Like much of Connecticut, outsiders often treat the town of Newington, Connecticut, as just a town to drive-through. But this charming little town is actually steeped in history and brimming with exciting activities!
Just picture it:
Exploring scenic parks, immersing in historical sites and indulging in a rich culinary scene.
Newington is the ideal destination for a memorable day trip. Are you ready to explore this cute town and find the best things to do in Newington, CT?
Then without further ado:
- Explore Newington, CT’s history and attractions – from Mill Pond Park to the Iwo Jima Survivors’ Memorial Park.
- Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking at Churchill Park Overflow or ice skating at Newington Arena.
- Visit nearby towns and cities for even more things to do in the Hartford area.
A Brief History of Newington, CT
Newington, in central Connecticut, has a nearly 375-year history, despite only being a separate town since 1871. It started as a borough of Wethersfield in 1636.
The town of Newington represents Connecticut in miniature. It’s long had a history of benefiting from being between 2 cities. In its case: it borders the capital city of Hartford, and the Hartford and New Haven Turnpike was a boon for the town when it first opened in 1798.
And with the introduction of railroads in the 1830s, the town came into its own. Newington grew in population and area by the second half of the 19th century, similar to the neighboring town of Wethersfield, CT. The railroad encouraged it to shake-off historic names, like Pipestave Swamp.
In 1871, West Farms, as it was called, had a population of 871 people with 132 dwellings and 130 farms. Wethersfield town leaders refused to provide funds to improve roads and help West Farms reach railroads. So Newington formally declared its independence on July 10. In the late 1800s, the town adopted the motto “growth and progress” to match its optimistic exuberance. And local picked the name for its meaning, “new town in the meadow”. The new town divided itself into four districts, with four main roads running from north to south.
In Newington, modernization meant more than just trolleys, automobiles, and buses. The town’s political leaders aided this transition by paving dirt roads, which replaced the trolley service in 1937.
By the 1940s, Newington’s population had skyrocketed. Locals renamed the Hartford/New Haven Turnpike the Berlin Turnpike in 1942. And Mill Pond, now known as “gasoline alley,” became an important part of the town’s commercial life. That said, the town’s manufacturing base faced challenges. A shrinking defense industry and the departure of businesses such as Torrington Company and Loctite were a major hit. And yet a lucky combination thanks to its location saved Newington from a more severe economic downturn:
- The success of shopping centers
- Development of residential areas and suburbs
- And the explosion of small businesses along the Berlin Turnpike
Curious to know more?
To learn more about Newington’s past,
- Visit the Newington Historical Society
- Or read “The Centennial History of Newington, Connecticut” by Elizabeth Baxter
Top Things to do in Newington, CT
Newington is packed with attractions and activities suitable for all ages. Some highlights include:
- Verdant parks
- Fascinating historical sites
- Exciting festivals
- Recreational activities
This charming town caters to a variety of interests, starting with local residents. There’s a wealth of options, here are some top things to do in Newington, CT!
Mill Pond Park
Located in the heart of Newington, Mill Pond Park is the town’s largest park, offering an array of amenities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the features of Mill Pond Park include:
- Sports fields
- Outdoor pool
- Basketball court
- Walking trails
The name of the park comes from a sawmill built near the West Farms area in 1860.
Mill Pond Park is the perfect spot for a little relaxation and connecting with nature. Whether you’re up for a friendly soccer game or a peaceful stroll amidst beautiful scenery, this park is a sweet stop.
Mill Pond Falls
Tucked away within Mill Pond Park, Mill Pond Falls is a picturesque waterfall that adds a touch of tranquility to the bustling park. This charming waterfall is a beloved local landmark and a popular spot for leisurely walks and idealized photos.
Remember to bring your camera and seize the opportunity to capture the picturesque beauty of Mill Pond Falls!
Iwo Jima Survivors’ Memorial Park
A poignant tribute to Connecticut’s brave servicemen, Iwo Jima Survivors’ Memorial Park honors those who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Not far from the American Radio Relay League headquarters, this park features a replica of the famous flag-raising photograph and an eternal flame.
This moving memorial site deserves a moment of reflection and respect.
Lucy Robbins Welles Library
Established in 1939, the Lucy Robbins Welles Library is a cherished local establishment. It offers an extensive collection of books, e-books, audiobooks, DVDs, and computers. It also provides engaging educational programs for all ages, including students from both public schools and private schools.
Tracing back to its establishment by Fanny A. Welles and Mary Welles Eddy, the library carries a rich history.
Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station
If you’re a history enthusiast or a radio buff, you’ll find the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station in Newington intriguing. This historic radio station was named after the inventor of the well-known car silencer and a pioneer in amateur radio. The station offers tours and even guest operating positions for licensed amateurs.
Visiting the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station and getting an up-close look at:
- Maxim’s roll-top desk
- The post-WWII-era transmitter
- The rotary spark gap transmitter
- The current transmitters
Offers an intriguing journey through the evolution of amateur radio and its profound impact on the development of communication technology.
Step back in time at Newington Junction. This historic district that boasts a mix of architectural styles and buildings from different time periods. Comprising three historic districts:
- And West
Newington Junction offers a leafy atmosphere and New England architecture dating back 300 years.
There are two stunning houses to visit, open to the public by the Newington Historical Society. Be sure to admire the architectural charm of this quaint district, if that’s something you’re into.
Newington Historical Society
Dedicated to preserving and promoting Newington’s rich history, the Newington Historical Society:
- Collects and stores artifacts, documents, and photographs related to the town’s past
- Shares its knowledge and passion for history with the community through educational programs, lectures, workshops, and tours
- Ensures that Newington’s heritage remains alive and accessible for generations to come
Gen. Martin Kellogg House
A visit to the Gen. Martin Kellogg House is like stepping into a time capsule of early American history. This historic site showcases Federal-period architecture and a stunning collection of Meissen porcelain.
The house, named after Revolutionary War hero General Martin Kellogg, now serves as a museum. Open for public tours, it provides an opportunity for visitors to delve into the rich history of Newington and its prominent figures.
Enoch Kelsey House
The Enoch Kelsey House in Newington is a preserved historic site that offers a glimpse into the town’s past, featuring:
- Unique artwork
- Restored wooden paneling
- An original beehive oven
- A barn loom
Open for public tours, it is a must-see attraction for history enthusiasts and curious individuals. The Enoch Kelsey House, built in 1772, is a historic site showcasing early American architecture and artifacts. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a unique glimpse into the lives of Newington’s early inhabitants.
Newington Waterfall Festival
Celebrate the tiniest waterfall in the US at the Newington Waterfall Festival. This one-day event is filled with:
- Live music
- Activities for kids
- A farmers’ market
- Arts and craft stalls
- Food vendors
The festival’s highlight is the Artist’s Chalk Walk. Market Square transforms into an art gallery, showcasing the creativity and talent of local artists. Don’t miss this annual celebration of art, community, and the beauty of nature in Newington!
Montana Nights Axe Throwing
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, look no further than Montana Nights Axe Throwing, New England’s largest axe-throwing attraction. Compete in a variety of throwing games while sipping on craft beer and enjoying other entertainment options like pool, chess tables, and arcade games.
Churchill Park is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts. The hiking trails, picnicking areas, and birdwatching are the main draws. With picnic tables, benches, and a playground, this park provides a serene setting to reconnect with nature and enjoy some fresh air.
Whether you’re lacing up your hiking boots to hit the hiking trails or packing a picnic to bask in the sunshine, this beautiful outdoor oasis awaits you.
Get your ice skates ready for Newington Arena. This multi-purpose sports facility offers a variety of recreational activities. Enjoy ice skating or try your hand at hockey. The Arena offers public skating sessions, figure skating lessons, and ice hockey programs. It’s a fun and welcoming atmosphere for all ages and skill levels.
Strike up some fun at Callahan’s Bowl-O-Rama. This family-friendly bowling alley in Newington has modern amenities and a lively atmosphere. This bowling alley offers:
- Multiple lanes
- A snack bar
- Arcade games
- A pro shop
It provides an entertaining experience for both seasoned bowlers and newcomers alike.
Assemble your friends and family, prepare for some fun at Callahan’s Bowl-O-Rama, and show off some spirit!
Restaurants in Newington, CT
Newington, CT boasts a diverse culinary scene that can satisfy any palate. Whether you’re craving juicy burgers, delicious pizzas, exotic international dishes, or cozy coffee shops, you’ll find it here. Experience the delightful flavors of Newington and immerse yourself in the town’s vibrant food culture.
Omar Coffee Company
If you’re seeking authentic, small-batch artisanal coffee, Omar Coffee Company is the place to go. This family-owned coffee roasting company, located in Newington, uses a traditional drum roaster. They carefully roast each blend at low temperatures to extract the best flavors.
Omar Coffee Company offers a vast selection of coffee blends and flavors. It’s the perfect spot for both coffee connoisseurs and casual drinkers. Don’t miss the chance to savor their exceptional brews and take home a bag of your favorite blend!
Yannis Pizza Restaurant
Yannis Pizza Restaurant might seem inconspicuous, tucked away in a corner and easy to miss. However, it’s a gem worth stumbling upon, as we did. This humble Italian joint serves more than just pizza, pasta, and grinders. It also offers a selection of Greek dishes. Despite its hidden location, it’s a must-visit spot, especially for their amazing pizza and grinders.
Savor American cuisine and craft beers at Wood-N-Tap, a popular restaurant and bar chain in Connecticut. With a diverse menu featuring delicious dishes and an extensive selection of craft beers, Wood-N-Tap provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy a satisfying meal.
Wood-N-Tap is more than just a place for tasty food and drink offerings. It also boasts a full bar and outdoor seating. Plus, it features live music, making it an ideal spot for an entertaining night out with friends and family.
Hotels, Inns, and Places to Stay in Newington, CT
If you’d rather stay in the area to poke around a few more towns up this way, you’ll find the standard chain hotels in Newington.
For some more unique places to stay, you’ll have to head a little out of town:
- The Inn at Middletown is about 30 minutes away in the town of Middletown, CT
- Delamar West Hartford is about 15 minutes north of Newington, in West Hartford, Connecticut
- Drive east to the town of Wethersfield, CT, for the Silas W Robbins House
- Or head across the Connecticut River for the Connecticut River Valley Inn in Glastonbury, CT
- The Goodwin Hotel is a boutique hotel option in downtown Hartford, CT, the capital city
Directions to Newington, CT
Planning your visit to Newington is easy, with various transportation options available.
The town of Newington is smack-dab in between I-84 and I-91, so it’s an easy drive from whichever highway has less traffic.
If you’re traveling by train, the nearest station is Hartford Union Station, served by Amtrak and CT Rail, with taxi and bus connections to Newington.
If you’re flying into the area, the closest major airport is Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks, CT. From there you can rent a car or take a taxi to Newington.
More Things to Do Near Newington, CT
If you’re looking to expand your Newington adventure even further, there are plenty of unique Connecticut attractions and activities nearby. Explore historic sites, craft breweries, a renowned public golf course, and more just a short drive away.
Cedar Hill Cemetery
Located in the city of Hartford, Connecticut, Cedar Hill Cemetery is a historic burial ground featuring notable gravesites of politicians, artists, and business leaders, as well as beautiful monuments. Wander the peaceful grounds and pay your respects to the likes of Katharine Hepburn, John Pierpoint Morgan, and Samuel Colt, among others.
Experience 18th-century life through the preserved historic houses of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. Comprising the Joseph Webb House, the Silas Deane House, and the Isaac Stevens House, this museum offers a unique glimpse into the lives of early Americans. This museum is a short drive from Newington, in the historic district of neighboring Wethersfield, Connecticut.
Alvarium Beer Company
For craft beer enthusiasts, a visit to Alvarium Beer Company in nearby New Britain is one of the best breweries in Connecticut. Sample unique brews and enjoy the welcoming taproom, complete with shuffleboard, foosball, board games, hand-crafted wooden tables, and digital menus over the bar.
Their 13 brews on tap range from:
- hoppy and fruity New England IPAs and DIPAs
- coffee stout
- Mexican lager with lime peel
- Japanese rice lager
- German wheat beer
Dinosaur State Park
Embark on a prehistoric adventure at Dinosaur State Park, home to North America’s largest dinosaur track site. In addition to the impressive tracks, the park offers educational exhibits and an arboretum with walking trails.
Channel your inner paleontologist and delve into the captivating world of dinosaurs at this unique spot in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. It’s certainly one of the more unique state parks in Connecticut.
Stanley Golf Course
Tee off at Stanley Golf Course, a public golf facility in New Britain boasting 27 holes, a driving range, and an on-site restaurant. Known for its stunning scenery and challenging layout, Stanley Golf Course offers an enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels.
Regardless if you’re a seasoned pro or a golfing novice, this course offers a scenic backdrop for a memorable round of golf.
Copernican Observatory and Planetarium
Gaze at the stars and explore the universe at the Copernican Observatory and Planetarium, located in New Britain. Offering free planetarium shows and telescope viewings, this educational attraction is perfect for astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds alike.
The Copernican Observatory and Planetarium, with its knowledgeable staff and engaging programs, is a destination that shouldn’t be missed by anyone passionate about the cosmos.
Newington, Connecticut, offers a wealth of attractions, activities, and history that will captivate and delight visitors of all ages. From its rich historical roots to its vibrant culinary scene, lush parks, and engaging recreational activities, the town truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, Newington is the perfect destination for your next adventure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Newington known for?
Newington is famous for its vibrant commercial and industrial sectors, historic Connecticut landmarks, and attractions such as Mill Pond Park and the Waterfall Festival. It is also home to the American Radio Relay League’s headquarters, W1AW. It’s also the hometown of several NFL players who played for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, plus a gold medalist or two.
Is Newington CT a good place to live?
Newington has a great community with many younger people, clean and safe streets, strong public transportation, elementary schools, proximity to other towns and Hartford, as well as a skate park and walking trails. It’s definitely a good place to live!
Is Newington CT a town or city?
Newington is a town located in Hartford County, Connecticut. Founded in 1871 and home to 30,527 people, it is 8 miles south of the capital city of Hartford. Newington is a vibrant community with a rich history and a bright future. It is home to a variety of businesses, restaurants, and attractions,
What is Berlin CT known for?
Berlin, CT is known as the home of “The Yankee Peddler” and is situated in the center of the state. With hot air balloon rides, shopping, golfing, and hiking available, Berlin offers an array of attractions for visitors to enjoy. From the historic downtown to the nearby parks, Berlin is a great place to explore and experience the beauty of Connecticut. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, Berlin has something for everyone. From the
What are some must-see attractions in Newington, CT?
Don’t miss out on exploring Mill Pond Park, visiting the Iwo Jima Survivors’ Memorial Park, checking out Lucy Robbins Welles Library, and attending the Newington Waterfall Festival – all must-see attractions in Newington, CT. These attractions offer something for everyone, from outdoor activities to cultural experiences. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip in CT or a weekend getaway in Connecticut, Newington has something for you.