101 Ways to Warm Up to Winter in Connecticut

Celebrate winter in Connecticut with all there is to see and do throughout the state. Take a cooking class with top chefs, go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through scenic fields, try out the world’s largest indoor ropes course, enjoy top name entertainment, discover favorite fireside dining, and unwind at a charming New England style inn or glamorous high rise city hotel with views of the countryside.  Here are 101 ideas, sourced from statewide tourism destinations, social media followers, residents and visitors just like you, to inspire your next Connecticut getaway this winter!

REST & RELAXATION

  1. Journey through scenic fields on a horse-drawn winter sleigh rideat one of Connecticut’s beautiful farms (statewide)
  2. Observe eagles with on-site high-powered telescopes for Bald Eagle Viewing at Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observation Area, through March 9 (Southbury)
  3. Escape to the charming, award-winning Inn at Kent Falls and discover the beauty of Litchfield Hills (Kent)
  4. Travel with your best four-legged friend to the gracious Delamar Southport and treat your pup to the Delamar Doggies package, complete with personalized dog bone name tag, dog bowl and dog bed. From $395 (Southport)
  5. Get ready for spring at the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show and explore an abundance of fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, and seeds. Feb. 18 – 21 (Hartford)
  6. Stay in downtown New Haven at the sophisticated The Study at Yale, while you experience the city’s arts and cultural offerings (New Haven)
  7. Enjoy New England hospitality at the award-winning Inn at Woodstock Hill, a distinctive property with fine country dining (Woodstock)
  8. Find 34 restaurants, from casual to fine dining, and 80 brands and designer outlets at Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket)
  9. Stroll one of Connecticut’s quaint towns and villages, shop boutique stores, visit art galleries and historic sites, and break for lunch at a charming eatery (statewide)
  10. Relax and renew with the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina’s January Recovery Special – enjoy a leisurely breakfast, a walk on the beach, and some “post-holiday” time for yourself. From $99 (Niantic)
  11. Head to Connecticut for the Hartford: Husky Hoops Edition getaway. Dine at a fantastic Hartford restaurant, see an entertaining show, visit a unique museum and take in a UCONN men’s or women’s basketball game (Hartford)
  12. The Connecticut Shoreline is serene during the off-season. Find out for yourself with the Spas and Shopping by the Sea getaway and enjoy shopping at outlets and charming villages. Then unwind at a luxurious spa located on or near the water (CT Shoreline)
  13. Plan a family outing to the Winter Carnivale, Feb. 21, for fun activities including an ice-carving competition, face painting, chili cook-off, tractor parade and street performers (Chester)

FAMILY FUN

  1. Take the young ones to Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center, a hands-on, interactive children’s museum (Bristol)
  2. Learn about design and invention at the Eli Whitney Museum, an experimental learning workshop for students, teachers, and families (Hamden)
  3. Sit in an open cockpit of real aircraft during “Open Cockpit Days” at the New England Air Museum, the largest aviation museum in New England (Windsor Locks)
  4. Explore exhibits and learn about dinosaurs, fossils, birds and more at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (New Haven)
  5. At the Fire & Ice Valentine’s Festival, Feb. 13, there’ll be ice sculptures, horse and carriage rides, live music, fire dancing performances, fantastic food, and much more (Putnam)
  6. Book the Aquarium Package at the Hampton Inn Shelton and enjoy the Maritime Aquarium and IMAX theater (two tickets included), plus access to the hotel’s indoor heated pool and thrilling 150 ft. waterslide. From $99 (Shelton)
  7. Head to the Mount Southington Winter Carnival & Cardboard Box Race, Feb. 20, for a day of fun including face painting, balloon animals, music, delicious food and the entertaining cardboard box race (Southington)
  8. Get away with the family this winter to the Inn at Middletown for the Fantastic Family Winter Fun Escape Package – enjoy two passes to KidCity and discounts for tickets to Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort for tubing! From $269 (Middletown)
  9. The kids can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, a kids play area and more, at the 12th Annual Kids Fair at the Connecticut Convention Center, Feb. 6 – 7, where you’ll find product exhibits and one-stop shopping. (Hartford)
  10. Mystic Aquarium’s Aquarium After Dark, Feb. 6, is loads of fun – there’s a Sea Lion Show, visits with African Penguins and a Meet & Greet with Petey the Penguin, not to mention tasty treats such as pizza, hot dogs and dessert (Mystic)
  11. Gear up for custom-designed Monster Jam trucks at the XL Center, Feb. 6 – 7 (Hartford)
  12. Escape with the family to the Marriott Hartford Downtown for the Science Center Discovery Package and explore fascinating hands-on exhibits and a state-of-the-art 3-D movie theater. From $169 (Hartford)
  13. It’s fun for the entire family at Winter’s Aweigh, Mystic Seaport, Feb. 13-15, with arts and crafts, games, songs and musical activities. And, you can meet and greet winter working dogs – Newfoundlands, Malamutes, and St. Bernards (Mystic)
  14. Take a break this winter at Groton Inn & Suites for its 3-D In The Sea Package, then head to Mystic Aquarium for a fun and exciting theater experience. From $220 (Groton)
  15. Join in the fun of The Harlem Globetrotters for a fast-paced, entertaining show with amazing ball handling and comedy on the court! Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville), Feb. 18; XL Center (Hartford), Feb. 20
  16. Did you know there were so many fantastic things to do in Connecticut this winter? Don’t miss out onConnecticut’s Top Winter Attractions (statewide)
  17. Create your own winter wonderland experience with the family with a Thrills, Hills and Chills getaway – grab your hats, gloves and scarves for snow tubing, snowshoeing or cross country skiing this season (statewide)

ACTIVE ADVENTURES

  1. Watch ski jumpers soar through the air at the 90th Annual Salisbury Jumpfest, Feb. 12-14 & 24-27 (Salisbury)
  2. Mohawk Madness Beach Party is “the original and best snow-based beach party,” March 12 at Mohawk Mountain ski area (Cornwall)
  3. Winter Carnival at Ski Sundown promises clowns, face painting, cotton candy and, oh yeah, skiing and boarding, Feb. 7 (New Hartford)
  4. “Cross-country skiing!” exclaims @lukeslash13, and you can find your snowy grooves at Woodbury Ski Area (Woodbury) and White Memorial Foundation (Litchfield)
  5. One of the tricks of winter is making ice your friend; here are some Frozen Fun ways to make that happen (statewide)
  6. Find an awesome assortment of indoor sports (ice skating, hockey, swimming, tennis, trampoline, soccer) and competitive leagues, too, at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. Chelsea Piers is also home to the Connecticut Whaleof the National Woman's Hockey League (NWHL). (Stamford)
  7. The world’s largest indoor ropes course is now open and ready to amaze you (no matter what your skill level) at IT Adventures Indoor Ropes Course in Jordan’s Furniture (New Haven)
  8. Make history, or at least the Guinness Book of World Records, by taking part in the World’s Largest Ski and Snowboard Lesson, Jan. 8 at Mount Southington Ski Area (Southington) or Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort (Middlefield)
  9. Spend a winter day strolling through hundreds of booths with the latest fishing and hunting gear and advice at the Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show at the Connecticut Convention Center (Hartford)
  10. Ski and skate your way through winter at Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center, where 13 miles of groomed trails wind through 350 forested acres, and ice skating and tubing are also available (Farmington)
  11. Motor out onto the Connecticut River with RiverQuest and get acquainted with some of Connecticut most majestic residents – bald eagles, Feb. 13 thru March 20 (Haddam)
  12. The Family Ski Package at the Inn at Middletown includes 8-hour lift passes and lunch at nearby Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort for a family of four – plus cocoa or cocktail upon your return.  From $409 (Middletown)
  13. Winter wildlife and wintering bald eagles (and the beauty of the Connecticut River Valley) are the focus of boat cruises run by the Connecticut River Museum & Project Oceanology, Jan. 29 thru March 13 (Essex)
  14. Campers and RVers looking for the latest gear can roam the 140,000 square feet at the Northeast Recreation Vehicle & Camping Show, Jan 22-24 at the Connecticut Convention Center (Hartford)
  15. Get a blast of fresh air, and have a blast, at Foxwoods Rink & Winter Patio, where  skaters are surrounded by more than 100,000 lights, and hot chocolate, outdoor fireplaces and Adirondack chairs are available, thru March 6 (Mashantucket)
  16. Test your downhill skills at the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge, held Feb. 13 at Mt. Southington Ski Area. It’s a free, fun race down Thunderbolt Trail, with prizes galore (Southington)
  17. Not sure which Connecticut slope to try, or whether it’s skiing, snowboarding or tubing you prefer. Check outall the possibilities before you make your move (statewide)
  18. One of Connecticut’s great outdoor pleasures is hiking, and it can be done in almost every kind of weather. Here are our Top 10 Hiking Trails (statewide)
  19. Here’s a nice sampling of Connecticut’s many Indoor Adventures, each perfect when a blast of cold weather keeps you from going out (statewide)
  20. Cruise out onto Long Island Sound with experts from The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk to see some of the seals that winter here each year (Norwalk)
  21. Golfers’ off-season dreams of new equipment and golfing destinations (and lower scores) all get their due at the Connecticut Golf Show, March 18-20 at the Connecticut Convention Center (Hartford)

ROMANTIC ESCAPES

  1. Find charming towns, country views, fine dining and more with aWinter Romance in the Litchfield Hills (Litchfield)
  2. Climb to the pinnacle of five-star dining and luxury accommodations with a winter weekend stay at the Homestead Inn – Thomas Henkelmann (Greenwich)
  3. Cap a romantic stay right on the water at the Madison Beach Hotelwith its Brunch by the Beach, every Sunday all winter long (Madison)
  4. Get the most out of downtown New Haven with a show, a museum visit and a stay at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale with its spectacular rooftop restaurant, John Davenport’s (New Haven)
  5. You don’t have to wait until St. Valentine’s Day to enjoy the Valentine Package at Baymont Inn & Suites in East Windsor – overnight, chocolate treat, breakfast and late check-out, thru Feb. 15.  From $79 (East Windsor)
  6. Feeling the chill? Fire things up with an Off-Season Beach Romance, with outdoor and indoor pleasure, a seafood meal and a place to stay (statewide)
  7. Try a cozy getaway, wine and truffles, hot tub, dinner, a show, big river views and more at the Marriott Hartford Downtown (Hartford)
  8. All this winter romance could lead right to the 31st Annual Connecticut Bridal Show, Jan. 9-10 at the Connecticut Convention Center – said to be the largest bridal show on the East Coast (Hartford)
  9. Play hooky with a Couples Weekday Spa Package at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa – featuring treatments at the hotel’s Red Door Spa.  From $329 (Groton)
  10. Set yourself up right alongside the Mystic River with the Rustic Romance Package from the Steamboat Inn, thru March 13. From $212.50 per couple (Mystic)
  11. The Connecticut River and Long Island Sound make the perfect backdrop for your River Valley Winter Romance (Central Coast)
  12. The Country Getaway Retreat at Norwich Inn & Spa includes breakfast, dinner and full use of the award-winning spa facility.  From $175 (Norwich)
  13. Consider an Inn Style Getaway - a wildly romantic multi-night stay that includes several of Connecticut’s cozy country inns (Northeastern Connecticut)
  14. Dine by the fire with the dancing flames reflected in your wine glasses (and your eyes) at these very romantic Connecticut restaurants (statewide)

ARTS & CULTURE

  1. Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy bring their southern-fried take on things to the Warner Theatre for two shows on March 4 (Torrington)
  2. Come tap your tap shoes to the quintessential backstage musical comedy when 42nd Street comes to The Palace, March 4-5 (Stamford)
  3. Explore the many worlds of art – European masters, contemporary American, Asian sculpture, photographs, in short, the gamut – at the breathtaking Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven)
  4. From pottery classes to workshops on garden tools and kitchen knives, there’s always something happening at the Guilford Art Center (Guilford)
  5. Experience Leonardo da Vinci’s creativity and designs first-hand, including 40 of his inventions at theConnecticut Science Center’s exhibit “Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion,” opening Jan. 30 (Hartford)
  6. Cold winter nights? Forget about them when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Feb. 10) and Janet Jackson: Unbreakable World Tour (Feb. 27) bring the heat to the XL Center (Hartford)
  7. Take an art tour in Old Lyme! See American Impressionism at the Florence Griswold Museum; explore fine art exhibitions at the historic Lyme Art Association; view ongoing exhibitions of professional, student and alumni artwork at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts; and visit Diane Birdsall Gallery for abstract work, painting, sculpture, mixed media and installations (Old Lyme)
  8. The “Classic Albums Live” series at the Garde Arts Center continues this winter with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” Jan. 23 (New London)
  9. Winter is a time to warm up to Impressionist Art, both European and American, and for that Connecticut is a treasure trove (statewide)
  10. Salon des Independants XXXVII at Hygienic Galleries celebrates its “no judge, no jury, no fees, no censorship” exhibition plus many other events ranging from an ice carnival to a hootenanny, Jan. 30 thru Feb. 13 (New London)
  11. Country music fans should keep Mohegan Sun in mind this winter - that’s where Brad Paisley (Jan. 31) and Luke Bryan (Feb. 26-27) will perform (Uncasville)

HISTORY

  1. Immerse yourself in the captivating history and evolution of Litchfield at the Litchfield Historical Society. Explore the galleries, exhibits and collections at the Litchfield History Museum (Litchfield)
  2. Take a guided walking tour of the Yale University campus, led by Yale students, and learn about the university’s rich history (New Haven)
  3. Explore culture in style with the Connecticut Still Revolutionary Culture Seekers getaway at the elegant Delamar Greenwich Harbor. Included are deluxe accommodations, an in-room split bottle of champagne, and two one-day passes to the Bruce Museum, a member of the Connecticut Art Trail. From $269 (Greenwich)
  4. Explore historic Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum, when you and your family stay at Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic for the Seaport Package (includes two adult and two children tickets to Mystic Seaport). From $129 (Mystic)
  5. Visit The Mark Twain House & Museum and tour the 25-room Victorian home, a National Historic Landmark, where legendary author Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) penned his greatest works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Hartford)
  6. Follow the Connecticut Antiques Trail for an antiquing adventure through the state and discover charming antiques shops, large antiques centers, auctions, antiques shows and events (statewide)
  7. Find a perfectly cozy and charming inn (many are historic!) or a room with a fireplace for your overnight stay in Connecticut (statewide)
  8. If you love to explore historic homes, make it a getaway with Colonial Days: The Oldest of the Old getaway and meander through homes that date back to the 1600s (statewide)
  9. Visit Connecticut’s literary landmarks, such as the Noah Webster House, during your Literary Hartfordgetaway (Hartford)
  10. Browse The Academy Antiques Shop for antiques and collectibles, including collections of political pins and New England cards from the early 1900s (Orange)

CULINARY

  1. Learn all about maple syrup, including how to make it and what it tastes like on pancakes, at Sullivan Farm’s Maple Festival, March 19 (New Milford)
  2. Cooking classes this winter at The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm include “Tailgating in Your Kitchen” (Jan. 23) and “Sweets for Your Sweetie” (Feb. 6) (New Milford)
  3. Learn about the origins of chocolate, tour a chocolate factory and then make your own chocolate bar at Fascia’s Chocolates, Sat. and Sun. (Waterbury)
  4. There’s good midwinter chowing down at the MacChilifest, where you can sample more than 20 different chilis and mac ‘n cheese entries from local restaurants, Feb. 7 (Westport)

  5. Does Connecticut have the best pizza in the world? Only one way to find out – explore the Connecticut Pizza Trail and decide for yourself (statewide)
  6. Warm up at Old Saybrook’s 20th Annual Chili Festival and expect to be wowed by the offerings of 30 chefs (you can vote for your favorites, too), Feb. 27 (Old Saybrook)
  7. Connecticut does chowder as well as, maybe better than, anywhere else, so follow the Chowder Trail to a steamy bowl or cup of creamy, clear and Manhattan varieties (statewide)
  8. Let Connecticut bring out the Weekend Gourmet in you with a coastal tour and lots of food along the way (Coast)
  9. If you prefer many varieties of chowder all in one place, there’s the Cabin Fever Festival at Olde Mistick Village, with other outdoor events as well, Feb. 27 (Mystic)
  10. Wine and celebrity chefs take center stage at Mohegan Sun’s Sun Winefest, a three-day celebration of fine foods paired with great wines, Jan. 29-31 (Uncasville)
  11. There are many trails that wind their way through Connecticut, but the fan favorite among visitors may well be the Connecticut Chocolate Trail, with more than a dozen irresistible stops along the way (statewide)
  12. If you believe St. Valentine’s Day and chocolate are just meant for each other, head for the Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival, where local businesses offer chocolate treats and entertainment, Feb. 13 (Willimantic)
  13. Hop onto the 3rd Annual CT Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail, a celebration of Connecticut wines from three wineries – hotel and dining packages, too, Jan. 2 thru April 3 (Guilford and Wallingford)
  14. Is beer a winter drink? It sure is, as you will discover on the ever-expanding, ever-improving, ever more interesting Connecticut Beer Trail (statewide)
  15. The sap is running and life is sweet when Stamford Museum & Nature Center holds its Maple Sugar Festival Weekend, March 5-6 (Stamford)

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