Connecticut is located in the New England region of the northeastern US. While it is one of the smallest states by area, it is also one of the most prosperous, with the highest per capita income and second highest level of human development in the USA. Known by the nicknames of ‘the Constitution State’ and ‘the Nutmeg State’, Connecticut has a long history and interesting culture.
Whether you’re looking for arts and music, outdoor activities, or living history, there’s plenty to see and do in Connecticut, one of the six New England states in the north east corner of the USA.
Our article tells you more about Connecticut’s culture, climate, history and other fun facts. Read on for more detail about the main cities, landmarks and events in Connecticut.
Where is Connecticut?
Connecticut sits in the south of the New England region of the USA, neighbored by the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, with a southern boundary of the Long Island Sound, an Atlantic Ocean inlet. The state’s latitude is 41.599998, and its longitude is -72.699997.
How big is Connecticut?
Connecticut’s population is around 3.6 million people, living in an area of roughly 5,543 square miles of land. The third smallest state in the USA, Connecticut could fit into the area of Texas (the second largest state) almost fifty times!
What is Connecticut’s place in US history?
The name ‘Connecticut’ is derived from the (native American) Mohegan-Pequot word “Quinnehtukqut”, roughly translating as “beside the long tidal river” in reference to the Connecticut River. Human habitation in the region dates back as far as 10,000 years with evidence of stone tools found at several local sites.
The ‘Constitution State’ nickname derives from Connecticut’s adoption of an agreement called “the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” in 1639, widely considered to be the USA’s first example of a written constitution.
Connecticut Colony was one of the original ‘Thirteen Colonies’ which rose up against British rule in the American Revolution.
The success of the revolution led to the establishment of the United States of America as an independent country. Connecticut ratified the US Constitution on January 9 1788, making it the fifth of 13 founding states to officially join the USA.
What is the weather like in Connecticut?
Connecticut is a state with four distinct seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter – and an even distribution of precipitation throughout the year. Summer temperatures reach average highs of 81-85 °F (27-29°C) with possible heatwaves of up to 100 °F (38 °C).
Winters generally see significant snowfall including occasional blizzards and ice storms, with average temperatures in January ranging from 1-3°F (-17.2 – 16.1°C).
What are the main sports in Connecticut?
Connecticut has a professional Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team, the Connecticut Sun, and some minor league baseball and other sports teams. Several professional ice hockey teams from the state play in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Connecticut is also home to ESPN, a famous American TV sports channel.
What are Connecticut’s key features?
Connecticut’s state capital is Hartford and its three largest cities are Bridgeport (pop. 144,900), Newhaven (pop. 130,418), and Stamford (pop. 129,775).
While Connecticut is relatively small, it displays a wide regional variation in landscape, including rolling mountains and valleys, coastal marshes and large-scale maritime areas.
Connecticut has an average elevation of 150 meters above sea level and its highest point lies on the slope of Mount Frissell at 725 meters above sea level (the peak of this mountain is in Massachusetts).
The Connecticut River is the longest river in the state, with other major rivers including the Housatonic River, and the Thames River. Almost all Connecticut rivers end by flowing into the Long Island Sound on the state’s southern border.
Connecticut has +3,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs offering a range of water sports and activities. Bantam Lake is the largest natural lake in the state and Candlewood Lake reservoir the largest lake overall.
Connecticut’s range of state and local parks make it an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts to visit. Hiking, swimming, fishing and camping are all well-catered for. You will also find opportunities for horse-riding, mountain-biking and cross-country skiing (in season).
Connecticut has a large number of buildings of historical and/or cultural interest. These include Connecticut’s Old Statehouse in Hartford, the houses of famous American writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain, and Yale University‘s notable buildings.
The Scoville Memorial Library is the oldest public library in the USA, founded in 1771 with a collection of 200 books.
What cultural events and sites can I enjoy in Connecticut?
Connecticut has a particularly rich offering of music, history and art right across the state, with a selection of world-class museums, galleries, theaters and other venues. Examples include:
Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz
The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is the largest festival in New England, drawing +20,000 attendees each year for a 3-day international, regional and local jazz extravaganza. The next festival will be held 15-17 July 2022.
The Mystic Seaport Museum is the USA’s largest maritime museum, consisting of 60+ restored historic buildings on a 19-acre site, and drawing around 250,000 visitors each year.
Along with a notable collection of sailing vessels, the museum is home to the recreation of an entire 19th-century seafaring village. Four Mystic Seaport vessels are registered as US National Historic Landmarks.
The Mystic Seaport Museum hosts ongoing maritime research activities and offers outreach to local children including sailing and history classes.
While in Mystic, you might also visit the Mystic Aquarium, take a fishing trip, or spend some time hiking, swimming or just enjoying the nature reserve on Mason’s Island.
Regular art events are held in many Connecticut cities, a large number of which have their own permanent art galleries and museums.
Notable collections and exhibitions are held in locations including Yale University facilities in New Haven, The Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences in Greenwich, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.