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North America > United States of America > New England > Connecticut > Connecticut River Valley > Middletown (Connecticut)

Middletown

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Middletown in a small city in Connecticut located on the Connecticut River, about 20 miles south of Hartford.

Understand[edit]

Large portions of downtown Middletown date from the 19th Century.
As the Wesleyan University campus has grown, it has incorporated several dozen 19th century houses, such as the Samuel Wadsworth Russell House.

Middletown lies on the Connecticut River about 15 miles south of Hartford. The town has a long history. At the time of the American Revolution, John Adams counted it as the most beautiful city in New England, but today almost nothing survives from that era. Present-day Middletown is a moderately-sized college and business town, with a few interesting remnants of 19th-century churches, graveyards, and mills. It is considered to be the southernmost city in the Knowledge Corridor region, which features an inordinate number of prestigious universities and 120,000 university students. Middletown features a large variety of restaurants (3 Mexican places, 3 Indian places, 2 Thai places, a Tibetan place and uncountable Italian places.)

There is one major college - Wesleyan University - located up the hill from downtown but aside from the restaurants and bars on Main Street, there aren't many things for college students to do right in Middletown. Where are the bookstores? The import clothing stores? Well, there may be one or two but they're hiding. To find the heart of Middletown you've got to do a little snooping around.

There are excellent resources here for those with an artistic bent. A few years ago Middletown was rated one of the 100 best art towns in America. The Buttonwood Tree is an intimate performance art space on the North End of Main St. Oddfellows Playhouse provides a start in the world of theater for kids of all ages. Then there's Kid City - sort of an exploratorium - a great place to take your kids on a rainy afternoon. For adults, the cultural offerings on the Wesleyan University campus (films, theater, a variety of music performances, and a gallery hosting art exhibits) are nearly all open to the public, and will probably trump these.

Middletown is also the home to Connecticut Valley Hospital, the major psychiatric facility for southern New England. So if you see a few questionable people on the streets, relax, they're outpatients and they're probably properly medicated.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

From Hartford - 91 S to 9 S first or second light on the highway take a right.

From the Shoreline - Take 9 N - left at the lights.

From the west (or New Haven) - Take Rt 66 E

From the east - get thee to Portland and go over the Portland Bridge

By bus[edit]

The "M Link" Middletown/Meriden Connection Service provides service between Meriden and Middletown. Meriden has an Amtrak stop.

Dattco offers service between New Haven and Hartford stopping in Middletown.

Get around[edit]

By bus (via Middletown Area Transit), by car or possibly on foot. Main Street is lined with parking spaces and meters, a free two-hour parking lot on Washington Street behind Main Street Market and there is a medium-sized parking lot at Destinta Theatres. Traffic does get busy during the work day and around dinner time.

See[edit]

Indian Hill Cemetery

Do[edit]

  • Destinta Theatres, 49 College St, +1 860 344-0077. Adult - $9.75, Child/Senior - $7.00, Bargain Matinee - $7.00 (All shows before 6PM), Student - $8.25 (with valid id), Tuesday Bargain Night $7.00 (some restrictions may apply).
  • [dead link] A New World Laser Tag, 423 Main St, +1 860 343-3899. Open Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-9PM, M available for private parties only. $8.50 per person for one game. $7 per hour per person or $17 for three hours per person for Underworld Gaming and 20% off of five hours. A business party of up to 50 guests is $400 for two hours. A birthday private party of up to 50 guests is $700 for two hours. Call to get prices for parties of more than 50 guests. Laser Tag is a fun game for teenagers and other ages to play, relatively harmless.
  • The entrance to Wadsworth Falls State Park is in Middletown, though most of the park, including the falls themselves, is in Middlefield.
  • 1 Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center. - located in Middletown

Buy[edit]

  • Wesleyan Potters Shop, 350 South Main Street, +1 860 347-5925. Office hours: M—Fr 9AM-3PM; Regular Gallery/Shop Hours: W-F: 10AM-6PM, Sa: 10AM-4PM, Su: 12AM-4PM, M-Tu by appointment only.

Eat[edit]

The Tuscany Grill sits just off of Main Street, in a former movie theater.
  • Amici Italian Grill Restaurant, 280 Main St, +1 860 346-0075. Open M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. Casual chic, classic Italian food, romantic or business atmosphere. Accepts reservations for any size party. $10-20.
  • Brew Bakers, 169 Main St, +1 860 852-0034. Counter-service offering breakfast, lunch and baked goods. Owned and operated by an award-winning Austrian chef.
  • Coyote Blue Tex Mex Cafe, 1960 Saybrook Rd, +1 860 345-2403. Casual Mexican fare, great Margaritas served in 16oz mugs. No reservations.
  • Klekolo World Coffee, 181 Court St (across from the police station), +1 860 343-9444. Open 1AM, 7-days. Very cool independent coffee shop / espresso bar. Lots of odd college kids mixed with locals provides an interesting atmosphere. International coffees and based drinks. Teas - black, green or herbal.
  • La Boca Mexican Restaurant, 337 Main St, +1 860 347-4777. Su–Th 11:30AM–9PM, F Sa 11:30AM–10PM (restaurant); Su–Th 11:30AM–1AM, F Sa 11:30AM–2AM (cantina). Casual restaurant and bar serving Mexican foods and drinks in the Cantina. Happy hour: M–Fr 3PM-6PM. $10-18.
  • Tuscany Grill Restaurant, 120 College St, +1 860 346-7096. Open M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, and Su 4PM-10PM The lounge is open Su-Th until 1AM and F-Sa until 2AM for drinks. Call for all reservations, any group and private parties of 10-100 guests. Tuscany offers fine dining and a chic atmosphere, serving Italian foods.
  • Typhoon Restaurant, 360 Main St, +1 860 344-9667. Open M-Sa, 11AM-3PM lunch and 5PM-10PM dinner, closed Su. Thai and assorted Asian foods. BYOB. $9-$15.

Drink[edit]

  • Eli Cannon's Taproom, 695 Main Street, +1 860 347-3547. Many beers on tap, good pub food, great atmosphere.
  • Harbor Park, 80 Harbor Drive, +1 860 347-9999. The place to be on a Summer night - on the deck at Harbor Park Restaurant, grooving to live music and watching the river traffic.

Sleep[edit]

The Inn at Middletown
  • Inn at Middletown, 70 Main Street. After a long absence, Middletown again has a major hotel to call its own, a 100-room inn converted from the historic National Guard Armory. Visitors no longer need to stay in Cromwell when they come in for Wesleyan Parent's Weekend.
  • Wesley Inn & Suites, 988 Washington St, +1 860 346-9251.

Stay safe[edit]

Middletown is generally not a dangerous city, but the North end of the city can be a bit dangerous, especially at night. Also, Middletown is home to Connecticut Valley Hospital, which is the largest mental hospital in New England. Some of the patients are allowed to roam the city, but most of them are generally harmless and there have been few attacks by patients in recent years. Although the Police Department is stationed on Main Street near and around popular restaurants, it is advised to walk with others at night and be aware of local gang members and area sexual offenders.

Go next[edit]

The nearest large city is Hartford.

There are various towns surrounding Middletown, each providing a slightly different experience. Across the river is Portland. Which has many small delis and bakeries with a notable Italian influence. The next town over to the east is East Hampton. A formerly rural but increasingly suburban town offering Lake Pocatapaug as peaceful oasis during a hot summers day. Also bordering Middletown is Cromwell. More densely populated than Portland and East Hampton, Cromwell has more to offer in the way of restaurants, activities, and shopping etc... Explore the neighboring towns and you might find something that interests you!

Routes through Middletown
HartfordCromwell  N I-91.svg S  MeridenNew Haven


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