Free in Connecticut almost seems like an oxymoron. But for someone that’s been living here almost most of my life, I’ve had to find events and locations that can cater to my budget. Here are a few of them and of course, feel free to comment with any free Connecticut events I should add!
1 – Sculptures in Stamford, CT
Every year the city of Stamford has a sculpture maze around the city. There have been years when you could download a map and go on a scavenger hunt. You can see the ones from previous years in permanent spots around the city, as well.
Mill River Park Fit Club
2 – Mill River Park in Stamford, CT has daily free summer fit events from May 22 to September 13 (2018). Afro-Flow Yoga, Zumba, Sun Rise Yoga, and more. And yes, ALL FREE!
Museums in Connecticut
3 – The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum – I wrote about how to visit museums for free recently. If you live in Connecticut and are a member of your library, all you have to do is waltz in that library and request a museum pass. This will allow you to enter a ton of museums around the state. The pass includes two adults and two children. You are saving tons of money and also appreciating some art.
4 – The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT has *free* individual admission on Tuesdays.
5 – Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT gives *free* admissions to visitors on their birthdays.
6 – New Haven Museum is open for *free* to the public every first Sunday of the month.
8 – Yale University – It’s a beautiful campus and you can take a tour there for free!
Hiking in Connecticut State Parks
Starting in 2018, if your car is registered in Connecticut, you NO LONGER have to pay a fee to enter a state park with your car. That means you can visit the following parks, among many more, for free:
12 – Gillette Castle State Park – Yes, this is a real castle that you can enter, albeit just throughout the summer months. Most state parks open at 8 in the morning, and you can enter the park for free. If you want to, for a fee, you can also enter the castle for a tour. I did it, and it was an amazing learning experience. Did you know that this castle cost more than a million dollars to construct in the early 1900s?
13 – Elizabeth Park Conservancy – I was surprised when I drove to this park in Hartford, CT and we didn’t have to pay for parking or to enter. It’s beautiful, and I would definitely go in peak spring!
14 – Castle Craig in Hubbard Park- This isn’t a real castle, at least not like Gillette Castle, but it’s a great place to hike and catch a view of the town below.
A Hot Air Balloon Festival in Connecticut? YES!
15 – The Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival – A yearly event where you can catch live music for free, as well as a lift on a hot air balloon. Did I mention there are fireworks?
16 – Cherry Blossoms in New Haven, CT – Can’t go all the way to Washington, D.C.? You can check out some of the cherry blossoms in their peak bloom in April every year.
Summer Concert Series
I have a theory that most, if not all towns and cities in Connecticut have a Summer Concert Series. Alive At 5 in Stamford, CT is not free, so here are some options that are:
17 – Norwalk Summer Concert Series – Free entry by car for all Norwalk, CT beach pass holders, $10 for all other cars.
18 – Darien Summer Concert Series– Free every Friday night throughout the summer!
Yes, I focused on Fairfield County, but just look up your town/city to see if there are any free music events going on. They’re usually in the summer, of course!
Music Festivals and Plays
20 – The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz– Free every year for the last 25 years!
21 – Rowayton Cinema on the Sound– I always love movies in the park…
22 – Shakespeare on the Sound– You don’t have to go all the way to NYC for some Shakespeare in the Park!
Sorry, this has got to be the hardest part. But apart from the state park beaches, I can’t really recommend a cheap beach in CT. Unfortunately, beaches in CT are ridiculously segregated. Some have said that’s in the past, but no, it’s absurd that during the summer you have to pay to drive your car into a Greenwich beach ($35) PLUS a fee for every person that walks in that’s not a Greenwich resident ($7). Guess who was shocked when she arrived to the #1 beach in the country in Florida and didn’t have to pay a penny? Me! This is me at Tod’s Point in the Winter, when entry is free:
And last, but not least:
23 – Lockwood Matthews Mansion – You can tour the grounds for free and there is a fee to tour the mansion.
24 – Lyman Orchards – This view was free but you can go into a sunflower maze or corn maze for a fee depending on the time of the year. You can also go apple picking here!
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