Hartford

20 Family Friendly New Year's Eve Celebrations in Connecticut

I have crossed over. Dreams of elegant parties and midnight champagne toasts have been replaced with longing for easy bedtimes and a good night's sleep. But it feels wrong not to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another without some sort of revelry. Happily, there's no shortage of ways to celebrate New Year's Eve together as a family: no baby sitter required! Whether you're interested in bowling or skating (ice or roller), museums or light shows, there's something for everyone. The First Night events in Hartford and Westport offer a little bit of everything including fireworks, music, and more.

For more great ideas to finish up 2017 and make plans for 2018, be sure to check our frequently updated events calendar and subscribe to our weekly newsletters. Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram so that you won't miss a thing. Merry Christmas! See you next year!

Things to Do on New Year's Day in Connecticut

Sure, you had amazing plans watching the clock strike twelve, but if your kids are anything like mine -- they will still be up at the crack of dawn on New Year's Day looking for something to do. Whether you choose to bundle up and head outdoors or leave the coats at home and check out an indoor activity, there is tons to do in every corner of the state. Spend a nice day with your family skating by the Sound, or take in the IMAX at the Maritime Aquarium. From First Day Hikes to the Science Center, there is something on this list to make sure everyone starts the New Year off right. 

Free Museum Days in Connecticut

Connecticut may be one of the nation’s smallest states, but what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in culture.  Connecticut is literally bursting at the seams with hundreds of art museums, historical homesteads, science museums, children’s museums, and cultural centers in every corner of the state. From the Lyman AIlyn in New London to the Wadsworth Antheneum in Hartford, if you want to take advantage of everything the Nutmeg State has to offer, but don’t love the price tag that comes along with it, then this list of museum free days is for you! And for more info on CT Museums check out our Museum Guide.

Below is a list of free museum hours around the state. Please confirm these free days/evenings with the museums. Sometimes, especially near a national or religious holiday, schedules may change. Also, keep in mind that teachers, veterans, or seniors may also receive extra discounts. 

Great Birthday Cake and Cupcake Bakeries in Hartford Area

I think most of us can agree that when it comes to birthdays the cake is one of the most important parts of the party! Making sure you get a good one can be crucial. Whether your little one prefers chocolate or vanilla or cupcakes over cake, there are many amazing bakeries in the Hartford County area. We've listed a few of our favorites below. In our Birthday Party Guide you'll find tons of ideas on themes and locations too!

Connecticut's Christmas Light Dispays

There is something magical about a holiday light display. Generation after generation have made a ritual of going to see the displays each season. I have so many fun memories of bundling up in the backseat and driving around town searching for the best Christmas lights in town. New Haven has its Fantasy of Lights, Fairfield has several houses that make the holidays special, and Hartford has a huge list of special places to visit.

The Top 10 Things to do with Preschoolers this Holiday Season

From Pinterest-perfect teacher presents to waiting online for those coveted tickets, the Christmas season can be, well, stressful. There's the Christmas parties, the Christmas cards, and then the presents. And the shopping for the presents. We all seriously need a vacation by 5 p.m. on December 25th. But, when you see those little faces light up when they see the guy in red or when they come across an actual living, breathing reindeer, or when they hear that whistle blow. Every second is worth it. We've rounded up the top 10 things to do with your preschooler during the holidays. So get out there and embrace the magic of the season and make yourself some memories to last a lifetime. Be sure to check out our CT Holiday Guide for even more holiday fun. 

Holiday Strolls and Tree Lighting Events in the Hartford Area

One of the best things about living in Connecticut is the small-town feel our communities work so hard to capture. This sentiment can especially be felt around the holidays when people come together. So even if you don't live in these towns in Hartford County, you are welcome and encouraged to celebrate the season at these events.  Check out our Holiday Guide and our list of Holiday Light Shows for even more tips on fun ways to celebrate the season.

Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinner around Hartford, CT

The thought of having to prepare a huge Thanksgiving meal for my family gives me nightmares worse than forgetting to turn in my senior thesis. I prefer to leave it to the professionals and enjoy family, friends, and football rather than shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. For a traditional feast with all the trimmings minus the stress, check out our list of restaurants open on Thanksgiving in the Hartford area. Reservations are strongly recommended for all of the restaurants. Check out our posts about Thanksgiving Dinner Out in Fairfield County and Restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day in Litchfield County too. 

Riding the Trolleys at the CT Trolley Museum

One of our annual Autumn trips, since my boys were young, has been a trip to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor. From an early age, my boys, like many boys, loved trains; and this local museum has been able to meet their needs many times over. We attended this year during their annual Pumpkin Train Ride but they offer a variety of events throughout the year. The museum has a small staff, and relies on their many, many volunteers to drive the trolleys on the fun but short jaunt from the museum.

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