12 Things To Do in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport is the largest and most populous city in Connecticut located along Long Island Sound. Once a thriving industrial center, today Bridgeport offers a mix of history, culture, entertainment, dining, and outdoor activities.

From beautiful parks and beaches to unique museums and attractions, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Bridgeport. Here are the top 12 things to do while visiting this charming New England city:

Explore the Beardsley Zoo

The Beardsley Zoo is one of the top attractions in Bridgeport spanning over 58 acres. This family-friendly zoo has animals from North and South America as well as Australia. Meet endangered species like the Amur leopard and Mexican gray wolf along with farm animals in the New England Farmyard. There is also a carousel, mini train, and gift shop onsite. Walking paths connect the different exhibits making it easy to spend a few hours here.

Tour Housatonic Community College Art Museum

This free museum located on the Housatonic Community College campus features impressive pieces from local, national, and international artists. Exhibits rotate throughout the year and include mediums like paintings, sculpture, mixed media, prints, drawings, and photographs. Students and faculty curate thought-provoking shows related to current social topics and artistic trends. Even if you’re not into art, this is one of the most unique things to do in Bridgeport.

Relax at Seaside Park & Beach

Spread out over 367 acres, Seaside Park has everything for a fantastic day outdoors. Play Frisbee golf, tennis, basketball, softball, soccer, and more at the recreational facilities. Cast out fishing lines from the picturesque fishing pier or take the footbridge to the tranquil, secluded Pleasure Beach. The beach stretches about a mile with plenty of sandy shores for swimming, building sandcastles, and collecting shells. The western end allows bonfires in designated fire pits.

Tour Discovery Museum and Planetarium

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium promotes STEM education through hands-on exhibits and immersive programs. Learn why bubbles take on different shapes, see how pulley systems work, and understand concepts like spatial reasoning. This family favorite also has an inventor’s studio, woodworking shop, theater for science demonstrations, and a planetarium presenting astronomy programs. Don’t miss seasonal events like Lego festivals and superhero programs too.

Check Out Captain’s Cove Seaport

This family entertainment center is one of the best things to do in Bridgeport with kids. Captain’s Cove has mini golf, paddleboats, bumper boats, arcade games, kiddie rides, batting cages, and the wooden Galleon pirate ship play structure. Enjoy seasonal offerings like a pumpkin patch in October and Breakfast with Bunny during Easter. With affordable pricing, everyone can enjoy a fun day here year-round.

Tour Historic Barnum Museum

Learn about the legacy of famous Bridgeport promoter and mayor P.T. Barnum at this museum housed in a historic building. It has artifacts like Barnum’s first baby carriage, original circus wagons, Tom Thumb’s miniature carriage, a Tufts University chair Barnum sat in when receiving his diploma in 1875, and exotic taxidermy specimens that represent Barnum’s love for curiosities. Historic exhibitions reveal his influence on Bridgeport and early show business while contemporary art shows rotate too.

Grab a Bite in Bijou Square


For a variety of cuisines in one convenient downtown location, dine at Bijou Square. The charming pedestrian-only area connects Bridgeport streets with a glass-enclosed walkway lined with flowering trees, a fountain, and twinkle lights. Casual restaurants serve breakfast fare, pub grub, Mexican specialties, Chinese dishes, Brazilian barbecue, and more. There is outdoor patio seating perfect for a relaxing lunch or dinner when the weather is nice.

Enjoy a Show at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre

This popular regional theater transports audiences back in time to the prohibition era. Intimate tables surround the main stage while servers take food and drink orders prior to the show. Broadway-style musicals, comedy nights, children’s theater, improv acts, tribute bands, and other lively performances happen year-round. Dinner ranges from appetizers to three-course meals fitting the speakeasy ambiance.

Tour P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb Statues

Two beloved Bridgeport celebrities are immortalized right downtown with bronze statues—P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb. Located just steps apart, these landmarks represent crucial figures who contributed to the area’s rich history and culture. Snap some fun forced perspective photos making it look like you’re interacting with the sculptures. Nearby placards also provide interesting background information about these icons.

Peruse Art at City Lights Gallery

The City Lights Gallery is a nonprofit gallery promoting both emerging and established Connecticut artists. Changing monthly exhibitions include various mediums like oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and more. Artworks are available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the gallery’s exhibits and educational programs. This is a great place to take in some culture while supporting local talent.

Relax at Walnut Beach

Idyllic Walnut Beach Park stretches along long Island Sound with beautiful views overlooking the water. Facilities include a playground, basketball court, picnic shelters, splash pad, and modern bathhouse. However the main draw is of course the relaxed beach atmosphere. Build sandcastles, go for a refreshing swim, or simply sit back and watch sailboats gently glide across the sparkling blue waves washing ashore.

Hike Lake Forest Trail

For lush nature right in the city, take Lake Forest Circle Trail encircling beautiful Lake Forest. The peaceful one-mile loop follows the waterfront and passes scenic outlooks. Lush forest filled with tall trees provides cooling shade on hot summer days.

Try spotting local wildlife like turtles, frogs, ducks, herons, woodpeckers, hawks, and more. The trail also connects to other paths for those wanting a longer trek.

Conclusion


With history, arts, culture, family entertainment, dining, beaches, and parks there are so many fantastic things to do in Bridgeport. Conveniently located between New York City and New Haven, it makes for an exciting weekend break or longer vacation. From perusing unique museums and statue landmarks to watching theater productions and relaxing scenic waterfronts, Bridgeport offers something to delight everyone.

The charming coastal New England city has shaken off its former industrial past to emerge as a trendy travel destination full of pleasant surprises waiting to be discovered by visitors.

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