as ten are available at Stepping Stones Museum for Children.

In the garden, there are three Kinetic Energy Sculptures created by Beinfield Architecture, which harness local solar, wind, and water energy to entertain and educate museum visitors.

This brightly colored collection of kinetic sculptures demonstrates fundamental concepts of energy creation while also producing percussive musical accompaniment.

The building achieves a remarkable level of harmony between the location, the structure, and the displays, which is rare in architecture.

Each piece was used to further the museum’s educational goal by bringing it to life.

Riding a Sheffield Island Ferry

Ticket Booth of Sheffield Island lighthouse ferry

Miro Vrlik Photography /

In the Long Island Sound, a ferry leaves from the Norwalk River dock, across from Veterans’ Memorial Park, and takes you to the Norwalk Islands.

On the way, the skipper will tell you about the various landmarks on both sides of Long Island Sound, as well as the Manhattan skyline if the weather is good.

Your next 90 minutes are yours to spend exploring Sheffield Island and visiting the lighthouse, picnicking, walking the trails, and sifting for shells, sea glass, and horseshoe crabs.

The dock of Sheffield Island Ferry

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Walk to South Norwalk Historic District (SoNo)

Big letters sign of SONO

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Before heading some of the amazing adventures in Norwalk, let’s take a tour to some of the most historical places that are a must-visit.

South Norwalk, commonly known as SoNo, is a neighborhood in the Connecticut city of Norwalk.

Seafood restaurant at South Norwalk Historic District

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Authentic waterfront meets urban cool in SoNo’s diverse hub, serving as the city’s eating, retail, and entertainment district.

SoNo is a bustling metropolis with plenty to do.

Regent cinema at South Norwalk Historic District

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Beautiful historical district with a variety of contemporary eateries and adorable boutiques.

In addition to offering a great variety of restaurants, pubs, bakeries, galleries, shops, and other amenities, Sono is also a great place to live, work, and visit.

Store sign at SoNo

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Explore the Maritime Aquarium

Exterior of Maritime Aquarium

Miro Vrlik Photography /

After a grand Island hoping, let’s continue our tour by visiting the maritime aquarium!

In this place, you’ll find yourself immersed in rivers, marshes, and the open ocean, which feed the Long Island Sound.

Exhibit in the Maritime Aquarium

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

It’s a great aquarium, complete with 75 live aquarium exhibits, with more than 2,700 marine animals of 300 different species.

People in the Maritime Aquarium

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

This Long Island Sound-focused aquarium, housed in a former 1860s ironworks plant that has been converted into a state-of-the-art educational facility, attracts more than half a million people per year and is one of the state’s most popular attractions.

Through the use of a cutting-edge movie theater, touring exhibitions, and Marine Study excursions on Long Island Sound, you may spend a whole day learning about the maritime ecosystem of New England in these maritime aquariums.

Sea lion feeding in the Maritime Aquarium

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Dine at The Spread

After exploring and admiring some incredible views, take a step back and stop for some delicious food in a casual, family-friendly restaurant called the Spread.

A group of four friends with a shared interest in food and drink founded it.

Each day’s changing menu features dishes made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

Dishes include delicious sharing platters of charcuterie and cheeses, freshly made soups and salads, small plates and vegetables, main courses of various meats and poultry dishes, and seafood dishes, pasta dishes, and desserts.

Signature cocktails, specialty beers, and wines from across the world are available for purchase at discounted pricing during the bar’s bustling happy hour period.

On weekends, The Spread provides a popular brunch that is well-attended.

Have Some Great Compo Beach Experience!

Daytime view of Compo Beach

Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz /

Another beach experience here at Compo Beach!

Compo Coastline, a 29-acre stop with a large sand shoreline near Long Island Sound and the Saugatuck Waterway, is a popular family destination.

In addition to a boardwalk, pavilion, concession stand, two beach volleyball courts, large wooden playscape, restrooms, and lockers, it is adjacent to the Ned Dimes Marina.

It is disability-accessible.

The waters of Compo Beach

Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz /

Stroll at Oyster Shell Park

Oyster Shell Park, which has been restored in the previous decade, is a great place to take in the views of the harbor and the waterfronts on both the east and west sides of the Norwalk River.

With the Norwalk River Valley Trail running through it, it now includes a hilltop plaza, children’s playground, and a well-kept disc golf course, all of which are a short walk from the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion and Maritime Aquarium.

Learn Music With Wall Street Theater

A first-class entertainment venue with national and local talent in music, comedy, dance, and drama, the Wall Street Theater became Connecticut’s first cutting-edge entertainment venue.

This 1915 theater was formerly called The Regent and was home to films such as “Jaws” and “Blues Brothers,” as well as concerts.

Today, the Wall Street Theater hires rock, jazz, pop, and other musical acts from around the world as well as tribute performances.

Attending the Famous Norwalk Oyster Festival

Night scene at Norwalk Oyster Festival

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Norwalk, known to be the Oyster Town, celebrates Oyster Festival.

A five-decade tradition, the Norwalk Oyster Festival includes three days of live music, arts and crafts, loads of activities for children, and, of course, plenty of delicious oysters.

These events promote and raise awareness of global diversity through arts and culture.

A ride at Norwalk Oyster Festival

Marianne Campolongo /

The event featured craft and food vendors, kids’ activities, a kite and bubbles area, wine and beer tent, and a dining tent.

Amusements and carnival attractions will be available, as well as the Kids’ Cove, where rides, games, and other interactive activities will be offered specifically for children.

Music performance at Norwalk Oyster Festival

jomelia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Picnic at Oak Hills Park Golf Course

Looking for something to do after a satisfying meal?

The picturesque Oak Hills Park Course is home to a number of exciting leisure facilities.

It has superbly manicured undulating fairways.

Fairways that are undulating and largely follow the contours of the land characterize this 18-hole golf course that is set in a beautiful setting.

In addition to the golf course, the park is home to two walking/hiking/nature trails and the Oak Hills Tennis Center, which has eight clay tennis courts and is open year-round to the public.

Witness the Norwalk Boat Show

View of Norwalk Boat Show

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Another major Norwalk event is the Norwalk Boat Show, held at Norwalk Cove Marina on the landward side of the Calf Pasture Peninsula.

Major exhibitors like Progressive and Geico, as well as Discover Boating, Corona, and Coors Light, participate.

Top deck area of a boat at Norwalk Boat Show

Miro Vrlik Photography /

There are lots going on for youngsters as well, whether it’s boating on a special mini-lake or participating in boat-building workshops where they can design and build their own watercraft.

Yachts at Norwalk Boat Show

Miro Vrlik Photography /

Engage in a Fun and Informative Tour at SONO Switch Tower Museum

SONO switch tower museum at South Norwalk Historic District

Miro Vrlik Photography /

The 1896-built Switch Tower in South Norwalk, Connecticut, is home to the SONO Switch Tower Museum.

The origins of the “towers” used by railways to store the equipment needed to shift trains from one track to others are displayed at the SONO Switch Tower Museum.

The museum explores “Signal Station 44’s” 88-year history and the intriguing work and characters involved in switching the lines.

In the region’s crucial operation, Signal Station 44, also known as Tower 44, played a crucial role by controlling the track allocations in the Norwalk area and giving a perspective for train activities.

From its start in 1896 until its closure in 1984, The Tower continued to operate continuously.

Everyone intrigued by trains and the railway system will find the museum to be an entertaining and educational excursion.

Laugh, Jump, and Play at Sky Zone

All children, including kids at spirit, may play together at Sky Zone because there is enough area for everyone to roam around, explore, and be themselves.

Sky Zone is a component of CircusTrix, the world’s leading developer, operator, and franchisee of jumping and active leisure parks with more than 300 locations worldwide.

They are constantly coming up with spectacular new opportunities to enjoy, connect, and compete to accomplish their goal of a world where everyone plays daily.

Sky Zone is where you can leap, skip, flip, engage, laugh, and sweat until you need to rest and drink lots of water.

Every activity is fun, and athletes can develop their abilities by taking on every challenge.

Sample Drinks at Sono 1420 American Craft Distillers

The distillery picked the number “1420” as a reference to the revolutionary spirit symbolized to signify the rights of individual freedom for which the company stands.

The “SoNo” pays homage to South Norwalk, Connecticut, the distillery’s hometown, and its colorful Prohibition heritage.

They use different grains, such as hemp, to manufacture a variety of premium handmade spirits.

Among the most famous spirit contests in the world, the San Francisco World Spirit Competition recently honored the award-winning distillery double-gold.

Visitors are welcome to stop by and sample some of their delicious gins, vodkas, and whiskey-based cocktails.

Tours and tastings are available at SoNo Distillery.

You can look around their historic facilities, stop by the apothecary lab, view the distilling machinery, and sample some of the fantastic final products.

Purchase Decors at Fairfield County Antique and Design

The retail experience has recently increased since its inauguration in 2014, with around 35 dealers spread across 12,000 square feet.

Several dealers are housed in Fairfield County Antique and Design.

Each person can find something they want thanks to the more than 35 dealers who offer a variety of furniture, art, jewelry, vintage apparel accessories, and design.

Additionally, there is a wonderful art gallery with works of sculpture, paintings, and photographs created by artists across the nation.

The Fairfield County Antique and Design Center is a great place to spend a few hours if you appreciate looking at and tracking down stunning, unique pieces of décor.

See Displays at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Exterior of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Alexander Friedman /

A notable attraction in Norwalk is the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

One of the oldest and most significant samples of a Second Empire Style country house in the United States is the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

The Mansion, with its unrivaled architecture and decor, was constructed by legendary financier and railroad mogul LeGrand Lockwood between 1864 and 1868.

Interior of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

It is a superb example of the grandeur and majesty of the Victorian Period.

The house, listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1971, is the most notable illustration of this architectural and design aesthetic.

The estate has multiple top-notch displays, gorgeous Gilded Age decor, and antique furniture.

Wall design of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Other Things to Do Nearby

Walk Through the Largest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge Over the Hudson State Historic Park

At Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, walk across the world’s largest elevated pedestrian bridge, which is 2 kilometers (1.28 miles) long and spans the Hudson River.

There are no motorized vehicles permitted.

Alternatively, you may bring a picnic because there are seats and picnic tables on both sides of the path.

There are also many activities in the park, including strolling through the park with the dog, running, taking pictures, and presenting audio-visual entertainment.

Buying Souvenirs at Olde Mistick Village

A pizza shop at Olde Mistick Village

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

The majority of them sell products unique to the area and cannot be obtained anyplace else.

Everything from clothing and accessories to handicrafts and cuisine is available for purchase.

Exterior of Olde Mistick Village

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

A variety of eateries can be found in the town, as well as a theater that shows movies and holds live events.

A wide variety of events, exhibitions, and festivals are held throughout the year in this location.

Despite the fact that this isn’t your standard mall, there are contemporary amenities and plenty of parking space accessible.

Cornerstone playhouse at Olde Mistick Village

Hunter Charnow, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Norwalk is a one-of-a-kind location that offers visitors a diverse selection of retail possibilities, restaurants, and nightlife options.

These places in here are for families, friends, and loved ones.

This place has magnificent beaches and unforgettable sunsets, and it’s only 45 minutes from New York City via train.

Boat enthusiasts who enjoy both leisure boating and sports boating enjoy seaport’s protected marinas, which are popular with the state’s most distinguished protected marinas.

It is one of the most sophisticated and cultural cities in the nation.

Fairfield County’s Norwalk is a distinctive seaside destination boasting a wide range of activities, shopping, and dining options.

Located along Connecticut’s waterfront, Norwalk offers some of the greatest boating, public beaches, lighthouses, protected islands, and marinas on the East Coast.

It has a distinct culture and social class.

Known for its electric feel, the SoNo neighborhood in South Norwalk is home to the Maritime Aquarium and various other attractions such as a lighthouse tour and a sunset boat where you can take in the landscape.

Car, train, bicycle, and boat travel are all available to visitors visiting Norwalk, which has a special link to history and the seacoast.

Travelers who use personalized trip planners will find it simpler to organize their Norwalk vacations and visit some of the fantastic attractions in this city, with excursions to museums and other sites meticulously planned and timetabled.

Recognize that there is so much beauty in the world that individuals need to discover for themselves.

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