Bryan Memorial Town Hall in Washington, Connecticut. Image credits: Ritu Manoj Jethani via Shutterstock

Stars Hollow, Connecticut

For fans of the hit 2000s show, Gilmore Girls – walking down the streets of Stars Hollow, Connecticut with a Luke’s coffee in hand has always been on the bucket list. And while the fictional town doesn’t exist in real life, show fanatics can still live their best Gilmore Girls fantasy in the small Connecticut towns that inspired Stars Hollow. Between the real Firelight festival in West Hartford and the Washington Depot Inn that inspired the show, Gilmore Girls lovers will have no trouble finding fun things to see and do in the area. So gather those reusable coffee cups, pack your favorite road-trip read, and get ready to hit the streets of Connecticut – Rory and Lorelie style.

Washington Depot, Connecticut

Beautiful Residential Neighborhood Sidewalk with Homes in Greenwich Connecticut.

On a trip through West Connecticut, show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino found herself inspired by the small-town charm that Washington Depot had to offer. Upon exploring the town, Sherman-Palladino said “...that’s something that I would really love to put out there,” according to a 2001 interview with Deseret News. And thus, the concept of Stars Hollow was born. 

Notable locations

Today, Gilmore Girls fans can still stay at the same Mayflower Inn & Spa that Sherman-Palladino did on that now iconic visit to Connecticut. The Inn, which is filled with New England Charm, is the perfect spot to make your Dragonfly Inn dreams come true. Next, pretend you’re Rory and walk through the quaint Hickory Stick Book Shop where book signings and live readings are frequently hosted. Then head to Marty’s Cafe where the welcoming atmosphere, delicious food, and strong coffee will have you feeling like they’ve just walked into Luke’s Diner. 

Things to Do

Outside of the Stars Hollow similarities, there are plenty of fun things to see and do in Washington Depot, Connecticut. Nature lovers will want to explore both the Steep Rock Preserve and the Hidden Valley Preserve where hiking opportunities and scenic lookout points are plentiful. Art enthusiasts will also want to stop at The Hen’s Nest to admire and shop local art.

Community Events & Traditions

Washington Depot is beloved for its tight-knit community and active events calendar. Travelers looking to experience a Stars Hollow-level outing should plan their trip around annual events such as the Washington Green Fair or the Halloween Cemetery Tour. Smaller events like outdoor movie nights and yoga on the farm classes are frequently available as well.

West Hartford, Connecticut

Gazebo surrounded by roses in Elizabeth Park, West Hartford, Connecticut.

Similar to Washington Depot, West Hartford, Connecticut is a quirky small town, chock-full of Gilmore Girls charm. The town strongly embraces the show’s fandom, hosting an annual Gilmore Girls fan festival called Firelight Event. Fans who can’t make it to town in time for the Firelight Event can choose to participate in the Gilmore Girls package at the Delmar hotel instead. The package includes things like a chauffeur, a visit to Yale, an afternoon tea that Emily Gilmore would be proud of, and a Sookie-inspired menu among other perks. 

Notable locations

Fans hoping to capture the show’s Friday night dinner charm should take a drive down West Hartford’s Prospect Avenue and Scarborough Street, where the houses are so grand, they’re a perfect fit for Richard and Emily Gilmore. Next, pay a visit to Harvey’s Cafe & Market where fans can sip on organic coffee and enjoy a selection of sandwiches and breakfast items. While it’s not exactly Luke’s Diner, the refreshments here are sure to impress.

Anyone dying to rummage through pre-loved treasures at Kim’s Antiques will want to visit both Three Ladies Antiques and The White Rabbit. While there’s no guarantee of Mrs. Kim-level service, the treasures and oddities at these shops are worth the trip. Other notable locations that will make fans feel like they’re in Stars Hollow include the Bushnell Park Carousel, the West Hartford Farmers Market, and the Mark Twain House and Museum.

Things to Do

Whether a fan of the show or not, there is an abundance of things to see and do in beautiful West Hartford. Plant lovers will want to explore Elizabeth Park Conservatory which is home to over 100 acres worth of gardens, green space, and walking paths. For an afternoon of casual hiking, head to the West Hartford Reservoirs where visitors can admire sparkling bodies of water, deeply wooded areas, and over 30 miles of paved and gravel roads. Those traveling with kids can spend an afternoon learning and playing at The Children's Museum. 

Community Events & Traditions

While West Hartford hosts a variety of community events and festivals, there’s none better for Gilmore Girls lovers than the Firelight Event. The annual event features meet and greets with stars from the show, trivia, show-inspired crafts, live performances, stress tap dancing classes, and more. Celebrate West Hartford is another annual community event worth checking out. Although not Gilmore Girls-themed, the two-day festival brings this little community together with the same vigor and enthusiasm one would expect from the residents of Stars Hollow. Attendees can expect activities including a craft fair, carnival rides, food vendors, and live music, just to name a few.


Discovering that Stars Hollow only exists on the big screen is a letdown. But, even though you can’t stock up on produce from Doose's Market or binge on questionable Chinese food from Al's Pancake World, these small Connecticut towns still offer all the charm and welcoming community vibes that make Stars Hollow so appealing. Between charming diners, local antique shops, and Gilmore Girls-themed events, the spirit of Stars Hollow is very much alive and thriving in Connecticut. 


More in Connecticut