Middletown (Connecticut)

Middletown in a small city in Connecticut located on the Connecticut River, about 20 miles south of Hartford.


Large portions of downtown Middletown date from the 19th Century.
As the Wesleyan University campus has grown, it has incorporated several dozen 19th century houses, such as the Samuel Wadsworth Russell House.

Middletown lies on the Connecticut River about 15 miles south of Hartford. The town has a long history. At the time of the American Revolution, John Adams counted it as the most beautiful city in New England, but today almost nothing survives from that era. Present-day Middletown is a moderately-sized college and business town, with a few interesting remnants of 19th-century churches, graveyards, and mills. It is considered to be the southernmost city in the Knowledge Corridor region, featuring an inordinate number of prestigious universities and 120,000 university students. Middletown features a large variety of restaurants (3 Mexican places, 3 Indian places, 2 Thai places, a Tibetan place and uncountable Italian places.)

There is one major college - Wesleyan University - located up the hill from downtown but aside from the restaurants and bars on Main Street, there aren't many things for college students to do right in Middletown. Where are the bookstores? The import clothing stores? Well, there may be one or two but they're hiding. To find the heart of Middletown you've got to do a little snooping around.

There are excellent resources here for those with an artistic bent. A few years ago Middletown was rated one of the 100 best art towns in America. The Buttonwood Tree is an intimate performance art space on the North End of Main St. Oddfellows Playhouse provides a start in the world of theater for kids of all ages. Then there's Kid City - sort of an exploratorium - a great place to take your kids on a rainy afternoon. For adults, the cultural offerings on the Wesleyan University campus (films, theater, a variety of music performances, and a gallery hosting art exhibits) are nearly all open to the public, and will probably trump these.

Middletown is also the home to Connecticut Valley Hospital, the major psychiatric facility for southern New England. So if you see a few questionable people on the streets, relax, they're outpatients and they're probably properly medicated.

Get in

By car

From Hartford - 91 S to 9 S first or second light on the highway take a right.

From the Shoreline - Take 9 N - left at the lights.

From the west (or New Haven) - Take Rt 66 E

From the east - get thee to Portland and go over the Portland Bridge

By bus

The "M Link" Middletown/Meriden Connection Service provides service between Meriden and Middletown. Meriden has an Amtrak stop.

Dattco offers service between New Haven and Hartford stopping in Middletown.

Get around

By bus (via Middletown Area Transit), by car or possibly on foot. Main Street is lined with parking spaces and meters, a free two-hour parking lot on Washington Street behind Main Street Market and there is a medium-sized parking lot at Destinta Theatres. Traffic does get busy during the work day and around dinner time.


Indian Hill Cemetery




The Tuscany Grill sits just off of Main Street, in a former movie theater.



The Inn at Middletown

Stay safe

Middletown is generally not a dangerous city, but the North end of the city can be a bit dangerous, especially at night. Also, Middletown is home to Connecticut Valley Hospital, which is the largest mental hospital in New England. Some of the patients are allowed to roam the city, but most of them are generally harmless and there have been few attacks by patients in recent years. Although the Police Department is stationed on Main Street near and around popular restaurants, it is advised to walk with others at night and be aware of local gang members and area sexual offenders.

Go next

The nearest large city is Hartford.

There are various towns surrounding Middletown, each providing a slightly different experience. Across the river is Portland. Which has many small delis and bakeries with a notable Italian influence. The next town over to the east is East Hampton. A formerly rural but increasingly suburban town offering Lake Pocatapaug as peaceful oasis during a hot summers day. Also bordering Middletown is Cromwell. More densely populated than Portland and East Hampton, Cromwell has more to offer in the way of restaurants, activities, and shopping etc... Explore the neighboring towns and you might find something that interests you!

Routes through Middletown

Hartford Cromwell  N  S  Meriden New Haven

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 27, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.