Winter in Stamford, Connecticut, offers a delightful blend of indoor and outdoor activities. Whatever you do can cater to both cozy and adventurous souls. Whether you’re looking to explore museums, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, or hit the ice, Stamford has something for everyone. So, bundle up, and let’s dive into the top charming picks for things to do in Stamford, CT, in winter!
Indoor Activities for a Cozy Winter Day
On those chilly winter days, Stamford has you covered with various indoor activities. Each provides that feeling of toasty warmth and fun entertainment. Visiting the Stamford Museum & Nature Center to explore art, history, nature, and agriculture exhibits is always fun. Or you can get creative at The Ferguson Library with its children’s and teen programs.
If you’re in the mood for live performances, catch a show at The Palace Theatre. This spot offers two venues for plays, music concerts, and dance recitals. These indoor attractions are perfect for all ages, making them ideal destinations for families and friends. Any group seeking to escape the cold can still enjoy Stamford’s vibrant culture.
So, let’s delve into each of these cozy winter day activities!
Visit the Stamford Museum & Nature Center
The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is a true gem of the state. It combines art, history, nature, and agricultural sciences for all ages to enjoy. Visitors can also get creative with recycled materials in the Recycled ReCreations Makerspace. Plus, they can stroll on the walking trails, do some bird-watching, and relax by the babbling brook. Finally, kids can have fun at the playground and meet animals at the Heckscher Farm.
All of these fun activities are located at 39 Scofieldtown Road in Stamford, Connecticut.
Looking for an Insider’s Tip? Sundays are perfect for the Sunday Art Explorers program at the Overbrook Nature Center & Gift Shop. Kids can get creative and make a craft to take home, and you might even find a gerbil, box turtle, and corn and rat snakes on display inside the museum.
Get Creative at The Ferguson Library
The Ferguson Library, located at One Public Library Plaza in Stamford, offers so much for families. There are a plethora of children’s and teen programs that cater to various interests and age groups. Their programming includes:
- Baby Time
- Toddler Time
- Family Story Time
- Summer Reading Club
- Book Discussions
- Preschool Story Time
Teens have plenty of options to get involved in. This includes Teen Reads, Book Discussions, Booklists, Volunteering, and Summer Reading Club. Plus, there are special events and vacation week programs. Such activities allow teens to engage with books in a meaningful way.
Don’t forget about the library’s traveling branch, the Bookmobile! This mobile library has been bringing books to people since 1940 and is available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The Ferguson Library is a wonderful destination for fostering creativity and a love of reading during the winter season.
Catch a Show at The Palace Theatre
Located in downtown Stamford, The Palace Theatre is a historic and lovingly restored venue. It hosts plays, music concerts, and dance recitals for the community. Originally a vaudeville house designed by Thomas W. Lamb, it opened in 1927 and fell into disrepair until its renovation in 1983. The theatre now boasts over 1500 seats and an enlarged stage. There are new dressing rooms and technical support facilities, alongside improved services. These additions and repairs make it a sight to behold.
The Palace Theatre has welcomed renowned performers, including:
- Trevor Noah
- The Temptations
- Tony Bennett
Such headliners showcase a diverse range of top-quality acts. Whether you’re a fan of comedy, music, or dance, this historic gem offers a cozy and memorable experience for all who attend.
First Presbyterian Church
A modernist landmark known for its unusual shape is the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford. Wallace K. Harrison designed the Fish Church and has a 260-foot-tall Maguire Memorial Tower as well as a 56-bell carillon. The church is shaped like a fish, a symbol used in early Christianity. Over 20,000 faceted glass windows depict the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection in the sanctuary. A 32-foot-tall wood-faced cross dominates the Chancel.
Outdoor Winter Adventures
To fully embrace the frosty outdoors, Stamford offers a selection of outdoor winter adventures. Ice skate at Cove Island Park, take a winter walk at Mianus River Park or enjoy snowy fun at Mill River Park. These picturesque settings offer the perfect backdrop for creating lasting memories. Friends and family can gather while taking in the natural beauty of Stamford in the winter months.
You can be an experienced ice skater or a first-time snowshoer. Regardless, these outdoor activities are perfect for enjoying the crisp, fresh air. Plus, anyone can experience the excitement that winter in Stamford has to offer.
Ice Skating at Cove Island Park
Cove Island Park along the Long Island Sound, offers a fantastic winter activity for all ages. Ice skating at the Terry Conners Ice Rink! This park turns into a winter wonderland during the winter season, providing an ideal setting for a day of fun on the ice.
In addition to ice skating, Cove Island Park boasts an 83-acre park, beach, and recreation area. These amenities make it a perfect destination for year-round enjoyment. Visitors can still enjoy sandy CT beaches and a children’s play area during the warmer months. Plus, the one-mile loop is perfect for walking, running, rollerblading, and cycling. Plus, with some blankets, picnicking on the expansive lawn areas can be super cozy even during the cold.
Winter Walks at Mianus River Park
Mianus River Park, a 400-acre forested nature park in Stamford, offers a serene setting for scenic winter walks. With mild to moderate trails, it is perfect for hiking, jogging, mountain biking, fishing, and exploring. Plus, it’s pet-friendly for those who want to bring their furry friends. Just be sure to keep them on a leash!
The park has a large hardwood forest, wetlands, unique rock formations, a cave, and a wildflower garden. All this nature creates a picturesque landscape for winter walks.
The Mianus Greenway conservation areas within the park safeguard the Mianus River and its watershed. The latter is an essential water source in the region.
A walk through the Mianus River Park allows a lot more than just enjoying the area’s natural beauty. It also supports the conservation efforts that protect this valuable ecosystem.
Snowy Fun at Mill River Park
Mill River Park, located in Downtown Stamford, Connecticut, is an all-year-round destination. However, when the snow falls, it transforms into a winter playground perfect for families. The park features a discovery center, carousel, skating center, display fountain, dog park, and playground. These amenities ensure there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
You can stop by to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or sled down the gentle slopes. Mill River Park offers a variety of winter activities for the whole family. After a day of snowy fun, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and create lasting memories in this charming winter wonderland.
Winter Scramble at Fort Stamford Park
This botanical garden in a residential area is a nice stopover on the way to Mianus River State Park. In the wintertime, it’s a peaceful place for a leisurely stroll. The vine-covered gazebo is a popular location for selfies and family photos. You can also find the ruins of the old Fort Stamford, active from 1781 to 1783, in the garden. The Stamford Garden Club is responsible for the beauty of the Goodbody Garden, as well as the stunning blossoms. Come back in the late spring or early summer, when the flowers are at their most beautiful.
Winter Wanderings at Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens
The Arboretum is a 93-acre family-friendly oasis with nine color-coded trails and 12 gardens. They’re admittedly not much to look at in the winter, but the space is still lovely. It’s a tranquil setting for visitors to explore, such as climbing hills, visiting a pond, or getting lost among the trees. And, best of all, admission is free. The Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens also hosts classes and activities throughout the year and is dog-friendly, making it an ideal spot for morning or afternoon strolls with your four-legged companion. The “secret head scavenger hunt” is a fun activity for kids that involves finding hidden faces within tree bark.
Stamford’s Winter Dining Scene
When the temperature drops, there’s nothing like indulging in comfort food or sipping on a warm beverage. Stamford’s winter dining scene offers a delightful variety of comfort food at local eateries. There are also hot chocolate havens and cozy pubs and bars to satisfy your cravings and keep you warm during the colder months.
You can be in the mood for a hearty meal, a steaming cup of cocoa, or a relaxing evening at a welcoming pub. Regardless, Stamford’s winter dining scene has something for everyone. So, let’s explore some of the top dining options in Stamford during the winter season.
Comfort Food at Local Eateries
Stamford boasts a diverse range of local eateries that serve mouth-watering comfort food to warm you up during the cold winter months. Cafe Silvium’s Italian cuisine and Elm Street Diner‘s all-American classics are some staples in the area. Still, there’s no shortage of delicious options to satisfy your cravings. Other notable Stamford eateries include Barcelona Wine Bar, L’Ostal, and Farmer’s Table. Each offers unique flavors and dishes perfect for a cozy winter meal.
For gluten-free options, Bedford Hall Craft Kitchen & Bar on Bedford Street offers a variety of tasty dishes. Both can accommodate dietary restrictions so you can enjoy your meal peacefully.
For noodle lovers, Mecha is a must-visit spot in town, offering an array of flavorful noodle dishes to warm your soul.
Hot Chocolate Havens
Nothing warms you up quite like a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and Stamford has plenty of spots to indulge in this winter treat. Cafe Aroma, Mast Market, Adams Chocolate, La Fenice, and Cocoa are just some of Stamford’s top hot chocolate havens. Each offers a unique take on this classic beverage, making it special each time.
If you’re venturing further into Greenwich, more hot chocolate havens await. You’ll never be too far from a comforting cup of cocoa. So, treat yourself to a rich and creamy hot chocolate as you explore the winter wonders of Stamford and Greenwich.
Cozy Pubs & Bars
When the winter chill sets in, there’s no better way to warm up than by cozying up in a welcoming pub or bar. Stamford offers a variety of cozy establishments that are perfect for socializing. So, grab some friends and enjoy a drink in a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Casey’s Tavern, located at 85 Woodside Street, is popular for its pub grub, burgers, Shephard’s Pie, corned beef, sandwiches, and curry.
Another favorite among Stamford locals is Colony Grill. This post-prohibition tavern and local chain specializes in thin-crust pizzas. The crux of their pizza is that it’s topped with their signature “hot oil.” All you have to do is pair with a craft beer or casual wine, and you’ll have a fantastic dinner. Colony Grill’s cozy ambiance and delicious offerings make it an ideal spot for a relaxing winter evening out.
Winter Shopping in Stamford
While the winter weather may have you bundled up, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some retail therapy. Stamford offers a variety of shopping experiences that are perfect for the winter season. Go antiquing near Canal Street or visit holiday markets to find unique gifts, home décor, and more.
From vintage treasures to festive holiday finds, you’ll have a field day of buying new items. Stamford’s winter shopping scene provides an enjoyable and leisurely experience for anyone. It’s especially good for those wanting to explore the city’s retail offerings during the colder months.
Antiquing Near Canal Street
Canal Street in Stamford is a treasure trove for those looking to discover vintage and antique items. The street has many antique shops and galleries with interesting and one-of-a-kind items. Hamptons Antique Galleries, for instance, spans four floors and features antiques dating back to the 17th century.
Another popular spot is the Antique and Artisan Gallery. This place boasts a bright, clean space that highlights even the smallest and most unique pieces. Here, you can find furniture, décor, or collectibles. Regardless of your goals, Canal Street’s antique scene will surely satisfy your shopping desires.
Stamford is home to several holiday markets for all your shopping needs. Each offers festive shopping experiences for locals and visitors alike. The SM&NC Holiday Market features many incredible finds in the museum’s courtyard. Vendors sell handmade items, holiday decorations, and more. It creates a festive atmosphere perfect for gift shopping.
Another popular holiday market in Stamford is the Stamford Town Center Holiday Market. This takes place in the mall’s courtyard, showcasing a variety of vendors. Vendors offer handmade items and holiday decorations to help you find the perfect gifts for your loved ones.
Don’t forget to check out Arts & Crafts on Bedford. This street-style market features handicrafts from local and regional artists.
Winter Festivals & Events
The winter season in Stamford is filled with festive events and celebrations that unite the community. Anyone will love the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular and the various New Year’s Eve celebrations. Here, there’s no shortage of winter festivities to enjoy. So, grab your calendar, and let’s explore some of Stamford’s top winter festivals and events!
You may be looking for family-friendly activities or a night out with friends. Regardless, Stamford’s winter events will provide lasting memories and a lot of holiday cheer.
Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular
The Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular is an annual event that takes place in November. It draws visitors and locals alike to the streets of downtown Stamford. This vibrant parade features marching bands, floats, and other entertainment. These activities make it a must-attend event for those seeking a lively winter celebration.
The parade kicks off at the intersection of Summer Street and Hoyt Street at noon on Sunday, November 20. It then heads southbound towards Broad Street. With an array of performances and spectacles, the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular is fun for the family. It’s also a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season and enjoy a festive day out in the city.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Stamford offers numerous options for ringing in the New Year in style. Some of the top New Year’s Eve celebrations include:
- The New Year’s Eve Laughs at Stamford Comedy Club
- The New Year’s Eve Bash at Sign of the Whale
- The New Year’s Eve celebration at Hudson Grille
Each event boasts live music, DJs, midnight champagne toasts, and balloon drops, ensuring a memorable night for all who attend.
With so many exciting events, Stamford provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable New Year’s Eve celebration. So, gather your friends and family and welcome the new year in style at one of Stamford’s fabulous events.
Keep Exploring Even More Things to Do in Stamford, CT
Looking for something more specific for your wintry visit to Stamford?
Then perhaps checking out one of our other guides is in order:
And be sure to read the full guide to attractions, activities, and things to do in Stamford, CT, any time of the year!
Or do you want to explore farther afield?
Then head over to next door Greenwich for our guide to things to do in Greenwich, CT, in the winter.
Or explore the rest of the state:
- Top Connecticut winter activities
- Even more places to visit in CT in the winter
- Romantic things to do in Connecticut in the winter
We hope you enjoy your wintry day trips to explore Connecticut!