Since the town’s earliest days, Mystic has been deeply tied to the ocean. The sea’s influence on the town’s character can be seen at Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the world, which features preserved ships and seaport buildings. Most of the attractions and major employers in the town are sea-related. For example, Mystic’s aquarium is renowned for marine biology research, and Mystic Seaport hosts various collections of images and documents related to maritime history. In the summer, there are boating and sailing classes at the town boathouse, and many series of classes for children all the way down to preschool ages.

The town’s major cultural center is the Mystic Seaport, which hosts exhibitions of marine life, community social programs (often involving foodstuffs such as lobster and New England chowder), sea music festivals and boating events. Some of the preserved ships at the museums may be boarded for boat rides. Also, check out the Village, a collection of real (not replicated) 19th-century buildings from seaside communities throughout New England.

The museum is open year-round except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. An admission ticket, if validated before exiting the museum, can be used for two consecutive days. Combination tickets with the Mystic aquarium are also available.