New Year’s Day is not just for nursing a hangover or plopping down on the couch to watch football and parades. It can also be a good day to get out of the house and, weather permitting, enjoy the great outdoors. Winter can be harsh in Connecticut, of course, but there are other alternatives to braving the snow and ice, like renting some skates and hitting an indoor rink, or going out to a nearby family-friendly sports bar — where friends and fans can help turn a bowl game into a party. Here are just five of the top ways to spend New Year’s Day in Connecticut.

Take A Walk (And Ice Skate And Ride The Carousel) In The Park – Bushnell Park, That Is
Bushnell Park
Bounded by Trinity, Jewell and Elm Streets
Hartford, CT 06123
(860) 232-6710
www.bushnellpark.org

Weather permitting, New Year’s Day is a great day to break the cycle of cabin fever and take a stroll in the park, especially if that park is Bushnell Park. Bushnell Park is to Hartford what Central Park is to New York City, and for good reason. It was built in the same era and the designer, famed botanist Jacob Weidenmann, was recommended by Frederick Law Olmstead, who had to turn down the Hartford assignment when New York called upon him to create Central Park. There are hundreds of trees and bushes lining the walks, and even if most have lost their greenery for the season, they still provide a welcome respite to those who have been cooped up indoors for too long. There is also the massive Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch to walk around (and there is a tour inside on New Year’s Eve from 3 to 5 p.m.). The antique carousel is open from 11 a.m – 5 p.m. on Friday, New Year’s Day, and there is ice skating at the rink in the park seven days a week, including New Year’s Day.

Go Ice Skating At An Indoor Rink
Champions Skating Center, Suite 3
6 Progress Drive
Cromwell, CT 06416
(860) 632-0323
www.championsskatingcenter.com

From 10:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon on New Year’s Day, Champions Skating Center has open freestyle figure skating followed by public skating, all in the the weather-safe comfort of their giant indoor rinks. Champions has not one, but two rinks – one Olympic size and the other built to National Hockey League standards. There is also a 33,000-square-foot fitness center and a pool for those who want to start their New Year off with a different kind of exercise. Champions is the place, as their saying goes, “where everyone is a star!”

Hit The (Ski) Trails!
Mohawk Mountain
46 Great Hollow Road
Cornwall, CT 06753
(860) 672-6100
www.mohawkmtn.com

Connecticut is a paradise for skiers, and Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall up in the Northwest Corner is one of the best and most scenic of the state’s many ski resorts. There is a host of trails for every skier from novice to expert, as well as a comfortable lodge, a nice restaurant and a great pro shop. Mohawk also boasts one of the best snowboarding venues in the state, and has a great team of instructors for both skiers and snowboarders. There are also many attractions and places to stay in the small towns nearby.

Related: Top Spots For Winter Outdoor Adventures In Connecticut

Winter Beaches Are Special
Hammonasset Beach State Park
1288 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
(203) 245-2785
www.ct.gov

Although much of the Connecticut shoreline is private property, Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison has two miles of sandy beach and a boardwalk for the public to stroll upon. A popular swimming and camping site in the summer, the park is nevertheless a wonderful place to go in the winter, weather permitting. A walk on the sand or boardwalk on a cold, windy, gray day can be a refreshing experience, and a unique and appropriate way to start a new year. Although Madison and the hamlets around it are essentially beach towns, there are still places to go and warm up, even on New Year’s Day.

Watch The Big Bowl Games And Parades At A Sports Bar
Sliders Grill & Bar
176 Newington Road
West Hartford, CT 06110
(860) 233-9000
www.slidersgrillbar.com

New Year’s Day is a college football lover’s dream, and what better place to watch the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl and the parades that precede them than at one of Connecticut’s most famous and favorite family-friendly sports bars? Since opening at its original location in Plainville in 1993, Sliders has expanded to four other cities in the state, with West Hartford being the newest addition to the pack. Each has remained true to the corporate motto of “fresh wings, live sports and family fun.” While most sports bars are very male or fan-oriented, Sliders prides itself on providing a warm, welcoming and appropriate environment for sports lovers of all ages. There is a kids menu and lots for young fans to do, and of course there are big screen televisions everywhere to watch the games.

Related: Top Bars For Billiards In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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