Beyond the Lab

As a graduate student, it seems impossible that you can find any time to do anything outside of your research. Finding some time to do other things besides sit in a lab and run gels (although you really enjoy doing this) is an important part of maintaining your sanity throughout your graduate career. This page was designed by graduate students for graduate students to help you find activities in the area.

So I Finally Have a Day/Night Off!

Go out and enjoy a night in West Hartford center or even downtown Hartford. There are many restaurants, bars and clubs to go to. If that’s not your scene, here is a list of some other activities that fit your style and your grad-student budget:

  • Free Jazz performances every Monday night at Black Eyed Sally’s and Arch Street Tavern in Hartford.
  • Free improv comedy show every month at City Steam in Hartford.
  • Theaterworks in Hartford which is a professional theater company that has both off-Broadway productions and world premieres….Has a Free student and Teacher Matinee the third Saturday of every new production!
  • Hartford Stage also has discounted season passes (if you are under 30 years of age).
  • Playhouse on Park in West Hartford has great productions and affordable student prices for all of their shows.
  • All UConn students and employees have memberships at the Wadsworth Atheneum and the New Britain Museum of American Art…which means Free admission and discounted prices for their social events such as Museum After Dark (NBMAA) and First Thursdays at the Wadsworth.
  • $7 movies at Real Art Ways and Cinestudio Trinity College (both in Hartford).
  • There are always plays/shows/events downtown Hartford at the Bushnell, Hartford Stage, Connecticut Convention Center, Connecticut Science Center, the Riverfront, or XL Center, but these may cost a little more.
  • If you want to travel a little further, there are two casinos in Connecticut; Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
  • New Haven is a very popular destination for UConn Health students. There are many great restaurants and bars there. If you want to do something more cultured you can catch a play at the Shubert Theatre or visit the Peabody Museum on the Yale campus.
  • There are also many vineyards/wineries in Connecticut and are all part of the Connecticut Wine Trail. You can get a passport and spend your Saturdays visiting them throughout the warmer seasons.

I’m an Outdoorsy Person – What’s There to Do?

Outdoor adventure is everywhere in Connecticut.

  • Connecticut is also home to some of the best Hiking Trails in New England. Some are nearby (such as the Heublein Tower Trail) and are amazing hikes to do during the fall foliage season. Here is a list of hikes throughout the state.
  • For winter activities, there are many ski mountains in Connecticut and many more within a couple of hours driving. We are not far from Vermont and New Hampshire, which have some of the best ski/snowboard venues. If you buy early enough, you can get discounted season passes at many of these destinations.
  • Winding Trails (just a few miles from the UConn Health) also offers cross-country skiing.
  • For runners, Connecticut hosts many races, such as the Hartford Marathon (or Half-Marathon) and the annual Thanksgiving 7k Manchester Road Race (which is really fun). These are International events and are among some of the top-rated races in the country. Visit the Hartford Marathon Foundation for a complete list of local races.

Yay, Sports!

Here in Connecticut, there are many exciting athletic events to attend. The University of Connecticut is a great school for college athletics. You may know of the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams who have won 13 National Championships combined. Although their home court is technically on the Storrs campus (about 1 hour away) they play many home games at the XL Center in downtown Hartford (about 10 minutes away). Tickets for the Women’s basketball games are usually readily available and inexpensive. The Men’s tickets, however, can be harder to come by. Since we are students, we are offered the opportunity to join in a lottery for season tickets (this email comes before the season starts). Besides basketball, UConn has an up-and-coming football team that plays their home games in East Hartford (about 20 minutes away). Again, these tickets are usually easy to come by, although we can enter a lottery for student season tickets.

If you would like to see the Women’s players on the next level, one of our two professional teams is the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA. An added benefit to attending these games is the fact they play their home games at Mohegan Sun casino. You could spend time visiting the shops, restaurants and/or the casino floor before or after the game.

Aside from basketball, there are a couple sports teams in the area that are routinely enjoyed by graduate student. The New Britain Bees are a minor league baseball team and are just 15 minutes away. Tickets are always available and start at $6. Furthermore, there are many fun promotional night that are held.

If you like hockey, our other professional team is the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. Tickets are readily available and begin at $12. As is the case with the New Britain Bees, the Wolf Pack host many promotional nights.

I Want to Visit the City

We are almost equidistant between New York and Boston. Many graduate students will visit either or both cities at least once during their graduate careers. The number of things to do in these cities is too vast to list, so we just want to inform you on alternate ways to travel to them. You can take buses to either city for $15-$30 one way, depending on whether specials are being offered or not.

You could also take the train to NY, however it will cost more and you don’t save much time.

Something Different

The northeastern U.S. is rich in history and many local towns, such as Wethersfield, have historic districts where you can visit houses and restaurants that have been around since the early 1600’s. One of the more interesting places to visit is Old Sturbridge Village. Located just across the border in Massachusetts (off of I-84), Old Sturbridge Village is a living history museum where you can see and learn about how the early settlers lived.

Another historic landmark is the town of Salem, Massachusetts. In the late 1600’s, 19 people were convicted of witchcraft and executed – an event known as the “Salem Witch Trials”. Now, Salem is a popular attraction where you can relive those historical days through reenactments and tours. Halloween is an especially popular time to visit Salem. There are also many attractions in Salem not related to witchcraft which you could check out.