Mystic, Connecticut is known for a few key things to tourists – Mystic Pizza, the Mystic Aquarium, and the Mystic Seaport… but there’s so much more to the seaside town than most people realize. As a local, I’ve learned the ins and outs of this beautiful tourist trap and I’m here to help you navigate your way to find the hidden gems of the area.

For Breakfast: Lis Bake Shop


Photo by Kate Aiello

Start your day off right by heading over to Lis Bakery, the small town coffee and bakeshop with amazing homemade goodies ranging from breakfast sammys to pastries. Lis’s has some of the absolute best cupcakes around and it would be a huge mistake if you missed out on one of these treats.

At Lunchtime: The Blue Squid Bakery and Cheese Shop


Photo courtesy of @ctfoodlovers on Instagram

As you make your way to get some lunch you should definitely check out the Olde Mistick Village aka a small cluster of stores where you can buy almost anything you could ever think of. After shopping around and working up an appetite, try the Bleu Squid Bakery and Cheese Shop.

They have the most amazing grown-up grilled cheeses I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The OG Grilled Cheese is made of Havarti, Fontina, extra sharp Cheddar, and Muenster cheese, and if for some reason that doesn’t do it for you, they have tons of other options too.

Afternoon Snack: Ice Cream on the Boardwalk


Photo courtesy of @mysticdrawbridgeicecream on Instagram

After tackling the Olde Mistick Village, head over to Main St. where the other half of the heart is. Downtown Mystic is very small, but I promise that you will not be disappointed. As annoying at the draw bridge is to us locals, because it goes up every hour (and every 40 minutes past the hour during the summer), it’s part of what makes Mystic so amazing.

Definitely make sure you have some ice cream, find a spot on the boardwalk to sit, and watch the tourists jump at the sound of the warning horn as the bridge goes up. And maybe, if you are super lucky, you’ll get to see a double rainbow like we did last summer.

Happy Hour: The Treehouse at Oyster Club


Photo courtesy of @oysterclubct on Instagram

Now for the best time of day… Happy Hour. My favorite place for happy hour is an awesome outside bar called The Treehouse at Oyster Club. And yes, it is basically a tree house…but more like a tree deck. To get to the restaurant you have to walk up three flights of stairs to reach the top of a massive boulder where you’ll find the deck built around a huge tree.

They have some bomb a** cocktails and beers on tap, which happen to pair perfectly with fresh oysters on the half shell. Stay for a super casual and unique dinner experience, outside, with a great view of Mystic from the tree tops.