Top 10 Things to do in Hartford, United States

October 16, 2017 Frederic Celentano

From its origins as a Connecticut River trading post in 1633, Hartford has become not only the state capital but also the insurance capital of the world, with a slew of historical attractions, a thriving arts and entertainment center, a revitalized riverfront and beautiful parks and public gardens. It was here that the lovable Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were born in the imagination of celebrated author Mark Twain and immortalized on paper during the writer's Hartford years. Twain's home and those of fellow literary figures Harriet Beecher Stowe and Noah Webster are open to the public. The Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest public art museum in the U.S., houses Pilgrim-Century furniture, the Amistad collection and a special treasure hunt system to entice kids to explore the museum's works. If your timing is right (end of June, beginning of July), you'll catch the Elizabeth Park rose gardens in bloom, but fall is also great for brilliant leaf colors, and spring yields colorful gardens and blossoming trees. For a bird's-eye view of the city, visit the observation deck of Travelers Tower, where you might also spot two resident falcons.
Restaurants in Hartford

1. Hartford Stage

50 Church St, Hartford, CT 06103-1201 +1 860-527-5151
Excellent
78%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 209 reviews

Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage, located in Hartford, Connecticut, is one of the nation's leading resident theatres, known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 68 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches more than 20,000 students annually.

Reviewed By gersty - NYC

This is our 15th year attending this production. We have loved this production since we first saw it with our 4 year old daughter in 2003. Attending this production is a family holiday tradition that always puts us in the Christmas spirit. While we lament the retirement of Bill Raymond from the production, Michael Preston's Scrooge was a deft and more than acceptable replacement. We hope to come back for our 16th year in 2018.
Bravo Hartford Stage!

2. Elizabeth Park

1561 Asylum Ave, I-84 Exit 44, West Hartford, CT 06106 +1 860-722-6543
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 332 reviews

Elizabeth Park

This walkers' haven, with several gardens along its wildflower trail, a lovely pond and sports and concert facilities, is best known for its magnificent rose garden, with 800 varieties of roses.

Reviewed By Otis_108 - San Diego, California

What a lovely treasure in the middle of the city. Was such a treat to walk through it. We happened to be there in October when they had a lot of Halloween things up and that was really a bonus. Loved our time here!

3. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

600 Main St, Hartford, CT 06103-2911 +1 860-278-2670
Excellent
72%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 458 reviews

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

The first public art museum in the United States features 50,000 pieces ranging from ancient to contemporary, the largest collection of Hudson River School paintings in the world, an impressive array of Pilgrim-era furnishings and European and American art.

Reviewed By Carlton M - Edinburgh, United Kingdom

We had so much fun with Sez Zion, Lamont Williams and group were incredible. The buffet was wonderful as usual with fresh orange juice (PLUS). Quiche Lorraine, Tomato and Spinach Quiche, Challah French Toast, Bagels & Cream Cheese, Breakfast Potatoes, Assorted Pastries, Fresh Fruit, Sausage and Bacon. Great coffee and wonderful service. Mimosas or Bloody Mary complimentary. The new Edward Gorey Exhibit ends May 6th. If you love PBS/Masterpiece Mystery, he did the art work, drawings and more. Don't miss it! It is inspiring and emotional for some of us who remember the beginnings of "Mystery".

4. The Mark Twain House & Museum

351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105-6400 +1 860-247-0998
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

The Mark Twain House & Museum

The Mark Twain House & Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Hartford, Connecticut, was the home of America's greatest author, Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) and his family from 1874 to 1891. It is also where Twain lived when he wrote his most important works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and The Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. A stunning example of Picturesque Gothic architecture, the 25-room home features a dramatic grand hall, a lush glass conservatory, a grand library and the handsome billiard room where Twain wrote his famous books. The Webster Bank Museum Center at The Mark Twain House & Museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about Mark Twain, his family, the historic house, and the author's legacy. This state-of-the-art facility houses our ticket desk; the Aetna Gallery with a permanent exhibition on Twain's life and work; a rotating exhibition hall, The Hartford Financial Services Theatre, showing a Ken Burns mini-documentary on Twain; classroom space; the lecture hall-style Lincoln Financial Auditorium; The Mark Twain Store; entertaining spaces like the soaring Hal Holbrook and the sunny second floor cafe/patio area.

Reviewed By terrsall - Waterloo, Indiana

While listening to our excellent guide talk about Sam Clemens love of this house, my mind wandered. I could envision him walking the hallways and rooms, proudly! What a great writer and humanitarian he was. Lived in this house longer than anywhere else but did not do a lot of his writing here. You not only learn more about his writing but also his family life. What an interesting and inspiring tour. Two thumbs up!

5. Connecticut State Capitol

210 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106-1535 +1 860-240-0222
Excellent
70%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 168 reviews

Connecticut State Capitol

A tour of the gold-leaf-domed capitol includes the Hall of Flags and, when they're in session, a chance to see the state senate and house of representatives in action.

Reviewed By Kay M - Augusta, GA

We have been to at least 25 state capitol buildings and rarely take the tour because we are just popping in to look under the dome or see the materials it’s made of, etc. For whatever reason, we decided to take this tour and are so glad we did. We were able to go inside both the representative and senate chambers and sat in the Lt. Governor’s chair that is one of two chairs made out of the famous Charter Oak tree. We knew nothing about the Charter Oak tree before the tour. It is a huge part of CT’s history. You get great stories with the tour, and we heard many from our guide, Susan. She was wonderful. The stories about the Genuis that used to grace the top of the dome were special. This is a very nice capitol to visit and tour. Takes about an hour with guided tour.

6. Playhouse on Park

244 Park Rd, West Hartford, CT 06119-2018 +1 860-523-5900
Excellent
85%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 54 reviews

Playhouse on Park

Reviewed By Rakdanit - Hartford, Connecticut

I always seem to forget about this teeny local theater. I went to a preview of their next offering The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). We laughed from beginning to end .This is an intimate theater with seating on three sides.There is not a...MoreHope to see you back again soon...there is so much going on! Thanks for the review!

7. Bushnell Center for Performing Arts

166 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106-1621 +1 860-987-5900
Excellent
62%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 169 reviews

Bushnell Center for Performing Arts

Connecticut's leading venue for the performing arts is known for its community programs and being an important advocate of music, dance and theatrical productions.

Reviewed By Laura B - Hartford, Connecticut

We recently saw Finding Neverland and everyone enjoyed it(2 adults/4 children). We are new season ticket holders and look forward to the entire Broadway season.
Parking was easy-- free and right across the street. The entire staff was so friendly, from the cafe to the theater itself.
We had a light dinner at the cafe-sandwiches and salads, everything was very good. They also have a nice happy hour in the lobby before the show.

8. Connecticut Science Center

250 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, CT 06103-2802 +1 860-724-3623
Excellent
55%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 342 reviews

Connecticut Science Center

Reviewed By TomM1951 - Hartford, Connecticut

This time we took our two oldest grandchildren, ages 5 and 2. Both of them had a wonderful time. This was the first visit for the younger. Once again, it is hard to get them beyond the water room near the entrance. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours, which is about the limit for a two year old, and they could probably have enjoyed themselves in that one room for the entire time. We did get them to explore a bit, but there is plenty to see for several visits

The butterfly exhibit was interesting, but not nearly as lively as the butterfly museum in Dearfield.

There is a Subway on the premises, or you can bring lunch and use the tables in the dining area.

9. Bushnell Park

30 Arbor St, Hartford, CT 06106-1215 +1 860-232-6710
Excellent
37%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 176 reviews

Bushnell Park

The first public park in America that was financed with public funds, Bushnell Park draws visitors to its 1914 carousel, and also features memorials honoring Civil War and Spanish-American War soldiers and some 150 varieties of trees.

Reviewed By sanju_222323 - New Jersey

The park itself is very beautiful. I really love the fountain center piece. This park is right near the state capital building which is really a pretty sight. I was there to attend a community event. Throughout the year, events happened in this park. Bushnell Park is a great place to go if you have the need a break from the city life and want to be surrounded by nature.

10. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

77 Forest St, Hartford, CT 06105-3243 +1 860-522-9258
Excellent
52%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 236 reviews

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Harriet Beecher Stowe was the best-selling author of the anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin." A 21st-century museum and program center, the Stowe Center offers interactive and engaging tours and programs designed to inspire action on social justice issues. Specialized tour experiences and discussion-based contemporary issue programs regularly offered.

Reviewed By KeithHruza - Ashland, New Hampshire

when a person has poor hearing, wandering around a house listening to a guide drone on is not very informative. We'd be better off having printed materials and seeing it on our own. I was able to get part of what the guide said, and that part impressed me thus:

Yes, Stowe changed history, but apparently this museum doesn't have enough information about her, so they make it an anti-slavery museum generally speaking, with comments about slavery from activists of various times. That's not what we go to a Harriet Beecher Stowe museum for. Do more research, people! Tell us about HER and her book, or there's no reason to come.

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