Things To Do In Norwich, CT: Top 23 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn
Exploring the old mill buildings of New London County are some of the best things to do in Norwich, CT

Things to Do in Norwich CT: Ultimate Guide to Activities & Attractions

Yantic Falls

Norwich, Connecticut, is a historic city in New London County at the junction of three rivers. Its location was a major source of its prosperity, though it couldn’t save it from the decline post-industrialism. That said, it’s on the rebound, with plenty to explore. You can explore renowned museums or wander through beautifully maintained gardens on a day trip. Don’t miss the Leffingwell House Museum and The Slater Memorial Museum. They house a magnificent collection of sculptures and paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries. History buffs will love Norwich. It will thrill nature enthusiasts. And foodies will leave satisfied. For a fun getaway, Norwich is the perfect choice.

 

Ready to explore the best things to do in Norwich, CT? Let’s get into it:

 

Quick hits

  • Discover Norwich’s rich history and attractions, such as the Leffingwell House Museum and Mohegan Park.
  • Enjoy thrilling sports games at Senator Thomas J Dodd Memorial Stadium.
  • Embark on a unique culinary adventure at Lazizah Bake Shop.
  • Choose from a wide range of hotels, inns, and B&Bs for a comfortable stay.
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to explore nearby towns like Uncasville, Woodstock, Ledyard, and Groton!

things to do in norwich ct map Things to Do in Norwich CT: Ultimate Guide to Activities & Attractions
Map design by Stanton House Inn

A Brief History of Norwich, Connecticut

Norwich Falls (or The Falls of the Yantic at Norwich) by John Turnbull, 1806

Documented history begins in 1659 when settlers from Saybrook Colony arrived. They established their community around Norwichtown, a historic neighborhood. This area is still home to well-preserved buildings, including the Leffingwell House Museum.

 

By 1694, the harbor at the head of the Thames River, known as the Chelsea neighborhood, was already hopping. Ships arrived, unloading goods. Norwich’s heart was still in Norwichtown, though it was primarily still an agricultural town.

 

As the 18th century rolled in, the importance of the harbor grew. It overshadowed farming when industrial mills began operations on the three smaller rivers. By the early 19th century, Norwich’s center had shifted to the Chelsea neighborhood. The harbor area became the new home for official buildings.

 

American Revolution

Norwich merchants used to ship goods directly from England. That said, the Stamp Act of 1764 forced Norwich to become more self-sufficient. Large mills and factories sprang up by the falls on the rivers.

 

Norwich supported the independence cause of the Revolution. It supplied soldiers, ships, and munitions. It also became a hub for the Sons of Liberty. It’s likely why its former hometown hero, Benedict Arnold, elected to burn the town to the ground during the war.

 

19th Century

1912 postcard of Mohegan Park, Norwich's largest park

In 1826, “Hello” was used for the first time in The Norwich Courier, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Regular steamship service between New York and Boston helped Norwich flourish as a shipping center. During the Civil War, the city saw growth in textile, armaments, and specialty item manufacturing.

 

The Norwich and Worcester Railroad, established between 1832-1837, facilitated the movement of goods and people. The Springfield and New London Railroad also ran trains through the area.

 

In 1892, the city’s first electric trolleys started service. Within fifty years, Ford purchased the system and pulled the tracks to support its growing bus system, as was the case in much of the Northeast.

 

The Best Things to do in Norwich, CT

Shetucket River reservoir

Uncovering Norwich’s past is just the beginning. The city is filled with a ton of of activities and top attractions that will keep you entertained throughout your CT day trip.

 

Here are some of the top activities and attractions in Norwich, CT.

 

Museums and Historic Sites in Norwich, CT

As you journey through Norwich, Connecticut, pop over to Norwichtown. The cemetery and the Norwichtown green will transport you to a time long past. And don’t miss the local art museum. There are also several history museums in the Norwich region. Each one tells a unique part of Norwich’s story.

 

Leffingwell House Museum

Leffingwell House Museum in Norwich

This colonial-era tavern sits in Norwich, Connecticut. Built in 1675, it served as an inn during the American Revolutionary War. It was a crucial meeting place.

 

In 1776, it transformed into the stylish townhouse of Norwich Patriot Christopher Leffingwell. After years of preservation, it opened its doors to the public as a museum in 2006.

 

Inside, you’ll find a wealth of artifacts. They showcase the Leffingwell family’s 18th-century life. The museum also has a serene garden, a tranquil spot.

 

For history enthusiasts, the Leffingwell House Museum is a must-see. It’s a tangible piece of Norwich’s rich past.

 

Norwichtown Historic Cemetery

Norwichtown cemetery

For those with a fascination for old cemeteries, like this writer, Norwichtown Cemetery is a must-see. Located on Old Cemetery Lane, it officially dates back to 1715, though some graves are even older. A small bridge connects the two divisions of the cemetery.

 

It’s the final resting place of nearly 70 Revolutionary War veterans. Notable burials include Benedict Arnold’s mother and Samuel Huntington, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. General Jedediah Huntington is also interred here. While many buried here may not be famous, their graves hold a certain intrigue. If you’re interested in the supernatural, join the town’s haunted tours of Norwichtown each fall.

Slater Memorial Museum

Art at Slater Memorial Museum

This art museum is housed in a stately building from 1885 and is located on the grounds of the Norwich Free Academy.

 

The museum is home to a vast collection of art and artifacts. You’ll encounter plaster casts of famous Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Renaissance statues that appear as if they were sculpted just yesterday. This art museum also houses American paintings from the 18th to 20th century, which share space with European works from the 17th to 19th century.

 

A rich collection of colonial historic artifacts is on display. Sculptures from Africa and Oceania provide a global perspective. Native American artifacts are also exhibited, reminding visitors of the deep roots of this land.

 

The Converse Art Gallery is attached to the Slater Memorial Museum, hosting six new exhibitions every year.

 

The museum building itself is a fine example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It’s considered the best work of architect Stephen C. Earle and is part of the Chelsea Parade Historic District. The museum owes its existence to William A. Slater. He is the son of John Fox Slater and generously gifted the museum to the Norwich Free Academy in his honor.

 

Norwich Arts Center

This local arts center offers a wide range of affordable arts programming, showcasing the area’s amazing cultural heritage. From community theater productions and live concerts to exciting events, the Norwich Arts Center is a cultural gem in the heart of the city.

 

Gallery at the Wauregan

Showcasing a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year, the Gallery at the Wauregan is a hub of creativity and local talent.

 

Otis Library

Founded by Deacon Joseph Otis, a retired merchant, this historic library offers a wide range of:

 

  • Books
  • Resources
  • Programs

 

For the community. From a toy library for kids to family activities and story times, the Otis Library is a treasure trove for bookworms and families alike.

 

Uncas Leap

Rusty old rail bridge in Norwich

Have you heard the tale of Uncas Leap? This historic park sits along the Yantic River. It’s a silent witness to a battle between the Mohegan and Narragansett Tribes in 1643. Many Narragansett tribe members met their end here, leaping across the gorge. Today, the city of Norwich owns this land. Plans are in motion to develop it into a park, a tribute to that fateful battle. The park is open year-round. It features the ruins of a 19th-century mill, a breathtaking river gorge, and a ceaseless waterfall. Guided tours are available, in case you’re interested.

 

Outdoor Activities and Attractions in Norwich, CT

Are you in search of fresh air and outdoor fun? Norwich, Connecticut, is the place to be! It offers a variety of parks and outdoor attractions. Recreational activities are plenty and sure to keep you entertained. The city is a treasure trove for nature lovers, offering scenic hikes, waterfront views, golfing, and fishing. Let’s explore some of the top outdoor activities and attractions in Norwich, CT.

 

Mohegan Park

Fountains at Mohegan Park, Norwich's largest park

Mohegan Park, Norwich’s largest park, is a haven of natural beauty. It’s a place where walking trails meander through the trees, inviting explorers for a stroll. Picnic tables and grills are scattered throughout, ready for a family lunch or a quiet afternoon with a good book. The park’s features include pavilions, a beach, and basketball courts.

 

The Rose Garden at Judd Road has over a hundred different types of roses. It’s a popular spot for weddings. The Norwich Free Academy cross country team often practices here. They’ve even volunteered to help maintain and improve the walking trails.

 

The Park Center houses Spaulding Pond, a square, more playgrounds, a fountain, and a Mohegan monument. It’s also home to a dog pound, run by the city’s police. While the Park Center has seen better days, there have been efforts to improve its appearance.

 

Yantic Falls

This 40-foot waterfall is right in the city center. The Yantic Falls have a rich history that dates back to the 1640s. This area was a camping ground for Mohegan Native Americans. Later, it played a key role in Norwich’s industrial development. The falls, created by the Yantic River, powered mills and generated electricity in the early 1900s. Today, Yantic Falls is a popular spot for picnics and fishing. You can hike to the top of the falls, where a pedestrian bridge offers stunning views.

 

American Wharf

The American Wharf Marina, established in 1988, is a modern hub for boats in downtown Norwich. It offers a variety of amenities including boat slips, a fuel dock, and a pump-out station. It caters to a wide range of boats, from fishing vessels to luxury yachts. Beyond boating, the marina houses a swimming pool and a restaurant. Since its establishment, the marina has been the host of the annual Norwich July 4th Extravaganza and fireworks display. It’s a popular spot for relaxation and enjoying the waterfront views where the three rivers meet. The marina attracts boaters from all over Connecticut.

 

Norwich Golf Course

Golf courses are like big parks that no one but members can join

Take a swing at the Norwich Golf Course, an 18-hole championship course situated between two casinos. With its undulating fairways and stunning views, it’s a haven for golf lovers. Whether you’re an avid golfer or a beginner, the Norwich Golf Course offers a great golfing experience.

 

Howard T. Brown Memorial Park

Round off your Norwich exploration with a visit to the Howard T. Brown Memorial Park. Enjoy scenic views and summer concerts at this waterfront park in the Norwich Harbor District. It’s the perfect place to relax, soak in the surroundings, and reflect on the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.

 

Things to do in Norwich, Connecticut, at night

Norwich City Hall

Norwich, Connecticut, takes on a new life as the sun sets and the city lights flicker on. This historic city is hosts a range of nighttime activities. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a theatre lover, a bowling fan, or a brewery explorer, Norwich has got you covered. Read on to explore the night scene of Norwich, Connecticut!

 

Senator Thomas J Dodd Memorial Stadium

This stadium is home to the Norwich Sea Unicorns. Before them, it was the Connecticut Tigers who played here. Even earlier, the Connecticut Defenders called it home.

 

The stadium came to life in 1995. It can hold over 6,270 spectators. It’s named after Thomas Dodd, a notable figure in Connecticut’s history. He served as a United States Senator and a Representative.

 

The stadium has seen some exciting events. It hosted the final Double-A All-Star Game in 2002. It’s also been the venue for the New England Collegiate All-Star Game and the Big East Conference Baseball Tournament. There was even a TNA Wrestling event held here.

 

But it’s not just about sports. Dodd stadium has hosted concerts too. Willie Nelson, the Beach Boys, and Bob Dylan have all performed here.

 

Chestnut Street Playhouse

Catch a live performance at the Chestnut Street Playhouse, a 67-seat black-box theater. The theater regularly hosts innovative, off-Broadway, and regional theater productions. It’s the perfect place for an evening of entertainment.

 

Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center

For some family-friendly fun, make your way to the Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center. Featuring:

 

  • A state-of-the-art bowling alley
  • Arcade games
  • Golf simulators

 

This entertainment center is a hit with both kids and adults alike.

 

Rose Garden Ice Arena

Lace up your skates at the Rose Garden Ice Arena. This indoor ice rink is ideal for seasoned skaters or beginners. It offers ice skating lessons for all levels and public skating sessions.

 

It’s a great place to chill out and enjoy fun winter activities in CT, no matter the season.

 

Breweries in Norwich, Connecticut

Taps at brewery on a town street

Norwich, Connecticut, is also home to some of the best breweries in CT. So, sit back, grab a pint, and dive into all that Norwich has to offer!

 

These Guys Brewing Company

Unwind at These Guys Brewing Company, a local brewery in a renovated 1883 building. Savor craft beers, pub grub, and house cocktails while soaking in the cozy atmosphere.

 

These Guys Brewing Company is a must-visit spot for beer enthusiasts or anyone in search of a cool hangout.

 

Epicure Brewing

Relax in the laid-back atmosphere of Epicure Brewing. Here, you can:

 

  • Enjoy a 75-seat taproom serving beers brewed onsite
  • Experience a “Bring Your Own Food/Make Yourself at Home” vibe
  • Kick back with friends and enjoy some locally brewed beers

 

Shopping in Downtown Norwich, Connecticut

After a day of exploring Norwich’s attractions, it’s time to indulge in some retail therapy. Downtown Norwich offers a variety of local shops and boutiques where you can find:

 

 

  • Clothing

 

  • Specialty bookstores

 

 

Restaurants in Norwich, CT

Chef plating a dish at a Norwich area restaurant

No trip to Norwich would be complete without savoring the city’s diverse food scene. Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a quick snack, Norwich offers a variety of dining options to satisfy your taste buds. Here are some of the city’s best dining options.

 

Breakfast Places in Norwich, Connecticut

Start your day off right with a delicious breakfast at one of Norwich’s many eateries. Whether you prefer a hearty American breakfast, a light and healthy meal, or international cuisine, Norwich’s breakfast spots have something for everyone.

 

Old Tyme’s Restaurant and Baker’s Dozen are both a great start to your day.

 

Lazizah Bake Shop

Indulge in authentic Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine at Lazizah Bake Shop. Made from fresh, local ingredients and family recipes, the dishes here will take your taste buds on a culinary adventure.

 

Don’t forget to try their unique breakfast dishes for a delicious start to your day.

 

Canggio Restaurant

For a fusion of Peruvian and international flavors, visit Canggio Restaurant. This cozy restaurant offers an extensive menu and wine selection, making it a great spot for a romantic dinner or a special occasion.

 

Illiano’s Grill

Experience authentic Southern Italian cuisine at Illiano’s Grill. This family-owned restaurant features high-quality ingredients and a menu full of Italian classics. Plus, they have an onsite kids’ playground, making it a perfect dining spot for families.

 

Philly’s

For a taste of Philadelphia in Norwich, head to Philly’s. This small, locally-owned sandwich shop is known for its mouthwatering Philly steak sandwiches. It’s a great spot for a quick lunch or a hearty dinner.

 

Directions to Norwich, CT, from Greenwich, CT

Road through East Lyme to Norwich, CT

Getting to Norwich from our Connecticut coast bed and breakfast in Greenwich, CT, is quite straightforward. The journey spans approximately 70 miles, taking you through charming landscapes and quaint towns along the Connecticut shoreline.

 

Head north on the Merritt Parkway or I-95. Past New Haven, you’ll want to be on I-95, though.

 

Get on CT Route 82 to reach the downtown area of Norwich.

 

Hotels, Inns, and Places to Stay in Norwich, Connecticut

Guest room at the Norwich Inn and Spa

Or stick around a bit longer, if you so choose. Some recommended accommodations in and around Norwich include:

 

The Spa at Norwich Inn

Treat yourself to a stay at The Spa at Norwich Inn, a historic inn offering luxurious rooms, modern amenities, and a world-class spa. This spot is deal whether you’re planning romantic getaways in CT, a solo retreat, or a fun weekend with friends. The Spa at Norwich Inn offers the perfect setting for a relaxing and rejuvenating stay.

 

More Inns near Norwich, Connecticut

Some more unique places to stay nearby include:

 

  • Located in Poquetanuck, CT, Captain Grant’s 1754 offers a unique lodging experience near Norwich. This historic bed and breakfast was built in 1754. It’s also one of the state’s most haunted inns.

 

  • The Inn at Woodstock Hill is a charming bed and breakfast in Woodstock, CT. It boasts 21 unique guest rooms. A restaurant serving American cuisine is available on-site.

 

  • Whaler’s Inn is a historic establishment located in Mystic, Connecticut. It’s a short drive from Norwich and offers a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. The Inn is a perfect choice for visitors exploring the New England coastline.

 

  • Located in Ledyard, CT, the Stonecroft Country Inn is a historic bed and breakfast. This charming inn was once a 19th-century sea captain’s estate. It now provides modern comforts while maintaining its old-world charm. The inn boasts seven unique guest rooms. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is close to local attractions like Foxwoods Casino and Mystic Seaport.

 

More Nearby Cities and Towns to Explore Around Norwich, Connecticut

kayaks along the water in Bluff Point State Park in Groton, CT

Extend your trip beyond Norwich with some of the neighboring towns and cities worth a visit. Each offers a unique array of Connecticut attractions and activities.

 

Uncasville, CT

Uncasville, Connecticut, is a short distance from Norwich. It’s most famous for the Mohegan Sun, a casino resort managed by the Mohegan tribe. Aside from gaming, Uncasville also has a variety of attractions. A few include the Mohegan Sun Arena, Kids Quest and Cyber Quest at Mohegan Sun, and the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum. It’s a fantastic location for a day trip or a short getaway.

 

Woodstock, CT

Roseland Cottage, one of the most famous attractions in Woodstock, CT

Woodstock, CT, located just 30 miles from Norwich, is a charming town. Its scenic countryside, historic buildings, and warm community are a major draw. Woodstock, Connecticut, offers attractions such as the historic district, Roseland Cottage Gardens, and the Woodstock Historical Society. It also lies close to the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor. It’s perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking. The journey from Norwich to Woodstock takes approximately 45 minutes along scenic roads.

 

Ledyard, Connecticut

Ledyard, a small town located just a 14-mile drive from Norwich, is full of charm and attractions. The town is known for its rich history and natural beauty. It houses the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center one of the most unique history museums in CT. Or hit up the other Connecticut casino, Foxwoods Resort Casino. Nature lovers can explore the beautiful surroundings of Lantern Hill. Both day-trippers and weekend visitors will find plenty of things to do to enjoy in Ledyard, CT.

 

Groton, Connecticut

Noank Point Lighthouse in Groton, CT

17 miles southeast of Norwich is the coastal town of Groton, Connecticut. It’s got maritime heritage in spades. It’s home to the U.S. Navy’s primary East Coast submarine base and the historic ship Nautilus, now a part of the Submarine Force Museum. Groton boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in CT and the Avery Point Lighthouse. The journey from Norwich to Groton is approximately 30 minutes by car.

 

Or continue onwards to Mystic, Connecticut, with more coastal attractions like Mystic Seaport.

 

Tl;dr

Norwich, Connecticut is a trove of rich history and diverse attractions. It boasts a variety of delicious dining options. The city caters to all types of travelers, whether you’re planning a short trip or a longer stay. The charm and hospitality of Norwich are sure to captivate you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is Norwich CT worth visiting?

Norwich, CT, with its picturesque rolling hills and hiking trails in Mohegan Park, is worth visiting. Whether you love bike rides or beach fronts, this charming New England city has a diverse range of attractions to cater to all interests.

 

What was Norwich CT famous for?

Norwich was an 18th-century commercial and transportation hub. It gained fame for its significant role in the Revolutionary War. This was largely due to the involvement of notable figures such as Benedict Arnold, a native turned traitor. Norwich also served as a key location in the Underground Railroad, thanks to the efforts of anti-slavery advocate David Ruggles.

 

Does Norwich CT have a downtown?

Indeed, Norwich CT boasts a picturesque downtown area. Located near Norwich Harbor, it’s an ideal spot for exploration. Be sure to check out the Downtown Norwich Historic District during your visit!

 

Is Norwich CT a good place to raise a family?

Norwich is a town with a friendly neighborhood vibe. It boasts a large high school, which provides a diverse educational experience and numerous sports opportunities.

 

What are some of the top attractions in Norwich, CT?

In Norwich, CT, visitors will find a variety of exciting activities. Some of the top attractions include the Leffingwell House Museum and the Slater Memorial Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the walking trails of Mohegan Park. Sports fans might enjoy a visit to the Senator Thomas J Dodd Memorial Stadium. And art lovers should not miss the Norwich Arts Center.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *