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
- Sports to Watch
- Movie Theaters
- Shows (Plays, Musicals, Concerts)
- State Beaches/Parks
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
What about those of you who want to WATCH a sport, without the inconvenience of working up a sweat? Go see:
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.
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.
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.
There are many theaters to see the current box office hits. Including:
- Bowtie Palace 17 & BTX, New Park Rd., Hartford
- AMC Loews Theatre, Plainville
- AMC Digiplex Bloomfield, Bloomfield, CT (shows many of the current feature films for only $6 all day, every day)
For more esoteric movies, the CinestudioTheater (860-527-3811), at Trinity College, offers many foreign and art house movies.
Some popular CT museums are:
- Wadsworth Atheneum (art museum), Hartford
- New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain
- Noah Webster House, West Hartford
- Old State House, Hartford
- Hill-Stead Museum (with sunken garden), Farmington
- Mark Twain House, Hartford
- Harriet Beecher Stowe Center (near Mark Twain house), Hartford
- Mashantucket Museum and Research Center (“world’s largest and most comprehensive Native American museum and research center”), Mashantucket
- Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven at Yale University
- The Children’s Museum, West Hartford
- The Connecticut Science Center, downtown Hartford
In Connecticut, there are two good places to see professional performances. They are The Bushnell, located in Hartford, and the Shubert Theatre (student rush tickets available), located in New Haven. Depending on the show, ticket prices can vary from about $20 to $80 per person.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
There are a wide variety of locally owed and chain restaurants in the area offering an array of food styles from American, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Greek, Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese, French, Korean, Mexican, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, South American, and so much more! A quick internet search will yield a plethora of dining options.