New London has a thriving entertainment scene and downtown area. Whether you’re in the mood for a Broadway show or just a bite to eat, there’s something to suit any taste. New London Main Street is a great resource with maps of restaurants, museums and other points of interest in the city. Friday Nights in the District features events downtown and later hours for businesses. Visit Mystic Country for more activities in the greater area.
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 Academy Concert Band offers concerts that are free and open to the public during the academic year. View the schedule and entrance requirements. 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 Bean and Leaf and Muddy Waters are popular stops downtown. Ocean Beach Park is a popular beach and boardwalk area. Other outdoor draws are 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 Life 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:
"I AM" Festival
September: This large, independent music festival takes place on the city pie and features national and local acts and indie vendors.
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.
Festival of Lights and Songs
December: 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.
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.