Fantastic things to do in Norwalk

Affectionately nicknamed the “Oyster Town,” Norwalk has a deeply rooted oyster history dating back to the late 1800s. With plentiful oysters and a bountiful assortment of local seafood, Norwalk offers visitors a foodie culture at fashion in the trendy urban district of SoNo (South Norwalk). Within commuting distance of New York City, Norwalk transforms into a great place for residents and guests to enjoy a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The charming waterfront community of SoNo with its historic architecture and fabulous restaurants is a fun place for the perfect weekend getaway.

Activities in Norwalk

Norwalk offers residents and guests the opportunity to enjoy the ocean, history and the great outdoors. When you add delicious food and boutique stays to the mix, you have the perfect weekend adventure.

Mural at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium (Photo credit: Sandi Barrett)

Explore the Norwalk Marine Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium on the Norwalk River takes you through an underwater journey along Long Island Sound. Covering the transition from freshwater to the deep ocean, the aquarium offers guests over 75 unique exhibits featuring nearly 7,000 sea creatures. Visitors to the aquarium will experience the coastal area and gain an in-depth look at the local marine life and how the environment affects their habitat.

Pinniped Cove’s breathtaking display is the new home for its harbor seals. You’ll be enchanted by their playful antics as they glide swiftly through their aquatic abode.

Enjoy a fun and educational Long Island Sound cruise on the aquarium R / V Spirit of the Sound. The research vessel is the perfect vantage point to observe the aquatic habitat above while exploring the effects of nature on the animals that live in the waterways.

Solarium at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.
Solarium at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum (Photo credit: Sandi Barrett)

Stroll the halls of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum was completed in 1868 for The Grand Lockwood and his family. Sadly, he died a few years later in 1872. In 1876, Charles Drelincourt Mathews and his wife Rebecca purchased the mansion and the family lived there until 1939. They were the only two families to ever live in the magnificent mansion. .

The vestibule immediately sets the tone for grandeur. The cavernous space with marble columns perfectly highlights the collected statuary. As you enter the grand hall with high ceilings and intricate craftsmanship, you feel like you are in luxury.

The mansion you visit today was rescued in 1962 by a group of Norwalk citizens after being used for everything from storage to town offices. Without the work of these dedicated historians, the mansion would have been demolished. Now the mansion and the expansive grounds are available for visitors to enjoy.

Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, Connecticut.
Laura Stubbs /

Soak up the sun at Calf Pasture Beach

The jewel of Norwalk is the beautiful Grazing beach for calves. Covering most of the tip of the peninsula in the Norwalk area, Calf Pasture Beach has all the toe-in-the-sand fun you desire. Sports fields, a skate park, a paddling pool and other fun beach activities will keep the sporting crowd entertained. Of course, if your heart’s desire is to enjoy the bright sunshine, then you’ll love the sandy beach with beautiful views; perfect for relaxing on a blanket with a great novel that turns the pages.

Parking for non-residents is limited to the first 100 vehicles, no reservations are accepted. Many customers arrive early and spend all day, so the parking lot fills up quickly on a beautiful day. Parking cards for non-residents can be purchased at one of the terminals located next to the car park or on the Mobile Park application.

Sail to the Isle of Sheffield Lighthouse

Isle of Sheffield Lighthouse is accessible by ferry from the port from late May to late September. The Association of Maritime Ports offers weekend, weekday and sunset tours where guests can enjoy beautiful views of Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound on their trip to the Isle of Sheffield. Guests will enjoy a lighthouse tour and time to explore the island’s trails before returning to Norwalk Harbor.

Built in 1868, the lighthouse is a beautiful backdrop for Tuesday evening clam cruise; a classic New England coastal experience. Order tickets online for the clambake and extend your stay for an additional day or two.

Norwalk River Valley Trail, Connecticut.
Sandi Barrett

Explore the Norwalk River Valley Trail

The Norwalk River Valley Trail encompasses 30 miles of trails through Fairfield County. The Norwalk section covers 5 miles of accessible trails (hard surface and rock dust) starting at Calf Pasture Beach, past the Marine Aquarium, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, and Union Park.

The Norwalk Trail has a great view of the water along the beach. As the path winds through town and along the riverbed, walkers are treated to strategically located viewpoints, charming bridges, and shady woodland trails. It’s a nice walk where you can stop and enjoy the view of the river.

Stop at the Switch Tower Museum

The SoNo Switch Tower Museum is a unique and curious object. The museum displays the switches housed in towers along the tracks. These switch towers controlled the tracks that kept trains from colliding. They also controlled the mechanisms for switching trains from one track to another. Entrance to the 1896 Switch Tower Museum is free. It offers an interesting view of the advancement of progress in railway mechanics.

Sweet and savory from Caffe Social.
Sweet and Savory by Caffe Social (Photo credit: Sandi Barrett)

Top restaurants in Norwalk

Cruise to Washington Street and explore SoNo’s booming restaurant scene. With a wide variety of cuisine options, you’ll love walking around the neighborhood browsing all of the menu offerings. A mix of tantalizing restaurants and charming boutiques occupy the first floor storefronts along the streets with historic brown stones that have converted lofts and condos on the upper floors. The cool, urban vibe is evident in the storefronts and trendy clientele.

Social Cafe

Located around a corner on Main Street, Caffe Social is a trendy urban coffee bar where you can enjoy a mouthwatering coffee, delicious breakfasts or lunch. Legendary breakfast dishes include expertly cooked avocado toast or decadent sweet and savory, a homemade waffle sandwich filled with bacon, sausage, eggs and cheese with a syrup dip. ‘maple.

The Caffe Social is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to treat your specialty coffee with milk.

First Washington

Perfectly charred steaks, expertly prepared seafood and mouthwatering cocktails served in a casual dining room with upscale appeal, First Washington is the SoNo place to meet friends or enjoy a fun date night.

The essential appetizer is the lobster tail from North Australia. When a coastal New England town serves lobster from below, you know it’s going to be amazing. Equally delicious is the assortment of oysters which can be followed by a change of geography with the prosciutto and fig crostini. The collection of land and sea appetizers is enticing and the extensive wine list offers the perfect complementary vintage.


Meet is everyone’s favorite type of restaurant; sophisticated without being stuffy. By the way, it offers exceptionally delicious food. The perfect place to share plates, you can enjoy multiple dishes with your dinner companions without having to commit to just one.

Start with a local classic, the Carpetbaggers (fried oysters served with a trio of truffles: cream, steak tartare and aioli). Shared plates of “octopus fries”, foie gras and a pizza of bacon, potatoes and wood-fired eggs will make you nibble with pleasure with snippets of conversation between delicious bites.

Ripka Beach Cafe

When you laze around for a day at Calf Pasture Beach, plan to dine at Ripka Beach Cafe. The view of the beach is only enhanced by the delicious choices. There are of course burgers, sandwiches and pizzas, but also superb seafood dishes.

The raw and steamed bar offers local oysters, baby necks, neckerchiefs and other glorious gifts from the sea. The clam and oyster options offer everything you want for a culinary adventure with your feet in. the sand. The Oyster Po’Boy with Spicy Remoulade is the perfect blend of New England seafood and southern spices.

Best hotels in Norwalk

Beautiful romantic getaways, luxury suites with all the comforts of home and comfortable seaside cottages; you will find the perfect location for your getaway stay in the Norfolk area.

Norwalk Inn

The Guest House at the Norwalk Inn is a nice alternative to a traditional hotel stay. The guesthouse offers spacious vacation luxury with all the comforts of a comfortable and well-appointed getaway stay. The beautiful suites are an oasis of tranquility after a day spent exploring the city.

Delamar Southport

A romantic getaway at Delamar Southport is a wonderful option for couples looking for a luxurious and relaxing getaway. Located close to Southport, the Delmar offers classic charm paired with beautiful suites, fine dining and spa services, all wrapped up in a quaint New England coastal town.

Cabin in Westport

For an unforgettable experience on the beach, this Vrbo cottage in Westport is right across from Southport Beach. The dog friendly one bedroom cottage sleeps three and is located on the prime host’s owner’s estate. If you like that cozy, home away from home feeling, this cottage might be perfect for your stay in the Norwalk area.

Pro tip: You’ll love exploring Norwalk, this beautiful coastal region is a wonderful place for a quiet getaway.

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