Waterbury in Connecticut is a city with a population of a little over 100,000 inhabitants that sits in leafy New England, and although its name may make you think that this city is closely associated with water, it is actually most well known for something else entirely.
Also referred to as the ‘Brass City’, Waterbury is known for is brass production and, as a natural result of this, as a large producer of clocks, watches, and other time pieces. To that end, there is even a time related museum here where you can learn all about this industry in Waterbury.
As well as the Timexpo Museum, there are a wealth of other historical features in Waterbury including lovingly preserved historical buildings and even parts of the original town center and town green, which all work towards giving you an idea of how this quaint New England town would have started life before transforming into the vibrant city it is today.
Lets explore the best things to do in Waterbury:
1. The Palace Theater
The Palace Theater in Waterbury was known between the First and Second World Wars as being the place to come for a night out. After a period of relative obscurity, the theater recently underwent a restoration project, and is now registered on the National Register of Historic Places in Waterbury. The theater has a range of different shows on offer including Broadway musicals, country music showcases, standup comedy night, and even children’s play which are sure to be a hit with younger visitors. The theater is also now a partner of the local Waterbury Arts Magnet School, so some of the brightest and best local talent also performs here as well as other local arts groups.
2. Library Park
If you want to check out some green space in Waterbury then Library Park is the place to do it. One of the city’s favorite parks, Library Park has a band shell that regularly hosts special events, so check the local listings while you are in town to see what’s on. The park is also lined with grassy knolls that are perfect for picnicking or relaxing in the sun, and there are also gazebos if you prefer to cool off in the shade. If you are in the mood for a walk, there are trails that run around the outer perimeter of the park.
4. Seven Angels Theatre
Seven Angels Theatre is known in Waterbury for being the only professional theater in the region, and it currently showcases an amazing 200 performances every year. The theater has been going for 16 seasons and has put on a range of theatrical pieces to suit all tastes, from Shakespearian theater to dramas and musicals. Certainly if you are looking to check out the arts in Waterbury then this is the place to come. Check out the local listings to find out what’s on when you are in town.
5. Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center
For those looking for a window into the history of the region, look no further than the Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center which will fill you in on everything you need to know. The museum is dedicated to both ancient and modern history of the Waterbury area and there are eclectic exhibits throughout the year to reflect this. These include exhibitions around themes such as artwork in the Connecticut area, as well as historical showcases of iconic American brands that originated in the region like Sunbeam Bread which was made at the Reymond Baking Co in Waterbury. There are also interactive exhibits here that discuss the future of Waterbury as well as modern elements that have made the city great.
6. Lakewood Lanes
For some relaxing fun in Waterbury locals flock to the Lakewood Lanes where you will find 42 different bowling lanes that are perfect for league games or tournaments. As well as the actual bowling alley itself, you will also find an arcade here with old fashioned gaming options as well as a snack bar with some traditional all-American treats.
7. Harrub Pilgrim Memorial
The Harrub Pilgrim Memorial is well known in Waterbury as a reminder to honor the pilgrims who would have helped to found this city. The memorial is 60 feet long and is made from French granite, and is known for its intricate carving and the stone work of the New York based engineer Hermon Atkins MacNeil. The memorial was dedicated in the 1930s and now sits at the corner of the Chase Parkway.
8. Hop Brook Lake
Hop Brook Lake stretches over three communities in the Connecticut area including Naugatuck, Middlebury, as well as Waterbury. The lake was actually created from a dam that was built across Hop Brook and it is now home to a 21 acre recreation pool for the public to enjoy. The lake is known for being full of local aquatic life such as largemouth bass and panfish and there are also trout stocked in the lake every year, so if you like fishing then this is the place to do it. The area around the reservoir has also been developed in recent years and you will find lush picnic areas as well as walking trails that skirt the edge of the lake. There is also a sandy man-made beach as well as a ball field.
9. Waterbury Symphony Orchestra
The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra was started in 1938, meaning that it has had a long and illustrious history in the Waterbury area. The orchestra is dedicated to promoting the enjoyment and appreciation of classical music to the local community, and to that end there are a range of concerts regularly held here that feature over 100 musicians from the Connecticut area.
10. Waterbury Green
Waterbury Green spans 2 acres of parkland and is known for being the symbolic center point of the city. The park now stands on what would have been the original town common in the days of old and is an important place in the city as many great rallies, speeches, and public events have taken place here over the years.
11. Waterbury Skating Center
Waterbury Skating Center is the place to come if you want to try out some old-fashioned roller skating fun of the kind that is hard to find nowadays. The Waterbury Skating Center has a maple skating surface that means that skating here is a breeze, even if you are not an experienced skater. You can rent a pair of skates here and cruise around the rink, and there is also an arcade that has a wealth of games for either before or after you take to the floor, and there is also snack bar if you get hungry.
12. Bank Street Historic District
If you want to go on a walking tour of some of the most historic buildings in Waterbury then head for the Bank Street Historic District where you will find four attached brick buildings that date from the end of the 19th century and are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings are built in the Queen Anne and Romanesque styles and have been beautifully restored to give you a glimpse of how much of Waterbury would have looked in the days of old.
13. Union Station
Located on Meadow Street, Union Station is one of the most iconic areas of Waterbury and is also a nod to the city’s love of watches and clocks. The clock tower on the station was built in 1909 and is 240 feet high and has over 300 steps to get to the top. The tower is also decorated with gargoyles in the shape of she-wolves, and the whole station and tower are said to have been based on a design of the Torre del Mangia in Siena in Italy.
14. Municipal Stadium
Originally built in 1930, Waterbury Stadium, or Municipal Stadium as it is officially known, started out as a dog track before becoming the home of minor league baseball teams in the area. For this reason the layout of the stadium is different than that of a conventional baseball stadium and if you come here you can see how the permanent stands are located behind the first base line. The stadium still hosts games to this day and has a capacity of over 6,000 spectators. If you are in town check to see what’s on, but both baseball games and soccer games are held here usually with local teams.
15. The Christopher Columbus Statue
The Christopher Columbus Statue is located in front of City Hall in Waterbury and was created by the sculptor Frank Gaylord. The statue is a famous landmark in Waterbury and stands at 12 feet and weighs in at over 5,000 kilograms. The statue is made of granite and was dedicated in the city in 1984 and there is also a Christopher Columbus Time Capsule buried behind the statue that will be opened in 2092.