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Yale, Mark Twain’s house and other historical and popular places to see in Connecticut

Yale, Mark Twain’s house and other historical and popular places to see in Connecticut
  • PublishedSeptember 29, 2023

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Connecticut is filled with rich history, exciting attractions and plenty to explore. 

Mark Twain’s house and Olde Mistick Village are two popular places to visit in the state.

If you’re looking for dinner, a show and a quick round of Blackjack, check out Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun. 

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While in Connecticut, you can visit Lake Compounce, the oldest theme park in North America. 

Connecticut might be small, but that means that even if you want to visit spots on opposite sides of the state, you’ll still be able to squeeze both things into one trip. 

Below is a guide to everything to see and do while you’re in the coastal state.

Mark Twain House in Hartford

Mark Twain’s house is a popular attraction in the state of Connecticut.  (Yunghi Kim/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

  1. Explore Yale University
  2. Take a peek inside Mark Twain’s house
  3. Visit Mystic Aquarium and roam Olde Mistick Village
  4. Admire the architecture of the Glass House
  5. Go to Gillette Castle
  6. Take a trip to the oldest theme park in North America
  7. Enjoy dinner and a show at Foxwoods Casino

1. Explore Yale University

Yale is an Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut. 

The highly esteemed university was founded in 1701. Students from all around the world travel to the state to complete their studies here.  

The university sits on a beautiful campus that many visitors choose to explore during their trip to Connecticut. 

Aside from enjoying the grounds, you can also visit Yale’s museums and libraries. 

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The Yale University Art Gallery, Yale Peabody Museum and Collection of Musical Instruments are all options, plus the Sterling Memorial Library, Beinecke Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library and Lewis Walpole Library. 

Yale University

Walk around Yale University and check out the museums and libraries on campus during your visit.  (Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images)

2. Take a peek inside Mark Twain’s house 

Mark Twain’s house can be found in Hartford, Connecticut and is a popular attraction in the state. From 1874 until 1891, this house served as the residence to author Samuel Langhorne Clemens and his family. 

The author, who used the pen name Mark Twain, wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and more while living in this house. 

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Now, it is filled with original furnishings from Twain’s time, photos and other memorabilia.

3. Visit Mystic Aquarium and roam Olde Mystic Village 

Mystic Aquarium is a great place to visit while in Connecticut. Several animal species call Mystic Aquarium home, including penguins, whales, sea lions and more. 

There are also various shows throughout the day at the aquarium where you can learn even more about these animals in a fun, entertaining environment. 

Whale at Mystic Aquarium

You can get an up-close look at sea life at Mystic Aquarium.  (Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

While in Mystic, take time to explore Olde Mistick Village. 

This is a great location for shopping and dining, with lots of different options for visitors. 

4. Admire the architecture of the Glass House 

The Glass House, designed by architect Philip Johnson between the years 1949 and 1955. The house is made almost entirely of glass and steel, making the house’s privacy very minimal. 

You can visit the Glass House in New Canaan to get a look at the unique architecture. 

5. Go to Gillette Castle 

Gillette Castle was built by actor William Gillette. The actor was most known for his role as Sherlock Homes. The medieval-era design gives the house an intriguing look that brings many visitors to the location. 

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The stone house is quite large, with 24 rooms inside to take a look at during your visit. 

A view of Gillette Castle from the Connecticut River

You’ll want to snap a picture in front of this stone mansion in Connecticut.  (Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

The castle’s ideal location gives it a beautiful view of the Connecticut River. 

6. Take a trip to the oldest theme park in North America 

Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America. 

Since opening its doors to the public in 1846, Lake Compounce has continued to expand and bring in visitors to ride its thrilling attractions. 

You can find Lake Compounce just outside Bristol, Connecticut. 

Boulder Dash is the most popular ride at the park, but there many other attractions to try, including water rides to keep you cool on a hot day. 

7. Enjoy dinner and a show at Foxwoods Casino 

Foxwoods is located in Ledyard, Connecticut, and is filled with table games and slot machines for gambling, as well as a large bingo room where you could win thousands.

Foxwoods Resort Casino

Many well-known singers play at Foxwoods Resort Casino.  ( Douglas Healey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The establishment also features dozens of restaurants, the Tanger Outlets for shopping and plenty of live entertainment, including music and comedy. 

Foxwoods also has three different hotels on the property, Grand Pequot, Great Cedar and Fox Tower, if you plan on staying the night. 

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Not too far from Foxwoods is Mohegan Sun, another casino with concerts, events, food, shopping, accommodations and more. 

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