Free Things to Do in Norwalk CT With and Without Kids

Judy Antell Avatar
Kayaking in Norwalk Harbor
Kayaking in Norwalk Harbor. Photo credit: Norwalk Sailing School

Connecticut may have expensive real estate but that doesn’t mean pricey activities. You can find things to do that are free in Connecticut throughout the state. Norwalk, in south Connecticut, offers a wealth of things to do, even if you aren’t wealthy.

Devon’s Place

This handicapped-accessible playground Devon’s Place is a boundless playground. Kids of all abilities can play here. The nautical theme includes a lighthouse and boat, and a splash pad lets children cool off.

SheBuysTravel Tip: the playground is near paid attractions including the Maritime Museum and Stepping Stones Children’s Museum.

Stew Leonards

Stew Leonards, the supermarket/entertainment center, started its regional chain in Norwalk. It is truly an experience, with tons of fun for free. Holiday events include a tree lighting, Menorah lighting and visits from Santa Claus. There is a seasonal Little Farms free petting zoo. And there are always plenty of free samples.

free in Connecticut
Free in Norwalk: Calf Pasture Beach at night. Photo credit: Ripka’s Beach Café

Norwalk Green

The Norwalk Green, a historic park, has been a public gathering place since the 1600s. It has free community events like an annual gratitude day in November, with free food and live entertainment. There is also a Summer Concert Series, a Juneteenth celebration, and the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting, held in December.

Calf Pasture Beach

Calf Pasture Beach has free outdoor concerts in summer. There is also a skate park, a playground, and splash pad, in addition to the beach. Note that non-residents do have to pay for parking

Silvermine Heritage Area

The Silvermine Heritage Area, on the National Register of Historic Places, includes parts of Norwalk, New Canaan and Wilton. Hiking trails abound, particularly through the Silvermine-Fowler Preserve.

Silvermine Arts Center

The Silvermine Arts Center includes gallery works from local artists and students at the school. There is an outdoor sculpture trail. The arts center is just over the border in New Canaan.

Veterans Memorial Park

Veterans Memorial Park hosts an annual free Easter Egg Hunt. There are over 10,000 eggs hidden, plus crafts, face painting, and games.

The Norwalk Police Emerald Society holds its Saint Patrick’s Day Parade here, with bands and plenty of marchers.

Summer Music Festival

Bayley Beach and Pinkney Park have a summer music festival June – September. What’s nice for families is that the live music starts around 5:30pm and goes until 8pm, so the kids can get to bed on time.

Hit up SoNo: Free in Norwalk

free in Connecticut
SoNo Switch Tower Museum is always free in Connecticut. Photo credit: Judy Antell

South Norwalk, also known as SoNo, has its own free things to do.

SoNo Switch Tower Museum

The SONO Switch Tower Museum, operated by the Western Connecticut Chapter, of the National Railway Historical Society is great for rail enthusiasts. The museum is in a fully restored 1896 Switch Tower, used by the New Haven Railroad. You can pull the levers and ring a train bell. The museum, open May through October, also has great views of downtown Norwalk.

SONO Arts Festival

In August, the annual two-day SONO Arts Festival comes to Norwalk, with live music, free Norwalk museum admission, puppets, and a children’s craft table staffed by artists. The festival is in the center of town and highlights local artists and businesses.

The streets are closed to vehicles so strolling is encouraged. In addition to the main stage, there are live art demonstrations. On the second day, the Arts Festival has an annual Giant Puppet Parade at 2 pm.

SoNo Farmers Market

The SoNo Farmers Market is held every other Sunday, from 10 am to 3 pm at Ryan Park, July to November. Find local, seasonal produce, baked goods, gifts and crafts. The market is dog friendly.

SoNo Collection

The SoNo Collection mall has free activities like weekly Zumba, outside in the plaza in nice weather, and story time with arts and crafts for toddlers. There are great free holiday events in December, including a non-denominational celebration with music and stilt walkers; a Chanukah Wonderland with music and menorah lighting; selfies with Santa; and a holiday concert with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra.

Partly Free in Connecticut

The Norwalk Historical Society Museum charges admission $5 for adults and $3 for kids. But visiting the Mill Hill Historic Park is free. The park, maintained by the Historical Society, includes buildings from the 1700s and 1800s, along with a cemetery and colonial herb garden.

Judy Antell is an empty-nester mother of 3 who spends a lot of time visiting her daughters. Why don’t they live in Brooklyn? Judy and her husband love to travel, by bike, car, or plane, whether to see their kids or have friend or couple adventures, mostly centered around vegetarian food.
Read full bio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *