Mystic, CT – Things to Do & Travel Guide

Posted on Monday, June 27, 2022

Mystic, Connecticut was a place that came up frequently when I was planning for my New England road trip. It was definitely one of our favourite stops and this charming shipbuilding town should definitely be on your list for Connecticut.

Mystic, CT

A little bit of history: The Pequot people lived in the area of Mystic until the European colonisers came. Unfortunately Mystic is the site of a huge massacre, called the Mystic Massacre, that took place in 1637. Several hundred Native Americans died in battle with the Europeans and it is said that there were no N.A. survivors. However, the Europeans didn’t even settle the area until decades later, in 1654. Both sides of the Mystic River have their own history as they were two different towns, and even states, until around 1890. Mystic was a large shipbuilding port but a small town presence and is still a quaint town today, as it was one hundred years ago.

Mystic, CT

Mystic, CT

The most characteristic place in Mystic is the Mystic Seaport Museum. This open-air museum has artefacts from the town’s time as a shipbuilding centre but they range in both shipbuilding and everyday life. You can see into centuries-old buildings and demonstrators are there to describe how life was in the 19th century (and sometimes before). It’s large and you can easily spend a few hours exploring the museum. The price is very hefty but it’s something to consider doing, particularly on a nice day.

Mystic, CT

Mystic, CT

However the other places I recommend in Mystic are completely free! You absolutely must visit Mystic Downtown on your trip. This is where the historic Mystic Drawbridge is. Several restaurants and shops line the streets. Stop here to get lunch, dinner, and maybe some ice cream with some window shopping in between.

A still of the movie Mystic Pizza.

Mystic Pizza

You’ll also see a place on West Main Street called Mystic Pizza. Don’t recognise the name? It’s the title of Julia Roberts’ breakthrough film about three friends who work at Mystic Pizza right there in Mystic! Ironically, we didn’t find the pizza to be anything special, but the movie’s a cute coming-of-age film.

Mystic, CT Mystic, CT

Not to be confused with Mystic Downtown is the Olde Mystick Village. You can get here by putting the Mystic Aquarium into your GPS. This area is an outdoor shopping center that’s designed to look from the 20th century. We found it to be absolutely adorable. There are several places we liked inside, like an Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea house; a magic-themed shop; a general store with caramelised nuts (one of my absolute favourites); a Christmas store; and more! It’s worth having a stop in to see what they have. Of course, parking and walking around is completely free. There’s also a cinema in the Village if you feel like seeing a movie.

Mystic, CT Mystic, CT

Note that Downtown Mystic and the Olde Mystick Village are a short drive from one another (about 2 miles). The Mystic Seaport Museum is almost halfway between. Not only are both aforementioned places absolutely adorable but the drive around the Mystic area is absolutely stunning. We went in summer when the trees were all nice and green and the sun shone over all the beautiful stone buildings.

Mystic, CT

We spent one full day and night exploring Mystic and it certainly was enough to see this small but cute town. We felt it was one of our favourite stops and small towns in New England and definitely couldn’t recommend a New England road trip without putting Mystic on your list, even for only a few hours. It’s a charming place and it deserves your time.

Have you ever been to Mystic before? What did you think?

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