U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Connecticut
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-21-2011, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
10,427 posts, read 7,461,368 times
Reputation: 1936
Default My List of Best Downtowns in Connecticut 2011

This is a list I put together for the sake of putting together a list. I've lived here for a few decades in 3 different areas and have spent time in nearly every downtown center in the state.

This is not necessarily a list of the best downtowns to live in, but rather the ones that offer the most.

My criteria includes aesthetics/architecture, natural beauty, variety of restaurants, culture (arts, theaters, music venues), personality, and so on.

There are many downtowns that I think have great qualities, but ultimately did not feel they had ALL the great qualities that I look for.

For example, New Milford has a great New England feel, but is too lacking in nightlife and variety of restaurants. Westport and Greenwich have a wealthy feel and a wide variety of shopping, but suffer from what I call "upscale homogenization" and cater to too narrow an audience. East Haddam is postcard perfect, but doesn't offer enough. New London, Litchfield, Madison and Stonington are all great in their own right, but just barely didn't make the cut. And not to leave out the Quiet Corner, but again - not enough going on in otherwise very quaint towns.

10. Bethel, CT
Why: Picturesque New England town center. What it lacks in nightlife it makes up for in being very family friendly with several excellent restaurants and small shops.

9. New Canaan, CT
Why: Great selection of restaurants and shopping in pristine Fairfield County fashion.

8. West Hartford, CT
Why: Trendy, beautiful downtown with some of the finest restaurants in Connecticut.

7. Middletown, CT
Why: A nice surprise on the Connecticut River, Middletown has a very strong and vibrant Main Street for a town this size and serves Wesleyan well.

6. South Norwalk, CT
Why: Although it only offers a little more than a few blocks of goodness, it's packed with some fine restaurants and a selection of nightlife spots. The Maritime Center also makes for a nice diversion.

5. Kent, CT
Why: Quintessential rural New England. What it lacks in sheer number, it makes up for by defining "quaint". Near Kent Falls for a perfect day trip.

4. Milford, CT
Why: The second longest (and very active, example: "Milford Oyster Fest") green in New England, charming old architecture, parks whose ponds lead into waterfalls into a picturesque harbor, fine restaurants and a vibrant nightlife top off one of the most up and coming downtown areas in CT.

3. Stamford, CT
Why: For what it lacks in character as an antiseptic corporate park, Stamford makes up for it with tons of restaurants, bars and shopping. Stamford seems like one of the most fully realized city centers in Connecticut, and there's no shortage of things to do - especially when the sun goes down.

2. Mystic, CT
Why: It's a tourist trap for a reason. Mystic is New England. The setting and the feel of Mystic is perfect with its quaint shops, restaurants and harbor. (Nearby Stonington should not be missed as well.) The history, the lure and Old Mystic and the aquarium all make for an absolutely necessary pilgrimage for CT residents.

1. New Haven, CT
Why: Even though the city proper has its share of issues and urban blight, the downtown area offers more than any other in Connecticut. From the Shubert Theater to Toad's Place, to the Yale Repertory Theater, to the Yale Art Museum, Peabody and Center for British Art. It's a pizza mecca, a smorgasbord of diverse, Zagat-rated restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. Gothic revival architecture intermingles with modern and Colonial style. The birthplace of the hamburger, and one of the world's finest institutions of academia. Certainly the area that Yale roughly occupies is the place in question, but New Haven is Connecticut's biggest college town. And with that always comes good things.

Last edited by Stylo; 03-21-2011 at 09:20 PM.. Reason: land feel, but is too lacking in nightlife and variety of restaurants. Westport and Greenwich have a wealthy feel and a wide
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-21-2011, 09:15 PM
 
629 posts, read 639,297 times
Reputation: 154
wheres ridgefield?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2011, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
10,427 posts, read 7,461,368 times
Reputation: 1936
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konig1985 View Post
wheres ridgefield?
I did consider it. It's got a few nice restaurants, and a few nice shops - and is a great place to live. It would be in the top 20, for sure, but it's missing the X-factor for me.

Though I'd better not make it a habit to reply to every opinion, or this would be a very long thread.

That said, I encourage comments and perhaps towns I overlooked.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2011, 10:28 PM
 
Location: New Britain, CT
58 posts, read 95,021 times
Reputation: 65
So the Wadsworth, Bushnell Theater, Hartford Stage, Bushnell Park, Connecticut River walk, Travelers Tower, Goodwin building, State Capitol, Old State House, bars/food near Union Station, Science Center, etc, etc aren't enough to get Hartford on the list, even at #10? Also, I find West Hartford to be a little upscale like Greenwich and Westport- why did you decide to include it? Overall, though, I like most of your list.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2011, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
10,427 posts, read 7,461,368 times
Reputation: 1936
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTCitizen View Post
So the Wadsworth, Bushnell Theater, Hartford Stage, Bushnell Park, Connecticut River walk, Travelers Tower, Goodwin building, State Capitol, Old State House, bars/food near Union Station, Science Center, etc, etc aren't enough to get Hartford on the list, even at #10? Also, I find West Hartford to be a little upscale like Greenwich and Westport- why did you decide to include it? Overall, though, I like most of your list.
Yes, I think I need to spend some more time in Hartford. Though the attractions always seemed a little spaced out vs. a concentrated downtown?

I think West Hartford has more personality in its food choices than Greenwich or Westport. Still, West Hartford from a demographics level is nowhere near the wealth of those two towns.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2011, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,748 posts, read 1,870,282 times
Reputation: 948
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkiv808 View Post
5. Kent, CT
Why: Quintessential rural New England. What it lacks in sheer number, it makes up for by defining "quaint". Near Kent Falls for a perfect day trip.
I have found it to be an unfriendly place. Too NYC-centric.

But, yes, it looks nice.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-22-2011, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Hartford County
106 posts, read 249,426 times
Reputation: 80
I love Mystic and yeah, it's a tourist trap somewhat but it's beautiful. Great restaurants.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-22-2011, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Central Connecticut
577 posts, read 552,298 times
Reputation: 184
Time to make top 20s than 10. lol
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-22-2011, 11:50 AM
 
396 posts, read 497,572 times
Reputation: 166
I am really surprised that a list of the 'best downtowns in CT' doesn't include Greenwich. Best downtown BY FAR, in my opinion, in terms of quality and quantity of restaurants and shops.

I also think Darien, Essex and Westport should be up there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-22-2011, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
11,886 posts, read 12,270,363 times
Reputation: 3266
Quote:
Originally Posted by jax12479 View Post
I am really surprised that a list of the 'best downtowns in CT' doesn't include Greenwich. Best downtown BY FAR, in my opinion, in terms of quality and quantity of restaurants and shops.
I don't agree. I think downtown Greenwich has gotten a little gritty over the years. It's too big, too busy and too pretentous IMO.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Connecticut
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top