Things To Do in Hartford
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, a tranquil city with a population of about 123,000. This little city is one of the oldest towns in America. Hartford is a quintessential New England town and has plenty to offer on your tour of Northeast. This is a great place to visit during a summer road trip for any family, as it has plenty of things to do. Whether you are into history, like museums, green parks, old breweries or restaurants, Hartford has something to offer for every taste.
Here is a list of nine excellent activities in Hartford:
Connecticut State Capitol
State Capitol building is very impressive and stands on a hill. This is a great place to start your tour of Hartford. The building is used by the Senate and House of Representatives for meetings. The building belongs to a U.S. National Historic Landmark List and was built in 1871. The first floor of the Capitol is a museum now, filled with historic artifacts and memorabilia. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or join a guide. The guided tours are free and are offered every hour on weekdays. Self-guided visits are possible every day from 8 am to 5 pm.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
The museum is an excellent stop while you are here, exploring Hartford. It is quite old – established in 1842. Visitors are treated to a nice collection of American and French Impressionist style paintings side by side with modern and contemporary artists' works.
This museum is the largest in Connecticut and definitely has a lot to offer. It is also very affordable with adults paying $15, students - $5, and everybody under 18 – free. Be sure to check out when free admission days are and when can you join free drop-in tours.
While the city has plenty of green spaces and parks, Bushnell is one of the most beautiful and conveniently located. This park is the oldest publicly funded U.S Park that was innovative in offering green space to residents before it became so popular in every city. The park opened its gates in 1861 and features paths, ponds, trees, a fountain, a carousel, and shaded pavilion. Park offers tours starting in April, and in May Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch and park tree tours start taking place. The park hosts plenty of special events and celebrations: Vesak Celebration, CT House Music Festival, Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival, and Suzan G. Komen Be More than Pink Walk.
There are a few live performance centers and stages in the city, but the Hartford Stage stands out. It is located on the Church Street and is known for excellent musicals, classic plays, and modern premiers. The Stage usually puts forth six major productions each year and a few summer productions. Summer plays can be classical or very contemporary; it just depends on art decisions. The facility has after school activities for kids, adult theater classes, and many engaging events not just for locals, but visitors too.
Mark Twain House and Museum
This museum is a very popular spot among tourists. Mark Twain lived here in the late 1800s. His birth name is Samuel Longhorne Clements. Many of famous books were written in this house. Such masterpieces as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were penned here. The house is Victorian style and boasts three floors with 25 rooms. The museum has permanent and rotating exhibitions, so you will be destined to see something new every time you visit.
The museum is open every day 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and can be visited only with a guided tour. Adult ticket is $20, children (6-16) - $12, seniors - $18.
City Steam Brewery Cafe
Breweries are popular these days and every city and town has at least one. The City Steam Brewery is probably the best to visit while in Hartford. This large restaurant is located in a 1970s H.H. Richardson brownstone. There is also a comedy club in the basement called Brew Ha Ha. The brewery makes legendary Naughty Nurse Amber Ale and the Autonomy IPA. The restaurant is open every day.
11:30 am – 12:00 am Mon-Thru
11:30 am – 1:00 am Sat
11 am – 10 pm Sun
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
Riverfronts are usually one of the most beautiful parts of towns, and the Mortensen Riverfront is definitely a site to see. The Plaza is a part of riverfront park system. Visitors enjoy grassy terraces and live events in green performance spaces. People use these stairs for various purposes – exercise, relaxation, people watching, and enjoying the boats. There are plenty of trails to stay active and walk or jog. You can take a boat tour to see the city from the water. Finally, you can come and take in a local festival here at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.
Connecticut Science Center
This is another great museum to spend an afternoon at. The museum spans for nine stories and has a theater. The venue covers 154,000 square feet. The entire family can have fun in the museum and enjoy kid-friendly exhibits. Visitors learn about space, healthy living, and environmental stewardship. Popular exhibits are Forces in Motion, Sight and Sound, and KidSpace.
$23.95 for adults
$16.95 for kids 3-17
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Harriet Beecher Stowe was a famous author, activist, and abolitionist. She is most known for writing Uncle Tom's Cabin. She lived in this house towards the endo of her life. One great feature – her house is located not too far from Mark Twain's house, so you can visit both. Harriet Beecher Stowe's house is a two-story brick building, preserved just like she left it. Visitors get to see how this inspirational woman lived and understand her views a lot better.
9:30 am to 5 pm everyday
2 pm – 5 pm Sundays
$16 for adults
$14 for students and seniors
10 for kids 5-16