Best known for being the home of ESPN, Bristol, CT is a suburban city that is filled with unique things to see and do which you can’t experience anywhere else. It’s home to one of the oldest continuously running theme parks in the nation, Lake Compounce. Another attraction that you can only find in Bristol is the American Clock & Watch Museums, which is renowned worldwide for its array of artifacts.
1.American Clock & Watch Museum
© American Clock & Watch Museum
The American Clock & Watch Museum was established in 1952 and was initially called The Bristol Clock Museum. It is one of the handful of horology museums in the United States and one of the best in the world, meaning that it solely dedicated to the history, science, and art of timekeepers and timekeeping. You can see several American industrial-made clocks from the 19th and 20th century; there are other exhibits for watches, Connecticut clockmaking, and an exhibit specifically dedicated to Eli Terry, a Connecticut inventor and clockmakers who received a U.S. patent for a shelf clock mechanism. The displays are marvelous, and the knowledgeable team is dedicated to sharing as much information and fun facts with visitors as possible.
100 Maple St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-583-6070
© Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce is one of the best amusement parks and waterparks in the state. It is going on its 172nd season, making it one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in the United States. There are several attractions which you won’t find anywhere else in New England including their popular wooden roller coaster, Boulder Dash. Other attractions include the blood-chilling Phobia Phear Coaster, Zoomerang, and Rev-O-Lution where you’ll feel like you’re floating on air. The Crocodile Cove water park is filled with twisted tunnel slides, a giant 300-gallon water bucket, and a designated wave pool for younger guests. Other features include restaurants, shows, and events such as their holiday lighting festival.
185 Enterprise Dr, Bristol, CT 06010
3.New England Carousel Museum
© New England Carousel Museum
The New England Carousel Museum was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit educational organization. The museum portrays the art and history of carousels through a number of exhibitions, hands-on interactive displays, shows, programs, and other special events. Their extensive permanent collection can be seen throughout the 33,000 square foot building and includes the works of renowned carvers such as Herschell Spillman and Dentzel. There are different tours for adults and children, both of which provide the opportunity to enjoy and learn about the well-loved ride. You can explore their collection of over 100 antique wooden horses, visit the restoration department, or take a ride on their amazing indoor carousel.
95 Riverside Ave, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-585-5411
© Imagine Nation
Imagine Nation, which was established in the early 2000s, comprises three sections: an interactive museum, the Early Learning Center, and their NAEYC accredited preschool. Though each of these plays a unique role, all of them are committed to inspire and assist in the development if young children through inquisitiveness and imagination. The museum studios is one of the main attractions which is popular with visitors. It is designed for children ages 2 to 8 and is filled with different interactive exhibits and activities which intrigue kids. You will find studio workshops dedicated to art, water, design & engineering, wellness, wildlife, farm to table, playbox theater, outdoor learning, and much more.
1 Pleasant St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-314-1400
5.Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum
The Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum has been around since 1966, making it the longest running Halloween attraction in the United States. It started off as the interests of one little boy who spent much of his childhood building model monster kits and eventually moving on to creating his own life-sized replicas of characters. The museum is a wonderful tribute to actors and effect artists who had contributed to several classic fantasy films. You’ll be able to see several highly accurate figures from the golden age of horror and sci-fi cinema such as the “Creature from the Black Lagoon”, Wolf Man, Red Death, Dracula, Frankenstein, and Zenobia the Gypsy Witch.
98 Summer St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-583-8306
6.Bristol Public Library
© Bristol Public Library
Though it has had many homes since it opened in 1892, the Bristol Public Library can now be found in the renowned Potter building, which is a Colonial Revival style structure which was designed by New York architect Wilson Potter in 1907. It started off with less than 4,000 books during its first year; today, the library’s collection includes over 200,000 books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other material. The library also has a computer lab, quiet study rooms, and a research center filled with a history room, WWII scrapbook, databases, genealogy line, yearbooks, and much more. There are several programs for children, teens, and adults, such as Baby Story Time, book discussions, and a Coffee House Music program.
5 High Street, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-584-7787
Found adjacent to Rockwell Park, Muzzy Field is a popular stadium in Bristol that is commonly used for baseball and football games. It was built in 1939 and is the home of many high school and collegiate teams including Bristol Central High School, Saint Paul Catholic High School, and the Bristol Blues of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. One of its most popular features is the ring of tall pine trees which can be seen lined on the outside of the outfield wall. The stadium, which was renovated in 2015, can hold up to 4,900 people, has a new grandstand enclosure, new lighting, and much more.
Muzzy St, Bristol, CT 06010
Rockwell Park is a public park which is located in a U.S. Historic District and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It spans 104 acres, was built in 1914, and includes several features and amenities such as woodlands, open spaces, hiking trails, a swimming pool, a playground, sports fields, and more. You’ll be able to see panoramic views of the Pequabuck River as well as many of the park’s gorgeous buildings which are built out of rustic cobblestone. You can have a great time enjoying the outdoors, feasting on a picnic lunch, or throwing around a frisbee at Rockwell Park.
238 Jacobs St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-584-6100
9.Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center
© Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center
The Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center was built in 1972 and is a place for visitors of all ages to learn about and appreciate nature and all it offers. There are several exhibits and activities available, as well as an array of experienced staff who are willing to share their love and knowledge of nature with you. The interactive exhibits are dedicated to a number of things including local flora and fauna; you can also see live animals such as birds and exotic reptiles. You can participate in crafts activities, buy a souvenir at the gift shop, or even attend a scout badge workshop.
175 Shrub Rd, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-583-1234
, Michigan beaches
Page Park is a wonderful outdoor space where the entire family can spend time together. The park was donated to the city by DeWitt and May Rockwell Page in 1933. It has several features and amenities including a playground, seasonal splash pad, a disc golf course, five lighted tennis courts, a hardball diamond baseball field, a lighted softball field, a lodge building, a pavilion, and the Page Park lagoon. You can bring a picnic and enjoy it in one of the many designated picnic areas or rent out the upper playground shelter to get together with friends and family.
Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-584-6100
11.Bristol Historical Society
© Bristol Historical Society
The goal of the Bristol Historical Society is to collect, preserve, interpret, and display several local historic artifacts and records. It is a great place for visitors of all ages to learn about the community, its people, and events which shaped Bristol to the place it is today. The center is constantly hosting community educational activities which guests of all ages have come to enjoy. You’ll find exhibits such as the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame, a Memorial Military Museum, and the Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum. Seasonal events such as their Winter Wonderland for Kids are extremely popular as well.
98 Summer St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-583-6309
12.St. Stanislaus Church
© St. Stanislaus Church
The St. Stanislaus Church was built in 1919 by a group of Polish immigrants who dreamed of their own parish and priest. Along with their church, they also built a parish school and a convent later on. As it became fully integrated into the community, the number of followers grew extensively. Though the original building was converted into a beautiful new church in 1956, you’ll be able to see several beautiful aspects which reflect the Polish heritage. Their annual Dozynki, or Harvest Festival, is a celebration which brings people of all faiths together to enjoy good food and fun.
510 West Street, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-583-4242
13.Harvest Bakery Incorporated
© Harvest Bakery Incorporated
Harvest Bakery Incorporated is a family owned and operated business that was opened on Memorial Day in 1941 by Anne and Louis Barth. After 45 years, the Barth family passed on the traditions and reputation which kept Harvest Bakery a community favorite to brother and sister partners, Paul Dinoia and Karen Nocera. All of the delicious baked goods still follow the tradition of hearth-baking, use the original recipes of Grandpa Barth, and are made with absolutely no preservatives. Be sure to head over to the customer-voted #1 bakery in Bristol for fresh breads, rolls, pastries, and much more.
84 Farmington Avenue, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-589-8800
© Greer's Chicken
No trip to Bristol is complete with feasting on Greer’s award winning chicken. Their southern fried and roasted chicken comes along with their delicious homemade sides and sauces and is absolutely too good to miss. You can choose from their array of southern fried chicken, whole or half roasted chicken, chicken chunks, cold roasted chicken, or chicken nuggets. Add a side of fries, buffalo style liver/ gizzards, jalapeno poppers, rolls, hot baked beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, or a garden salad. Don’t miss out on ending your meal with a delicious dessert like their tapioca or butterscotch swiss miss pudding, cheese cake, or chocolate cake.
64 Matthews St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-583-3191
15.One Fifty Central
© One Fifty Central
One Fifty Central is an American-themed restaurant and bar where you can find all your homemade favorites such as sandwiches, hamburgers, steaks, seafood, and pasta. The casual restaurant is the perfect place to get together with friends and family and enjoy a delicious meal. Start with one of their popular soups, salads, or appetizers, such as the crock of lobster bisque, fried mac & cheese bites, or the fried calamari. Popular entrees include the grilled eggplant panini, a penne ala vodka, the grilled porkchop, and the chicken cordon bleu. Pair your meal with a delicious martini or a craft beer on tap from the bar for an enjoyable culinary experience.
150 Central St, Bristol, CT 06010, Phone: 860-261-7009
15 Best Things to Do in Bristol, Connecticut
- American Clock & Watch Museum, Photo: American Clock & Watch Museum
- Lake Compounce, Photo: Lake Compounce
- New England Carousel Museum, Photo: New England Carousel Museum
- Imagine Nation, Photo: Imagine Nation
- Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum, Photo: joneyut/stock.adobe.com
- Bristol Public Library, Photo: Bristol Public Library
- Muzzy Field, Photo: JJAVA/stock.adobe.com
- Rockwell Park, Photo: ZoneCreative/stock.adobe.com
- Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center, Photo: Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center
- Page Park, Photo: GCapture/stock.adobe.com
- Bristol Historical Society, Photo: Bristol Historical Society
- St. Stanislaus Church, Photo: St. Stanislaus Church
- Harvest Bakery Incorporated, Photo: Harvest Bakery Incorporated
- Greer's Chicken, Photo: Greer's Chicken
- One Fifty Central, Photo: One Fifty Central
- Cover Photo: Bristol Historical Society