Explore Fairfield County :: Bridgeport


“Explore Fairfield County” is an informational series that provides a glimpse into the wonderful towns and cities in Fairfield County. Fairfield County is diverse, including big cities, small suburbs, beaches, farms, and busy highways. It covers a large geographic area and, because of this, it has a lot to offer families! To help you get the most out of Fairfield County, our contributors have shared the top things they love about each local area. To read more in this series, click here.Bridgeport

Bridgeport is Fairfield County’s largest city, making it the largest city in the state and the fifth-largest city in New England. A shoreline city, Bridgeport is bordered by Trumbull to the north, Fairfield to the west, and Stratford to the east. Located approximately 60 miles from Manhattan, Bridgeport is considered part of the New York metropolitan area. Nicknamed “The Park City” because it has over 1,300 acres of public park space across 27 parks, Bridgeport’s parks include the well-known Pleasure Beach, Beardsley Park, and Seaside Park.

Bridgeport has a rich history with over 50 registered historic places. The showman, P.T. Barnum, was a city resident in the 19th century and even served as Bridgeport’s town mayor for a year. Barnum’s circus was housed in Bridgeport during the winter. The first Subway restaurant was opened in Bridgeport, and the city is credited to Frisbee’s birthplace.

Bridgeport’s public school system includes 30 elementary schools, three high schools, two alternative programs, and an inter-district vocational aquaculture school. Bridgeport has Connecticut’s second largest school system and is home to many magnet and private schools. The city is also home to the University of Bridgeport and Housatonic Community College. Bridgeport offers two hospitals, Bridgeport Hospital (part of Yale New Haven Health System) and St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Whether you’re looking for delicious food, support the arts, or just a new family adventure, Bridgeport has so much to offer!

1. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

The Beardsley Zoo, with its over 100-year history, is the perfect place for a few hours of entertainment without having to drive too far. They offer year-round activities for kids of all ages; the zoo is the perfect place to spend a few hours outside. They are open daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and are only closed three days out of the year {Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day}.

The zoo is the perfect size for tiny legs to wander around and discover nature. I love that they also have farm animals in the recently renovated New England Farmyard. You can see the animals, grab a bite to eat at the café, or bring your own lunch and eat at the picnic tables. You can also host birthday parties at the zoo, which is always a crowd-pleaser with the indoor carousel!

Beardsley Zoo offers many special events throughout the year. Glow Wild Lantern Festival is a recent addition through the fall months and makes for an amazing walk through the zoo. Breakfast with Frosty and Friends during the holiday season is a blast – meet Frosty and his buddies while enjoying breakfast and a few spins on the carousel. The Wild Wine, Beer and Food Safari is a parent’s night out with delicious snacks, beverages, and all the animals the zoo has.

2. Captain’s Cove Seaport

Captain’s Cove Seaport is a great place for family outings and date nights. The bustling seaport may even make you feel like you’re on vacation. Whether you want a meal out, to watch the boats with a cocktail, or to visit the boardwalk shops, the Seaport transports you away, forgetting you are in a bustling city. Opening in early May, Captain’s Cove is perfect for the warm and sun-shining days ahead.

3. Discovery Museum and Planetarium, including the Adventure Park

At one location, kids can have dynamic, hands-on STEM experiences at the Sacred Heart University Discovery Museum, see a simulation of the starry sky at the Planetarium, and climb and zip line at the Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum. With the museum, planetarium, and adventure park, there is year-round entertainment and learning for kids of all ages. They offer many special events throughout the year for all ages. The museum supports Women in STEM with new and changing exhibits and offers summer camps and family membership packages.

4. St. Mary’s by the Sea

St. Mary’s by the Sea, in the desirable Black Rock neighborhood, boasts gorgeous views of the Long Island Sound, walking paths to get out and move, and park benches to sit and enjoy the sounds of the sea. There is a 1/2-mile walking path that brings you to Black Rock Yacht Club. City of Bridgeport parking stickers are required during the summer months to park in the immediate area. Still, it is worth parking within the neighborhood, grabbing a coffee from Harborview Market, and heading out for a long walk along the sea.

5. Downtown Cabaret Children’s Theatre

Downtown Cabaret Children’s Theatre puts on phenomenal shows. They offer their guests BYOB, where you bring your own food and drinks to enjoy during the show. It’s a small room, so every seat in the house is good. The theatre puts its own twist on classic shows, and it’s guaranteed to be a fun time. At the end of each show, the cast comes out to meet everyone, take pictures, and sign autographs.

6. Total Mortgage Arena and Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater

Total Mortgage Arena and Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater offer many family-friendly events throughout the year, including concerts and sporting events. Total Mortgage Arena is home to the Bridgeport Islanders and Disney on Ice, which makes its way around throughout the year. Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater, dubbed “The Amp,” offers an intimate setting for some of the biggest names in music and premium food and beverages from popular local restaurants. Warm summer nights at The Amp are top-notch, and I look forward to dancing along with some of my favorite artists.

7. Greater Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Dress in green and get your luck o’ the Irish at the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and parade. Starting in the early 1980s, the St. Patrick’s Day parade started small but has grown in size, tradition, and pride. The day begins with a ceremonial flag raising and continues in celebration with a parade through Black Rock. Enjoy traditional Irish music, food, and Irish cheer.

8. The Klein Memorial Auditorium and The Bijou Theatre

There is always a place to go for a performance with two great local theaters. The Bijou Theatre is a beautiful 190-seat venue that offers live music, comedy, film screenings, and more. The Klein seats over 1400 and hosts many local dance companies for their years of performances. KTA, or The Klein Theatre Arts, offers tuition-free music, dance, and drama instruction to Bridgeport students in grades 7 through 12 year-round. Whether you are looking for a dance, music, or historical performance, the Klein and Bijou Theatre has something to offer.

9. Bass Pro Shops

With two floors, Bass Pro Shops has much to offer, from free holiday events and kids’ activities to great shopping, bowling, an arcade, and even a restaurant. Walking around the store is a great indoor activity for those chilly winter days. Plus, there is even a Starbucks drive-thru across the street so that you can grab a coffee first! It’s also a great spot to meet Santa. There are coloring activities, hunting games, and many animals to see.

10. Eat your way through Bridgeport

Bridgeport has a wealth of restaurants for all the foodies that range from family-friendly spots to girls’ night out or date night favorites. Be sure to try Boca Oyster Bar, Brewport Brewing Co., Harborview Market, Ralph’s ‘n’ Riches, Merritt CanteenMain Street Creamery29 Markle Ct., Blind Rhino, Micalizzi’s, Vinny’s PizzaLeisha’s Bakeria, and the list goes on.

11. Transportation Options

Getting to and from Bridgeport can be quite simple. The city is located near frequently traveled roads, including I-95, Route 1, Route 8, Route 25, and Route 15. Additionally, Bridgeport offers train stops for Amtrak and Metro-North, providing access to major cities, including New York, Stamford, New Haven, Waterbury, and Boston. Bridgeport also offers a ferry boat to Port Jefferson on Long Island.

Have you visited Bridgeport? Do you live here? What do you love about it?

Read all the posts in our Explore Fairfield County Series by clicking here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here