Most Exciting in Connecticut? New Haven, New London, Hartford Lead the Way

Wondering where the most exciting places are in Connecticut? If New Haven is the first place that comes to mind, you’re right. New Haven was named the “Most Exciting Place in Connecticut,” followed by New London, Hartford, Stamford, and Manchester in an analysis by the real estate website Movoto. Described as “the most thrilling, the most rousing, and the most downright exciting,” the top 10 list for Connecticut includes five Fairfield County municipalities and many of the state's largest cities: TOP10

1. City of New Haven 2. City of New London 3. City of Hartford 4. City of Stamford (tie) 4. Town of Manchester (tie) 6. City of Bridgeport 7. City of Norwalk 8. Town of West Hartford 9. Town of Greenwich 10. Town of Westport

The website’s analysis pointed out that “New Haven had a ton of nightlife and music venues per capita” and was “much more densely populated than most other places in the state.” New London scored points in the website’s analysis for its “high percentage of young folks (just like New Haven, 36 percent between 18 and 34), and for its high number of nightlife options, music venues, and arts per capita.” New London ranked No. 1 in both nightlife and music venues, and No. 2 for its arts.

The highlights for Hartford noted that the Capitol City is “the second-most densely populated place in Connecticut; a good portion of that population is between the ages of 18 and 34- 31 percent, to be exact. With bars like Pourhouse and the Russian Lady, music venues like Webster Theatre, and so many museums, galleries, and festivals we can’t even name them all, Hartford is certainly way more exciting than just insurance.”

In order to come up with the list of 10, the website started out with a list of all the places in Connecticut with populations of 10,000 or more, according to the U.S. Census (2010), which provided 38 towns and cities. Then, they used the Census and business listings to assess:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
  • Population density (the higher the better)

The municipalities were then ranked with scores from one to 38, where the lower the score, the more exciting the place.

Two Greater Hartford communities, in addition to the city, made the list – Manchester and West Hartford.

“Manchester also scored highly for its number of arts and entertainment options per capita, like the unique MCC on Main,” a program of Manchester Community College located on Main Street in the heart of the town. West Hartford, the website reported, “seemed to find its excitement, not in the nightlife … but in lots of healthy options,” including sports stores, gyms, galleries, theaters and “tons of restaurants.” Westport “really shined” in the number of yoga studios, sports stores, running clubs, parks, and places to get fit.”

Falling just outside the top 10 were West Haven, Stratford, Torrington, Middletown, Groton, New Britain, Storrs, Danbury, Derby and Wethersfield.