Jun 112017

Having grown up in nearby Massachusetts, as an adult I am just starting to learn that the state of Connecticut is full of all sorts of hidden treasures. There are so many cute little towns with many sights to see and I want to see as many of them as I can. One of my recent discoveries in Connecticut is New London. It’s great waterfront town that’s over 350 years old!

New London, CT is full of art, music, culture, one-of-a-kind boutiques and more than 30 eateries, all which make it a wonderful vacation destination! Here are five things not to miss on your trip to New London.1. Explore Downtown New London

Founded in 1646 by John Winthrop, Jr., New London was once among the world’s busiest whaling ports in New England. From its early shipbuilding and highly profitable trade with the West Indies, to its military prominence as the base of American naval operations during the Revolutionary War, New London has capitalized on its easy access to the Thames River and quick access to Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

One of my favorite things about downtown New London was all of the ah-mazing street art.

As soon as we got off of the highway, the first thing we noticed was all of the amazing murals on the sides of some of the buildings. It’s an impressive sight to say the least.

Once you’ve walked around and looked at all of the street art, why not enjoy some shopping in New London? Check out some of the shops on Bank Street including Sarge’s Comics, Flavours of Life, Greenlight Boutique, New London Antique Center, Spindrift Guitars and The Telegraph.

By then you’ll surely have worked up an appetite.  There are lots of great dining options in downtown New London and soon I am going to share some of my favorites with you, so stay tuned.

2. Take the Heritage Park Water Taxi to Groton

The Thames River Heritage Park is a collection of national and historic sites along two shores of the Thames River, which are linked by a water taxi. The Water Taxis are refurbished from the Navy days of shuttling crew and admirals to and from the large ships of the United States Navy. They are equipped with a 6-cylinder diesel engine and have room for approximately 35 passengers on each tour.

The taxi service connects Fort Trumbull State Park in New London to the downtown New London Historic Waterfront District and Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park in Groton.

The Water Taxi runs on a hop-on hop-off hourly loop between the three stops:
At Fort Trumbull in New London the taxi departs on the hour.
At New London City Pier in the Historic Waterfront District it departs at 20 minutes after the hour .
At Thames River landing on Fort Street in Groton, it departs at 40 minutes after the hour.

The Water Taxi operates Friday – Sunday, 10AM to 9PM May 26th through September 17th and can be found at the City Pier in New London.

3. Catch a show at the Garde Arts Center

The Garde Arts is a non-profit professional performing arts center nationally recognized for its unique architecture and multi-faceted programming serving Southeastern Connecticut. Founded in 1985, the Garde is one of the pre-eminent venues in New England for both world-class cinema and live performances.

Located in the heart of downtown New London, the Garde owns and operates the historic Garde theatre, one of the few remaining historic movie palaces in Connecticut. It was built in 1926 during the golden era of the motion pictures and vaudeville theaters.

When I was in town, I had a chance to see Donovan, ‘60s legend, icon, poet and one of the world’s most enduring singer songwriters on his 50th Anniversary North American Tour.  He sang all of his classic songs including ‘Sunshine Superman’, ‘Mellow Yellow’, ‘The Hurdy Gurdy Man’, ‘Jenifer Juniper’, and told many stories in between his songs.

I loved the show and was truly impressed by the restored Moroccan interior of the Garde Theatre.

The Garde Arts Center is located at 325 State Street in New London.  Check out their website for upcoming events.

4. Visit the Monte Cristo Cottage

As the boyhood summer home of Eugene O’Neill, America’s only Nobel-Prize winning playwright, the Monte Cristo Cottage is named in honor of Eugene O’Neill’s father, the actor James O’Neill and his most popular role as Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. Registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1971, the 1840’s cottage is the setting for two of O’Neill’s most notable works, Long Days Journey Into Night and Ah, Wilderness! Today the Cottage currently operates as a museum featuring a permanent exhibition on the life and works of Eugene O’Neill and an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

The Monto Cristo Cottage is located at 325 Pequot Ave in New London. It’s right in the middle of a neighborhood, so it will sneak up on you.  It’s definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

5. Go Back in Time

When I was in New London, I came across a couple of great museums each loaded with tons of local history.

The Coast Guard Museum
This museum contains artifacts that span the 220+ year history of the United States’ premier maritime service. Right now it’s located at 15 Mohegan Avenue in New London, but a new building is being built about 5 minutes up the street by the waterfront. The museum is free, but you do need a government issued ID to enter.

New London Maritime Society
Telling the stories of New London’s waterfront, the Custom House Maritime Museum offers lighthouse tours and boat trips, an annual chowda’fest, artifacts relating to local lighthouses, US Customs and the Amistad, along with changing exhibitions and a great Museum Shop. It’s located at 150 Bank Street admission was $7 per person. If you like maritime history, you will enjoy this museum.

My husband and I had a great time in New London and can’t wait to get back again soon!

  64 Responses to “5 Fun Things To Do in New London, Connecticut”

  1. I haven’t been to Connecticut in years and never to New London. It looks like a great place to explore. The water taxi looks cool too.

  2. New London looks like a cool place to visit! I have been to a couple of places in CT. I had a friend in Branford, so we spent most of the time on the beach. What amazed me most was the fact that the beach was all pebbles not sand! I love the street art in New London. If I go back, I’ll have to visit. Seeing Eugene O’Neill’s place would be cool.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. We live in Georgia, but we love vacationing in New England. There’s a vibe in that entire area that you can’t find anywhere else, and this post highlights that.

  4. Excellent resource. Connecticut is a great state, and like pretty much all New England states, there are tons of hidden gems like these. Great picks.

  5. I have a new love for street art and I see one too in your blog. I wonder how people can paint graffiti so well. Its adds a personality to the wall!

  6. Connecticut is a fun state to visit. So many cute towns to explore!

  7. What some amazing sounding things to do, that wall art is absolutely amazing, I am always very jealous of people who can do such artistic things.

  8. I have never been that far north really, but it looks lovely! If I ever make it up that way now I know places to check out!

  9. It would be so nice to explore New London. I love that there are plenty of things to enjoy there. The street art is definitely worth checking out! I would so love to go shopping there!

  10. This London is so much different to the London I live in (UK). It looks so much prettier and more quaint. Any towns with lots of green space and water looks fantastic 🙂

  11. It looks so gorgeous! I would love to do a photo tour and go do some shooting.

  12. This looks like such a fun place to visit! Thank you for giving such an indepth guide.

    Much love,
    Ashley | dearash.com

  13. I’ve only been to Connecticut once in my life when I was a young child. I love this article and how there are so many historic places to visit .

  14. It sounds like there is a lot to see and do in New London. I love when places have really neat murals around.

  15. I’ve never been to New London, Connecticut before but there seems like there’s so many fun places to visit, things to see and foods to eat. I love murals and street art so much. One of the first things I do whenever I visit a new place is go and search for beautiful street art.

    • I love finding beautiful street art too. It’s always so cool to see where talented artists have left their mark on buildings and walls.

  16. I’ve never been to Connecticut before. This all sounds like a blast. I’d love the museums.

  17. I haven’t been to connecticut yet but I love smaller town visits. I will definitely be pinning this for later when we take an east coast trip. thanks!

  18. Ive never been to New London, but I did visit CT once years ago. It sounds like there are a bunch of cool things to check out here.

  19. It seems like this would be a really fun town to do some walking around and exploring in. I would definitely want to check out the museums!

  20. Wow, who knew there was so much to do in New London, CT. What a beautiful place with so much to experience and witness!

  21. I have never been to Connecticut before but it looks like a lot of fun. This would be an awesome little town too spend the day exploring.

  22. I wish I had this list when we did our New England road trip last year! We drove through New London and had lunch there but I didn’t know there was all of this going on!

  23. I honestly didn’t even know there was a city called London in Connecticut. This sounds like an awesome place to visit!

  24. I have never been to New London, CT before and it would be nice to go there with the family! I love that they have street art that you can enjoy seeing as you walk around!

  25. I love all of the street art. It reminds of the Wynwood art district in Miami. It’s fun to take photos with the art!

  26. I’d love to travel to Connecticut and Massachusetts. I’ve never been to that part of the country before but I know it’s rich in history and just beautiful!

  27. I am definitely going to have to add this to my travel list! Sounds like it would be a great place for a weekend getaway for hubby and me. Thanks so much for the ideas!

  28. I think it is time we re-do our travel bucket list. It would be nice to travel along the east coast of the US and see all these beautiful places filled with history and art. I have never been to Connecticut but I sure would love to!

  29. I’m interested in visiting the Garde Arts Center. I love something about architecture and performing arts.

  30. I’ve never been to Connecticut but you’ve highlighted some great places to visit. I should make it a point to go one day!

  31. New London looks like a great summer getaway! I would love to visit

  32. I love all of those murals. We used to live in the mural capital of the USA and I miss the street art. I want to see these in person.

  33. Exploring New England has always been a favorite pastime of mine. I love all the little towns in the area that have such great art and culture to check out.

  34. If I ever make it to New London CT, I would love to see the Monte Cristo Cottage first. I can’t believe that it was built in 1840 and is still very well kept! The water taxis would be a unique experience too.

  35. How fun that you got to see Donovan! I have a friend who moved to CT. I’d love to get up that way to visit.

  36. I wish I could get onto a bus and visit. It looks a beautiful place to visit and see x

  37. All of this stuff looks like a lot of fun! I have never been to CT but have always wanted to go. The street is really awesome, such talented artists!

  38. I would love to be able to visit Connecticut one day! There looks like there is so much to see and do. I am loving all the art.

  39. Those street art are so cool! I didn’t know there are a lot of things you can do in Connecticut!

  40. Looks like it would be gorgeous to visit! Never been to Connecticut before but would love to!

  41. I have never been to CT, but you have me really wanting to go! Traveling up the east coast has always been a dream of mine! I have some great ideas now thanks to your post!

  42. We live so close and yet never been there! Such great ideas!

  43. I never knew there was a new London Connecticut. ITs so close to NYC I have never been!

  44. I think my children would enjoy a water taxi ride, that would be fun. I’ve never been to London so London Connecticut would be great visit since it is closer.

  45. This is one state I’ve never gotten to visit yet. All of these options sound perfect!

  46. I am a sucker for street art, so this would be something I would be very interested in seeing. It looks like there are so many murals for me to check out!

  47. So many great things to do in New London. It is not that far so I might take a trip and bring the kids.

  48. I lived in the DC area and I lived in New York for seven years. With all the time between the two, I’ve never been to Connecticut. The murals around New London are very nicely done. I love the whaling port information, that is interested. I used to be really into the show Whale Wars.

  49. As a street art enthusiast it excites me that there are so many exciting murals in New London. It looks like an exciting place to visit x

  50. All that street art looks amazing, I love exploring areas like this and seeing what new stuff is about x

  51. I never knew about New London. That looks like a nice place! i would love to check it out one day!

  52. I’ve never been to connecticut but it looks an interesting place. I really like the street art. I’d be taking my camera for sure!

  53. I have never been to Connecticut before, but I’ve always wanted to visit there. Maybe someday!

  54. Those murals are just excellent, especially the ones of Prince, Marley, and Hendrix. It is a testament to how powerful music can be. You’d expect art like that in these artists’ hometowns, not New London, Connecticut.

  55. These look like great fun and we will have to add them to our list if we ever visit!

  56. We are visiting Connecticut in July! I want to check out the Monte Cristo Cottage!

  57. I’ve always wanted to visit New London! It looks beautiful there!

  58. Wow it’s so gorgeous! I love it so much! I am always looking for new places to visit with my family and I would love to add this to our travel bucket list!

  59. I’ve never heard of New London before. These activities sound like they could be really fun for families though.

  60. I like all the street art. We have some here, but not a lot. It looks like this place has a ton.

  61. Wow! There’s so many fun things to do in New London! I like that mural too.

  62. It looks like it is a great place to visit. I love to travel but not been able to do that lately.

  63. OMGOsh when I saw the title of this post I was so excited! My Grandmother was born and raised in New London CT and I spent many days there. It has changed so much but it’s still the place I love to remember.