Norwalk is a highly diverse city with an exciting blend of lovely residential neighborhoods, thriving commercial and industrial enterprises and stimulating cultural and artistic activity. Part of the city's appeal as a desirable place to live, work and play are the panoramic rivers and Long Island Sound.
Wilson Point's coast is graced by luxurious seaside homes, historic restorations sit along the banks of the rivers. Fine traditional and contemporary houses make up the neighborhoods of East and West Norwalk, Rowayton, Cranbury and Silvermine. Spacious condominiums and apartments are also available.
The city is home to the largest yachting marina in New England. Enjoy a rich selection of aquatic activities including the annual boat shows and waterfront festivals. Outstanding town parks and an active recreation department present a wide range of sporting and leisure events. For Golfers the Oak Hills Park Golf Course is a public course offering par 71 and 6,382 yards featuring a practice green and pro shop.
Further enhancing the quality of life is its solid public school system. Enriching learning opportunities flourish at the 1800s-era Lockwood-Mathews Mansion and the Maritime Magnet School.
The Maritime Aquarium includes the 110,000 gallon Open Ocean exhibit, an IMAX theater, a harbor seal pool, the Ray Touch Pool with three types of stingray species, a river otter habitat, colorful and extraordinary frogs from around the world. The Rocky Intertidal Zone Touch Tank is a 15,000-gallon habitat with loggerhead sea turtles, the Jellyfish Encounter, Marine Labs, and the Cascade Cafe.
Commercial and cultural establishments are abundant in town, particularly in the revitalized South Norwalk Seaport district (SoNo). Nostalgic 19th century buildings house galleries, shops and restaurants. The State Heritage Park is a mixed urban waterfront development project based around the estuary of the river, a small yet complex and important ecological system. The SONO Switch Tower Museum is located in the fully restored 1896-built Switch Tower for railway enthusiasts and children.
Operating since 1979, the Norwalk Seaport Association is a non-profit environmental, preservation and maritime educational organization offering a variety of educational programs, community projects, and special events including restoring and maintaining the Sheffield Island Lighthouse.
From May through September, visitors can board the Seaport Association's 42-foot G.W. Tyler ferry for a cruise to the island then tour the lighthouse, observe wildlife in their natural habitat. The lighthouse tower provides magnificent views of Long Island Sound - and even the New York City skyline on a clear day. The organization's best-known event is the annual NSA Oyster Festival, now looking forward to its 32nd year, which attracts as many as 50,000 people to town during three days in early September.
The well-known SoNo Art Show takes place mid summer at the seaport. Further points of interest include the Norwalk Museum, featuring impressive collections of period art and Americana, The Silvermine Guild Arts Center and the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. Performing throughout the year is the Norwalk Symphony. founded in 1939 giving pops concerts, local touring concerts and childrens concerts. The Crystal Theater group offers performances, classes, as well as a summer camp.
The 62-room Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is "one of the earliest and finest surviving Second Empire-style country houses ever built in the United States." A National Historic Landmark, it serves as a valuable resource of 19th-century American history. Tours of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum are given hourly, Wednesday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.