Winter in Connecticut: the Ultimate Guide to the Best of the Season

mist rising from winter waterWinter in Connecticut is more similar to those Currier & Ives prints than some Connecticutians will admit.

 

Holiday decorations, snow ball fights, and sledding are common activities for kids in the winter.

 

But what about visitors to Connecticut?

 

There are plenty of things to do in Connecticut in the winter, regardless of where you’re visiting.

 

But the typical concern before coming to Connecticut in the winter is what the weather is like.

 

Sound like you?

 

Then read on for our guide to winter in Connecticut. Everything from weather to favorite activities is in this guide.

What is Connecticut like in winter?

As far as New England is concerned, Connecticut has the most temperate climate.

 

While that isn’t saying much for a Texan visiting, winters are relatively mild here.

Winter weather in Connecticut

From December to February, it can get rather cold up here. Daytime temperatures rarely peak above 40°F (4°C) along the Connecticut shoreline. In Litchfield County (the northwest of the state), daytime temperatures average at 30°F (-1°C).

Connecticut winter temperatures

snowy bridge over a forest streamNo, Connecticut winter temperatures are not delightful.

 

But let’s be honest:

 

How many places in America do you want to be outside in the winter?

 

Even the most pleasant winter spots have their own issues, like massive or annoying insects that drive you inside anyway.

 

Just saying.

What are winter temperatures like in Connecticut?

Daytime high temperatures average from 37 (3°C) to 42°F (6°C) along the Connecticut coast (like here in Greenwich). Winter temperatures are about 4 degrees colder inland, like in Litchfield County.

How cold does it get in Connecticut in the winter?

And now for the nighttime low temperatures.

 

The average low temperatures bottom-out in Connecticut between 1°F (-17.2°C) and 3°F (-16.1°C).

What is the coldest month in Connecticut?

The lows I mentioned above are usually in January, by the way.

 

In Hartford, our state capital, the average overnight temperature is 17.2°F (-8.2°C) in January.

 

But that’s inland, almost to Massachusetts along the Connecticut River.

 

Here in Greenwich, overnight lows are a slightly more comfortable 21°F (-6.1°C).

 

Only slightly more comfortable.

Does Connecticut get a lot of snow?

snow falling around a houseOn average, yes. Connecticut gets a lot of snow.

 

The average snowfall of any given year in Connecticut is 37 inches. That is significantly higher than the US average of 28 inches of snow per year.

 

That said, it has been progressively snowing less and less over the years. I haven’t seen the massive snowstorms I remember from childhood in years.

How much snow does Connecticut get?

How much snowfall you’ll see in Connecticut depends on where you’re watching the snow fall.

 

In the northwest part of the state, places like Canton get an average of 63.96 inches of snow per year.

 

Towns along the Connecticut shoreline see much less snow on any given year. The lowest average snowfall is Westport, with only about 12 inches of snow per year.

 

Greenwich, Connecticut, is in between, with 26.62 inches of average snowfall per year.

Will Connecticut get snow this winter, in 2020-2021?

After the almost snow-free winter of 2019-2020, snowy winter weather will be making a screaming comeback this year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

 

The Farmer’s Almanac is even predicting a blizzard hitting us the second week of February, with up to 1-2 feet of snow along the entire Eastern seaboard from Washington, DC, to Boston.

farmers-almanac-2020-2021-predictions-winter-in-connecticut

How long does winter last in Connecticut?

So, how long do the low temperatures, snowfall, and bitter cold typically last here in Connecticut?

 

On average, about 3 and a third months.

 

The winter, marked by daily high temperatures below 46°F (8°C), stretches from the first of December until around early to mid-March.

 

The coldest day of the year in Connecticut is January 29, with an average low of 21°F (-6°C) and high of 36°F (2°C).

Where should I go in the winter in Connecticut?

If you’re still reading, good on you for being willing to brave the cold!

 

Even in the snowy, cold, months, there’s plenty to do here to keep you busy.

Top winter activities in Connecticut

snowshoeing through winter in connecticutAnd there are more than a few winter activities in Connecticut that do draw visitors.

 

Some of the top outdoor winter activities include:

  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • downhill skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • ice skating
  • ice fishing
  • Winter hiking
  • Snowmobiling

Some favorite indoor winter activities include museums, axe throwing, indoor ropes courses, and afternoon tea.

 

What activities you want to enjoy while you’re here will likely affect your choice of places to visit in Connecticut for winter vacation getaways.

 

Some top picks throughout the state include:

Greenwich

Greenwich Avenue is a top destination for shopping. It’s also the center of Greenwich’s food scene with its plethora of downtown restaurants.

 

But Greenwich is also a great place to enjoy many more winter activities. The parks are beautiful in the winter, especially coated with snow. And fewer people means you’re more likely to have them to yourself.

 

Snowy trails can get slippery, though, so wear boots.

 

From museums to walks along winter beaches, there are plenty of things to do in Greenwich, CT, in the winter to keep you entertained on your getaway.

Stamford

Next door to Greenwich is the city of Stamford.

 

Stamford is an ideal winter destination for the performing arts, either at Rich Forum or Palace Theatre. Some of the more unique attractions here include two great breweries and an independent theatre, the Avon.

Norwalk

Further up the coast from Stamford and Greenwich is Norwalk.

 

This former industrial powerhouse has been working to become a tourist destination to rival Mystic.

 

It has a way to go in that direction, but good for them for trying!

 

But the SONO Collection, Maritime Aquarium, and museums like the Lockwood-Matthews mansion are all great, warm, places to explore during the winter in Norwalk.

 

Window-shopping is one of the best free things to do in Norwalk in the winter. And it’s easy to do along Washington Street or in the entirely indoor SONO Collection mall. Both options are within walking distance of each other in South Norwalk, considered to be Norwalk’s downtown district.

 

And afterwards, you can enjoy one of the many fantastic restaurants in the same area, close to the Maritime Aquarium.

New Haven

A smaller version of New York City may not be ideal for a winter getaway, depending on where you live.

 

But hear me out!

 

New Haven can be a great place to explore in the winter.

 

There are world-class museums run by Yale University, like the Yale University Art Gallery. And the restaurant scene is amazing, with such hard-to-find additions as Ethiopian, Laotian, and Moroccan to go with the more common Connecticut fare of French and Italian.

 

This is also the site of the largest indoor ropes course in America.

 

And if indoor ropes or walking around the city parks or hiking trails don’t appeal to you?

 

Powder Ridge Mountain is only about a half-hour drive away, for downhill skiing or snowboarding among many winter activities.

Hartford

bushnell park in hartford connecticut in winterThe capital of Connecticut can also be worth a visit.

 

Added benefit is that no one goes to Hartford on weekends in the winter, so hotel rates are cheap.

 

And as befits a state capital, there are plenty of impressive things to do in Hartford. A few favorite indoor options include:

  • Wadsworth Atheneum
  • New Britain Museum of Art in nearby New Britain
  • The house in which Mark Twain wrote such famous works as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Or head outside and walk through Bushnell Park in the snow. The holiday lights display at Goodwin Park is one of the best things to do in Connecticut in December.

 

And Powder Ridge is still close-by. It’s a half-hour drive from Hartford, heading south.

How else to enjoy Connecticut in the winter?

There are plenty of options!

 

Check out some of our other guides:

 

Or see all our favorite places, attractions, activities, and things to do in Greenwich, CT, when you download a free copy of the Visitor’s Guide.