What’s There to Do Around Here?

Farmington resides in the Greater Hartford Area. West Hartford, Avon, New Britain, Bristol, Hartford, and Newington are some of the adjoining towns. Farmington, West Hartford and Hartford are the three towns where one finds the most to do.

Good places to look for listings of weekly activities are the Thursday Calendar section of the Hartford Courant and the Advocate, a free paper available for pickup on Thursdays at the academic entrance of UConn Health.

Sports to Play

Farmington is a great area for many summer and winter sporting activities such as bicycling, hiking, rollerblading, running, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, ice-skating and skiing.

Biking/Hiking/Camping/Rollerblading

Bicycling, both mountain and street, is probably the most popular. Perhaps the two best mountain-biking locations are the West Hartford Reservoir, located on Farmington Avenue just a mile down the road from UConn Health and Avon Mountain, located off Route 44. The trails on Avon Mountain are contiguous with those of the West Hartford Reservoir. Both of these locations offer dirt and paved trails.

At the West Hartford Reservoir, many people also run, walk, hike and rollerblade. Roller-blade rentals are available at Play it Again Sports (860-523-4692) in West Hartford Center. The roads of Farmington, West Hartford and Avon are very scenic for walking, running and bicycling. There are also many multi-use trails across the state; you can find more information on these trails by visiting the Department of Transportation Pathways through Connecticut website. This site includes detailed information on path locations, path descriptions, recommended activities for each trail, etc.

Additionally, you can find information on the many state parks in Connecticut by visiting the Connecticut State Parks website.

Basketball/Soccer/Track Fields
At Conrad High School (West Hartford), Hall High School (West Hartford), and Farmington High School (Farmington), fields for baseball, soccer and track-and-field along with tennis courts can be used by the public, as well as Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain. During the academic year, there is an indoor soccer league at Oakwood Sports Center (860-633-1536) in Glastonbury. There is also an outdoor soccer league on Wednesdays at Irving Robins Middle School (20 Wolf Pit Road, Farmington).

Golf

There are also many good public golf courses within 15 minutes of UConn Health. Here’s a few:

West Hartford – Buena Vista Golf Course: A short 9 hole golf course. Prices are reasonable. Rockledge Country Club: A nice 18 hole golf course. Moderate/expensive.

New Britain – Stanley Golf Course: Probably the best 18 hole public golf course in the area. On weekdays $11/9 holes for residents ($18/18 holes), $16/9 holes for non-residents ($26/18holes) of New Britain. Be sure to bring a copy of your lease if you live in New Britain or your driver’s license if it lists a New Britain address.

Swimming
Many towns have public swimming pools. However, at many pools, usage is restricted to town residents. In West Hartford, parks located on South Quaker lane, Oakwood Avenue and Fern Street have pools that can be used provided you live in West Hartford. Sometimes, a small fee is required for entrance. In New Britain, you can find a pool in A.W. Stanley Park (2159 Stanley Street), and paddle boats at Stanley Quarter Park (451 Blake Road).

For the serious swimmer, West Hartford also has the Cornerstone Aquatics Center (860-521-3242) located on Buena Vista road, directly next to both the ice-skating rink and the Buena Vista Golf Course. The center is expensive but does provide quality facilities, including Nautilus equipment and several pools.

Canoeing/Kayaking/Tubing
To enjoy the Farmington River, Collinsville Canoe & Kayak (860-693-6977) has tubing rentals and gives Kayak lessons; two fun events for a hot summer day. If you are going tubing, bring sneakers to wear in the river! The bottom is very rocky.

Ice Skating
Turning to winter sporting activities, the only ice-skating rinks that are reliable are the town ice-skating rinks. The skating rink closest to UConn Health is the Veterans Memorial Skating Rink (860-521-1573), located on Buena Vista Road in West Hartford. You might also want to try the International Skating Center of Connecticut (860-651-5400) where several Olympians have trained. You can find it on Route 10 in Simsbury.

Skiing
There are a few ski resorts in Connecticut:

  • Southington Ski Area, Southington, CT: A small beginner’s mountain.
  • Mohawk Mountain, Cornwall, CT: Probably the best ski area in Connecticut.
  • Ski Sundown, New Hartford, CT: Comparable to Mohawk and has a few expert trails.

We believe that only Mohawk Mountain has trails for cross-country skiing. The West Hartford Reservoir may also have cross-country skiing. All of the above mountains are not very challenging. For the advanced skier, head north to Vermont to ski the black diamond trails of Killington (4 hours), Okemo (3 hours) and Mt. Snow (2.5 hours).

Fitness Clubs
There are many good fitness clubs around UConn Health. Most towns have a YMCA/YWCA (Youth Men’s/Women’s Christian Associations). They usually offer swimming, basketball, racquetball, weight-lifting and daycare. YMCA/YWCA’s are generally less expensive than the more advertised clubs. WOW-Fitness and LA Fitness (many locations) are also popular workout spots that offer good prices. Many UConn Health students use these facilities.

Sports to Watch

What about those of you who want to WATCH a sport, without the inconvenience of working up a sweat? Go see:

UConn Basketball
The national championship women’s and men’s basketball teams play home games at two venues: Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus and the Hartford Civic Center in downtown Hartford. Season tickets usually go on sale in September and require an application which will be provided at the time the tickets go on sale. In the Spring there is also a lottery system set up for post-season March Madness tickets. Again, information regarding this will be forwarded via email. You must present a valid UConn Health ID when you pick up your tickets.

UConn Football

The UConn football team plays their games in the recently constructed Rentschler Field in East Hartford and averages about 6 to 7 home games per season. Season tickets are handled in the same way as the basketball tickets with an application form to be filled out; last year the 7 home game package was $42.00 total and trainees could purchase up to 2 season tickets. Again, you must present a valid UConn Health ID when picking up your tickets.

Connecticut Sun
The Connecticut Sun is a professional WNBA team that plays at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville. Tickets run $6 to $50 per person and you can buy up to 6 tickets at a time. For more info, call 1-800-477-6849 or visit their website.

Hartford Wolf Pack
The Hartford Wolf Pack is an AHL team whose parent team is the NY Rangers. Games are played at the Hartford Civic Center in Downtown Hartford. Ticket prices/packages vary; visit their website at or call 860-246-7825 for more info.

Hartford Yard Goats
The Hartford Yard Goats are an AA Eastern League team whose parent team is the Colorado Rockies. Games are played at the brand new Dunkin’ Donuts Park in downtown Hartford at 99 Pratt Street and tickets run about $6 to $18 per game. Tickets can be purchased online or by walking-up to the stadium.

Movie Theaters

There are many theaters to see the current box office hits. Including:

For more esoteric movies, the CinestudioTheater (860-527-3811), at Trinity College, offers many foreign and art house movies.

Museums

Some popular CT museums are:

Shows (Plays, Musicals, Concerts)

In Connecticut, there are two good places to see professional performances. They are The Bushnell, located in Hartford, and the Shubert Performing Arts Center (student rush tickets available), located in New Haven. Depending on the show, ticket prices can vary from about $20 to $80 per person.

Concerts can be seen at the XL Center, The Webster Theater (Hartford), xfinity Theatre (Hartford), as well as Foxwoods (Ledyard) and Mohegan Sun (Uncasville) casinos.

There are also two major independent amateur orchestras in the Hartford area. They are almost always looking for string players and the conductors will do wind auditions on request depending on chair availability. Call for details about the groups. Concerts held by these groups are generally very good amateur performances, but quality can fluctuate depending on string composition. The tickets run around $10, which is reasonable.

Dance Connecticut (formerly Hartford Ballet) is a company of 20 full-time professional dancers and apprentices. Led by artistic directors Peggy Lyman and Enid Lynn, Dance Connecticut performs a diverse and exciting repertoire ranging from classical and contemporary ballets to modern works. Most performances are located in downtown Hartford at the Bushnell, with convenient free parking across the street. While the quality of the dancers may not match those seen in New York and Boston, the performances are truly enjoyable. The dance company also sponsors visiting companies such as Baryshnikov’s White Oak Project. Student discount tickets are available, for more information call (860-525-9396).

The Hartt School of Music on the campus of the University of Hartford has many student performances in theater, dance and music including the world-renowned Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz.

Bars/Nightclubs

Some good local bars are:

Butchers and Bakers at the Exchange
Just across the street from UConn Health, this recently opened restaurant/bar is open for lunch and dinner, with great happy hour deals Monday-Friday.

The Tavern at the Exchange
Just across the street from UConn Health, many postdocs go there for happy hours.

The Half Door (Hartford)
Traditional Irish pub

Tap Rock Beer Bar and Refuge (Unionville)
Large selection of nearly 20 beers on tap.

The most frequented night clubs are in West Hartford. A few are:

Barcelona and BarTaco
One next to each other in the West Hartford Center. Good food and DJ after 10 pm on Fridays and Weekends.

McLadden’s Irish Pub
Also in West Hartford Center, live music and good food on Fridays and Weekends.

Casinos

Presently there are two casinos in Connecticut. One is Foxwoods on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation located in Ledyard, Connecticut (they claim it is the biggest casino in the Western Hemisphere). The other is Mohegan Sun in Uncasville created by the Mohegan Tribe.

Beaches

One good public beach is at Hammonassett State Park in Madison, CT. An entrance fee is required. Fees currently run $9 to $14 on the weekends/holidays and $7 to $10 on weekdays. This beach can be very crowded. Due to the position of the beach within Long Island Sound, the water is not very clean. The park does designate areas for camping which currently run $15.00 (also see more information on the Connecticut State Parks website). If you’re ambitious, a better beach to go to is the Misquamicut State Beach in Rhode Island ($7 to $14 on weekends/holidays; $6 to $12 on weekdays). Misquamicut is approximately 75 miles from UConn Health. The water is cleaner. The waves are bigger. The food is better.

Area Restaurants

Also check the Advocate (available free at the Academic entrance) for additional listings.

American

Black-Eyed Sally’s – 860-278-7427
350 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT.
Specializes in barbecue and Cajun cooking.

The Elbow Room – 860-236-6195
986 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
A chic bistro-style restaurant serving clever variations on traditional favorites–the mussels are out of this world, and the fish and chicken dishes are consistently excellent.  Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal/person, w/o drinks)

Max Burger – 860-232-3300
124 Lasalle Rd. West Hartford, CT.
Located in West Hartford Center, they offer “burgers and American-style comfort food in a casual atmosphere.” Go early or use call-ahead seating–they get packed quickly. Features all-natural beef. Price range: burgers run $8-16 and come with regular or sweet potato fries.

Chinese

Butterfly – 860-236-2816
831 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
Good Chinese food in a nice setting. Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal/person, w/o drinks)

Cheng Du – 860-232-6455
923 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
Good food and many loyal customers. Price Range: $7 to $15 (average meal per person without drinks).

China Buffet – 860-793-0015
132 New Britain Road, Plainville, CT.
Wide variety in buffet, sushi, grill-to-order items. Price range: about $15 for dinner, less for lunch.

Great Taste – 860-827-8988
597 West Main Street, New Britain, CT.
An excellent restaurant in an unlikely location that serves traditional dishes with imagination and flair with a special emphasis on fish dishes. Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Green Tea – 860-678-8880
1067 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT.
Delicious food and good lunch specials including Dim Sum. Price range: $7 to $15 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Greek and Middle Eastern

Arugula Mediterranean Bistro – 860-561-4888
953 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
Fresh, flavorful, Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine and award-winning house-made desserts. Now open for dinner as well as lunch. Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan – 860-231-8400
36 LaSalle Road, West Hartford, CT.
New location in West Hartford Center. Delicious kebabs and other Middle Eastern specialties served with fragrant rice. Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Tapas – 860-521-4609
1150 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
and 126-130 Ann Street, Hartford, CT
Mediterranean food with lots of spices. Good place if you need a good gyro. Price range: less than $10 (average meal per person, without drinks).

The Simple Greek– 860-561-4976
1481 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, CT
Pitas and bowls set up ala Chipolte.

Indian

Taste of India – 860-561-2221
139 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT and
216 Broad Street, Windsor, CT
All kinds of your basic Indian food like curry and tandoori. Try the lunch buffet…lots of Indian food at one low price. Price range: $10 to $20 person (average meal) lunch buffet approximately $9.

Italian

Andy’s Italian Kitchen – 860-676-0800
230 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT.
Your basic sub/pizza shop located across the street from UConn Health. Casual atmosphere with televisions. Price range: $10 per person (average meal per person, without drinks).

The Olive Garden
West Hartford, CT. Good pasta and meat dishes, plus all you can eat salad, soup and breadsticks at the start of your meal. Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Bella Gourmet Pizzeria – 860-667-0330
125 Fenn Road, West Hartford, CT.

Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria – 860-676-1177
330 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT.
A national chain featuring real brick oven pizza of very high quality and imaginative combinations. Price range: around $10 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Flatbread Company – 860-693-3314
The Shoppes at Farmington Valley Canton, CT.
Delicious flatbread pizza cooked in a wood fired earthen oven and made with natural, organic and local ingredients. Price range: $10-15.

Harry’s Pizza – 860-231-7166
39 South Main, West Hartford, CT.
Thin, slightly charred crust and an impressive variety of toppings. They even give you a little taste of homemade lemon or grapefruit sherbet afterwards. Many loyal fans and an elegant setting for a pizza parlor. Price range: less than $10 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Naples – 860-674-8876
838 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT.
Great pizza! Try the bianca with spinach and ricotta cheese. Price range: less than $10 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Joey Garlic’s– 860-678-7231 (Farmington), 860-372-4620 (Newington)
Cheap prices and huge portions!

Japanese

Toshi – 860-677-8242
Riverdale Farms (Route 10), Avon, CT.
Definitely the best sushi in this area as well as other Japanese dishes. Price range: $10 to $20 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Yumi– 860-321-7463
45 S. Main St., Unionville, CT
Many grad students go here for the Hibachi. Best sushi in the area. Many days have 30% off all sushi rolls!

Mexican

Chipolte Mexican Grill – 860-586-8281
966 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT
Recent addition to West Hartford Center, include build your own menu and online ordering.

El Sombrero – 860-621-9474
151 Queen Street, Southington, CT.
Main courses run $9 to 14. Live mariachi band on Sundays.

Hot Harry’s– 860-206-8832
1470 East St., New Britain, CT
Similar to Chipolte, but with all house made ingredients.  Has a rewards point program and free items for your birthday.

Plaza Azteca– 860-436-9708
3260 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT
Fresh authentic Mexican cuisine.

Puerto Vallarta– 860-667-8080
2385 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT
Authentic, traditional Mexican cuisine is prepared fresh daily

Thai

East West Grill – 860-236-3287
526 New Park Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
Great little diner serving Laotian-Thai cuisine. Wide variety, friendly service.

Mai Kong Thai– 860-505-0791
26 Main St., New Britain, CT
FAmily owned restaurant and the owner works there every day. Authentic food and huge portion sizes for your money. Try their awesom Thai tea and pumpkin custard dessert!

Hot Basil– 860-523-9554
565 New Park Rd, West Hartford, CT
Specializes in authentic and modern Thai cuisine.

Vietnamese

Pho Boston – 860-953-8678
144 Shield Street, West Hartford, CT
Excellent and inexpensively-priced – wonton and beef noodle soups – HUGE BOWLS. Price range: $5 to $10 (average meal per person, without drinks).

Pho Viet– 860-436-6777
36 Fenn Rd., Newington, CT
Authentic Vietnamese food. BYOB is a nice option to save money. Wait staff is excellent and will not stop until you are completely satisfied with your meal.

Cafés

Zuzu’s Coffee Bar
Downtown Hartford near the Civic Center Art Gallery

Rev. 8/17