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Mystic Seaport Museum

5 Top-Rated Things to Do in Mystic, Connecticut (2024)

There are many beautiful small cities in Connecticut, but none as charming as Mystic. In fact, you can say that a visit to this beautiful town will be well worth your time if you are looking for one of the most beautiful places to check out in Mystic.

Mystic is a beautiful former shipbuilding seaport that celebrates boats, schooners, pirates, and more throughout the year as a way to keep the history of the town alive. There are dozens of ways to get out on the water here, making it a perfect holiday for adventure lovers and the ideal picturesque destination for nature lovers.

The state of Connecticut is known for its beautiful landscapes. From the beautiful sandy shores and dense green forests to its many award-winning museums, this famous Nutmeg state is home to many sleepy seaside getaways like the charming town of Mystic. The further you explore this wondrous state, the more you get to see the adorable villages, mesmerizing winding rivers and tributaries, and iconic bridges.

5 Top-Rated Things to Do in Mystic

Here are some of the top-rated things to do in Mystic:

1. Climb Aboard A Boat At The Mystic Seaport Museum

If you don’t have much time to spend in Mystic, then let the one place you can visit be the Mystic Seaport Museum. This is an impressive harbor that has everything from a fully working shipyard to a planetarium. It is also one of the best places to photograph in Connecticut.

Mystic Seaport Museum

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The Mystic Seaport Museum is a re-created 19th-century seafaring village that is one of the crown jewels of Connecticut. Each building here is authentic and home to friendly and knowledgeable staff who are ever-ready to teach you about life in the 1800s. You will get to see for yourself how the sailors banked, carved ships, and printed newspapers.

Make sure that you don’t miss the ‘Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers’ exhibit, where you get to learn about the country’s historical relationship with the whaling industry. After you check this out, take a moment to climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan, which is the world’s last wooden whaleship. It is here that you can see where the whalers lived, slept, area, and even boiled blubber into oil. There are several others ships here to explore, including the fully rigged Joseph Conrad.

As you leave the seaport in your wake while boarding one of their passenger boats, you will have a great time on the open sea. You can sail on the working catboat Breck Marshall or the steam-run Sabino to explore the open sea.

If you are visiting with children, you can have some more fun by dressing them up as sailors and swabbing the deck at the Children’s Museum or learning the science behind the sail and hull design of a ship at the Discovery Barn.

And when you start to feel hungry, there are two laid-back restaurants within the seaport village where you can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner.

2. Mystic Aquarium

The town of Mystic is one of the prettiest in Connecticut, and there are so many unique places to see here that you need to reserve at least a week to finish exploring all of these marvelous places.

The Mystic Aquarium is the best aquarium in the state, home to many impressive indoor and outdoor exhibits. You will be left amazed to see beluga whales, the Sharks Touch Habitat, a Stingray Touch Pool, an Animal Rescue Center, and a Marsh Trek. This is perhaps the only place in the country where you can even pet a starfish at the Discover Long Island Sound exhibit.

There are many fun activities on offer here, and for an extra fee, you can even book a Penguin Encounter tour, where you can up close and personal with these fascinating birds. Or you can book a private training session with a sea lion, a painting and feeding session with stingrays where you actually get to see the stingrays paint, or you can even opt for a one-on-one session with a harbor seal.

While at the aquarium, do not miss the California Sea Lion Show at the Foxwoods Marine Center. This is a real treat to catch with original music, costume changes, and a family-friendly storyline.

Some of the other fun attractions at the Mystic Aquarium include interacting with computer-generated animations in the Wild Arctic exhibits. You get to play virtually with a walrus and a polar bear. There is also an indoor dinosaur trail in Jurassic Giants that features giant animatronic dinosaurs, including the popular tyrannosaurs rex, stegosaurus, and many other prehistoric creatures.

3. Taste the Food Samples at Olde Mistick Village

It will be challenging to find a more charming place than the Olde Mistick Village, which is an outdoor mall located in the recreated 18th-century New England Village. As you wander through the quaint cottages, you will come across a water wheel and duck pond. The best thing to indulge yourself in here is to sample the tasty fares on offer. You will find a wide variety of things here, including flavored vinegar, homemade fudge, and several other delicious items that you would love to take home.

In fact, you will find that except for Franklin’s General Store, all the shops here are themed. You will find an assortment of jams, souvenirs, and delicious candied nuts at Franklin’s store. Sticky Situations will give you a taste of honey that you have never tasted before, infused with flavors of everything from chipotle to avocado. There are so many samples to try out in this village that you will be left completely full by the end of your trip.

4. Check Out the Opening of the Mystic River Bascule Drawbridge

It might take some time for you to wait on Route 1 while the bascule bridge located over the Mystic River goes up to allow a large ship to pass through and then come back down to allow the road traffic to flow. But, no matter the time, it will be well worth your time to take a look at this mechanism that makes it possible.

All the machinery is exposed, and when the system was constructed in 1922, the bridge received many praises for its ingenuity. Electric motors light the bridge span. Its mobile span is 218 feet long and 85 feet wide. It weighs 660 tons, and it uses two 230-ton concrete counterweights to function. The bridge only stays open for five minutes, and it opens and closes around 2200 times in a year.

5. Historical Downtown Mystic

The town of Mystic is rich in history, but there is nothing ancient about the Historic Downtown Mystic. It is a lively and thriving neighborhood that stretches from both banks of the charming Mystic River with a charming drawbridge to add to the overall appeal.

There are over 80 shops of all types located here, including cafes, ice cream parlors, restaurants, souvenir shops, and almost every other kind of service you can think about. Downtown Mystic has a beautiful coastal community vibe, and it is a popular place amongst locals and tourists. There is always something that goes on in this area, with events ranging from the little pirates’ parade to holiday concerts and various other community events.

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