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Author: kathyb

14 Things to do in Norwalk Over Winter Break

Things To Do

14 Things to Do in Norwalk
Over Winter Break

The kids get just a few days off from school for February winter break. Here are our picks for things to do in Norwalk that cater to families and include an eclectic mix of urban, coastal, and charming neighborhood experiences. 

1. Stepping Stones Museum

Without question, Stepping Stones is the crown jewel of children’s museums in Fairfield County. Kids of all ages can spend hours exploring the museum’s hands-on approach to learning. The galleries there are filled with tons of engaging exhibits that will appeal to the entire family.     

2. Maritime Aquarium  

Sharks. Octopuses. Seahorses. Jellies and meerkats. You can spend hours exploring the halls of this Norwalk institution. The 4D theater and Pinniped Cove are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

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3. SONO Switch Tower Museum 

Admission to this small museum is free, so it is well worth a walk over from the Maritime Aquarium. Train enthusiasts of all ages will love learning about the only “Armstrong” switch lever machine in Connecticut.

4. Mill Hill Historic Park & Historical Society 

You can explore the history of Norwalk in two locations: Mill Hill Historic Park and society’s museum on East Ave. The museum is open for self-guided tours on select days of the week. Mill Hill Historic Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The historic park features several historic buildings and an antique cemetery.  

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5. Norwalk’s Thriving Arts Scene

Whether it’s taking in a show at the Music Theater of Connecticut, listening to live music at the District Music Hall, or exploring visual art at The Norwalk Art Space, you can take part in a variety of arts in Norwalk! Check the organizations’ websites for schedules. 

6. Panic Room Norwalk 

It takes a lot of team work to get out of one of these challenging rooms.  Instead of just trying to “escape,” participants are given a mission to accomplish.

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7. Sky Zone

Sky Zone offers open jump sessions, a Foam Zone, where kids can jump from a trampoline runway into a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes, and Sky Slam, where trampoline launch pads bounce you ten feet in the air so that you can dunk your basketball like a pro. 

8. Stew Leonard’s 

Stew Leonard’s is like the Disneyland of grocery stores and the original is right here in Norwalk. With animatronic musical characters, real life farm animals, tons of family fun events, oh – and delicious food! 

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9. Grit Ninja 

If you have ever dreamed of being a ninja warrior, this is your spot! You can check it all out on the weekends during their drop-in sessions.

10. SoNo Collection 

In addition to some of the areas finest indoor shopping, the SoNo Collection is also home to the Connecticut outpost of CAMP. The mall also houses the family friendly Yard House, Pinstripes, and Galaxy VR.    

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11. Mr. Frosty’s

Nestled into a corner of East Norwalk and open year-round, Mr. Frosty’s is the perfect place to stop by after a day at the beach, a celebration, or just about anything else. This spot is a personal  family favorite, we love checking out the rotating list of seasonal specials. 

12. Caffee Social 

Located in SoNo, this is the best spot for breakfasts, brunch, coffee, or stop by for lunch after a trip to the aquarium, Caffee Social has a pretty eclectic menu of comfort foods, but we always go for the pancake special. 

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13. O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Also located in SoNo, O’Neills serves up classic Irish pub food with a great children’s menu. 

14. Valencia Luncheria 

The arepas at Valencia are some of the best that we’ve ever had. With classics like ham & cheese, or black beans and queso – don’t forget to order the Zach – you will not be sorry! 

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Credits: Ally Noel/Mommy Poppins, “24 Best Things To Do in Norwalk, CT with Kids” 

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Norwalk has 27 of Connecticut Magazine’s Top Restaurants for 2024

Things To Do

Norwalk has 27 of Connecticut Magazine’s Top Restaurants for 2024

The magazine’s panel of professional foodies shared their expert picks of the state’s must-try restaurants. Congratulations to Norwalk’s winners in more than two dozen categories of cuisine!  

 

Overall Excellence:

TAPROOT, 63 N. Main St., @taproot_ct

 

New Restaurants:

ALMA BISTRO, 83 Wall St., @almabistro.cocina

GREER SOUTHERN TABLE, 7 River St., @greersoutherntable

MYKONOS KOUZINA, 141 Main St., @mykonos_kouzina

SONO WOOD FIRED, 59 N. Main St., @sonowoodfire

TACO GUY, 102 Wall St., @tacoguy_ct

 

Appetizers:

ALMA BISTRO, 83 Wall St., @almabistro.cocina

EL SEGUNDO, 3 N. Water St., @elsegundosono

TAVERN AT GRAYBARNS, 194 Perry Ave., @graybarns  

 

Breakfast:

CAFFE SOCIAL, 73 N. Main St., @caffesocial

 

Brunch:

WASHINGTON PRIME, 141 Washington St., @washingtonprimect

 

Chicken Wings:

THE BLIND RHINO, 15 N. Main St., @blindrhinobar

 

Deli/Sandwich Shop:

THE DILLY DUCK SHOP, 666 Main Ave., @thedillyduckshop  

 

Latin American/Caribbean:

CRAVEN DAWGS & TING, 8 Park St., @cravendawgs

LA CALLE AREPAS BAR, 74 N. Main St., @lacallearepasbar

VALENCIA LUNCHERIA, 164 Main St., @valencia_luncheria 

 

Lobster Rolls:

KNOT NORM’S, 10 First St., @knotnorms

 

Lunch:

THE ART SPACE CAFÉ, 455 West Ave., @norwalk_art_space_cafe

 

Mediterranean/Greek:

MYKONOS KOUZINA, 141 Main St., @mykonos_kouzina

PONTOS TAVERNA, 7 Isaac St., @pontostaverna

 

Mexican:

TACO GUY, 102 Wall St., @tacoguy_ct

 

New American:

THE SPREAD, 127 Washington St., @thespreadrestaurant

TAPROOT, 63 N. Main St., @taproot_ct

 

Pizza:

LETIZIA’S PIZZA, 666 Main Ave., #101, @letizias_pizza

SONO WOOD FIRED, 59 N. Main St., @sonowoodfire

 

Seafood:

KNOT NORM’S, 10 First St., @knotnorms

ROWAYTON SEAFOOD, 89 Rowayton Ave., @rowaytonseafood

 

Southern/Soul Food:

GREER SOUTHERN TABLE, 7 River St., @greersoutherntable

 

Spanish/Portuguese:

BARCELONA WINE BAR, 515 West Ave., @barcelonawinebar

 

Steakhouse:

BLACKSTONES, 181 Main St., @blackstonesrestaurantgroup

WASHINGTON PRIME, 141 Washington St., @washingtonprimect

 

Sushi:

LITTLE TOKYO, 120 New Canaan Ave., @little-tokyo-japanese-restaurant

OISHI SUSHI & IZAKAYA, 124 Washington St., @oishisono

 

Tacos:

TACO GUY, 102 Wall St., @tacoguy_ct

TACOS EL AZTECA, 94 Main St., @tacoselazteca

 

Vietnamese:

MECHA NOODLE BAR, 116 Washington St., @eatramen  

 

Beer Selection:

THE BLIND RHINO, 15 N. Main St., @blindrhinobar

 

Wine Selection:

BARCELONA WINE BAR, 515 West Ave., @barcelonawinebar

TAVERN AT GRAYBARNS, 194 Perry Ave., @graybarns

 

Outdoor Dining:

TAVERN AT GRAYBARNS, 194 Perry Ave., @graybarns

 

Hidden Gems:

THE ART SPACE CAFÉ, 455 West Ave., @norwalk_art_space_cafe

TACO GUY, 102 Wall St., @tacoguy_ct

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Norwalk’s 5 stars on Connecticut Magazine’s List of Best New Restaurants for 2024

Things To Do

Norwalk’s 5 Stars on Connecticut Magazine’s List of Best New Restaurants for 2024

Five of the 28 outstanding new eateries selected by Connecticut Magazine’s panel of experts are in Norwalk. Check them out:


Alma Bistro

83 Wall St., www.almalatinbistro.com, @almabistro.cosina

The Nuevo Latino style of cooking incorporates flavors and styles from throughout Central and South America, and the Caribbean, with a few Mediterranean influences mixed in.

Greer Southern Table

7 River St., www.greersoutherntable.com, @greersoutherntable

Showcasing low-country cuisine, from shrimp and grits to gumbo, Appalachian-caught trout, “redneck edamame” (hot-boiled peanuts), and plenty of New Orleans.

Mykonos Kouzina

141 Main St., www.mykonoskouzinanorwalk.com, @mykonos_kouzina

The vibe is the magic islands of Greece, with a blue and white theme that mimics the waves of the Aegean and conjures up images of white stucco houses along an azure sea.

SoNo Wood Fired

59 N. Main St., www.sonowf.com, @sonowoodfire

Wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza is the star. Each is topped with the best ingredients, and comes out light with some chew and a signature leopard-spotted char.

Taco Guy

102 Wall St., www.tacoguyct.com, @tacoguy_ct

Serving fresh ceviches, smoky, deeply flavored aguachiles, and DIY tacos with piping hot tortillas, pickled veggies, spicy sauces, and whole-roasted fish or carnitas.

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Norwalk is a “Best Place to Live!”

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Norwalk is a “Best Place to Live!”

The City of Norwalk was recently recognized by CT Insider, Fortune Magazine and Livability as a top city to live in.

Fortune Magazine ranked the City of Norwalk as the best place for families to live within CT and 29th in the nation. In their analysis of nearly 1,900 cities across the country, the best places to live were scored  in areas such as health care, education, and resources for seniors. Fortune stated: “Living in Norwalk is all about enjoying the beautiful coastline and ocean at its borders. Located on the northern shore of Long Island Sound, Norwalk is home to some of the state’s best boating spots and public beaches.”

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Livability named the City of Norwalk as one of the best cities in the nation to live in on their top 100 list of cities. In partnership with Applied Geographic Solutions, Livability.com curated a list of the top 100 cities based on nearly 100 data points and an algorithm that measures a city’s economy, housing, cost of living, amenities, transportation, environment, safety, education, and health. Livability stated: “Norwalk shines as a beacon along Connecticut’s Gold Coast and lures in residents with its coastal charm and vibrant atmosphere. A picturesque shoreline, busy downtown district and proximity to NYC offer a blend of tranquility and urban conveniences.”

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CT Insider ranked the City of Norwalk as number one for quality of life among 25 of the most populous cities in CT. CT Insider used 11 metrics associatedwith livability, including bars, commute time, driving distance from the airport, driving distance from the hospital, diversity, grocery stores, housing units, public schools, libraries, restaurants and transit stops to come to this conclusion.

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Dining Out with a Foodie

Things To Do

Dining Out with a Foodie

Open Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

Below is a list of all restaurants that have been approved for outdoor dining. We have hyperlinked their websites for your convenience. Thank you for patronizing Norwalk small businesses. As an added bonus, our ultimate foodie recommends her favorite things to order!

AJI 10 – Favorites: Make sure you get their chips to start; they come with tortilla chips and fried wontons. After you get those order the empanadas. If you want sushi the Macadamia Spicy Tuna Roll is so good. If you want a salad the Ensalada de Calamar Crocante has the best dressing I’ve ever had. For a main dish you cannot go wrong with the Lomo Saltado. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave without getting the Churros for dessert.

Allora Coffee and Bites – Favorites: Their Mocha Latte is the perfect amount of sweet to start your day or for a nice pick-me-up. If you want a snack their avocado toast is something more than the millennial crowd would just enjoy.

Bandido – Favorites: Start with the Guac. It is so fresh and delicious. Then get their Mole Poblano for dinner. It is so delicious they have one of the best Mole’s in Norwalk.

Barcelona – Favorites: GET A BOTTLE OF WINE. I usually go for the Txakolina? I think that’s how you spell it! Their bread is homemade and all of the food is fresh. I love the croquettes, steak with Chimichurri, and of course all their meats and cheeses for their charcuterie boards! This place is also home to my favorite brussel sprouts of all time so definitely try those too.

B.J. Ryan’s Banc House – Favorites: There are two menu items that you simply cannot miss, the Slammin’ Shrimp and the Cider Donuts for dessert. For dinner I usually get the Kitchen Sink Salad or the Dirty Bird you can’t lose either way.

Bruxelles Brasserie – Favorites: South Norwalk’s newest addition cannot be missed! I am a sucker for a good charcuterie and Bruxelles produces one of the prettiest ones I’ve ever seen. What better way to outdoor dine than with some wine and delicious meats and cheeses. I know there are people who hate fruits in salad but TRY THE WATERMELON SALAD. You will change your mind almost immediately. Also, croquettes, you cannot forget the croquettes. To round out your meal, channel your inner Julia Child and get the Beef Bourguignon.

Cafe Dolce – Favorites: GET. THE. CREPES. Any of them will win over your heart and DEFINITELY get an Italian ice too. Their coffee is next level – you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu honestly.

Caffe Social – Favorites: If you haven’t been here yet for brunch or lunch you are seriously missing out. Drinks: Iced Honey Almond Latte and the White Sangria (I always get both since I’m extremely indecisive when it comes to great food and drinks). For breakfast food I head towards the Bacon Cheddar Omelette adding broccoli but for lunch I ALWAYS get the Social Burger. The beefteki on the burger is inexplicably good. Before you get the check make sure to get a crumb cake to go. You’ll be stuffed so you’ll have to eat it later.

Colony Grill – Favorites: Hot oil pizza. Need I say more? Pro-tip: Ask for a side of their house dressing to dip!

Dairy King – Favorites: Dairy King is a Norwalk staple. If you’re looking for the best gyro in Norwalk Dairy King has it. Get the CrissCut fries fully loaded and make sure to end with a Mocha milkshake – or begin with a Mocha milkshake because I’m not here to judge!

Diamond Deli & Brick Oven Pizza – Favorites: Two words. Texas. Wrap. Don’t ask questions and just order it. If your feeling pizza their Buffalo Chicken Pizza can be made with GARLIC KNOTS AS THE CRUST. Wow.

Don Carmelo’s – Favorites: Remember the golden rule from above? Always start with a margarita and guac! I head for the skinny margarita but they have tons of flavors to choose from. Something in DC’s nachos really set them apart, I always order them. To eat I go for the Taco Salad but their fajitas are the best I have ever had. EVER. Leave room for the fried ice cream. I have come here for just that and it wouldn’t be right if you missed out on it.

Donovan’s – Favorites: A true SoNo staple. I usually shy away from the soup and chili section, especially in on warmer days but you seriously cannot miss their award winning Clam Chowder and Chili. You will be kicking yourself if you miss either of them. To cool down I usually get the Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Mahi Mahi because its so refreshing and delicious. This is hands down my favorite salad of all time and you can’t get Mahi Mahi everywhere so take advantage while you can!

Dry Dock – Favorites: A Norwalk staple – if you haven’t been here do you even live in Norwalk? GET THE PULLED PORK NACHOS. If appetizers aren’t your thing, get them anyways. After you finish your app, get a burger. I always get torn between the Bees Knees and the Hangover Helper. If you’re in for drinks get the Cucumber Mint Lemonade – Melissa can make a mean drink. Remember to drink responsibly!

El Quetzal – Favorites: El Quetzal is as authentic as it gets. I have an unhealthy obsession with chicharrones- so I ALWAYS get them when I come here. Their Garnachas are also perfection – get the 6 because you’ll want more than just the 4.

El Segundo – Favorites: Bring back the golden rule! First, GET A MARG. Their house marg is so fresh and good. The best taco in Norwalk is at El Segundo. I don’t care if you don’t like seafood or shrimp you still need to get the shrimp tacos. I usually order like 4 of them because I am so obsessed. One of the best desserts in Norwalk is ALSO at El Segundo. The Churro Sundae is literally to die for. I have gone here just for it. The amount of times I have ordered it is probably close to the hundreds. That is how good it is.

Evarito’s Mexican Kitchen and BarFavorites: Golden rule: Always start with a margarita and guac. I love their fajitas, they are non-traditional and have a ton of other delicious veggies. 

Harbor Lights – Favorites: Anything from the raw bar, the Poached Pear & Gorgonzola salad, and Calamari Fritti are all fantastic.

Haruki – Favorites: Haruki is Waypointe’s newest delicious addition. Their steamed buns CANNOT be missed – I love the Pork Chashu. I always go for the pork broth for ramen so definitely get the Tonkotsu!

Il Posto – Favorites: Il Posto makes a fantastic martini if you’re into great drinks. I always get the burrata as an appetizer and the lobster mac. For pasta, Cacio E Pepe is authentic and delicious and for pizza I am obsessed with Hot Honey so I can’t miss the Bee’s Knees.

Italia’s – Favorites: Family-owned and operated for as long as I can remember! If you want classic Italian dishes and pizza Italia’s is the place for you. Get the gnocchi. I’m hungry just thinking about it because who doesn’t want potato pasta together in one harmonious and delicious sauce? If you’re into pizza, that’s great here too. I’m usually not a purist when it comes to pizza because I like 8,000 toppings, BUT here just get the cheese. It is so good. End with the Italian pastries and you’ll feel like you’re on an exclusive vacation in Italy.

John’s Best – Favorites: I LOVE their Calabria Pizza and for a non-traditional pizza I love The Joey. I just love pizzas with Ranch dressing – it’s problematic. Any pizza you get here will be good and I also LOVE their Eggplant Parm!

La Antigua – Favorites: The empanadas here are ~chef’s kiss~. I usually also go for the arepas but my favorite meal here is Bandeja Paisa because carne asada gives me life but it also comes with my unhealthy obsession, chicharrones. Affordable, authentic, and delightful. You can’t go wrong here!

La Calle Arepas Bar – Favorites: Any arepa is a great arepa but my favorites are Pernil Especial and Arepita Cabimera (usually with steak). If you’re looking for a larger plate the Parilla Mixta for 2 is fantastic.

La Fuente – Favorites: Tacos and Tamales. Authentic and delicious – you can’t go wrong! But take a minute because this is just their restaurant; they also have a full BAKERY. Whether you want sweet breads or savory they have it all. 

Los PortalesFavorites: This place serves burritos the size of my forearm. You won’t want to finish the entire thing but you will and you won’t regret it one bit. Get the chicken burrito with everything on it and add the avocado. You’ll want extra of the sauces that come with the burrito so don’t forget to ask!

Match – Favorites: I can finally tell the world about their cookies. I can’t even explain how good they are in words – they leave me speechless. When I come here with friends we get the Caesar Salad (trust me you haven’t had one like this), a wood oven pizza (usually the Margherita), and a bottle of wine. If I’m coming here for date night we go for the Bistecca alla Florentina for two. Always, always, ALWAYS, end with the cookies.

Mecha Noodle BarFavorites: KFC Bao as an appetizer, Tonkotsu 2.0 for Ramen, and you can get a spiked specialty drink!

Mike’s Deli – Favorites: Go-to deli sandwiches are the Budda and the Nikki Fresh. If you’re in the mood for breakfast don’t miss out on the Hangover sandwich.

Mike’s Ristorante – Favorites: Mozzarella Caprese to start and you can’t go wrong with any pasta dish! My go to is the pesto. 

Mochica – Favorites: I have ordered from Mochica almost every week for takeout since they have the best Lomo Saltado in Norwalk and the best Aji Sauce. Get a large side container of it because you’ll want to keep it in the fridge for eggs, meat, rice, and really anything. Make sure you order the bread to dip too! I flip between getting ceviche and the Lomo here but either are fantastic it just depends if you want something hot or cold.

Mr. Frosty’s – Favorites: Come sit and relax and enjoy my favorite the Blueberry Pie Craver. If you want a cone and they have it get the Cannoli Ice Cream. OMG. It has little bits of real cannoli and omg I need it always.

Oak + Almond – Favorites: Oak + Almond is the best kept Norwalk happy hour secret. Their deals are amazing and their patio is divine. Throw out your low carb diet because you’ll want 17 of their loaves of bread with their amazing butter. The bread has chunks of sea salt and rosemary and the butter is infused with honey. It is the best combo. I love the Caesar Salad here and the burger. Their fries are shoestring and delicious! I love all of their apps too. For my anniversary last year we ordered everything on the app menu and I couldn’t say a bad thing about any of them.

Oishi Sushi – Favorites: If you want fresh sushi come to Oishi. My go to rolls always have spicy tuna or salmon. The Tuna Love roll is amazing. The addition of mango really is a game changer. Don’t be scared by the amount of sushi they serve – they also have another menu with kitchen entrees. My best friend HATES sushi and always goes for the fried rice!

O’Neill’s Irish Pub – Favorites: If you go to O’Neill’s and you don’t get a Guinness and an order of Shepard’s Pie did you even really go? Their chicken pot pie is also fantastic. Don’t miss it!

Osteria Romana – Favorites: This restaurant will make any Italian grandmother extremely satisfied. Authentic and delicious cuisine. If you have read all of my items thus far you will notice that I love a good app. Go for the Tagliere Casareccio since it has so many great meats and OLIVES which I love. I get two things from here and force whoever I’m with to get the other entree I want so we can split it. The lasagna and the Fettucine Alla Carbonara. Did you know that authentic Carbonara doesn’t have peas? End with the Tiramisu it is THE. BEST.

Pasquale’s – Favorites: I love the Veal Piccata but my best friend would literally kill me if I told you to get anything other than the Chicken Martini and I can’t blame her. It’s so good it makes me want to cry. If I could eat that and the fried calamari here everyday I definitely would.

Pauli’s Deli – Favorites: If you haven’t been to Pauli’s you obviously aren’t from here. For breakfast you’re going to want a Bacon Egg and Cheese on a bagel with home fries and jalapenos because it’s just what everyone needs. For lunch you should get Cuban. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Public Wine Bar – Favorites: Get wine here. Even if you don’t drink wine, get wine here. Again I’m going to start with a charcuterie because meats & cheese are so good for a snack/app. For dinner I get the Parrillada. It comes with so many different types of meat and the Chimichurri Sauce is to die for.

Rio Border Cafe – Favorites: Golden rule!!! Get a marg. They have really huge ones that are Instagram worthy, so get one of those! Start with the sampler platter so you can taste a ton of different apps. I usually go for the Combination Plates here and get the Chihuahua because I LOVE a good chile relleno.

Ripka’s Beach Cafe – Favorites: Definitely get a Po Boy! If you’re the mood for pizza get the Roasted Oyster Pie.

Rowayton Seafood – Favorites: I love getting a ton of different bites from Rowayton Seafood. The Buffalo Calamari is just WOW and so is the Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese. If you’re going with more than two people get the double truffle mac because you’ll want it all to yourself. If you choose a cold lobster roll over a hot one… I’m probably judging you BUT the Rowayton Lobster Roll (their hot lobster roll) is next level good. If you want the cold roll I’m sure it’s fantastic too but come on get the hot one!

Sedona Taphouse – Favorites: Spicy Thai Shrimp, Devil’s Pass Pasta, and don’t forget to order the brussels sprouts!

Slice of Italy – Favorites: If you have a divided group where some what Italian and some want Venezuelan look no further than Slice of Italy who has BOTH. I usually mix it up and get a little of both. My favorite empanada here is the shredded beef so I usually get that but then I also get the SoNo Special Pizza. It has buffalo chicken cutlet, bacon, cheddar cheese, and my favorite – RANCH DRESSING. Seriously though this place has everything. Pasta, sandwiches, pizza, empanadas, parrilla… you could eat here every day and eat something different and delicious.

SoNo Baking Company – Favorites: SoNo Baking Company has the best salmon I’ve ever had and I know that sounds really weird coming from a bakery but trust me on this… Get the grain bowl with the salmon. You’ll also want an Iced Mocha because their coffee is so fresh and delicious. This place will put Starbucks to shame any day of the week. I can’t remember the name of my favorite cookie but it has ginger, chocolate chips, and crystallized sugar on top. You’ll want 12 of those to go and a Sourdough!

SoNo Sky Rooftop at the Residence Inn – Favorites: The view. Honestly one of the best views in the City. Their bites and drinks are delicious but what is really amazing here is the insta-worthy views.

Speedy Pizza – Favorites: I love The Works pizza from here but I also like getting calzones. Just cheese for me but sometimes I’ll add garlic and broccoli!

Stew Leonard’s – Favorites: A lot of people don’t know this but the grocery store has a burger barn that is absolutely to die for. I LOVE the Smokehouse burger because it comes with Hot Cherry Peppers and gives the bite all the right flavors. They also have lobster rolls and sometimes have seafood boils that you will not want to miss!

Sunset Grille – You’re going to need a reservation. Make sure to call ahead! Favorites: If you haven’t been to Sunset in the summertime you’ve lived under a rock and it’s time to come out. Most summer nights you can catch me here having Tito’s soda and hanging with friends. Start with the Artichoke Crab Dip. It is just wow. I usually do some oysters as well because you’ll want to prolong your time in the waterfront atmosphere of Sunset. As I’m writing these I’ve noticed I get salad a lot more than I thought. I am NOT a salad person so you know the ones I am getting have to be perfect. GET THE LOBSTER COBB!!!!!!!! I wish I could include more exclamation points because you need it. Also the burger here is so good!

Tablao – Favorites: Tablao has all of my favorites in one place: Tapas, Charcuterie, and Paella. Whenever you come here you HAVE to get the Paella. It is the best I’ve ever had. I also usually get a few tapas. My favorites are the Duck Breast, Hanger Steak, Short Rib, and the Cheese Croquettes. Get some wine and a charcuterie too because it’s the perfect snack.

Tavern on 7 – Favorites: I never have had an absolute favorite at Tavern on 7 because their specials are always eye catching, delicious, and perfect. For apps you cannot miss the Thai Chili wings or their nachos. If none of the specials catch your eye (which I can guarantee they all will) get the Drunken Salmon!

The Spread – Favorites: The Spread has the BEST Brunch. I love their mimosas (of course they are bottomless) and I LOVE their burger. It is FANTASTIC.

Valentino’s – Favorites: Valentino’s has been around for YEARS and has the best Italian cuisine. You can’t go wrong with their pasta dishes but I usually get whatever pizza they have on special. They have some crazy delicious combos that everyone should try!

Washington Prime – Favorites: The Spinach and Artichoke dip is so creamy and delicious. I can just eat the crostini by itself it’s so fantastic. You cannot come here and not have steak. The Tomahawk is always a crowd pleaser but the Aged Porterhouse is to die for.

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Romantic Couples Weekend

Things To Do

Romantic Couples Weekend

A romantic coastal weekend awaits in Norwalk!

Norwalk is quickly rising to the top of East Coast destinations for couples with discriminating taste in food, lodging and entertainment. With top-of-the-line dining, eclectic city or shoreline attractions and superior accommodations, couples can experience the romantic weekend of their dreams.

Where to stay

The Even Hotel offers a bit of a fitness oasis just minutes away from the heart of South Norwalk. It’s easy to maintain a healthy routine at this wellness hotel.

For those who prefer to be a bit more off the beaten path, The Norwalk Inn and Conference Center boasts over 120 newly-renovated guest rooms, including 11 extended-stay luxury suites. Guests are treated to a full complimentary breakfast in the on-site restaurant where lunch and dinner are served daily. There’s also a private guest house.

For a full weekend experience, couples with the most discriminating taste will love the Inn at Graybarns. Located along the Silvermine River, privacy awaits in any of the Inn’s six luxurious king rooms, which include full baths and fireplaces. Indulge in delectable dishes at the on-site tavern, splurge on spa and fitness offerings or shop for picnic provisions at the Mercantile.

For more options, visit our Places to Stay info page here.

What to do

Just off the docks of the Maritime Aquarium, beginning Memorial Day weekend couples can take a romantic boat tour out to the Norwalk islands, which is timed to include the setting sun and a dazzling western sky reflecting on the water.

The neighborhood of South Norwalk, or SoNo as it is known locally, offers an entire weekend of options for couples. Stroll down Washington Street for exquisite shops and celebrated dining. While there, check out the vintage SONO Switch Tower Museum, located in the fully-restored Switch Tower, built in 1896.

Rowayton, another neighborhood in Norwalk, is a lovely waterfront village providing gorgeous views of the Five Mile River while strolling through the town’s Pinkney Park.

The intimate District Music Hall has become a popular venue for nostalgic acts, such as Gordon Lightfoot, Quiet Riot and many more.

Where to play

Rowayton’s Bayley Beach is a historic, small beach offering a snack bar and beautiful waterfront views. At Shady Beach Park, couples can picnic or go swimming. Non-residents are charged a nominal fee.

Feeling lucky? Book a trip on the Pelagic Beast fishing charter boat. Charters are available for three- to- eight-hour tours.

For hiking fans, check out the Norwalk River Valley Trail. Beginning at Calf Pasture Beach, this five-mile trail takes you past some of Norwalk’s most important landmarks and scenic views.

What to eat

Norwalk offers critically-renowned dining ranging from casual to elegant.

Ripka’s on the Beach is, as its name indicates, right on the beach, serving up incomparable seafood and other offerings in a festive atmosphere.

The Sunset Grille is a seasonal seafood restaurant on the water in the Norwalk Cove Marina, and overlooks scenic Norwalk Harbor.

For a bit of Food Network fame, visit the ultra-popular Valencia Luncheria, which offers fresh-squeezed juices and jumbo plates of empanadas, arepas and casual Venezuelan cuisine.

For a romantic and cozy vibe, visit Tablao Wine Bar & Restaurant. This date night destination offers a taste of Spain, and features an authentic tapas menu, a global wine list and live music.

Also for a romantic evening, visit Osteria Romana for the highest-quality Italian cuisine the city has to offer. The menu boasts homemade pastas, fresh, local ingredients, important Italian wines and unique Italian desserts.

There are endless ways for couples to enjoy the vibrancy Norwalk has to offer, whether you are coming from next door or the next state over.

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Family Fun Weekend

Things To Do

Family Fun Weekend

Families can enjoy endless fun for a weekend away in Norwalk!

Whether you are coming from near or far, Norwalk is the perfect destination for a weekend of family fun.

From the educational, to the creative, to the food, families can find plenty to do while visiting this beautiful and bustling shoreline city based right on the Long Island Sound.

Where to stay

Hotel Zero Degrees — the cool and trendy Hotel Zero Degrees offers incredible on-site dining, a fitness center, and a fabulous roof-top deck complete with a giant chess game and areas to lounge.

The Residence Inn by Marriot — Located in the heart of the exciting South Norwalk area, this inn offers walking distance access to acclaimed dining, fun shopping, museums and waterfront walks and playgrounds. It also offers a rooftop with a spectacular view of the Sound.

For more options, visit our Places to Stay info page here.

What to do

Families with younger children will love Stepping Stones Museum, which offers kids a chance to play and learn — it has standing and changing exhibits to enthrall your little one’s imagination and creativity.

All ages will be swept away by the magic of the Maritime Aquarium in the heart of South Norwalk. Visitors can sit by the large panoramic view of a floor to ceiling shark tank and watch the majestic, finned friends glide by along with their smaller counterparts. Young children will marvel at the magical jellyfish tank and love the interactive touch tanks and live feeding of the seals.

Step into history with a tour of the Lockwood-Mathews Museum, which has served as the backdrop of many blockbuster movies. Built by renowned financier and railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood from 1864-1868, the mansion’s unparalleled architecture and interiors illustrates the beauty and splendor of the Victorian Era.

For some shopping and dining fun, the sparkling new SoNo Collection shopping mall offers many opportunities for families, especially at Pinstripes, where visitors can take in some bowling before or after enjoying classic pub food.

Where to play

No visit to Norwalk would be complete without spending time at the stunning Calf Pasture Beach. It offers baseball/softball, volleyball, skate park, a playground, refreshing splash pad, sun and sand sports, the sailing school, bocce, basketball, and 3/4 of a mile of scenic coastline with tremendous views. Non-residents can visit free through May 15, after there is a fee of $40/car on weekdays before 5:00pm, $20/ car after 5:00pm. and $65/car on Saturday and Sunday.

It wouldn’t be a shoreline visit without a scenic boat ride. From May through September, visitors can visit take a three-hour excursion on a 45-foot C.J. Toth to visit the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, which is owned and maintained by the Norwalk Seaport Association.

What to eat

Norwalk offers critically renowned dining ranging from casual to elegant. Families will love the area favorites, like Letizia’s or Colony Grill’s thin crust pizza, or dining on the water at SoNo Seaport Seafood, Rowayton Seafood or Harbor Lights. A variety of cuisines can be found in the center of South Norwalk, whether it be the traditional pub fare at Donovan’s or O’Neill’s, ramen or pho at Mecha Noodle Bar, a culinary visit to Europe at Bruxelles or some sports bar fare at The Blind Rhino.

No matter what your family enjoys eating, they will find the best of it in Norwalk.

There are endless ways for a family to enjoy the vibrant, culturally diverse and stunning city of Norwalk, whether you are coming from next door or the next state.

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Celebrate Norwalk History

Things To Do

Celebrate Norwalk History

The Norwalk Historical Society Museum is located in the former Lockwood House (1973).

Norwalk Historical Society Museum
Located on the Norwalk City Hall campus, the museum is in the former Lockwood House (1973), designed in the Colonial Revival style by architect Margaret Hoyt Smith. The Museum offers self-guided tours, exhibitions, programs, and events to highlight Norwalk’s rich history. The garden offers contemplative views of the Norwalk River from the gazebo.

Mill Hill Historic Park/ Norwalk Historical Society
Located at the top of Mill Hill overlooking the Head of the Norwalk Harbor and adjacent to the Historic Norwalk Town Green, this site includes three pre-1835 historic buildings, a cemetery and colonial herb garden. The Norwalk Historical Society (1890) offers events, programs and exhibitions from May through November. The grounds are open sunrise to sunset.

Norwalk Town Green Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and centered on the Norwalk Green in central Norwalk, the site includes: the Green, Mill Hill Historic Park, St. Paul’s Place, World War I memorial cannon, a gazebo and 54 buildings – many designed in the 18th & 19th centuries. St. Paul’s on the Green (Episcopal) Church and the First Congregational Church also face the Green. Concerts are held on the Green in the summer.

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museums
Located in Mathews Park, this magnificent Victorian era mansion (c.1864) is a National Historic Landmark and is considered one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire style country houses in the United States. The museum offers guided tours, award-winning exhibitions, events and programs related to this Norwalk treasure. Open early April – early January.

Center for Contemporary Printmaking
Originally part of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion estate, the Carriage House (c.1892) is home to the Center for Contemporary Printmaking. CCP is a nationally known, state-of-the-art printmaking facility, studio and gallery space with rotating exhibitions throughout the year. The Gardener’s Cottage (c.1892) is used for the Artist-In-Residence Program.

Sheffield Island Lighthouse
Owned and operated by the Seaport Association, the Sheffield Island Lighthouse was built in 1868 and in service until 1902. A ferry service is available to the Lighthouse from the Sheffield Island dock in South Norwalk. The ferry operates Memorial Day through mid-September.

Fodor Farm
For 200 years, the land at 328 Flax Hill Road has been a farm. The farm was fully restored and is operated by the City of Norwalk Recreation and Parks Department. The site features 300 community garden plots, a renovated venue for events and culinary demonstrations, a historic homestead, greenhouse, tree farm and an apple orchard.

Pinkney House/Raymond Boathouse Museum/Historic Rowayton
Located along the Five Mile River, the Seeley-Dibble-Pinkney House (c.1820), Raymond Boathouse Museum, and Pinkney Park are the headquarters for Historic Rowayton. Through exhibitions, events, and programs, Historic Rowayton preserves the history of this unique seaside village. Closed in August.

Switch Tower Museum
The fully restored New Haven Railroad switch tower (1896) in South Norwalk has the only “Armstrong” switch lever machine in Connecticut. Railroads used towers to house the mechanism of switching trains from one track to another. Guided tours offered May – October.

WPA Mural Trail
The nationally recognized collection of New Deal WPA (Works Progress Administration) art (1935) was restored by Norwalk’s art and history community. Nearly 50 murals are located throughout Norwalk in City Hall, Norwalk’s Public Libraries, Community College, Transit District, Maritime Aquarium, Rowayton Library and the Norwalk Historical Society Museum.

Historic Cemeteries

  • East Norwalk Historical Cemetery c.1655
    O
    ldest cemetery in Norwalk (East Norwalk)
  • Pine Island Cemetery c.1708
    Second oldest in Norwalk (Mathews Park)
  • Mill Hill Burying Ground c.1767
    Third oldest (Mill Hill Historic Park)
  • Brookside Cemetery c.1724 Also known as Five Mile River Cemetery. (Rowayton Ave)
  • Kellogg-Comstock Cemetery c.1813
    (West Norwalk)

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Fabulous Food Trucks

Things To Do

Fabulous Food Trucks

In case you haven’t noticed on the way to work or during your lunch break, food trucks are the new edible phenomenon right now. Ultra-contemporary and diverse dishes, quick service, and reasonable prices — what’s not to love? Some of us luck out and have an entire block of these mobile food establishments parked right outside our door. Others, well, they’re subjected to roaming the streets in hopes of discovering a good food wagon.

Good for you, Norwalk has an abundant selection of delicious meals on wheels.  Below is the current list of City-licensed food truck vendors (October 2022).

Keep on truckin’!

Bombar’bq: American BBQ and Latin Street Food

Brown’s Marina Oyster Shack LLC: Copps Island Oysters, Clams, Lobsters

Bubble And Brew Tea: Bubble Tea, Assorted Teas

Caribbean Tacos LLC: Tacos, Burgers, Salads, Paninis, Wraps, Sandwiches

Castillos Catering Services LLC: Mexican Food and Drinks

Chef Tony Delicias: Mexican Street Foods

Copps Island Shuck Truck, LLC: Raw and Fried Oysters and Clams

Cousins Maine Lobster: Lobster Rolls

Dough Girls: Personal Sized Pizzas, Sandwiches, Dessert and Beverages

Edwin’s Food Truck: Jamaican Food

El Azteca Mexican Tacos #1: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadilla, Tex Mex Burgers

El Azteca Don Juan #2: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadilla, Tex Mex Burgers

El Chapin Food Truck LLC: Guatemalan Food

El Placerito Tacos, LLC: Mexican Food

EVERYBODYEATZ: Soul Food

Greek Style Grill: Souvlaki, Gyros, Fries, Salad, Soda

Hot Dogs & Ice Cream: Hot Dogs, Prepackaged Ice Cream, Chips and Canned/Bottled Beverages

Ice Cream Truck 1: Prepackaged Ice Cream

JJB Wood Fire Pizza Truck: Pizza and Pasta, Bottled Beverages

Joe’s Food Truck: Pizzas, Pastas, Burgers, Wings, Salads

Kenny’s Food Truck: Tacos, Burgers, Hot Dogs, Burritos, French Fries, Fried Chicken

Kona Ice Of Stamford: Shaved Ice

Los Poblanos Mexican Grill: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tortas and Beverages

Makin Waves: Grab ‘n’ Go Breakfast, Lunch and Portuguese Specialties

Meztezo Grill: Empanadas, Tacos, Chicharones, Quesadillas

Mino’s Coffee LLC: Hot Dogs, Sandwiches and Beverages

Nunes Coffee Truck: Sandwiches, Chips, Coffee, Soda

Pau Pau’s Pizza Cones: Breakfast Sandwiches, Burgers, and Pizza Cones

Ripka’s On The Road: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Lobster Rolls

Ringside Grill: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Fries, Onion Rings

SeaSide Sliders: Salads, Small Bites, Sliders

Taco Macho Food: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas

Tacodillas: Mexican Food

Tacos Los Potrillos: Tacos, Nachos, Sandwiches

The Chamo LLC: Arepas, Patacones, Tequenos, Empanadas

The Colombian Hotdog: Hotdogs, Burgers, Tenders, Fries

The Last Taco LLC: Tacos, Quesadillas, Chips, Sodas

Wood Fire Pizza Truck: Pizza

YoungSon Food Co.: Dumplings

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10 Great Meals in the Great Outdoors

Things To Do

10 Great Meals in the Great Outdoors

Rooftop Dining at Evaritos.

The weather is still beautiful and perfect for dining outdoors. There are tons of incredible spaces in your city where you can enjoy a lovely dining experience outside while staying safe. Norwalk offers a variety of restaurants with waterfront views, rooftop seating, and elegant courtyards! 

1. Harbor Lights

Dine with a view. Harbor Lights restaurant on Seaview Avenue offers a spacious waterfront patio with incredible views of the Sound. Their menu is Mediterranean-inspired and boasts the freshest seafood that comes in daily from local providers. The service is top-notch and the fare is unique and sophisticated. If you’re looking for an elegant dining experience with the best of Norwalk’s views, you definitely need to head to Harbor Lights on one of these beautiful days.

2. Osteria Romana

You can never go wrong with Italian cuisine. Osteria Romana on Westport Avenue offers guests a charming patio for outdoor dining to go along with their outstanding Italian dishes. Their menu consists of both classic and modern Roman fare and their fresh signature handmade pasta is renowned among locals and visitors. The attention to quality and detail is apparent in both their exquisite dishes, service, and dining experience.

3. Caffe Social

In the mood for breakfast, brunch, or just lunch? Caffe Social offers innovative dishes, energizing coffee, and a cheerful atmosphere. The menu is full of classic breakfast dishes, delicious paninis, unique burgers, and a variety of hot and iced coffees and other teas and drinks. Whether you’re stopping in for a quick coffee, or you’re in the mood for a filling brunch, Caffe Social on North Main Street will welcome you with their lively and lighthearted atmosphere. 

4. Haruki

Haruki offers guests an authentic Japanese dining experience with modern twists. Their unique menu is known for both their eight hour ramen and exquisite cocktails. Haruki prides itself in providing the most authentic Japanese cuisine with a traditional, casual “izakaya” experience. Check out Haruki on West Avenue the next time that you’re craving Japanese cuisine!

5. Oak + Almond

When you can’t make it to Italy, visit Oak + Almond instead. Their large outdoor dining patios feature beautiful gardens, a wood-burning fireplace (they use oak and almond wood, hence the name), twinkling string lights, and a soothing water fountain. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy one of their incredible farm-to-table dishes, sip a craft cocktail, and pretend you’re on holiday. This fun destination at 555 Main Avenue is equally suitable for a family outing, a date, a work meet-up, or a BFF night out.

6. Mecha Noodle Bar

Pho, anyone? Mecha Noodle Bar on 116 Washington Street is a casual restaurant offering Asia’s most comforting dishes, from Vietnamese pho to Japanese ramen, as well as a variety of small dishes that can be found throughout the streets of Southeast Asia. Mecha means “mom and pop” in Vietnamese, as a tribute to the culture and tradition that their dishes originate from. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining options, so grab a sweater and get cozy with a bowl of hot noodles!

7. O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant

Head to O’Neill’s and grab a beer! This Irish pub offers a large selection of beers, and traditional English and Irish fare. O’Neill’s is known as “the soul of Ireland in the heart of South Norwalk.” With a recently expanded outdoor patio, O’Neil’s on 93 North Main Street is a great space to enjoy a beer and Irish specialties in an energetic and inviting atmosphere.

8. Washington Prime

Who else is always in the mood for a good steak? Washington Prime on 141 Washington Street is the place to go for your beef craving. Their menu is best described as American with cross-cultural inspiration. They offer a large menu of both land and sea as well as an extensive selection of cocktails, beer, and wine. The atmosphere is wholesome and sprightly whether you’re joining for indoor or outdoor dining.

9. Evarito’s Mexican Kitchen & Bar

Tacos, margaritas, and rooftop dining. It doesn’t get much better than that! Evarito’s is a fun, laid back restaurant that offers the freshest flavors of Mexico from their wood-fired fajitas to their impressive mezcal list. In addition to their rooftop dining options, there is a large patio on the ground level! You can’t go wrong with tequila and tacos, so stop by Evarito’s on 16 North Main Street for your next night out!href=”https://www.evaritos.com/”>https://www.evaritos.com/

10. Colony Grill

In pizza we crust. Colony Grill on 515 West Avenue is the ultimate spot to get in your pizza fix. Colony is renowned for its one of a kind, thin-crust pies. Their signature topping is their “Hot Oil,” you definitely need to try this the next time that you visit! Your mind might jump to Italian when you think about pizza, but this Irish grill will certainly become a favorite. Grab a beer and enjoy a few slices outside on their patio.

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