If you’re looking for two lively cities that provide plenty of options for entertainment, outdoor recreation and community involvement, look no further than Norwalk, CT and Stamford, CT. These are two of the best cities in Connecticut, and many buyers consider both of them in their home search as they offer many similarities, such as outstanding amenities, an urban lifestyle, and diverse neighborhoods.
With a population of over 130,000 and ranked as the third largest city in Connecticut, Stamford has an unapologetic urban vibe balanced by an abundance of outdoor space and room for activities. Living in Stamford, you can enjoy an energetic lifestyle without sacrificing your big-city dreams. It’s a city full of driven individuals with endless opportunities for work and play. Due to its flourishing restaurant and bar scene, Stamford attracts many young individuals especially from New York City who want to take advantage of Stamford’s lower cost of living. Just like NYC, downtown Stamford has plenty of high-rise luxury apartments, most of them stocked with first-class amenities, such as pools, barbecue pavilions, fire pits, gyms and game rooms.
As Connecticut’s sixth largest city, Norwalk combines suburban serenity with an industrial edgieness for a down-to-earth atmosphere. It is a city of many diverse neighborhoods, each benefiting from a style and vibe that meshes modern living with a historic past. Popular for young professionals and families, Norwalk offers the sought-after suburban lifestyle with easy access to a lively downtown, New York City and the Long Island Sound.
Coming from NYC, Stamford is the second town in CT, just east of Greenwich. Stamford is a great option for those who want to commute from CT to New York City, as it offers a 55 minute express train that goes directly to Grand Central, as well as two other trains with local stops.
Stamford also has excellent access to I-95, Amtrak and six different airports. Compared to other cities of similar size, it is very driver-friendly, and unlike Manhattan, you probably won’t spend hours looking for parking - there are 9,500 parking spots in 15 locations.
But just two towns over you’ll find the relaxed and friendly city of Norwalk. For those who need to commute to the city, Norwalk has four Metro-North stations: three on the main line of the New Haven route (Rowayton, South Norwalk, and East Norwalk) and a fourth on the Danbury Branch (Merritt 7).
Stamford has a Manhattan-like vibe with off-Broadway musicals, operas and ballets and plenty of options for music and entertainment. A popular summer activity is Alive@Five, a five week outdoor summer concert series featuring live music from national and regional headliners.
In Stamford you also can enjoy 19 miles of shoreline and over 40 parks and recreational centers. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the public beaches, go hiking or play a round of golf.
North Stamford residents enjoy numerous outdoor attractions right in their backyard. Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens is a 93-acre park with walking trails, gardening classes and a children’s summer camp. One of the most coveted places in North Stamford is the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, home of the former mansion of the late department store owner Henri Bendel, with its restored 18th century barn, animal farm, lake, art and science exhibits and indoor and outdoor concerts. The Nature Center's trails cover 80 acres of woods and fields.
There are plenty of outdoor and waterfront activities to choose from, as well as an impressive dining and nightlife scene. There is also a historic seaport vibe in South Norwalk (SoNo), the town’s popular restaurant and retail center. It’s also home to some of the more eclectic architecture, with 18th century brick clad buildings that line Washington Street. Norwalk also offers two sandy beaches and several ponds, a variety of golf courses, tennis courts, marinas and wonderful parks.
The popular Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk provides entertainment for all ages and Stepping Stones Museum provides hands-on activities for children aged 10 and under. For those seeking water adventure, the Sheffield Island Ferry provides tours of the 1868 lighthouse with amazing views of the coast and Long Island Sound.
All taxes are approximate
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From Norwalk to Stamford, you can’t go wrong with one of these Connecticut cities. If you’re interested in learning about what it’s like to live in two of the largest cities in Connecticut, sign up for the full recording here or browse some of the available homes below.