21 Fun Things to Do in Hartford (CT)

There are countless fun things to do in Hartford, CT. In May 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked New Haven and Hartford as some of the top places to live in the country for the next couple of years.

Hartford, CT, is referred to as the “insurance capital of the world” due to its large number of insurance companies. Other prominent industries in the city include education, healthcare, and the services industry.

Connecticut’s capital (Hartford) is also full of fascinating museums and historical attractions. The beautiful gardens, art galleries, and historic buildings of Hartford make it one of the most desirable places in the country to live or visit.

This article covers the best and exciting activities in Hartford, Connecticut.

Where Is Hartford, Connecticut?

The capital of Connecticut, Hartford, was also the primary seat of the state’s government until it was dissolved in 1960. It is a core city within the Hartford metropolitan area.

According to the 2010 US Census, Hartford’s population has increased to 121,054, making it Connecticut’s fourth-largest city behind the coastal cities of New Haven, Stamford, and Bridgeport.

According to the US Census Bureau, Hartford has an area of approximately 18.0 square miles. 

It has a land area of over 17 square miles and a water area of around 0.7 square miles.

The city of Hartford is bordered by various towns such as West Hartford, Newington, and Windsor.

See Also: Fun Things to Do in Sioux Falls

Fun Things to Do in Hartford, CT

There are plenty of beautiful parks in Hartford, and it is also home to various unique attractions and restaurants.

Some of these include the Connecticut State Capitol and the renowned art museum, the Atheneum. These are 21 fun things to do in Hartford, Connecticut:

1. Elizabeth Park

One of the city’s parks Elizabeth Park, located on Asylum Avenue, was originally owned by Charles Pond, and he asked the city to name it after his wife, Elizabeth. The park spanned over 102 acres and was named after Elizabeth Pond.

One of the park’s most popular areas is the Rose Garden, which is regarded as one of the oldest municipal rose gardens in the country.

It features 15,000 rose bushes that represent over 800 different varieties. The park has various other areas, such as tennis courts, ponds, and pathways.

Address: The Elizabeth Park is located at 1561 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, USA.

2. Connecticut Science Center

The Connecticut Science Center, located on Columbus Boulevard in Hartford, is a theater and science museum that opened in 2009. It features 40,000 square feet worth of interactive exhibits.

One of the top attractions in the area for families is the Connecticut Science Center. It features various galleries, including visual, audio, and tactile exhibits.

Address: The Connecticut Science Center is located at 250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

3. Bushnell Park

Bushnell Park was first brought to light by Rev. Horace Bushnell in the 19th century in an attempt to provide the people of Hartford with green open space.

It has over 50 acres of land and features various areas, such as a pond, a performance pavilion, and various trees.

One of the park’s most prominent features is the Soldiers and Sailor’s Memorial Arch, which was erected in honor of those who served in the American Civil War.

It’s also home to the Horace Wells Monument. The park hosts various events, such as festivals and concerts.

Address: The Bushnell Park is located at Downtown, Hartford, CT 06103, USA.

4. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Wadsworth Atheneum is an art museum located on Main Street in Hartford. It was founded in 1842 and is one of the oldest museums in the country.

It has an extensive collection of American and European art, including works by the Hudson River School.

It also features various furniture and decorative arts. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Hartford, Connecticut.

The museum has 196,000 square feet, making it the largest art museum in Connecticut. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic places. It offers various educational programs.

Address: The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is located at 600 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

5. Connecticut State Capitol

The Connecticut State House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Governor’s Office are all in the Capitol.

The building was constructed using marble and granite in 1871 and was designed by the Eastlake Movement. It has been designated as a national historic landmark.

The main floor of the Capitol features a variety of historical artifacts, such as Civil War-related items. 

It also has free guided tours that are conducted every Monday to Friday. School tours and private group tours can also be arranged.

Address: The Connecticut State Capitol is located at 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

6. Mark Twain House & Museum

The Mark Twain House & Museum is located on Hartford’s Farmington Avenue. It was where Samuel Clemens lived and worked from 1874 to 1891.

Before moving to Connecticut, he had lived in various places, such as Missouri’s Hannibal. However, he wrote some of his most famous works in this house, such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

The museum’s goal is to educate visitors about the life and work of Mark Twain. 

The house was constructed in a Victorian Gothic style and had 19 rooms. It was opened in 2003 and featured various rotating exhibits.

Address: The Mark Twain House & Museum is located at 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

7. Mortensen Riverfront Plaza

The Mortensen Plaza is located in downtown Hartford and is a central part of the city’s Riverfront park system. It features a large stage and various outdoor seating areas.

The stairs in the Plaza are great for vigorous exercise or watching the dragon boat festival. 

They can also be used as front-row seats during the event. You can walk along the river or take a boat tour of Hartford.

Address: The Mortensen Riverfront Plaza is located at 50 Columbus Boulevard, 1st Floor, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

8. The Bushnell Performing Arts Center

The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, which used to be known as the Bushnell Memorial Hall, is located on Capitol Avenue.

It was constructed in 1929 as a memorial to Hillyer’s father, a highly esteemed 19th-century intellectual. The center was named after her father, Horace Bushnell.

If you want something romantic to do on a date night in Hartford, CT, then the Bushnell Performing Arts Center is the place for you.

The center features various theaters, such as the Ruth R. Belding and the original Mortensen Hall. 

It also hosts various events, including performances by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. 

Aside from being a performing arts center, the facility also has educational programs.

Address: The The Bushnell Performing Arts Center is located at 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

9. Museum of Connecticut History

The Museum of Connecticut History is located in the Supreme Court and State Library building. It focuses on the state’s industrial, military, and governmental history.

Through a variety of temporary and permanent exhibits, it showcases the history of Connecticut’s contributions to the development of the US.

The museum’s main entrance is through Memorial Hall, which features a display of portraits of former Connecticut governors.

 It also has boxes containing critical historical documents, such as the Royal Charter of the State, which was issued in 1662.

Address: The Museum of Connecticut History is located at 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

10. TheaterWorks

The professional theater group Theater Works is located in the Plaza at the intersection of Pearl Street and Park Avenue in downtown Hartford.

It was founded in 1985 and had been presenting various plays each season. 

The company’s performances are held in the historic Art Deco building, which features Moorish Revival details.

The building, now known as City Arts on Pearl, has various office spaces, storage units, and galleries. The intimate theater of Theater Works is also located in the basement.

Address: The TheaterWorks is located at Bushnell Towers & Plaza, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

11. Connecticut Historical Society

The Connecticut Historical Society’s museum, Edgar F. Waterman Research Center, and library are all great places to learn more about the state’s history.

Established in 1825, the Connecticut Historical Society is located in a beautiful 1928 Colonial Revival building. 

It has over four million items, which include various textiles, furniture, and documents.

They include diaries, children’s books, photos, and Tavern signs.It spans from the time of the original inhabitants to the modern era.

Address: The Connecticut Historical Society is located at One Elizabeth Street, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

12. Isham-Terry House

During the turn of the century, Hartford was full of life and culture. One of the most exciting places to explore this lifestyle is the Isham-Terry House, the only surviving structure in the Hartford Neighborhood. 

This Victorian house was built in 1854 and was purchased by Oliver Isham in 1896.

Address: The Isham-Terry House is located at 211 High Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06103,USA.

13. Polish National Home

The Polish National Home is a great place for anyone interested in learning about Polish culture. 

This social club, located in an Art Deco building, has a great restaurant serving a variety of Polish food.

Food items the restaurant offers include Golabki, pierogis, and stuffed cabbage rolls.

The restaurant is located inside a beautiful building with several features, including a dining room, a ballroom, and a bar.

The club members can enjoy various perks, such as renting the facility, taking part in special events, and receiving discounts at the restaurant.

Address: The Polish National Home is located at 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Pulaski Plaza, Hartford, CT, USA.

14. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is located on Forest Street. This house was the home that Harriet Beecher lived in until she died in 1896.

It’s a two-story brick house that was built in the cottage style. It’s situated next to the Mark Twain House. The interior of the house features painted gray and gabled dormers.

The center features various objects from the Beecher family and various documents and letters. 

It also has a carriage house that’s used as its Visitor Center. The facility is listed on the National Register of History Places.

Address: The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is located at 77 Forest St, Hartford, CT 06105, USA.

15. Carbone’s Ristorante

This establishment has been around for 75 years and is popular with celebrities and the mayor.

The restaurant, owned and operated by the Carbone family (third generation), is known for its impeccable food and royal treatment.

The staff members of Carbone’s are passionate about their food, and they prepare various dishes at the table.

Address: The Carbone’s Ristorante is located at 588 Franklin Avenue, Hartford, CT, USA.

16. Bear’s Smokehouse

The restaurant’s chef, Jamie McDonald, has been known to create his unique sauces and rubs. He carefully chooses the various cuts of meat included on the menu.

The restaurant is located inside a converted garage, and it features counter service and a sink next to the exit so customers can wash their hands after eating.

Address: The Bear’s Smokehouse is located at 25 Front St, Hartford, CT 06103, USA.

17. Old State House

The Old State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch, was constructed in 1797. The Connecticut General Assembly currently uses it. It features various architectural styles.

The Old State House features various exhibits designed to educate visitors about the state’s history. It also has several historic designed to exhibit Connecticut’s past. Some tours are available to help people learn more about the facility.

Address: The Old State House is located at 800 Main Street, Hartford, CT, USA.

18. On20

Located on the 20th floor of One State Street, On20 is an upscale restaurant that offers a beautiful view of the river below. It’s perfect for romantic candle-lit dinners or business lunches.

The restaurant’s interior design features a subtle yet sophisticated look designed to enhance the experience of its guests.

The food served at this establishment is made using local ingredients sourced from the restaurant’s network of producers and farmers.

Address: The On20 is located at 400 Columbus Blvd, “One State Street,” Hartford, CT, USA.

19. Butler-McCook Homestead

The Butler-McCook homestead was constructed in 1782 and is a historical property known for its beautiful Victorian garden.

It was the home of the Butler-McCook family for many years. The building was restored in 1865. This property has been a vital part of Hartford’s history.

Address: The Butler-McCook Homestead is located at 396 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06103, USA.

20. City Steam Brewery

Since 1997, the City Steam Brewery has been brewing some of Connecticut’s most beautiful and delicious beers.

This establishment is located in Hartford and is open from 4 pm to 6 pm every Wednesday through Sunday.

It features 12 of its flagship beers on tap, as well as other seasonal drinks that are regularly rotated through the facility.

Address: The City Steam Brewery is located at 942 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06103, USA.

21. Hartford Stage

The Hartford Stage was founded over 52 years ago. It’s a well-known community theater for presenting various musical and classic plays. It also hosts various educational programs for children and adults.

These include after-school programs, adult theater classes, and residency programs for children. The address is 50 Church Street, Hartford, Connecticut.

Address: The Hartford Stage is located at 50 Church St, Hartford, CT 06103, USA.

Best Time to Visit Hartford, Connecticut

The best time to visit Hartford is the period between May and July. During this time, the average temperature in the city is around 16 to 24 degrees Celsius. 

Although it rains for a few days in June, Hartford doesn’t get as much precipitation.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Hartford?

The average cost of traveling to Hartford is about $1,438 (solo traveler) for a seven-day trip. $2,800 for a couple and $5,200 for a family of four.

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