Welcome to Darien, CT. Please click the tabs above to navigate your way through this guide, and feel free to utilize the Ask & Answer Forum to post additional questions or ask locals for advice.
Insider Tip: If you decide to wash your own clothes at Butler’s Laundromat, you can occupy your time between loads by strolling through the shops next door at the Goodwives Shopping Center where, in addition to finding a grocery store and a few specialty food shops, you’ll find a variety of restaurants, a liquor store, toy store, children’s clothing store, a couple of fun boutiques, and more.
Food & Drink
* Family-Friendly Picks: Breakfast & Lunch Only: Coffee & Donuts, Panera Bread, The Sugar Bowl; Lunch & Dinner: Post Corner Pizza, Ole Mole, Darien Diner, Bertucci’s, Friendly’s, Duchess Family Restaurant; Dinner Only: Chuck’s Steakhouse,
Insider Tip: If you’re the pack-a-cooler-and-spend-the-day-on-the-water type, the Noroton Heights Shopping area / Heights Road is convenient to the Beaches & Yacht Club and boasts the delicious and ever-popular Vavala’s Deli with Leary’s Liquor Cabinet just three doors down; an alternate and equally popular deli/liquor store combo convenient to Beaches & Noroton Yacht Club is Mama Carmela’s Deli and Frate’s Liquor on the Post Road.
Darien has many nooks and crannies you can explore, from parks and playgrounds to Pear Tree Point (where you’ll likely be parking to access the Noroton Yacht Club Launches) and Weed beaches. For even more information about outdoor recreation in Darien, visit the town’s Parks & Rec website.
The Darien Library
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Darien Library soon becomes a tourist attraction all its own: it is absolutely the most amazing place you’ve ever seen. Already rated the third best library in the country, the Library recently re-opened in a brand new, eco-friendly, state-of-the-art building that is extremely un-library-ish. So why might you want to visit, if not just to gawk?
Well, their Children’s Section is absolutely wonderful: casual, kid-and-noise-friendly, and just the right mix of social and educational for the little ones ages toddler thru fifth grade.
There is also free WiFi and a lovely cafe, so if you wanted to grab a few hours of quiet with your laptop and a coffee and muffin, you can do so here quite comfortably — oh yes, and you don’t have to buy the coffee OR the muffin in order to sit quietly at a table or in a comfy easy chair in front of the fireplace to work!
Find out more, including what events and special classes or movies are being shown while you’re here by checking out the website.
Other Places To Visit/See & Things To Do in Darien
Darien Nature Center ~ Fun to go see nature’s critters and animals and their special exhibits up close and personal!
Insider Note: This is actually located in the same park as “The Motherlode of All Playgrounds, Cherry Lawn,” so it’s a great destination for a full couple of hours of activity on a clear day; the Nature Center is indoors, so of course if it’s rainy you can just go there.
Bates-Scofield Museum/ Darien Historical Society ~ Feeling historically curious? This is a fun and educational stop-off that provides both a house tour as well as herb and flower gardens and a Library of historical documents to offer you a true taste of 19th century New England.
Insider note: this is within walking distance of Butler’s Laundromat, at the opposite end of the Goodwives Shopping Plaza.
Hands-On Pottery ~ Enjoy all the perks of customized clay, painting and creation with none of the mess! A great way to keep the kids (and yourself) occupied during a long day on the water for the rest of the family!
Beadz Boutique ~ Another crafty way to spend a morning or afternoon is beading at this funky little jewelry store where the owners are also experts and will teach you everything you need to know to create a beaded work of art! Great for ages 4 and up.
Darien Toy Box ~ It’s more than a toy store, it’s an experience. That’s not to say it’s a 3-ring circus: what it offers is an area for kids to play and experiment with toys while you browse, and an extremely knowledgeable shop-owner (Bill) who is as passionate about children as he is about toys. If he’s not sitting down reading to the kids, you might even ask him about the origin of the name of our town – he recently researched it and led me to my ephiphany about pronunciation!
Shopping in Darien ~ Enjoy the many shopping areas and diversity of stores and businesses in and around Darien, from the Downtown Post Road section to the Goodwives Shopping Plaza and Noroton Heights Shopping Center, and you’ll quickly come to understand why Darien is considered a retail Destination of Distinction!
Just Beyond Our Borders
While there’s much to do and see and enjoy right in town, there are of course many additional places to see and things to do in neighboring towns. We hope you’ll explore and enjoy all that Darien has to offer, and to assist you in discovering additional family-friendly restaurants and activities in the greater Fairfield County area I’d like to direct you to trusted resource Fairfield County Child.
You’ll probably enjoy all of Meg’s insights and commentary about fresh and healthy activities and discoveries for families in Fairfield County, based on her own experiences as a mother, but of specific interest might be the Activities and Restaurants categories on her site.