Planning your next getaway vacation by yourself or with kids?

In the western part of Connecticut lies Norwalk, a lovely and unexplored family-friendly city by the Long Island Sound waters. 

If you have already gotten ready to explore this historically rich city, you will need a guide on the essential things to do in Norwalk, CT. 

Of course, there’s a lot to see in Oyster Town; however, let’s make your trip worthwhile by highlighting the best and most fun places to visit first. 

Ready? Let’s dive in!

  1. Visit the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Built by railroad and banking magnate LeGrand Lockwood between 1865 and 1868, this palatial mansion was an impressive country house then, and a historic centerpiece now.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion showcases a lot about the Victorian era and has become a National Historic Landmark since 1978 after being saved from demolition in the 1960s.

A guided tour around this empire-style country house will show you all the hot and cold plumbing, gas lighting, and ventilation systems that were cutting-edge designs during its time. Plus, by yourself, you might want to take note of the wrought iron casting on the rooftop above the elongated porch.

If it’s a relocation to Norwalk you’re planning, you will find plenty more history like this around. Even the movers in Norwalk, CT, offers might give you hints about visiting the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion once you settle in.

Pro tip: 

Guided tours usually start at the beginning of April till the commencement of the new year in January. 

  1. Check out the Maritime Aquarium

You might wonder; what’s Norwalk known for? It’s a unique aquarium in Connecticut!

If you have never been to an aquarium center that’s done right, then good luck, your first should be the Maritime Aquarium.

There’s a lot to do here, but first, you should thrill yourself and your family with the over 2,700 marine animals across 300 different species in the Maritime Aquarium. There are about 75 live exhibits and three touch tanks that allow close contact with these sea creatures.

You will discover river otters, harbor seals, loggerhead turtles, jellyfish, and dangerous sharks.

After viewing, immerse yourself into the 169-seater 4D IMAX Theater with screens as high as six stories and as wide as eight stories with 10,000-watt digital surround sound.

Pro tip: 

You can end your trip with a study cruise on the electric catamaran “R/V Spirit of the Sound” educational programs.

  1. Explore SoNo Switch Tower Museum

Are the rail tracks a thing that fancy you or would you like to take a trip to the past? At the SoNo Switch Tower Museum, you will get first-hand views of how the tracks spanning 2,000 miles worked between 1896 and 1984.

During its complete construction in 1896, the Signal Station 44, or Tower 44 (as previously known), housed the original switch controlling the New Haven Railroad that spanned much of South of New England.

Going to visit this museum, you will find captivating relics of the only surviving Armstrong lever in Connecticut. It can be fun to discover the jobs of the people who worked here almost two centuries ago.

Pro tip: 

While there, try to imagine the tower working like in its glory days, it will give a better experience of the museum.

  1. Learn About Artists at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking

Just around the corner from the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, you will find a gallery like no other in Connecticut at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking. 

If you fancy the arts, you will discover plenty of work from established and emerging artists in this museum. The best part about this place is the fact you don’t only get to view the fine works of art, but you also have an opportunity to create yours.

Inside this printmaking center, you will have about 300 collections of art donated to this museum. From lithographs to intriguing woodcuts, etches, and silkscreen.

Pro tip: 

Take advantage of the interactive communal workplace; use it to create fine artworks of your own making.

  1. Enjoy Live Music at the Wall Street Theater

Built-in 1915, the Wall Street Theater by the corner on Wall Street has taken many forms as its ownership changes hands.

During its first iteration in 1915, the theater hosted a lot of big names and had famous people gracing its stages. In the days, John Barrymore, Mary Pickford, and Lilian Gish brought this place to life with their presence.

Later on in the ‘30s, the theater was remodeled during the prominence of movies. Yet, iconic singer Elvis Presley graced the stage with his singing, and tons of boxing matches occurred in the theater.

In its last incarnation, the Wall Street Theater has become a music venue, featuring live music from solo or group artists. 

Pro tip: 

At night, you can visit this century-old theater to catch some live music shows from local or famous bands.

  1. Join the Sheffield Island Ferry

Your journey on the ferry will begin at the dock on the west bank of the Norwalk River. The journey and tour will take roughly about 45 minutes and will come to an end at Sheffield Island, until then you will explore the Norwalks Islands.

While on the ferry, the skipper will point out all the little islands in the archipelago and highlight all landmarks on the sides of the Long Island Sound. 

If the conditions during your trip on the ferry are perfect, you will have a picturesque view and you could catch a view of the distant Manhattan skyline.

Pro tip: 

Plan this specific visit in the summer to enjoy better weather conditions for a view of the amazing skylines and islands around Norwalk.

  1. Discover the Sheffield Island Lighthouse

At the end of your 45-minute cruise on the ferry, you get to Sheffield Island and witness the grand 1868 lighthouse in all its splendor.

Before the magnificently standing lighthouse on Sheffield Island came to be, there was a 30-foot tower erected in 1828 that was the major site for Norwalk residents in the area. Sadly, this tower is underwater now—hence, the construction of the lighthouse 40 years later.

The keeper’s house in the lighthouse still stands and houses 19th-century-old furnishings. However, in 2011, solar-powered energy was put in place for sustainability.

For most of the people on the ferry ride, the limestone lighthouse would be their main attraction. Try to imagine the lighthouse working and being a beacon for ships during its days.

Pro tip: 

There are other fun things to do on Sheffield Island; you could go hiking, swimming, and learn more about the Sheffield Island clambake. 

  1. Walk Through the Oak Hills Park

Are you a nature lover or simply looking for scenic, fun things to do in Norwalk, CT? Well, Oak Hills Park has tons of natural greenery and attractive recreational facilities to offer you a nice time in Norwalk. 

Being at Oak Hills Park, you are a witness to the beautifully kept undulating fairways of gardens and the special golf course. Inside the 18-hole golf course established in 1969, you will discover mature trees, water features, and fairways.

There’s also an Oak Hill tennis center, with 8 clay courts for the game alongside a Pro Shop and restaurant. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are walking and hiking routes for anyone who would dare to challenge the trails.

Pro tip: 

If you have your walking shoes or hiking boots with you, with a guide you can hike the natural trails at Oak Hills Park.

  1. Take your Kids to the Stepping Stones Museum for Children

The Stepping Stones Museum for Children is the perfect getaway classroom to educate your kids while giving them something fun to do—you could even learn a thing or two.

At the museum, there are many different programs teaching children hands-on knowledge about science, architecture, and kinetics.

The “Energy Lab” exhibition presents an amazing way to teach kids about the science of energy. Build It! inspires children about the world of engineering and architecture, allowing them to make structures of their own. ColorCoaster shows a mechanical toy using light, gravity, motion, and color to spin.

Pro tip: 

You too as a parent or adult can learn from the exhibitions at the museum. Be open-minded. 

  1. Relax at the Calf Pasture Beach

After you tour Norwalk’s many attractions, you can soak up under the sun at the Calf Pasture Beach. Like some of the unique places on this list, this is among the free things to do in Norwalk, CT. 

This beach located on the peninsula has a lot of history of its own. In the 17th century, colony settlers grazed most of their livestock here, and in 1779 during the Revolutionary War, the Calf Pasture beach was a landing point by 2,600 British troops who raided and nearly destroyed Norwalk.

But, don’t let the sad history soil your time at the beach. It has a nice playground for children, cool picnic spots, and a picturesque environment.

Pro tip: 

If you know how to ride the ocean waves, you can rent out some kayaks and sailboats from the Norwalk Sailing School and view the gorgeous beach from the waters.


Whether you are looking for a destination location to fill your journal or in search of a place to unwind after months of work, Norwalk, Connecticut, has some of the best spots for a family chill.

Once you have decided on your visit to the cool, historic city, you can learn the different things to do in Norwalk, CT, from this list.

If you’re planning a longer stay or relocating to Norwalk, here are a few other things you could try:

  • Immerse yourself with the Norwalk Art Space collections
  • Witness the Nowak Oyster Festival
  • Watch out for the Norwalk Boat Show
  • Experience the Norwalk, CT, Panic Room