As one of the country’s Top 100 Best Places to Live, Stamford can be viewed as having the best of both worlds. Or more precisely, you might say it’s the best of both cities.
With its proximity to New York City – it’s about 30 miles from Manhattan – Stamford is a haven for those who desire easy access to the Big Apple but may not necessarily want to live there. At the same time, however, Connecticut’s third-largest city has first-class amenities in its own right. If you’re not up for the commute to NYC, you can still find plenty of restaurants, nightclubs and other things to do in Stamford.
Take, for instance, the UBS Parade Spectacular held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It is a holiday balloon parade that has become one of the largest in the country, and it features popular giant balloon characters, marching bands and a variety of floats. It’s not unlike the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that attracts millions to the streets of Manhattan.
“Ours started about 20 years ago,” says Jack Condlin, president of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a well established parade, and people come from all over Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. It has some of the same giant balloons as what you’ll see in the Macy’s parade.
“Some people may not want to go into New York City for the parade because they want to be home for Thanksgiving, so they can go to the one in Stamford and basically see the same parade. It’s a major, major event.”
Things to Do in Stamford
Stamford has other events throughout the year, and it’s also known for its music and live theater venues, arts and culture, and nightlife options.
“Plus, we’re on Long Island Sound,” Condlin says. “That provides a tremendous opportunity for recreational activities, whether it’s boating, swimming or just enjoying the beach.”
Condlin says when he moved from his hometown of Boston to Stamford in the early 1980s, it was the third-largest corporate headquarters city in the U.S., behind New York and Chicago. It has built a reputation as a city “that was open to growth,” Condlin says, “and that helped to launch economic development here in the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Stamford saw tremendous growth.”
Today, the city is home to a number of high-profile companies, including NBC Sports Group, UBS, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.
Living in Stamford
Stamford is also a desirable place to live because of its variety of housing options.
“Stamford offers everything from on-the-water living in a single-family home to living in homes on 2 to 3 acres and everything in between,” Condlin says, “including apartment and condo dwellings. There’s a lot of good housing opportunities.”
While Stamford has opportunities for jobs and careers within its own city limits, it’s also an ideal residence for those who may work in New York. Commuting there is easy, as Stamford is on the main branch of the New Haven Line on the Metro-North Railroad. In fact, it’s the third-busiest station on the system.