25 Famous Connecticut Landmarks Not to Miss

10 min read
A city skyline with various buildings and skyscrapers and green trees during sunset
There are many famous places in Connecticut, including in the city of Hartford

Connecticut is one of the six states in New England and one of the earliest to be added to the United States, the fifth to be precise. The state also played an important role in the Revolutionary War thanks to its coastlines. Despite these well-known facts about Connecticut, you might still be wondering:

What is Connecticut known for?

Connecticut is known for its museums like the Mark Twain House & Museum, the Mystic Seaport Museum, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Other famous Connecticut landmarks include some state parks like Black Rock, Devil's Hopyard, Wadsworth Falls, and Kent Falls.

Continue reading to learn more about these famous places to visit in Connecticut and more!

  • 25 Connecticut landmarks

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25 Famous Landmarks in Connecticut

Connecticut Landmarks Map

A map of Connecticut landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Foliage in yellow, orange, red, and green hues on a plain with mountains at the back
Black Rock State Park is one of the famous Connecticut landmarks

Black Rock State Park

The first of the best natural landmarks in Connecticut is Black Rock State Park. The 439-acre park is on the hills of the Western Highlands. It got its name from the rock found here by early settlers that has a dark color.

The Native Americans used to live in the area, as proven by the artifacts that have been found in the area. The tribes gave over the land to Connecticut and its people in 1926. You can camp, fish, hike, picnic, and swim at the park.

A pond reflecting the surrounding greenery and a building in the background
Inaugurated in the 1850s, Bushnell Park is United States' oldest publicly-funded park

Bushnell Park

Bushnell Park is a special landmark since it is the oldest publicly funded park in the United States. It opened in the 1850s, and today it spans 50 acres. Some of the park's highlights include the carousel, a tree walk, and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch.

And there are some historic sites in the park, including statues of important people in history and a Spanish-American War Memorial. In the summer, you can take a guided tour of the park and the arch.

A black and red wooden ship with white sails docked in a port on a clear day
The Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, is the world's oldest wooden whaling ship

Charles W. Morgan

The Charles W. Morgan is an 1841 whaling ship that was used for a century before being displayed in a museum. Today it is at the Mystic Seaport Museum, along with other maritime exhibits and artifacts.

The ship is the world's oldest, un-wrecked merchant ship and the only whaling ship left from its fleet. The ship has been one of the state's many National Historic Landmarks since 1966.

A river passing land covered in lush foliage with green mountains at the back
Connecticut River runs through 4 states and stretches 406 miles

Connecticut River

Another Connecticut landmark is the Connecticut River, which runs through the state and through Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. It is the longest river in New England, flowing south for 406 miles.

Artifacts found near the river show that people have inhabited the area around the river for centuries, with the earliest proof of Native American life dating back six thousand years.

Connecticut Science Center

The Connecticut Science Center is an expansive 154,000-square-foot century where you can learn about science no matter your age.

The science center has ten galleries, interactive exhibits, and many educational talks and events. Some of the exhibits you can visit include the engineering world, the butterfly garden, and a space ride.

The Connecticut State Capital is one of the most famous Connecticut landmarks
Connecticut State Capitol, a national landmark, cost more than 2.5 million dollars

Connecticut State Capitol

The Connecticut State Capitol is another important place in Connecticut and a top thing to do in Hartford. The building is right by Bushnell Park, and it opened in 1879. It cost more than two and a half million dollars to build the building, and the main materials include marble, granite, and gold in the dome.

The building is home to the Governor's offices, the state chambers, and exhibits about the state's history. The capitol building has been a national historic landmark since 1972.

Connecticut State Library

The Connecticut State Library is the official library of the state, which the state established in 1854. The library is a resource for the state's residents and government officials. In its collection, you will find books, state archives, public records, and many services the state offers its people.

The library also has the Museum of Connecticut History, where there are exhibits and items dating back to the start of the United States. There are things to learn about up to the present, which walk you through how the state came to be and how it has evolved and will likely continue to evolve.

Connecticut's Old State House

Connecticut's Old State House is one of the historic buildings in Connecticut. The building was the headquarters of all things CT government, including the three branches of the state government. It was the capital building from the time it was built in 1796 until 1878 when the state government transferred everything over to the current building.

The building is a National Historic Landmark; you can visit it as it is a museum today. You can learn about the history of Hartford and the critical events that shaped the state as it is today. The original legislative chambers are still intact, and you can also tour those.

Tree branches hanging in front of water falling through rocks to a pool below
The 60-foot Chapman Falls is Devil's Hopyard State Park's main attraction

Devil's Hopyard State Park

Devil's Hopyard State Park is an 860-acre park in southeast Connecticut. The main attraction of the park is Chapman Falls. The 60-foot waterfall falls over a stone formation as opposed to the traditional ledge or cliff.

There is no official origin of the park's name, but there are a lot of stories that people believe. One is about a man named Dibble who used to live and garden in the park. Another story says the name comes from the circular potholes near the falls.

Dinosaur State Park

Dinosaur State Park was home to dinosaurs hundreds of millions of years ago. Dinosaur tracks were discovered in the park, hence the name, and they are still here today as part of the exhibit center.

There is also a unique part of the park where you can cast your own track, similar to those of the dinosaurs. Other than the many dinosaur exhibits and activities, you can take a hike or have a picnic in the park.

Aerial view of a medieval gothic castle in the middle of a vast wooded land
The Gillette Castle, built and designed by William Gillette, is a historic landmark

Gillette Castle State Park

Another important state park is Gillette Castle State Park, which, as the name suggests, is home to a castle. You can tour the castle, which has a lot of stone features, including couches, tables, and wood carvings integrated with the stone.

The castle was built and designed by William Gillette, who wanted to live in East Haddam, which he did in the home from 1919 to 1937. Then, in 1943 the house was purchased by the state and added to the National Register of Historic Places.

An ornately decorated steel gate surrounded by flowers and plants during sunset
The Harkness Memorial State Park used to be the Harkness family's summer estate

Harkness Memorial State Park

Harkness Memorial State Park is yet another state park that is a famous landmark in Connecticut. The state park was originally home to the Harkness family, who have their summer estate here.

The original owners built the home in 1906, and the Harkness family bought it a year later. You can tour the 42-room mansion to learn more, admire the gardens, go fishing, or have a picnic.

A stone pathway leading to the entrance of a 2-story white and gray house
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a Victorian Cottage that was home to a famous writer

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is dedicated to Harriet Beecher Stowe, a 19th-century writer, and abolitionist. Her most famous work is Uncle Tom's Cabin, which describes enslaved African Americans' tragic lives.

At the center, you will find a collection of Harriet's work and the home where she lived and wrote in Hartford. Her home, a Victorian Cottage, is a National Historic Landmark.

Water cascading down a series of falls into a stream below, surrounded by trees
The 70-foot Falls Brook is situated inside the Kent Falls State Park

Kent Falls State Park

Kent Falls State Park is a great place to hike and enjoy nature in Connecticut. As the name suggests, the park in Kent is home to a waterfall called Falls Brook. It is a series of waterfalls that falls over a mountain stream.

The waterfalls are 70 feet high. It is an important state park because artifacts and other evidence found by the falls prove that Native Americans used to inhabit the land.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center is owned and operated by the Mashantucket tribe. The museum shares the stories and history of the tribe through the museum's exhibits and events at the auditorium.

Some of the exhibits include dioramas, films, and simulations that will take you back in time. The museum is the largest Native American museum in the world, and it is near the Foxwoods Resort Casino, which is also operated by the tribe.

Boats by a port with trees and a sky with clouds at the back
Charles W. Morgan, a wooden whaling ship, can be found at the Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum

The Mystic Seaport Museum is home to Charles W. Morgan. Other than the famous ship, you can learn about the push for ocean exploration and the stories of those with a deep connection to maritime history and research. There are also small Catboats, a scale of the Mystic River in the 1050s, and an exhibit of a ship's cabin.

New England Air Museum

Another of Connecticut's points of interest is the New England Air Museum or the NEAM. The museum is divided into three parts: the Civil Aviation Hangar, the B-19 Hanger, and the Military Hanger. There are planes and educational exhibits that teach you about the history of flying and how aviation has transformed over time.

A white and blue lighthouse on top of a brick house overlooking a nearby ocean
Sheffield Island Lighthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Sheffield Island Lighthouse

Sheffield Island Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse that was important in helping sailors travel by water safely. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. To visit the lighthouse and island, you must take a ferry ride.

Submarine Force Library & Museum

The Submarine Force Library & Museum is a free museum in New London County, CT. The world's first nuclear-powered vessel remains dormant along the Thames River, where the museum is. The US Navy operates the museum. There are also a lot of exhibitions and articles where you can learn about the ship and all about submarines.

© sainaniritu via Depositphotos
Trees at the back of a house made of steel and glass with a grassy lawn in front
The Glass House in New Canaan is a 20th-century structure designed by Phillip Johnson

The Glass House

The Glass House is a praised architectural building designed by Phillip Johnson in Fairfield County. The 20th-century home in New Canaan is home to a lot of art and exhibitions for you to admire. You can take many tours to see the house, including the tour-only pass, the house and gallery tour, and a self-guided or private tour.

A 2-story house in shades of brown and yellow designed with geometric patterns
The Mark Twain House and Museum was the author's family home from 1874 to 1891

The Mark Twain House & Museum

The Mark Twain House and Museum are another one of the historic sites in Connecticut. The famous writer Mark Twain and his family lived here from 1874 to 1891.

During a home tour, you will learn about the author's life, the books he wrote when he lived here, and how his works changed the world. Today, the home is a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Palace Theater

The historic Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut, was built in 1921 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are a few ways you can visit the theater.

First, you can attend one of the many shows here. Or, you can take a tour behind the scenes, learn about the history of the building, and see its beautiful architecture.

Looking up at a building styled like a gothic castle against a sky with clouds
Open in 1844, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is Connecticut's oldest museum

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford is based out of a castle. It is the oldest operating art museum in the United States, having been open since 1844. The museum is also the largest art museum in Connecticut. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

The museum was founded by Daniel Wadsworth, who started by sharing his personal collection of art. Today there are more than 50,000 pieces of art in the museum's collection.

Water streaming down to a rocky pool below surrounded by trees
The Wadsworth Falls was named after Clarence C. Wadsworth

Wadsworth Falls State Park

Another important park in Connecticut is Wadsworth Falls State Park. The park centers around Wadsworth Falls, named after Clarence C. Wadsworth, who actively worked to preserve the falls before the area officially became a park in 1942.

There is a lot to do at the state park, including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming in designated areas, and of course, admiring the falls. Swimming is not allowed in the falls for safety reasons.

View from the top of a building complex with brick structures in hues of red
Yale University is one of the most well-known and prestigious schools in the US

Yale University

The last one of the top famous sites in Connecticut is Yale University in New Haven. The Ivy League school is one of the best in the United States. It opened in 1701, the third oldest college in the country.

The school has produced some of the world's most intelligent and successful figures. Yale is one of the more prestigious schools in the country, and Yale allows in less than seven percent of applicants.

Conclusion

Connecticut has a lot to do, from museums and state parks to the homes of literary figures and more. Take your time to explore and learn more about these Connecticut points of interest - it is a great way to get to know more about Connecticut's history and natural beauty!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Sarah Hartness

Sarah_Hartness WRITER I am a Chicago-based travel writer who loves to explore the Midwest and beyond. I have traveled all over the US and Europe. I look forward to going to Latin America and Asia next!


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