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Best Things to Do in Mystic CT: A Perfect 24 Hours


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Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours of the best things to do in Mystic CT! Connecticut is a state that sometimes gets overlooked by travelers. It’s so close to New York City and Boston that people are tempted to bypass Connecticut’s charm for the more obvious appeal of the big cities.

I even admit that I’m that girl from New York who used to call Connecticut “a giant waste of space in between NYC and Boston” when she was a teenager. But any traveler who spends 24 hours with the best Things to Do in Mystic CT has treats and wonders in store!

best things to do in Mystic CT

With 24 hours of the best Things to Do in Mystic CT, you can take advantage of all the Connecticut coast of the Atlantic has to offer. There’s wonderful sea creatures to both look at and eat. There’s the history of the American Revolution and all the ghosts that go along with it.

And finally, as in any colonial town, there’s the word old spelled Olde. Join me for 24 hours in Mystic, and you can see all of these treasures for yourself!

best things to do in Mystic CT

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Where to Stay?

When you’re finding the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT, you’re going to want to stay in a hotel with a central location. This can either mean walking distance from the Mystic Seaport or walking distance from the Mystic Aquarium.

I recommend the Mystic Hilton because, despite the name, it was one of the more affordable conveniently located choices during my 24 hours of the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT.

best things to do in Mystic CT

Also, the Mystic Hilton made getting around Mystic very easy. It’s within walking distance of the Mystic Aquarium, and if the weather is good, it’s a beautiful longer walk from the Mystic Hilton to the Mystic Seaport. But if you’d rather not walk, the Mystic Hilton also has a free shuttle service that can take you anywhere around town. What could be easier?

If you’d like to find a great deal on this hotel, click here. And if you’d like to explore great deals on other hotels in Mystic, click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect hotel for your taste and budget.

best things to do in Mystic CT

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Shopping List

  • An excellent small cell charger so you can keep taking pictures of the best things to do in Mystic CT
  • My favorite guide to New England, including Mystic CT
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel digital system.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by a giant squid during your day of the best things to do in Mystic CT
Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Morning: Mystic Aquarium

The Mystic Aquarium is one of the top attractions in Mystic, Connecticut. You will definitely want to make a stop here when you are exploring the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT. It’s just a short walk from the Hilton Mystic, so it will be easy to get here.

Keep in mind that the lines to enter the Mystic Aquarium are crazy long, so I suggest buying your tickets online here. That will save you a whole bunch of time you can better spend in the Mystic Aquarium. I’m a huge aquarium fan! (You can check out some of my other aquarium recs in places like Vancouver here.) And now that the preliminaries are out of the way, Let’s get right down to the…

approximately top 5: mystic aquarium

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
1) vault coffee roasters

The Mystic Aquarium is famous for many things, but food is not one of them. So unless you plan on stealing a fishy breakfast of kippers from the penguins, head on over to Vault Coffee Roasters for breakfast. It’s just a short walk away from the Mystic Aquarium at the Olde Mistick Village. (Hard as it may be to believe, I spelled Olde Mistick Village entirely correctly.)

The coffee at Vault Coffee Roasters is delicious, but my favorite thing to get here is the Deviant Donuts. This one pictured above is a Waffle House donut, complete with bacon and maple syrup in a little syringe. You just squirt the syrup all over the donut and enjoy! It’s two treats in one. (But please do not eat the plastic syringe, Internet Stranger!)

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
2) marsh trek

The Marsh Trek is one of the most popular exhibits in the Mystic Aquarium. Its popularity pleases me because as aquarium exhibits go, it’s pretty low-tech. You just stroll around a wooden boardwalk and get up close and personal with local wildlife like turtles and ducks.

But basically every child in the Mystic Aquarium was freaking out with glee about the Marsh Trek, so it just proves that Kids These Days are capable of getting passionate about something other than their iPads and dabbing and whatnot.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

If you look carefully, you can see an adorable amphibian in my photo above. Please don’t ask me if it is a frog or a toad because I am not sure. I think it is a bullfrog, but I’m not a Frog Scientist.

mystic aquarium sea lions
3) california sealions show

The California sealion show at the Foxwoods Marine Theater was so freaking cute! California sealions are found all along the west coast of North America, not just California. They are not endangered, but they can be injured due to contact with humans.

Sometimes they are found stranded and hurt along the West Coast. Then they will need to be sent to places like the Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

I had two takeaways from the sealion show. One is that California sealions are HUGE! The females are around 250 pounds and the males can get up to 900 pounds. So do not try to bench press a male California sealion.

My other takeaway is that it’s possible to make so many sealion puns and all of them are in this show. Perhaps the corniest was when the trainer asked if we wanted to hear a song from a sealion and the speakers started blasting “Kiss From a Rose”. The trainer looked exasperated and said she wanted a song from a sealion, not Seal. I’d look exasperated too if I had to hear that joke every day.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
4) frogs!

Another extremely popular exhibit at the Mystic Aquarium is called Frogs! The exclamation point is theirs, not mine. With that name, I feel like the exhibit should contain a musical about Frogs! The lyrics could go like…

I am not throwing away my tongue
I am not throwing away my tongue
Hey yo, I’m just like my tadpole
I’m young, slimy and jumpy

And I am not throwing away my tongue

Mystic Aquarium, I give you this song for free.

One actual fact about frogs that I learned is that colorful frogs like the one pictured above are beautiful, but they are often poisonous. They’re like the sexy Russian spies of the frog world.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
5) african penguins

You might think it’s disturbing to have penguins just lounging around in the warm New England sun. Aren’t they going to melt? But these are African penguins, like the ones you might find in South Africa. So they are comfortable with the warm weather.

There are so many fun facts about these adorably flightless birds. But I was certainly interested in their unique approach to gender. There are no external characteristics that will help the naked human eye tell the difference between a male and female penguin.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

But apparently African penguins can tell the difference because there aren’t friendships between male and female penguins. I think we should rename these penguins the Harry and Sally penguins, since they seem so convinced that male and female penguins can’t be friends.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Afternoon: Explore Olde Mistick Village

Again, I assure you that I am not misspelling the name of the Olde Mistick Village. The OMV is basically an outdoor shopping mall, but much, much cuter because it’s designed to look so Olde. It’s the perfect place at which to continue finding the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT. There’s tons of dining, shopping, and entertainment options here, but I will guide you towards my favorites with…

three fun facts: olde mistick village

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
1) what is there to eat?

If you’re visiting Mystic in the summer, which you definitely should, you will probably want to get something cool to drink. Stop at Alice in the Village for any kind of iced tea your heart could desire. I chose lavender bubble tea because the lavender sounded very British to me. Like maybe Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle would drink this.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Now, if you go to New England and don’t eat lobster, can you even say that you were in New England at all? No 24 hours in Mystic is complete without a lobster grilled cheese sandwich at Bleu Squid. (Yes, I spelled that correctly too. Apparenttly won rool inn Olde Mistick Village iz thatt ewe cant spel enything corectly.)

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
2) where can i shop?

Olde Mistick Village is mostly shops, so you won’t have to struggle to find something that will please you and/or your family. Are you of Irish, Tibetan, and/or Scandinavian heritage? There’s definitely a shop that can satisfy you, for less money than Ancestry.com. Do you have children? Abandon them at Toy Soldier, and I’m sure they won’t even notice you are gone!

My favorite shop in Olde Mistick Village was Becca Rose because I am a single lady who loves to pamper herself. Becca Rose has everything a Zen girl needs to get her self-love on, from goats milk soap to something called Bamboo Firming Fluid. You can also get tarot readings here, for a full Mistick experience.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT
3) what is there to do for fun?

Olde Mistick Village is home to a fantastic local theater called Mystic Luxury Cinema. They’re very into their popcorn, which is made with real butter. There’s no better place in Mystic to hang if it’s raining. Just check their website to see when the showtimes are and choose whatever film looks like the most fun!

On the other hand, if the weather is fine, you might want to leave Olde Mistick Village and stroll down to Elm Grove Cemetery. This cemetery is over 150 years old, and it’s not too far from the OMV. Any corpse who’s any corpse in Mystic is buried here. Spend some time wandering around and looking for your favorite Olde Tyme name. Mine was Chesebro. I swear I’m not making that name up.

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Just keep in mind this won’t be our only cemetery of the day. MWAHAHAHA!

best things to do in mystic ct

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Early Evening: Dinner at Oyster Club

We’re going to have an early dinner during our exploration of the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT because we have a super fun activity planned for the evening. Trying to find the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT and not eating as much seafood as you can is probably a crime against humanity. So make an early-ish reservation at Oyster Club, one of the best fine dining restaurants in Mystic.

I started with a Pretty in Pink cocktail, and I appreciate any restaurant that names cocktails after John Hughes movies. I think they should have a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Cocktail that consists of throwing a drink in someone’s face and yelling, “Life moves pretty fast! If you don’t slow down and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

best things to do in mystic ct

24 hour treat: local seafood

Oyster Club serves only seasonal ingredients, so whatever I ate probably won’t be on the menu when you visit. But please don’t pass up the chance to eat as much delicious New England seafood as you can. I started with the scallop crudo with spicy pepper, beets, and purple potato chips. Feast your eyes on those colors! It was almost too beautiful to eat! Yet I managed to scarf down every bite.

best things to do in mystic ct

My main course was hake with beluga lentils, summer squash, and milk. The mellow flavors in this dish tasted exactly like a balmy New England summer day. It was a dish almost good enough to make me root for the Red Sox. (I’m from New York City, so I said almost.) 

best things to do in mystic ct

The almond brown butter cake seems to be a specialty of the Oyster Club, so it might be on the menu when you visit, but probably with different sides. When I had it in the summer, it was paired perfectly with cherries. Stone fruits are the most summery of fruits.

The cake is so dense and rich, it will be a deliciously painful struggle to finish it all. I believe the French would call it La Douleur Exquise.

best things to do in mystic ct

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

Evening: Downtown Mystic Ghost Stroll

Mystic is such a popular town with tourists that I was surprised to be unable to find any day time walking or food tours during my search for the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT. However, the Downtown Mystic Ghost Tour is one of several ghost tours operated by Seaside Shadows.

The hours for the tour change depending on the season because the tour isn’t supposed to start until sunset. So be sure to check the tour time before booking. I don’t want to spoil all the tour’s creepy secrets, but I will give you a ghost of a clue with…

three fun facts: mystic ghost stroll

best things to do in mystic ct
1) Who is Anthony J?

We’re going to start things off cute with a friendly ghost story at Anthony J’s Bistro. But first of all, I would like to apologize for the quality of my photos from the ghost tour because they are 100 percent awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if Courtney, the extremely knowledgeable guide and owner of Seaside Shadows, haunted me for publishing such terrible photos of her excellent tour.

Anthony J’s is located in an old building, so there are supposedly quite a few former guests who haunt the building. But my favorite was a dude named Richard who apparently hated the ornamental balls that Anthony J’s put up at Christmas time. Every year he complained, and every year no one listened to him.

One year Richard died, possibly out of frustration at not being heard, and of course after that, the Christmas ornaments went missing under mysterious circumstances. Who could it have been but Richard? Personally this is exactly the sort of thing I would do if I ever became a ghost. I’d just bop around the world removing anything I thought was ugly. I’m sure people would eventually thank me for it because I have excellent taste.

best things to do in mystic ct
2) Who is the mystic pigman?

Now we go from the most harmless ghost on the tour to the least harmless ghost. The stories of the Mystic Pigman date back to the 1970s. A group of high school boys, who I assume were crazy high, saw a young woman being drowned in these here waters shown very poorly in my photo. And the man doing the drowning? You guessed it! He had a pig face for a face.

Apparently there was a woman who went missing around the same time, but neither her body nor the Pigman was ever found. But I hope this story teaches you a valuable lesson. If you are wandering around Mystic at night, and you see a Pigman murdering someone, please call the police. Do not attempt to restrain the Pigman yourself.

best things to do in mystic ct
3) What is the daniel packer inne?

We finish our taste of the ghost tour with the cutest ghost story I have ever heard. (Also I did not misspell Inne. That’s how they spell it. Correct spelling is strictly verboten in Mystic!)

The Daniel Packer Inne has been around since before the American Revolution. (And yes, George Washington may have stayed here.) Captain Daniel Packer supposedly haunts the inn, in a friendly way, and he’s especially known to warn people at the inn to protect them from fires. That’s very handy, but I think it would be even more helpful if he let them know that the word inn is spelled with no e at the end.

The other main ghost in the Daniel Packer Inne is a little girl named Ada who died in the inn back in the 19th century of scarlet fever. Now she apparently likes to haunt the inn by playing with any children who visit. So I guess she’s like a ghost babysitter? That seems like a really good job for a ghost. I mean, they won’t need to get paid, they won’t eat all your pizza, and they won’t invite their loser boyfriends over. Win-win!

best things to do in Mystic CT

Best Things to Do in Mystic CT

How to Get There?

By Car: This is an easy way to get to your day of the best things to do in Mystic CT, if you are coming from somewhere else in New England or the Tri-State area. You can drive here easily from places like Boston or New York City.

However, I don’t know how to drive, so this wasn’t an option for me. Fortunately Uber is widely available in Mystic. You will need a car for this itinerary because the landmarks are too spread out otherwise. If you need to rent a car, you can use the search engine Expedia to find the best price from the available car rental companies.

best things to do in mystic ct

By Plane: Mystic does NOT have an airport, so you can’t fly directly here. If you’re coming from too far way to drive or take the train from New York City, Boston, or even Providence, Rhode Island. (Again, I recommend using a search engine like Expedia to search for the best prices on flights.)

By Train: I took Amtrak to get from New York City to Mystic, and it worked great. If you can handle taking the train to Mystic, I recommend it, because it’s so easy and then you don’t have to worry about your car or parking.

best things to do in mystic ct

That’s the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT !

What do you think are the Best Things to Do in Mystic CT? What’s the worst sealion related pun you can think of? And WhY AreN’t wE aLlowEd tO uSe CorrEcT sPelLinG Inn mYStiC? Please email me at [email protected] and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the best Things to Do in Mystic CT. If you have time for more of the best Things to Do in Mystic CT, try this itinerary.

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