Places to Visit and Things to Do in Hartford, CT. Check Out the Finest Hartford Attractions and Make the Most of Them

If you’re planning a visit to Hartford, Connecticut, we’ve got the perfect place to start. Here are some amazing things to do in Hartford, CT and what we believe are the top attractions. What’s better than checking out all the great activities around this area?

things to do in hartford ct

Whether you’re new to Hartford, Connecticut or about to return for another visit, make sure you experience the best of it. From top attractions and family friendly activities to local nightlife, a vacation in Hartford wouldn’t be the same without all that it has to offer. Here’s our list of the top things to do in Hartford, CT.

A Fantastic Capital City

Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and one of New England’s oldest cities. The city was founded in 1635 on the banks of the Connecticut River, and it’s been a center for American history ever since its founding. In addition to its history, Hartford also has a thriving arts scene. The city is home to several museums and performing arts centers, as well as minor league sports teams that have a loyal following.

Downtown Hartford

Downtown Hartford is the place to be for anyone interested in history, fine arts, and exciting nightlife. The city’s compact downtown is loaded with historic sites, galleries, and cultural institutions, making it one of the most walkable cities in New England.

For late nights out on the town, head to Front Street, where you’ll find an array of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Connecticut’s state capital and insurance center isn’t the most obvious tourist destination, but it has certainly had its share of visitors in recent years.

Downtown Hartford is home to a number of attractions that appeal to both kids and adults, and the city’s location in central Connecticut also makes it easy to visit other historic locations, such as nearby New Haven’s Yale University. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, be sure to take some time out from your schedule to explore the city and try some fun things to do in Hartford, CT.

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Where to Begin

Visitors can begin their exploration of Hartford at Bushnell Park, a green oasis right in the heart of downtown. The park features walking paths, well-maintained gardens, a gazebo where live music is performed on weekends during the summer months, and even a carousel that dates back to 1914.

Connecticut State Capitol

Next up should be a visit to the Old State House, which serves as a museum of Connecticut history. The building itself is a piece of history, as it was built in 1796 as Connecticut’s first capitol building and is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in America. It was here that Abraham Lincoln spoke in 1860 just before he was elected president. It now houses a museum dedicated to the history of Connecticut and its people from pre-colonial times until modern day.

Mortensen Riverfront Plaza

The plaza is home to a number of festivals and concerts throughout the year. It also offers free kayaking, biking and walking tours. Make sure you don’t miss this part of the city, as it’s totally worth the while!

Hartford Stage

Out of things to do in Hartford, CT? Plan a visit to Hartford Stage. Located in the Kate theater building, this Tony Award-winning theater offers plays by William Shakespeare and many other playwrights. Visitors can also tour backstage or see a rehearsal in progress.

Connecticut Convention Center

This state-of-the-art convention center hosts everything from trade shows to live music performances and art exhibits. You will never be bored, we promise! Downtown Hartford also houses several excellent museums. Read on to know where to head!

Museums of Connecticut

At the Museum of Connecticut History, visitors can see exhibits about Connecticut’s role during the Civil War as well as its contributions during World War II. It also has an extensive collection relating to Connecticut. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is America’s oldest public art museum, and is home to over 50,000 works of art from all over the world.

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Mark Twain House and Museum

The Mark Twain House & Museum is located at 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105. The house was built between 1873 and 1874 by noted Hartford architect Edward Tuckerman Potter. It was designed in the High Victorian Gothic style with stone trim on a brick home and belonged to Samuel Clemens.

Twain lived here for 17 years before moving to Europe for financial reasons. The house has since been restored to its original condition and contains many of the family’s original furnishings.

Go to Where Uncle Tom’s Cabin Was Written

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a historical tourist attraction that honors the life and memory of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The center is located in Stowe’s home for the last 23 years of her life. It includes two historic buildings: the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, where Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and the Katharine Seymour Day House.

Outdoorsy Things to Do in Hartford, CT: Bushnell Park & Elizabeth Park

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, Hartford has you covered there as well. It’s home to several parks, including Bushnell Park, which has been called the “Central Park of Connecticut.” There’s also Talcott Mountain State Park if you want to explore nature or take a hike.

Bushnell Park

Bushnell Park is the oldest public park in Hartford, which was created in 1854 by a wealthy local businessman who wanted the city to have a beautiful green space.

Bushnell Park Carousel is a classic carousel with all original horses from 1914. It’s one of the oldest in the country and the only carousel in Connecticut on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1914 by the Stein & Goldstein Company of New York City, it has over 40 hand-carved and hand-painted horses, two chariots and over 1,000 lights. The two-tiered carousel operates year-round and can be rented for private parties.

Admire the Beautiful Rose Garden

Hartford’s Elizabeth Park Rose Garden is home to over 15,000 rose bushes that bloom in the summer months. The gardens were first opened in 1904, but had to be rebuilt after being destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

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Connecticut Science Center

The Connecticut Science Center is a great way to spend a day in Hartford. At the center, you’ll find 150 hands-on exhibits, a 3D digital theater, four educational labs, plus daily programs and events. There’s so much to see and do here that it’s easy to get lost in all the action. Visitors can experience simulated car crashes, feel the power of a hurricane or stand in the middle of a lightning storm!

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the center frequently hosts traveling exhibits. These have included Bodies Revealed (a human anatomy exhibit), Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and Star Wars Identities.

Hartford’s Attractions Concluded

Asking for things to do in Hartford, CT? Now you know! Hartford is known for its excellent line up of museums, historical sites, theaters, and family fun attractions. The attractions in Hartford hold something special for everyone. There are great restaurants and shopping in downtown Hartford. Also, there are nice parks and trails to visit when you want to be closer to nature.

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