Ocean Beach Park in New London is a popular place for people from southeastern Connecticut to visit during the summer. Ocean Beach Park has an amazing beach with clean facilities, lifeguards, and beach volleyball courts. If the sand isn't for you, you can enjoy a round of mini golf, ride the giant slides, hit the gym, enjoy ice cream, or take a stroll on the boardwalk. In the evenings, Ocean Beach Park frequently has local bands or beach-blanket movies. Ocean Beach Park has a variety of admission and parking fees depending on visiting day and time, and it is not necessary to buy a season-pass.
In the past few years downtown New London, Connecticut has seen an influx of cafes, hip restaurants, bars, yoga studios, and local shops. This has rejuvenated the historic waterfront and helped to increase tourism. New London has always been known for its mix of cultures, which is now being highlighted by beautiful works of street art in the historic waterfront. You can now find huge murals and smaller works of art along Broad Street, State Street, Connecticut Avenue, and Williams Street. My favorite work of street art is huge mural that states “One Place Many Cultures,” and is covered with portraits.
The Connecticut College Arboretum is located on the Connecticut College campus and is used by students, staff, professors, and the general public. The Arboretum was established in 1931 and began as 64 acres, but has now expanded to 750 acres. In the Arboretum there are trails, labeled plants, and large rhododendron, hemlock, and native plants gardens. The Flock Theater, which is an outdoor theater in the Arboretum, frequently holds shows, such as Shakespeare. The Arboretum also offers guided tours, outreach events, and photography contests. If you visit the Arboretum during the summer months you will likely see couples having engagement or wedding photographs taken, as the flowering trees and shrubs provide a beautiful backdrop.
The Garde Arts Center is a beautiful theater to visit during your trip to southeastern Connecticut. The Garde is a historic theater located in the heart of downtown New London, a local center for the arts. At the Garde you can see films, ballets, operas, and orchestras. They also have special programs for children to enjoy. Additionally, they contribute to art education in the greater New London area. The Garde Arts Center was built in 1926 and has since been restored to the working theater and non-profit organization that it is today. Check their website for their current shows, times, and ticket prices.
The Hygienic Art Gallery was first opened in 1979, and was originally an art festival held in a restaurant. This has since become an art gallery that shows fine art created mostly by local artists. Associated with the Hygienic Art Gallery is their art park, which is free to visit and open during the day and during gallery hours. The Hygienic's art park holds outdoor movies and concerts during the spring, summer, and fall. In conjunction with the City of New London, the Hygienic Art Gallery has been creating murals to rejuvenate the downtown. They even have self-guided art walks.
Hanafin's is an Irish pub located in downtown New London, Connecticut. It's a local favorite that is popular in evenings when they host local bands and during sporting events that can be watched on one of their several big screen TV's. They also have a bar menu with tasty food, including baked potatoes, chicken wings, and sandwiches, as well as Irish specialties such as corned beef, bangers and mash, and shepherd's pie. The atmosphere is a friendly one and you'll frequently see regulars or new visitors chatting with the bartenders. They also have a huge selection of beer on tap as well as specialty whiskeys and scotches.