Situated on the shores of the Mystic River, Mystic is a quaint seaside town and one of Connecticut’s best-kept secrets. Whether you wish to discover underwater life at the Mystic Aquarium, grab a slice of the famous Mystic Pizza, or admire the beauty of the picturesque Mystic River Bascule Bridge, a visit to this beautiful coastal town promises to be an unforgettable experience. Still not sure where to go and what to do while staying in Mystic? Feel free to check out our list of the best things to do in Mystic, CT.
1. Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum is without a doubt one of the most famous attractions in Mystic. This 17-acre harbor is home to many impressive buildings ranging from a shipyard to a planetarium. Check out the Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers exhibit where the knowledgeable staff will tell you everything there is to know about the whaling industry in the US.
You can also hop on the world’s last surviving wooden whaling ship called Charles W. Morgan or see a planetarium show. Travelers visiting with kids can pay a visit to the Children’s Museum where the little ones can dress in sailor’s uniforms.
2. Mystic Aquarium
If you are looking for things to do in Mystic in winter, we recommend heading out to the extraordinary Mystic Aquarium. Home to the famous beluga whales, the aquarium is a rescue and research facility that offers everything from sea lion shows at the Foxwoods Marine Theater and exhibits with jellyfish to the awesome Deep Sea 3D movie presentation. Visitors will also come across shark and ray touch pools and a wide range of events including learning workshops and overnight visits.
3. Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic is an ideal place for travelers who wish to enjoy hiking and experience bird watching. Besides being an environmental education center, this reserve is also a beautiful green space full of meadows, wildflower gardens, and ponds. Feel free to wander the trails and look out for birds like hawks and owls. If you get lucky, you might even spot cute turtles playing in the pond.
4. Argia Mystic Cruises
Hop aboard the 81-foot Schooner Argia and have an experience unlike any other while visiting the coastal town of Mystic. A half-day cruise on this vessel is available from May to October and includes a visit to the surrounding islands, the Mystic River Drawbridge, and the historic lighthouse. During the cruise, complimentary snacks and drinks are available, but passengers can also bring their own picnic and drinks.
5. Bluff Point State Park
Looking for free things to do in Mystic, CT? Explore the great outdoors with a visit to the amazing Bluff Point State Park. Well-known for its beautiful waterfront and wooded areas, this state coastal reserve offers a perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon in nature. Hiking enthusiasts will be happy to hear that the park is home to a 5.8-kilometer coastal reserve trail that is suitable for all skill levels and is best used from May to October. Mountain biking at the Bluff Point State Park is also extremely popular, as well as fishing from Poquonock Cove. You can also spot over 200 different types of birds and animals like rabbits and raccoons.
6. Historic Downtown Mystic
The Historic Downtown Mystic stretches along the banks of the Mystic River and is one of the most visited areas of this maritime town. Expect to find many souvenir stores and restaurants, as well as boutique shops and local vendors selling ice cream in this magnificent neighborhood. There is always something going on in Mystic’s historic downtown including popular events such as the Patrick’s Day Mystic Irish Parade and the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival.
7. Charles W. Morgan
Located within the Mystic Seaport Museum, Charles W. Morgan is a historic ship that used to be a part of a whaling fleet in the 19th century. The ship sailed the Arctic waters for more than 200 years and has even survived the hurricane back in 1938. Today, Charles W. Morgan is nicely restored and visited by millions of tourists each year. Many people say how this vessel is the jewel of the Mystic Seaport Museum and definitely the number one attraction.
8. Mystic Dark Room
Mystic Dark Room is one of the best places to go out in the evening in the city. This show lounge boasts a quirky interior design with state-of-the-art lighting, special effects, and comfy leather couches. If you are searching for a unique entertainment experience, you’ve come to the right place. After the show, visitors are encouraged to interact with the artists and snap some cool photos together. As for the list of beverages, there is always wine, beer, and champagne available for purchase.
9. Mystic River Bascule Bridge
Looking for a place to snap some cool photos for your Instagram account? Head out to downtown Mystic where you will find the popular Mystic River Bascule Bridge. Built in 1922 to cross the river, this iconic bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Mystic. The bridge opens to allow big boats to pass through and you will find the best vantage points for taking pics in the dock behind Steamboat Inn. Once the bridge is down, cars and pedestrians are allowed to cross it.
10. Olde Mistick Village
A lovely outdoor mall set, the Olde Mistick Village is a great place to visit for travelers exploring Mystic with kids. From the Franklin’s General Store where you can try homemade jams and the Pop on the Block which offers delicious popcorn in a variety of flavors to the Sticky Situation shop where honey infused with many flavors is sold, a visit to the Olde Mistick Village should be included on the list of every traveler with a sweet tooth. Besides sweet treats, this recreated New England village from the 18th century is home to more than 40 stores including places such as Raining Cats and Dogs, Alice in the Village tea shop, Mystic Kite Shop, and many others.
11. Denison Homestead
Built on 160 acres of land, Denison Homestead is one of the most beautiful manors in the area. It is a place where Captain George Denison and his family lived for a few centuries before the house was turned into a museum 70 years ago. Today, Denison Homestead is open to the public and boasts nicely-preserved rooms with a variety of artifacts and original period furniture. There are many tours of this place to choose from ranging from Archeology Family Days to the House Tours.
12. Liberty Pole Square
Located in downtown Mystic right on the intersection of Holmes Street and Route 1, the Liberty Pole Square is a gray round brick platform that has a large historical anchor with a flag on top. However, the first liberty pole in the city was built in the 19th century but was destroyed in a raging fire in 1885. Today, the pole square is a dedication to the residents of the Mystic River Valley and a popular spot to take photographs.
13. Mystic Museum of Art
Art lovers should not miss the incredible Mystic Museum of Art. MMOA is home to several simultaneous exhibits and boasts nicely decorated gallery rooms with plenty of natural lighting. The good news is that exhibitions change regularly, making it a fun place to visit throughout the year. Family-friendly events like the Art After Dark are not to be missed. In the back, you will find a nice manicured garden where you can go for a stroll.
14. Fields Of Fire Adventure Park
There is no shortage of fun things to do in Mystic CT and the Fields Of Fire Adventure Park is a perfect spot to enjoy 50 acres of rugged woods. Visitors can enjoy fabulous elevated trails that have everything from bridges and obstacles to crazy zip lines and platforms. On Fridays, the adventure park hosts the popular night climb which is one of the most popular events here.