Hailed as ‘the city that works,’ Stamford is one beautiful city in the southwestern part of Connecticut, approximately 30 miles away from Manhattan.
The locals claim it to be one of the safest cities of the US – and the tourists wholeheartedly agree when they spend some time in Stamford.
The place is actually the largest financial district in the New York metropolitan region – excluding New York City – and also happens to be one of the largest concentrations of corporations, as far as the United States is concerned.
And yet, one would not expect the mesmerizing range of attractions Stamford offers, from parks to cultural centers.
Interested to know more about this city?
Here are the 20 best things to do in Stamford, Connecticut:
Take a Sightseeing Tour at Cove Island Park
The Cove, one of the luxurious neighborhoods of Stamford, is full of surprising attractions.
A perfect example of such attractions is Cove Island Park, a sprawling 83-acre state-of-the-art park.
There are many recreational facilities around, including a walk-run trail, a large playground, a perfect path for roller skaters and cyclists, a luxurious lawn area, a small salt marsh, mudflats, and the embayments of Cove River and Holly Pond.
Since it’s an island park, one can also find two pristine sandy beaches there, offering picturesque views of the surrounding glittering waters.
One can also gaze at the Long Island Sound while strolling through the park, a place where one can find true peace.
Pay a Visit to Stamford Museum & Nature Center
Once you step into the woodland of North Stamford, you will find the beautiful Stamford Museum & Nature Center.
Built in a mock Tudor style of the late 1920s, the museum is on the grounds of the half-timbered Bendel Mansion.
It is a museum about art, nature, history, and agricultural sciences.
The property, along with the museum and gallery, also contains a 10-acre working farm, an impressive nature center, a planetarium, an observatory, and a research telescope.
Visitors can also have fun looking at the otter pond, and children can play in a large playground.
There are many activities and events organized here, promising wholesome development in a fun and exciting environment.
Admire the First Presbyterian Church
One of the ethereal places in Stamford is the First Presbyterian Church, located at 1101 Bedford Street.
It was designed by Wallace K. Harrison, a renowned architecture.
It boasts a highly unusual shape, which leads to the nickname "The Fish Church."
The Nestle Carillon, initially of 36 bells but now of 56-bell carillon, can be found nestling comfortably in the towering 260-foot-tall Maguire Memorial Tower.
The humungous stained-glass windows of the sanctuary – which has more than 20,0000 pieces of faceted glass depicting the moving story of Crucifixion and the Resurrection – are something that never fails to impress the visitors.
This church is a fine example of modernist architecture, offering a serenely spiritual experience.
Visit the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens
The Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens is a beautiful addition to Stamford attractions; it is an informative one, too.
The arboretum is located just adjacent to the Stamford Museum and is one of the much-visited botanical attractions.
It is described as a ‘living classroom,’ where you can learn and be among 3500 different specimens, spread in 12 gardens.
Most of the species in the property have been collected from New England, with the rest of them being brought in from the Caribbean, Africa, United States, and Mexico.
It is spread over 93 acres and is characterized by beautiful parkland, landscapes, gardens, and even hiking trails, which all focus on the complete ecology of Southwestern New England.
Explore Bedford Street
Stamford Town center is as exciting as the other parts of the city, filled with glamorous shops and restaurants.
Bedford Street is the first place you should head to when in Stamford.
With its European Ambience and bustling vibes, the area instantly welcomes visitors, locals, and tourists.
There are also a handful of amazing restaurants on the street, such as Lucky’s Classic Burger & Malt Shop, Bedford Thai, and OCHA Thai & Japanese Cuisine.
There’s also a neat little park, Latham Park, where one can casually stroll around after having ice-creams at 16 Handles.
You can also enjoy some entertaining documentaries and films at the beautiful Avon Theatre.
Have Fun in Fort Stamford Park
One of the surviving historical places in Stamford is the Fort Stamford Site, a public park on 900 Westover Road.
It was included in the National Register of Historic Place in 1975 and is a mosaic of 340-year-old remnants of the military earthworks built during the American Revolutionary War.
The park is located near the Mianus River and Long Island Sound.
The site includes the Goodbody Garden, which is designed in a formal style.
Make sure you especially visit the park in spring or early summer, when the place is filled with peonies, magnolias, and fluttering butterflies.
Stroll Through the Cummings Park
Stamford is blessed with many parks, one of which is Cummings Park.
Located on Long Island Sound, it is a 79-acre park filled with many attractions, such as green space, a handful of sports facilities, a boardwalk, fishing pier, a number of pavilions, and a perfectly stocked snack bar.
The park provides the visitors with full access to the serene Cummings Beach, surrounded by little islands on Westcott Cove.
People can have a leisurely game of basketball, tennis, and even softball; go up the nearby hill, or just enjoy the calm and inviting vibes of Cummings Park.
Grab a Beer at Half Full Brewery
Half Full Brewery is located on Homestead Avenue in an industrial building you won’t look at twice.
However, people turn their heads to this building because of the ‘beer’y times it promises!
The brewery's taproom is an exciting area, providing a vast choice of beers, including many IPAs, a blonde ale, a pale ale, some good fruit-infused sour beers, and also a coffee porter.
While they don’t serve food, a handful of food trucks visit the place regularly; you can order a pizza too!
Half Full Brewery also allows kids and dogs in their premises, meaning families and dog owners are heartily welcomed here.
Tour the Stamford Center for the Arts
The Stamford Center for the Arts is divided into two facilities located on Atlantic Street – the restored Palace Theatre and the Rich Forum, both of them relatively near to each other.
The Palace Theatre, as the name implies, is a Palace-Esque, magnificent theatre built-in 1927.
The place started as a stage for vaudeville, which was then used as a movie theater for more than 40 years.
The theatre organizes numerable shows, such as off-Broadway musicals, tours of recording artists, concerts of the STAMFORD Symphony Orchestra, stand-up acts of popular comedians (eg., Alec Baldwin), and magic shows for children.
Visit the Ferguson Library
Everyone loves aesthetically beautiful, well-maintained libraries, even if they are not avid readers.
The Ferguson Library is one such library located on Atlantic Street.
It is one of the largest public libraries in Connecticut and was designed in a Georgian Revival Style from 1910.
It is named after Hon. John Day Ferguson, well-known for his focused devotion to education and learning, who left a hefty sum of money to build a Public Library after his death.
The library has an unfathomably vast collection of books available for visitors to read or rent them out.
The library conducts workshops and other activities frequently.
There’s also a ‘Friends of Ferguson Library,’ a used book store and a Starbucks branch.
Have Fun With Captain John’s Tiki Tours
Don’t just admire the pristine waters from Stamford’s beaches– go right in between them to admire them!
Captain John’s Tiki Tours will help in this, as they organize guided and crewed boat tours.
These tours are of the Norwalk and Greenwich Islands as well as Long Island Sound.
These tours, which started in Harbor Point in 2018, are family-friendly and let will let you see historic lighthouses, skyscrapers, local rivers, preserves, and natural and beautiful landscapes.
Tiki Taxi trips are also organized, where you get a commendable Hawaiian experience.
The tours are taken by Captain John himself, with his professional and friendly team of staff.
Wander Around Mianus River Park
Covering the border between Stamford and Greenwich is the expansive and absolutely beautiful Mianus River Park.
The park spans over 400 acres and is filled with multiple trails crisscrossing the lush green woods.
You will be greeted by the cheerful sounds of wild chirping birds, and you will spot chipmunks and squirrels, among other animals.
It is home to the 20.3-mile Mianus River and is a part of the series of conservation areas of the greater Mianus Greenway.
Visitors can enjoy exploring the wetlands, unusual rock formations, tributary streams, a beautiful wildflower garden, and even a cave!
A day trip in this wilderness sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Take a Stroll at Chelsea Piers Fitness
Chelsea Piers is a hit among all the locals and tourists.
It is an amazing fitness entertainment complex built in 2012.
Inspired by Chelsea in NYC, the place is spread over 400,000 sq. ft., filled with so many facilities.
Along with the fitness center and skating rinks, Chelsea Piers also has a baseball center, basketball and volleyball courts, squash and tennis clubs, an adventure center, the Splash Zone, and a number of pools.
The center organizes Pilates and yoga classes and even massages, offering a relaxing getaway.
Catch a Performance of the Curtain Call
As the longest-running community theater group, Curtain Call, Inc. performs full-scale shows in two locations: the traditional 184-seat Kweskin Theatre and the cabaret-style Dressing Room Theatre, a three-quarter thrust stage space.
Curtain Call, Inc. came into existence to offer entertainment for the community and foster an atmosphere of learning.
Educational programs offered by the theater company include Young Actors Workshops, Young Writers Workshop, Acting for Kids, Improv For Kids, Comedy for Teenagers, and Acting Workshop.
Visit the Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church
Located in downtown Stamford, Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church is a historic Anglo-Catholic congregation welcoming to all.
Founded in 1861 as St. John's Church's mission in Stamford, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church is a recognized Victorian church in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The church includes a parish hall, chancel, and the cloister that houses the parish office and sacristy.
The church's patron saint, the Apostle Saint Andrew, was a fisherman; hence the church's iconic red doors are embellished with golden wooden fish signifying the church's patron saint.
Explore the Stamford Historical Society, Inc
The Stamford Historical Society Inc. is where you can learn anything and everything about Stamford.
It is an educational and research institution responsible for collecting, preserving, interpreting, and even exhibiting materials and artworks related to Stamford.
It was established in 1901, with the aim of not only preserving the local history but also offering the community opportunities to learn about the same.
It does an amazing job of educating the visitors, as there is a plethora of exhibitions, displays, and demonstrations available, not to forget the lectures, special events, and educational programs organized here.
With its pristine beaches, woodlands, and hiking trails, one won’t believe that Stamford is also the place where popular shows are taped and produced, such as The Jerry Springer Show, Maury, and The Steve Wilkos Show.
It is home to nine of the Fortune 500 companies and other renowned corporations.
Stamford has an abundance of natural, educational, socio-cultural attractions and landmarks dispersed all over the city.
Relax With the Sound of Running Water at Mill River Park
This park used to be an eyesore on the city's outskirts, but it's a popular tourist destination today.
The Rippowam River separates the West Side of Stamford from the city center.
The river banks were a sad spot until 2007, when the city initiated a six-year river rehabilitation effort.
Locals have significantly benefited from Mill River Park, which opened in 2013.
David & Marian Nissen Carousel, featuring 30 handmade animals, is the park's most popular attraction.
The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Fountain stand on the other side of Mill River Park. In the winter, the fountain transforms into a skating rink.
The walkways on both banks are undulating, weaving through the lush foliage. As you gaze out over the ocean, you'll find lots of places to sit back and relax.
Just sitting in the center of a metropolis and listening to the sound of a trickling river is a fantastic experience.
Bring Home Antiques From Avery & Dash Collections
Antiquing is one of the best things to do in Stamford.
Stamford's antique sector is a treasure trove for collectors of specialized and well-preserved antiques.
These aren't your typical little towns in upstate New York sort of shops.
They're high-end antique shops located in the industrial area in the city that specialize in fine and pricey antiques.
Avery & Dash is one of Stamford's best antique shops, specializing in 18th, 19th, and 20th-century furnishings and decorative accessories.
Avery & Dash has one of the most spectacular collections of fine art, pottery, silver, clocks, jewelry, textiles, and exquisite furniture, all of which are available for purchase.
Since its inception in 1999, it has swiftly established itself as the go-to option for the most discerning antique collectors.
Some of our dealers come from countries like the UK, Europe, China, and Japan, to mention a few.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Wander Around Philip Johnson Glass House
A small drive to the east of the Stamford Museum would take you to the famed Glass House, a masterpiece of modern architecture.
It was built in 1949 by Philip Johnson as his weekend house.
The property was opened to the public after Johnson’s death, who used the place for more than 50 years.
The house boasts impressive minimalism, geometry, reflective properties.
The bathroom is the only area with opaque walls made in a brick cylinder.
Guided tours are taken around the property, which is partly a shuttle tour and partly a 4-mile walk through the vast estate, including a Brick House for Johnson’s guests.
No matter the time of the year, Stamford, Connecticut, has plenty to keep you busy.
Summer is the best time of year to visit the beaches of Connecticut.
Stamford's fall is breathtaking.
Moreover, the Greenwich-Stamford region is a great starting place for exploring the remainder of Connecticut and the New England area.
Explore Stamford's cultural scene throughout the winter months.
It's also an excellent option for weekend getaways from New York City by train because of the area's perfect train system.