Visit the “Hat City” in Connecticut, a laid-back town with glorious parks, lakeside beaches, museums and lively cultural events.
With hatting, railroad and military history, live music, performing arts and lakeside parks, Danbury has a varied selection of attractions. Danbury is in the state of Connecticut and part of the New York metropolitan area. Established by English colonists in the 17th century, Danbury was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hats from the 1800s to 1950s.
A good place to start your visit is at the Main Street Historic District. Spot Georgian, Italianate and Romanesque landmarks built between the 1700s and 1900s. The Danbury Historical Society preserves several historical buildings, including the Rider House and the Little Red Schoolhouse. Learn about Danbury’s hat-making heritage at the John Dodd Hat Shop. See a collection of antique train carriages and locomotives at the Danbury Railroad Museum.
Catch a local bus to the Military Museum of Southern New England where there are over 10,000 military artifacts, including tank destroyers, weaponry and dioramas. Afterward, shop at some of the 200 retail outlets at Danbury Fair Mall, one of Connecticut’s largest shopping malls.
Throughout Danbury’s warm summer months and snowy winters, the city’s parks provide a bounty of outdoor activities. Find baseball fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts and a playground at Rogers Park. Explore 21 miles (34 kilometers) of hiking trails or go cross-country skiing at Tarrywile Park and Mansion. Spend a day swimming, kayaking or relaxing on a lake beach at Candlewood Town Park.
Danbury has a great offering of music and cultural events. Watch well-known bands and musicians at Ives Concert Park. This picturesque outdoor arena also hosts jazz, reggae and Latin music festivals. Attend film festivals, comedy performances and concerts at the historic Palace Theater. Shop at a farmers market and enjoy free summer concerts and open-air theater productions at City Center Danbury Green.
Danbury is just over a 1-hour drive from both New Haven and New York. It’s well connected by intercity trains and buses, thus an ideal destination for daytrips to the fascinating neighborhoods of the “Big Apple.” Rent a car and visit Connecticut’s excellent ski resorts such as Mohawk Mountain and Mount Southington.
This travel guide was produced with the assistance of the Western CT Convention and Visitors Bureau.