Many people wonder how ESPN made its home in Bristol, Connecticut. Although it's common to see big corporations in Connecticut just outside of New York City, Bristol was an unassuming place for a big network. ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen had recently been fired from his job as the sports announcer for the New England Whalers. He and his son found an acre of land in Bristol for sale and put up the first satellite dish in 1978. The first 24-hour network was born and has stayed in Bristol ever since.
When to Visit Bristol, CT
The most affordable rates are in the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and there's not a lot of tourists coming to the town. If your goal is to get outside and enjoy the warm weather while taking in the sights, then your best bet is to visit during the summer. July and August offer the warmest weather with the least chance of precipitation.
The winter is also an excellent time to travel to this part of Connecticut if you enjoy skiing. The average temperature between December and March is 43 degrees which means you won't freeze while you are hitting the slopes, but you also need to be careful that it's not too warm during your ski vacation. January is typically the best time to book a ski trip as the weather hovers around freezing during this time.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Bristol, CT:
Bristol, CT: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below are 3 charts illustrating avg. price trends by star rating class in Bristol, CT. Browse these illustrations to determine the best time period to stay in Bristol throughout the year.
Luxury Hotel Options in Bristol, CT
4 Star Average Prices: $156.26
Since Bristol is a smaller town, you won't see the luxury options you might see in other cities. If you want a high-end hotel, you may need to expand your search to Hartford, which offers options like the Marriott Hartford Downtown hotel. The hotel offers free internet, smart TVs, video game consoles and safes in the room. You can enjoy getting treated at the full-service spa or relax by the indoor pool. Only 15 minutes from the Hartford Airport and 15 minutes from Bristol, it's prime location for a luxury stay.
If you need to be in Bristol, your best option for a higher-end hotel would be the Doubletree by Hilton Bristol. Enjoy the on-site fitness center and the indoor pool during your stay. The hotel offers a comfortable bed and upscale bedding, plus on-site options for a hot breakfast. The hotel puts you close to ESPN headquarters and the Compounce Amusement Park. The Doubletree also gives all of its guests a complimentary warm cookie at check-in.
Affordable Hotel Options in Bristol, CT
3 Star Average Prices: $107.12
For a budget-friendly option near Bristol, consider the America's Best Value Inn & Suites hotel. This hotel doesn't offer a lot of amenities, but it also won't break the bank. It sits less than 5 miles from Bristol and is close to Sandy Shore Park and the Famingbury Hills Golf Club. The rooms offer a minifridge and microwave. Stay connected during your stay with free internet throughout the hotel. The hotel also offers free coffee in the lobby every morning as well.
Another affordable option near Bristol is the Days Inn Southington. This hotel is also less than 5 miles away from Bristol and puts you near ESPN Headquarters, Mt. Southington Skiing, and the Lake Compounce Theme Park. The hotel offers a free hot breakfast every morning which you can enjoy while you peruse the web connected to the free internet. Start your day right by breaking a sweat in the on-site fitness center.
If you look at little farther out from Bristol, you will find the Hampton Inn & Suites Hartford/Farmington. This hotel sits about 7 miles away from Bristol and offers free internet, a flat-screen TV, and a coffee maker. Sleep comfortably on the premium pillowtop mattress and bedding. The hotel also offers an indoor swimming pool and on-site fitness center. This budget-friendly hotel has all the amenities of the pricier hotels but is much easier on your wallet.
2 Star Average Prices: $73.60
Where are the real discounts in Bristol
Military and Government employees should make sure to take advantage of the discounts offered by the Residence Inn by Marriott Southington. The Residence Inn is located in Southington about a 5 to 10-minute drive to Bristol and puts you a short drive away from skiing, amusement parks, and shopping. The hotel is an all-suite property, which means your room will have a kitchen and living space. You can also enjoy the indoor pool and the complimentary breakfast during your stay.
If you have AAA or are eligible for a senior discount, then check out the Comfort Suites Southington Cheshire. This hotel puts you less than 10 miles from Bristol and is right off the highway making it easy to travel to wherever you need to go. It will be hard to get out of the bed while you're enjoying the pillowtop mattress and the goose-down comforters. The rooms all have microwaves and refrigerators for you to use during your stay as well.
Best Value Options in Bristol, CT
If you want to get the most out of your money, consider booking your stay at the Holiday Inn Express Southington. This hotel is located less than 5 miles away from Bristol and puts you near area attractions like skiing, movie theaters and shopping. Start your day off by working out in the fitness center or by enjoying the complimentary hot breakfast. Get everything you need, or forgot, at the 24-hour market. The hotel also offers a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a business center, and a free shuttle to take you anywhere within a 5-mile radius.
Another good value is the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Plainville. This hotel is about 10 minutes from Bristol and puts you near the New Britain Museum of American Art, Aqua Turf, West Farms Mall, and the Lake Compounce Amusement Park. During the winter, this hotel also puts your near the Winding Trails Ski Resort. Enjoy the on-site amenities like free internet, a pool, and complimentary hot breakfast.
Bristol, CT: More Than Just ESPN
There's no question that Bristol is most famous for ESPN headquarters, but that doesn't mean the city doesn't offer other exciting and interesting reasons to visit. In 2008, the city set out to revitalize the downtown area. The revitalization project included a complete makeover for the downtown park. The district also offers dining and shopping options.
If you're a museum lover, you will be impressed with all the museums that Bristol has to offer. In the area, you can find Witch's Dungeon Class Movie Museum, which honors classic sci-fi and horror movies with life-size figures of iconic characters. The American Clock & Watch Museum represents Bristol's contribution to early American watches and clocks. It's the only museum dedicated to Horology, which is the history and science of timekeeping.
Bristol is also home to the New England Carousel Museum. This museum acquires, restores and preserves operating carousels and memorabilia related to carousels. If you're traveling to Bristol, the Imagine Nation should also be on your list of places to visit. This museum is dedicated to early learning.
For those in town during late summer, then try to catch the Bristol Mum Festival. Paying tribute to Bristol's early Chrysanthemum production, the mum festival offers amusement rides, a parade, food trucks, live music, and fireworks. Bristol was once known as Mum City, and this festival pays tribute to this type of flower and its contribution to the growth of Bristol.
Finally, during your trip consider visiting the oldest operating amusement park, Lake Compounce. This amusement park has been operating since 1846, but don't worry, they have done some serious upgrading since it's initial opening. Ghost Hunt will take you on a wild ride where you use lasers to hunt ghosts in the dark. If you want a real thrill, get in line for Down Time, a tower coaster that will drop you 185 feet at 60 mph.
Bristol is best known for ESPN, but there is much more to this city than the sports network. You can visit the many museums in the town, check out the park and other green areas of the city, or hit the slopes around the city. Check out the oldest amusement park in the United States or enjoy the local restaurants and shopping. This charming town has lots to offer its guests without the large crowds and stress of bigger cities.