Mystic, Connecticut is the perfect spot for an overnight or a weekend getaway — it’s great any time of the year, but keep in mind that many of the attractions are outdoors. There are beautiful water views, family-friendly activities and attractions, romantic restaurants, and great coffee shops. There is truly something for everyone!
Where to Stay
- Early morning coffee at Starbucks right down in the lobby.
- Breakfast and dinner at Octagon Steakhouse
- A drink at the lobby bar (or you can grab an app and a wine/cocktail).
Highlights: Family-friendly accommodations/dining, Indoor Pool, Full-Service Spa, Updated rooms/lobby/ballroom; a small lobby market with toiletries, snacks/drinks, and souvenirs. This hotel is in a great location — it’s a short drive from everything you will want to see in Mystic!
Another great option: The Whaler’s Inn (located right in downtown Mystic).
Olde Mistick Village is across the street from the Mystic Aquarium so it’s a great place to go just before or just after visiting — you can re-enter the aquarium so you can always take a break mid-day, as well. This shopping center has lots of small, local shops, and restaurants, including Vault Coffee Roasters.
Vault Coffee Roasters is a cute coffee shop, that also serves delicious Deviant Donuts (Friday-Sunday). They offer classic flavors (we tried the Strawberry Chocolate Frosted), and then a variety of specially donuts. Go early so you can have your pick — they run out quickly!
The Mariner is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner – right on West Main St. The staff are welcoming and accommodating, and the food is fresh and delicious. I loved my entire meal, and I am still dreaming about the Charred Brussels Sprouts and the Brownie Sundae!
Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream absolutely lives up to the hype, and is totally worth waiting in the long line! (You can order ahead online if you are in a rush). I had the Pure Vanilla and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (and I will get the same thing next time!)
Via Emilia in downtown Mystic is an amazing Italian restaurant – perfect for celebrating a special occasion. Definitely order the Salumi e Formaggi!
Young Buns Doughnuts is right in downtown Mystic – they have delicious monthly specials, but definitely grab some of their classes, as well! They also have doughnut holes (definitely grab 6 of those along with your doughnuts)!
Mystic Aquarium is a great aquarium that has both indoor and outdoor exhibits including: beluga whales, penguins, seals, sea lions, snakes, frogs, stingrays, sharks, jelly fish, and so many fish (including Clownfish) — they have hands-on exhibits, as well. We also loved the dinosaur exhibit – Jurassic Giants (worth adding on for any Dino lovers). Their mission is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research (and they even have an on-site Animal Rescue Clinic).
I recommend buying your tickets on the app/computer, in advance, to avoid the long lines — this will save you a lot of time. No matter what you decide to do while you’re in Mystic I would definitely recommend visiting the aquarium!
Octagon Steakhouse at the Mystic Marriott has a good wine list, and delicious food. My go-to dish is the Statler chicken, but there are other great options, including a kid’s menu. At first glance this restaurant doesn’t look kid-friendly, but we all enjoyed our breakfast and our dinner, and they even have kids cups!
Downtown Mystic is one of my favorite areas of Mystic. It has the Mystic Draw Bridge (Mystic River Bascule Bridge), lots of local stores, restaurants, coffee shops, Mystic Draw Bridge Ice Cream, and a great local book store.
You should definitely visit Mystic Pizza when you’re in Downtown Mystic! You can get pizzas by the slice so even if you’re heading out for the afternoon, you can grab a slice and head to your next destination! The pizza is good, and the staff is friendly. It’s just disappointing that you won’t get to hang with Julia Roberts!
Bank Square Books is one of my favorite bookstores. They have a great children’s section, and an entire wall of journals! You have to stop by when you are in downtown Mystic!
S&P Oyster Restaurant and Bar — just check out the view!
Some other attractions include: Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Museum of Art
Mystic is definitely one of our go-to spots in New England — it’s under 2 hours from Boston, and just about 2.5 hours from New York City. It’s perfect for a romantic overnight, or a getaway with friends and family, and it has all you’d want in a charming New England town.
Adventure Mystic is perfect for anyone looking for a unique activity in Mystic! They have Paddle Board/Kayak/Bike rentals, and they offer lessons! Check out their site for a full list of activities and for upcoming events: https://www.adventuremystic.com/events
Other spots to visit nearby:
Rosabianca Vineyards is a family-owned vineyard in Northford, CT (about an hour outside of Mystic). I recommend checking out the beautiful story behind this vineyard: https://www.rosabiancavineyards.com/our-story Rosabianca Vineyards has a great selection of reds, whites, rosé, and red blends.
You can visit for one of their events: https://www.rosabiancavineyards.com/events, or for a tasting. If you can’t make it over there, you can buy a bottle (or two or three) over on their website: https://www.rosabiancavineyards.com/shop.
Follow along on Instagram to learn more (and so you don’t miss any of their events!): Rosabianca Vineyards
Essex, CT (about 30 minutes outside of Mystic) is a cute town with great places to stay – check out the Griswold Inn (Essex) and the Copper Beech Inn (in nearby Ivoryton) – both inns have great on-site dining options, as well!
Also, Essex (along with North Milford and Washington Depot) is the inspiration behind Stars Hollow in the Gilmore Girls!