Things to Do in New Canaan

Things to Do in New Canaan

  • Cindy Raney & Team
  • 07/10/24

New Canaan, Connecticut, is a northeastern gem nestled amidst a picturesque New England landscape. While New Canaan remains a popular sanctuary away from the big city bustle, the town of just over 20,000 residents is anything but sleepy.

This gorgeous place is the perfect blend of historic charm, natural beauty, and contemporary allure. New Canaan boasts a unique combination of attractions and activities — historical and modern, indoors and out. With so much to see and explore, we’ve listed some of the best things to do in New Canaan.

1. Have a Picnic at Waveny Park

New Canaan's beloved Waveny Park spans 250 acres of lush greenery. The always stunning grounds feature sweeping lawns and meadows, tree-lined walking trails, athletic fields (including a full-sized baseball field, four softball fields, four paddle courts, pool facilities, multiple soccer fields, and a disc golf course), and Spencer's Run Dog Park.

Waveny Park is also home to the Waveny House, a 111-year-old Tudor mansion built by Lewis Lapham, founder of Texaco. In addition, the grounds play host to the Carriage Barn Arts Center, a gallery and exhibition space and base for the New Canaan Society for the Arts. The Powerhouse Performing Arts Center is also on-site and serves as the main stage for the Town Players of New Canaan, a community theater group.

2. Stroll Downtown

One of the best parts of New Canaan is its walkable downtown area. Here, a blend of top-tier dining spots, unique shops, upscale stores, and trendy fashion boutiques creates an energetic atmosphere.

Browse a diverse range of retail options that cater to every taste. For those in need of relaxation, the downtown area offers a selection of amenities, from indulgent spas to high end salons.

As the seasons change, so too does the downtown scene, becoming a focal point for community gatherings. From springtime sidewalk sales to summer village fairs and festive holiday celebrations, residents come together to enjoy a host of events and activities throughout the year.

3. Grab a bite

New Canaan is home to a diverse collection of excellent restaurants, almost all concentrated in and around the Town Center. Here are some of our favorites:

Press Burger

Press Burger is renowned for its commitment to quality, offering a menu filled with freshly prepared, gourmet-style burgers. The restaurant emphasizes high-quality ingredients and unique burger combinations, making it a go-to spot for burger enthusiasts in the area.

Chef Luis

Chef Luis delivers a culinary experience focused on Latin American flavors with a contemporary twist. The restaurant is celebrated for its vibrant dishes, fresh ingredients, and the innovative approach of Chef Luis himself, providing a diverse and satisfying dining experience.

Tequila Mockingbird

Nestled in the vibrant core of downtown New Canaan, Tequila Mockingbird offers a delightful blend of vibrant flavors and authentic Mexican dishes within a lively and diverse setting.


Spiga offers a wide variety of Italian-inspired dishes, including handmade pastas, brick oven pizzas, free-range poultry, sustainable seafood, and organic salads. Their extensive wine by the glass menu and selection of craft cocktails serve as the perfect complement to any dish.


Solé blends Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, offering a contemporary and varied menu. From classic favorites like pizza and handmade pasta to inventive dishes such as parmesan-crusted halibut and yellowfin tuna crudo, there is something for everyone.


A spot with universal appeal, Locali finds a unique expression by infusing classic pizza pies with premium ingredients and innovative techniques. Whether you opt for a cozy table in the dining area, a seat at the bar, or a spot on the outdoor patio, you'll love the relaxed atmosphere, exceptional service, and consistently good food.

White Buffalo

White Buffalo is beloved for its welcoming sports bar vibe, complete with an array of big-screen TVs showing various sporting events. Patrons appreciate its friendly atmosphere, extensive drink selections, and a menu that includes bar favorites like wings and burgers.

4. Visit the Nature Center

A 40-acre outdoor classroom, New Canaan Nature Center is a unique non-profit dedicated to environmental education for visitors of all ages. You can dive deep into nature by exploring themed gardens, walking along scenic trails, or reveling in the beauty of the various habitats. The center hosts multiple workshops and events throughout the year, bringing the community closer to nature and fostering an appreciation for the environment.

5. Tour the Glass House

During the 1940s, New Canaan stood at the pinnacle of modern residential design thanks to five influential Harvard-based architects, who crafted roughly 100 mid-century modern homes over about ten years. A marvel of architecture of any form, The Glass House is an emblem of New Canaan's progressive spirit. Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, this transparent structure stands amidst a captivating landscape, offering a harmonious blend of design and nature. Tours of the house provide insights into its history and the strategy and vision behind its creation. It's not just a house; it's an experience, a dive into architectural brilliance and aesthetic elegance.

6. Shop the Farmers Market

For those who appreciate the allure of fresh produce and handcrafted goods, the New Canaan Farmers Market is a Saturday staple during spring, summer, and fall. Over 50 vendors from around the region gather weekly in the Lumber Yard Lot near the train station to showcase the best fruits, vegetables, artisanal creations, and more. It's a spirited, community-bonding experience that every visitor to New Canaan should indulge in.

7. Explore Grace Farms

One of the region's most unique experiences, Grace Farms brings together nature, arts, justice, and community in a space meant to connect people with nature. This sprawling 80-acre landscape features ten diverse habitats, including wetlands, a forest, and over 100 species of birds. At the heart of Grace Farms is the stunning River Building, an award-winning architectural work of art that blends seamlessly into the landscape and hosts a multitude of experiences and programs throughout the year. It’s a can’t-miss for residents and visitors alike.

Ready to learn more about New Canaan?

If you're ready to discover even more things to do in New Canaan, or the time is right to make New Canaan your home, contact Cindy Raney & Team today. Cindy and her team bring local expertise and excellent service to each client’s home search. Reach out to Cindy anytime to discuss your goals in the New Canaan real estate market.

*Header photo courtesy of Explore New Canaan

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