New London has a thriving entertainment and dining scene, much of it found in our quaint downtown. New London Main Street and Mystic Country are great resources for learning everything there is to see and do. Watch a video about our region.
Area Galleries, Museums, Theater
If you’re looking for art, Hygienic Gallery, Lyman Allyn Art Gallery, Firehouse Square Gallery and Marquee Gallery are great destinations. Catch a performance by the Flock Theater, or at the Garde Arts Center or Eugene O’Neill Theater. Don’t overlook the Custom House Maritime Museum, Espresiones Cultural Center or Hispanic Alliance downtown, and the Florence Griswold Museum and Wadsworth Atheneum farther afield. Take in a movie: there are two movie theater complexes just 10 minutes from campus.
The U.S. Coast Guard Band offers concerts that are free and open to the public during the academic year. The Garde Arts Center, home to the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, has a full range of concerts. The Katharine Hepburn Culture Arts Center, known as "The Kate," in nearby Old Lyme, also offers eclectic musical programming.
Great malls and freestanding retail stores abound in New London. The eclectic and specialty shops downtown include a fair trade store, Flavours of Life. The New London Mall, Target, Crystal Mall and Waterford Commons are all about five minutes away.
Hangouts and Outdoor Recreation
Cool coffee shops like Washington Street Coffee House and Muddy Waters are popular stops downtown. Ocean Beach Park is a popular beach and boardwalk area. Other outdoor draws are Mystic Seaport, the Connecticut College Arboretum, Fort Trumbull State Park and nearby Harkness Memorial State Park.
New London and the surrounding community offer many places of worship. The Connecticut College Office of Religious and Spiritual Programs is a great resource for discovering religious services and gatherings on and off campus.
Annual Area Events
New London's Historic Waterfront District is the hub of creative energy that gives the city its Top Ten rating among creative communities of its size in America. Visit newlondonmainstreet.org for upcoming events, shopping, arts and culture and more.
Some annual area events include:
Fall Food Stroll
Put on by the local non-profit organization New London Main Street, this October event introduces community members and visitors alike to the delights of local restaurants and businesses. For the price of a badge, participants can stroll though town sampling specialties at nearly every restaurant and enjoy discount shopping at local stores.
Celebration of Lights and Songs
This unique holiday event celebrates different cultures and traditions from around the world. There are multicultural music and dance performances, visits with Santa, cookie decorating, storytelling in English and Spanish, tree lighting and community caroling and more. The Eastern CT Ballet stages scenes from "The Nutcracker" in storefront windows and there's a Festival of Trees auction.
Salon des Independants
January: The annual Hygienic Art Exhibition is New London’s outsider art event, open to all artists with no judge, no jury, no fees and no censorship.
Spring Food Stroll
April: Like its fall counterpart, the Spring Food Stroll organized by New London Main Street promotes local restaurants and businesses. For the price of a badge, participants can sample local fare and receive discounts at New London businesses.
July: Fireworks, fun and family. In the height of summer, New London transforms its scenic pier into a festival attracting more than 300,000 people over three days. Vendors line the downtown streets, and spectators enjoy one of the largest fireworks shows in New England, visits by Tall Ships, and concerts. Learn more at sailfestnl.org.