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Guide: What Is There To Do In Hartford, Connecticut?

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Guide: What Is There To Do In Hartford, Connecticut?

Hartford, Connecticut is a charming, vibrant city steeped in history. As the earliest English settlement in the state, Hartford has a deep-seated American identity. Yet, this Eastern seaboard city—conveniently located between New York and Boston—holds a wealth of cultural, dining, and entertainment opportunities that make it a desirable destination. From thrilling theater experiences to beautiful parks and natural attractions, there is no shortage of things to do in Hartford.

Theater & Arts Experiences

Hartford is home to an eclectic lineup of theatrical and performance venues that host incredible performers from across the globe. One renowned stage is located in the center of the city—the iconic Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Visitors can wander through the halls of this architectural masterpiece to find various shows, such as world-renowned musicals, orchestras, ballets, and more. One example is the “Bushnell Presents” series which brings premier Broadway shows to downtown Hartford. Additionally, the Hartford Stage hosts a mix of classical and contemporary plays to delight audiences.

Those more interested in visual art should stop by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. This venerable institution houses a breathtaking collection of art pieces from the Renaissance collection to modern works. If you’re searching for something special or unique, be sure to check out the museum’s selection of period rooms, prints, photographs, and rare works.

Top Attractions & Cultural Sites

Hartford also has plenty of attractions that visitors to the area can explore. One of the most popular is the Mark Twain House & Museum. This stunning 19th-century mansion was built by the American author and humorist in19th century and strategically houses special artifacts and pieces of literature that tell his remarkable story. After strolling around the house—which is sure to feel like you’re stepping back in time—stop by Stowe Writers’ Room for a cup of tea and some of Twain’s sweet musings on writing and life.

Fun-filled attractions are also common in the city, such as a ride around Elizabeth Park to admire its scenic views. Stretch your legs by taking a river walk along the Connecticut River or exploring the Ancient Burying Ground—a burial plot from 1640 that honors Hartford’s founders. For those looking for more of a thrill, The Gathering Place is a great spot for outdoor adventures such as rock climbing and mountain biking.

Dining & Night Life

After soaking in the sites and attractions throughout Hartford, take a break at one of these popular dining experiences. From classic Italian plates at one of Hartford’s oldest Italian restaurants—Salute—to flavorful New American fare at City Steam Brewery Café and Restaurant, there’s something for every palate in town. For an even more unique experience, stop by the historic restaurant Max Downtown for inventive American dishes served inside an art deco atmosphere.

In addition to its refined dining scene, Hartford also has an electrifying nightlife for dancing, drinks, and entertainment. The area around Bushnell Park is home to some of the best bars, clubs, and lounges in town, including Vibz Uptown. There you can groove to live music from various genres or play pool with friends any night of the week. Alternatively, head down Asylum Street for some traditional pubs and classic bars for a relaxed evening out.


Hartford has something for everyone—from spirited cultural experiences to lively nightlife—proving that it is a must-visit destination for any traveler. From visiting Twain’s former home and perusing historic museums to indulging in splendid cuisine and dancing beneath twinkling lights, there are plenty of activities waiting in Hartford which will make you never want to leave.

An Insider’s Guide to Hartford, Connecticut

Located in the heart of Connecticut, Hartford is a city that has much to offer. Beyond the conventional tourist attractions, there are many hidden gems that locals love and that tourists shouldn’t miss. Here’s an insider’s guide to the best of Hartford.

Local Attractions

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is a well-known tourist destination. However, many people know less about the museum’s monthly First Thursdays event. Every first Thursday of the month, the museum holds an after-hours party with a DJ and cocktail bar. It’s a fun way to experience the museum in a party-like atmosphere.

Another hidden gem in Hartford is Elizabeth Park. Established in 1904, Elizabeth Park is one of the oldest public rose gardens in the United States, and it is a wonder to behold. Take a stroll through the park and see the various flowers in bloom, or have a picnic with friends under the shade of the trees.

Dining Spots

Hartford is known for its Greek and Italian cuisines, and there is no better place to try these cuisines than at The Corner Pug. A cozy neighborhood tavern, The Corner Pug serves authentic Greek and Italian dishes, as well as classic American fare. Enjoy a cocktail or a beer with friends while enjoying a delicious meal.

One interesting fact about Hartford’s food culture is that it is the birthplace of the classic New England-style pizza known as “apizza.” One place to try the best apizza in town is Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana, a restaurant that has been around for over 90 years.

Cultural Experiences

Hartford’s cultural scene is thriving, and one of its highlights is Real Art Ways. This contemporary art space is dedicated to promoting emerging artists and avant-garde works. From art exhibitions to film screenings and live performances, there is always something exciting happening at Real Art Ways.

If you’re in Hartford during the summer months, be sure not to miss the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. This free, three-day event is one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the United States, and it attracts some of the best jazz musicians from around the world.

Local History

To get a sense of Hartford’s rich history, take a stroll through the Mark Twain House and Museum. The iconic American writer lived in Hartford from 1874 to 1891, and his house has been beautifully preserved. Explore his writing studio and learn about his life and works.

Another must-visit destination for history buffs is the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. The museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which helped promote the abolitionist movement. Stowe lived in Hartford for over 23 years, and her house is now a museum that celebrates her life and work.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Hartford, why not visit The Hartford Flavor Company? This local distillery produces artisanal liqueurs made from all-natural ingredients. Take a tour and sample their Elderflower Liqueur, which won a gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Another interesting place to visit is the Old State House. While not exactly off the beaten path, it may not be as well-known as other Hartford attractions. Built in 1796, the Old State House is one of the oldest in the country and was once the seat of government for the State of Connecticut. Learn about its history and its significance in the national discourse leading up to the American Revolution.

In conclusion, Hartford is a city that has so much to offer. From its cultural experiences to its local attractions, dining spots, and unique history, there is something for everyone. Use this insider’s guide to plan your trip and discover all the hidden gems that Hartford has to offer.

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Guide: What Is There To Do In Hartford, Connecticut?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!