Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, which is a state in the United States of America. Hartford is the home to the best of every good thing.
In it are extraordinary museums, great parks, upscale restaurants, wedding venues, performing arts theatre and several attraction spots.
Some of the stunning places you will get to see when you visit Hartford include the Wadsworth Atheneum (which one of the oldest art museums in the US), and the State Capitol house.
You will also get to visit Mark Twain House and Museum, the carousel in Bushnell Park and the Connecticut Science Centre.
Don’t forget to take a stroll through the Rose Garden that is in Elizabeth Park. You will fall in love with Hartford before you leave the city.
Let’s explore some fun things to do in Hartford.
Things to Do in Hartford, CT.
1. The Bushnell Performing Arts CentreLocated on the Capitol Avenue, the Bushnell Performing Arts Centre is well known performing arts venue in Hartford.
It was formerly known as the Bushnell Memorial Hall before it was renamed. As you must have rightly guessed, it was named after Horace Bushnell who was highly respected Reverend and a 19th-century intellectual.
It was his daughter Dotha Bushnell Hillyer who envisioned and constructed this center during the Great Depression between 1929 and 1930. She built the Center in memory of her father.
In the Center, you will find so many theatres. Some of which are Maxwell M. and Ruth R. Belding Theatre and the Mortensen Hall (the very first one).
Some of the performances rendered by these theatres include those by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
You can enroll in any of the community outreach programs and educational programs offered by the center.
Amazing programs like Passport to the Arts and iQuilt. You can also take your partner out on a romantic date to watch a performance at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center.
Address: 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.
2. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a U.S. National Landmark and also a historic museum which is located on Forest Street, it makes one of Hartford CT attractions.
The building housing this Museum was where the author of the 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” lived. Her name is Harriet Beecher Stowe and she lived in that house from 1873 till the time she died in 1896.
It is a two-story brick house built in the cottage style. It is about 5,000 square feet in length, painted Gray and decorated with both gables and dormers.
The house is just adjacent to Mark Twain’s House.
Today, this house is now a center that contains original objects from the family. You will also find documents and letters written by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
There is a research library in the Center and a carriage house that serves as the visitors center. The center is opened daily and the building is listed under the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Address: 77 Forest Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
3. Bushnell Park
Bushnell Park was an idea that was birthed by Reverend Horace Bushnell. He aimed at giving the people of Hartford a green open space.
Later on in the 19th century, his plan was realized. Today, this park which covers over 50 acres of land is the oldest public-funded park in the United States.
Some of the things the Park features include a pond, a performance pavilions, paths, groups of trees, the Corning Fountain and a carousel.
You will also find memorials in the park-like Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch which is set up in remembrance of the men and women that fought in the American Civil War.
Today, this park, which should be on your list of things to do in Hartford, is listed under the US National Register as one the Historic Places in the United States.
The park plays host to fun events like festivals, concerts and other activities. Visit their site to know more about these events.
4. Old State House
One of the oldest buildings in Hartford, the Old State House is the first public building that was designed by Charles Bulfinch. This proudly makes one of Hartford CT attractions.
This house, which was completed in 1796 has been used as a public building in one form or another since its completion to date.
Today, the building is managed by an office of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Notwithstanding that the building is a historic one, in itself, it is remarkable as it is a mixture of several architectural styles.
You will notice these architectural style changes if you move from the Federal exterior to the Victorian Representative’s chamber and from there, the Colonial Revival Courtroom.
Today, it is regarded as a National Historic Landmark, and in this landmark, you will find a range of exhibits like the Joseph Steward museum of curiosities.
You will also find other historic rooms in the building all of which display the history of Connecticut.
There is someone stationed in the building who will be willing to give you an organized tour around the house.
You will also find the farmers’ market in the plaza which is just outside the building. A visit to the building is truly one of the best things to do in Hartford CT.
Address: 800 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
5. Bear’s Smokehouse
Now, this is no place for a vegetarian.
All their meats are delicately smoked in fragrant woods like hickory, rubbed to perfection with nice species before it is then barbecued until it is charred on the outside and one with the inside very pink and free from the bones.
The name of the Chef in the house is Chef Jamie McDonald. Chef Jamie has perfected his art with meat that he is called “The bear”.
Every act is deliberate, from the choice of meat to the wood and the spices, he does all with dexterity.
On the menu, you will find all kinds of meat like pork, beef, chicken, Turkey, beef, pork, briskets, sausages and lots more.
The restaurant is located on a spot that was once a garage. You will find a sink at the exist where you can wash off the sauce off your hands and face.
Address: 89 Arch St. Hartford, Connecticut.
6. Carbone’s Ristorante
A very refined establishment, Carbone’s Ristorante has all the flare you need if you desire to impress someone dear to you.
In the restaurant you will find elegant Old World décor and white tablecloths. Their service is impeccable, with their servers obeying “the customer comes first” principle.
The dishes they serve are authentic but purely Italian food. Most of them are 21st-century dishes.
This restaurant is owned and operated by the Carbone family. The eatery is 75 years old and is operated currently by the third generation since its inception. You may stumble on the mayor or a celebrity while you are there because their dishes are loved by the elites.
There is also an option of having any of their dishes, from fresh salads to flaming desserts to be prepared on your table.
You will truly love the experience you will get by eating at the Carbone’s Ristorante.
Address: 588 Franklin Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.
7. The Mark Twain House and Museum.
The Mark Twain House and Museum is situated at the very house that the great Samuel Longiorne Clemens (popular known as Mark Twain) lived and worked between 1874 and 1891.
Though this house wasn’t the first house he lived (he onceonce lived in Hannibal, Missouri. You will find this house on Farmington Avenue.
This house is reverence because it in here that he wrote his most famous books like “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and the “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and some other of his popular works.
The house is built using the Victorian Gothic style of architecture between 1873 and 1874. The number of rooms in the house is 19.
In 2003, the museum was converted into a museum which features permanent exhibits. Through these exhibits, you will learn a lot about the life of this great author.
This is one of the fun things to do in Hartford and you should consider adding this to your checklist during your visit to Hartford.
Address: 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.
8. Dish Bar and Grill
Situated in the former Sage-Allen Department Store just in downtown Hartford, this award-winning restaurant makes some of the best dishes in the city.
Some of the dishes it serves include Sepe Farm Lamb Meatloaf, Pan-fried Lobster Schnitzel, Pretzel Dusted Dayboat Calamari and Rigatoni Bolognese.
It also serves top of the line global wines, beers, cocktail spirits.
Bar and Grill are open on Saturday for dinners only while on Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.
Address: 900 Main St, Hartford, Connecticut.
9. Division West Bistro and Bar
Located in the West Division of Hartford, Division West Bistro and Bar serves some of the best casual wines and beers.
The setting of the restaurant is aimed at giving the customer topmost relaxation. They have a lunch and dinner menu, and a pre-fixed menu on Sunday all of which contain fine delicacies.
Division West Bistro and Bar is open from Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. On Sunday, they serve only dinner.
Address: 36 LaSalle Rd, West Hartford, Connecticut.
10. Morgensen Riverfront Plaza
A very popular park situated right in downtown Hartford, Mortensen Riverfront is another place to add in your list of things to do in Hartford.
The plaza is at the Center of the Riverfront Park. The center has a very large stage close to the river which is used in hosting of performances.
The stage also has a sitting auditorium covered with terraces. Its sitting capacity is up to 2,500 persons.
The stairs of the plaza is also an ideal spot for vigorous exercise. You can also relax in them as you watch the boats sail on the river.
It is also at this place that the annual Dragon boat festival holds. Most boat tour companies take off from this point and from there to other cool places in Hartford.
You can also take a hike on the many trails along the river or walk across the Founders Bridge which leads towards the East of Hartford. This is one of Hartford CT attractions and should make your list of what to do in Hartford CT.
Address: 50 Columbus Boulevard 1st Floor, Hartford, Connecticut.
11. Museum of Connecticut History
The museum of Connecticut History can be found inside a 1910 Historic building which was carefully restored, it is today one of Hartford CT attractions and you should consider visiting here during your trip to Hartford.
In this building, you will also find the Supreme Court and the State Library.
The aim of The Museum of Connecticut History is to grow through several permanent and temporary exhibits of the state’s industrial, military and governmental history.
When you get to the Museum, you will be taken first to the Museum hall which displays the portraits of the former Governors of the state of Connecticut.
In the museum hall, you will see boxes that display important historical documents. An example of this document is the state’s 1662 original Royal Charter.
You will also find important collections like Connecticut collections containing uniforms, portraits, flags, weapons and so many other objects that have historical value.
There is also the Colt Firearms Collection, Mitchelson Coin Collection, and a lot of other collections. The admission into this museum is free.
Address: 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.
12. Feng Chophouse
Feng Chophouse is one of the best spots for dining in Hartford. Previously known as Feng Asian Bistro, you will find this restaurant in the downtown of Hartford.
Apart from their great wine list, Feng Chophouse specializes in Southeast Asian-Fusion cuisine with Japanese dishes such as nigiri, omakase sushi, edamame e.t.c. You will also love their New American dishes.
Feng Chophouse is open for dinners on Saturdays, while from Monday to Friday, the serve lunch and dinner.
Address: 93 Asylum St, Hartford, Connecticut.
13. Francesco’s Ristorante
A place worthy of your list of things to do in Hartford, Francesco’s Ristorante brings the taste of Italy down to the very heart of Hartford.
You will love their seasonal menu which comprises of top-class dishes. Also, they have an excellent selection of wine, cocktails, craft beers and spirit.
Francesco’s Ristorante is open for dinners on Saturdays while from Monday to Friday, they serve lunch and dinner.
Address: 318 Franklin Ave, Hartford, Connecticut.
14. Connecticut Historical SocietyThis is a three-in-one package, the Connecticut Historical Society has a museum, a library, and you will also find the Edgar F. Waterman Research Centre.
A visit to the Connecticut Historical Society will expose you to learning so much about the culture, people and history of Connecticut.
It is one of the long-standing society in the world and was established in 1825. This society can be located in a renovated 1928 Colonial Revival building.
This building which was formerly a residential home now contains over 4 million different items. You will find items in areas like furniture, clothing, textiles, manuscript, prints, diaries, photos, children books and so many other tools.
You will find a lot of permanent exhibits on display, one of which shows a concise overview of the history of Connecticut in the last 400 years.
You will also see over 500 historic images, documents and objects that are displayed in the museum.
Some of these exhibitions were gotten from the times of the Quinnetukut who are the original inhabitants, while some are from contemporary times.
Address: 1 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
15. TheaterWorks – City Arts on Pearl
Located in downtown Harford at the Bushnell Towers and Plaza in the Pearl Street, TheaterWorks is a professional theatre company that was founded in the year 1985.
The number of performances that this group produces in each season is about 200. They have produced over 130 plays of which most of them are contemporary dramas.
The place where these performances are held in the 1927 Art Deco Building. This historic building with Moorish Revival details was bought by the company in 1994.
Today, that old building has been renovated and is called the City Arts on Pearl. You will find galleries, rehearsal rooms, office spaces and storage spaces in this building.
Check out also the intimate theatre which has a seating capacity of 195 people right in the basement of the building.
Address: Bushnell Towers and Plaza, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
16. Hartford StageThe Hartford Stage, a well-known theatre, which is located on Church Street, Hartford.
This theatre was founded 52 years ago and here, you will see revivals of classic musicals and plays. You will also love the educational outreach programs that they offer.
Some of these programs include theatre classes for both adults and children, students’ matinee performances, after school programs, and lots more.
The theatre also plays host to so many important events like Sunday Afternoon Discussion, and AfterWords Discussion. After these performances, you are free to mingle with the cast members.
There are also performances specially tailored for those whose hearing or vision are impaired.
Address: 50 Church Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
A highly placed restaurant in Hartford, On20 not only serves you with very delicious food, but it also offers a wonderful view of the river that is below the 20th good of One State Street.
There is no better place for a romantic date or business lunch than this. You will love the interior design of the restaurant.
The name of the Executive Chef of the house is Chef Jeffery Lizotte. He is a young trained chef skilled in turning locally sourced ingredients into spectacular dishes.
The ingredients used in making their dishes are gotten fresh and daily from his network of farmers and food producers.
You will find the menu innovative, colorful, and inspirational. His chowder comes with pancetta crumble, dill oil, orange, and creamy fennel. You will get a sense of the zeal of a youth in his meal.
Get a taste of Chef Jeffery’s specials before living Hartford and if you are going for a business lunch, I suggest you select Lunch Prix Fixe which is quite affordable.
Address: 400 Columbus Blvd, “One State Street”, Hartford, Connecticut.
18. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is an art museum which is located on Main Street, Hartford.
It was founded in 1842, and later on, in 1844 it was opened. Today, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is regarded as one of the oldest art museums in the United States.
It is the museum, you will find among other collections, works by contemporary artists, American Impressionist paintings, and landscapes by members of the Hudson River school.
You will also find an extensive collection of French impressionist paintings, modernist artworks, and even more.
A look at the American decorative arts and furniture all features in this museum will get you to see why visiting the museum is one of the fun things to do in Hartford CT.
The museum sits on a 196,000 square feet land, and this makes it one of the largest museums in the whole of Connecticut.
It is worth noting that it is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. Get engaged with any of their menu educational programs currently going on during your visit to the city.
Address: 600 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
19. Elizabeth Park
Located on Asylum Avenue, Elizabeth Park is a city park that sits on 102 acres of land.
The previous owner of this land was Charles M. Pond and he gave the land to the City of Hartford in 1894. This park is named after his wife Elizabeth Pond.
Amongst the several places in the Park that will interest you, is the Rose Garden.
The Rose Garden in Elizabeth Park is the oldest in the US. Elizabeth’s Rose Garden has more than 15,000 rose brushes which contains about 800 varieties of roses.
You will also find in the Park pathways, a pond, tennis courts, lawns, and a greenhouse. Your kids are going to love it, so include visiting the Rose Garden on the list of things to do in Harford.
Address: 1561 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford.
20. Connecticut State Capitol
The Connecticut State Capitol building is the place where the office of the State Governor is located. It is also where the Connecticut General Assembly, the Connecticut State Senate, and the House of Representatives meet.
The building which is the Connecticut State Capitol building was designed using the Eastlake Movement Style and constructed using marble and granite.
It was opened in the year 1871, thus, it is no surprise that is listed as a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
You will find on the main floor, collections of historic artifacts, of which some of them are related to what happened during the Civil War.
You are free to visit the Capitol, yea. Self guided tour is allowed, but you can ask for a one-hour guided tour which is given only on Mondays to Friday.
There are also provisions for private group tours and school tours. So, let this also be on your list of fun things to do in Hartford CT.
Address: 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.
21. Connecticut Science Center
The Connecticut Science Center, which was opened in the year 2009 is a science museum and theatre housed in a nine-story building.
It is a 154,000 square foot facility located on Columbus Boulevard just along the Connecticut River, right in Hartford.
Visiting the Connecticut Science Center is one of the things to do in Harford amongst other things. You will find galleries like visual exhibits, audio-tactile etc all of which are interactive and engaging.
You will love the Exploring Space gallery. This gallery allows you to see the moon craters and the moon rock. It will also aid you to grasp the concept of a Black Hole.
There is also the River of Life which will show you how important the Connecticut River is.
There is also the Picture of Health galleries which aims at educating the visitor on good and bad health habits.
You kids will also love the Sight and Sound Experience Gallery right there in the center which offers a harmonious blend of science, art and music.
Address: 250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, Connecticut.
22. Polish National Home.You don’t need to come from Poland to visit the Polish National Home. The Polish National home is an 85-year-old social club for people who are in the Polish-American Community.
It is situated in an Art Deco building and it has a great restaurant that serves some of the best Polish foods.
Some of these Polish dishes include stuffed cabbage rolls, dumplings stuffed with potato, some fresh Golabki, cheese, cabbage and Pierogis.
If you are curious and eager to know what polish food tastes like, then you are invited. You will also get to meet friendly and warm people in the restaurant.
The Art Deco building has several offices, bars, ballrooms and a dining room. You can only rent the facility if you are a member of the club and it cost only $25 per year to be a member.
You will be given discounts by the restaurant and also allowed to participate in their special events and celebration once you are a member.
Address: 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Pulaski Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.
Toasted sells warm, tasty, toasted sandwiches, you will also see the Toasted’s shiny red truck as you get into Hartford.
Today, you can find their store on Asylum Street. There, you can get these tasty sandwiches that are so addictive.
In their bid to offer more satisfaction to their customers, Toasted allows you to design your sandwich combination.
You can choose from five cheese, three types of bread, 12 types of meat, 19 sauces, and five veggies.
After you are done selecting, they press the sandwich and then toast it until the cheese melts. The result is a nice, crunchy and delicious bread.
The bread they serve is freshly baked, with the cheeses, veggies, and meat fresh cut while you wait. You will after this experience never ask for a cold sandwich again.
Address: 188 Asylum St., Hartford Connecticut.
24. Nixs Hartford
Nixs Hartford is the place where the people of Hartford go for after-work cocktails. It is located in downtown Hartford on Front Street.
Nixs Hartford is not only spacious, but it is also lively as they have a house DJ who plays almost every day. You will be wowed by the collection of drinks in their big bar.
You will also find their lounge very relaxing. Concerning dishes, Nixs specializes in special local meals like crabs, lobsters, very fresh oysters and shrimps.
The name of the Chef in the house is Al Soto. Chef Al is skilled in using unexpected ingredients and combinations in making excellent seafood dishes.
Put this place too on your checklist of what to do in Hartford, for you will love his dishes.
Address: 40 Front Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
25. Bin 228 Wine Bar
One of the best wine bars in Hartford, Bin 228 Wine Bar serves their very fine wine alongside a delicious Italian dish.
Loved by wine connoisseurs and foodies, Bin 228 Wine Bar has in their employ hospitable waiters who are skilled in customer relations.
All dishes are made by their chef from locally sourced ingredients. Some of these dishes include lamb and beef meatballs, artisanal cheese and charcuterie platters, risotto, pulled pork and braised short ribs.
You will find their 55 wine list interesting. Bin 228 Wine Bar is open for dinner only on Saturdays while from Monday to Friday they serve both lunch and dinner.
Address: 228 Pearl St, Hartford, Connecticut.
One of the restaurants that serve fresh and delicious meal, every dish served by Fireboc was gotten from local farms and food producers
Their menu is strictly seasonal and can be made using locally sourced produce. Thus, it is not bad to say that it is straight from the farm to the cooking table.
The name of the Chef in the house is Chef Ed Jones who out of his ingenuity and expert skills creates dishes that are so delightful.
You will love the setting of the restaurant, for it is both warm and inviting. Its interiors are designed with original beams on its ceiling and exposed brick on the walls.
You will also find great artworks on the restaurant walls made by local artists, all of which make the restaurant peaceful.
You will love the way they organize the eggs they serve, and normally, you are asked to choose alongside the egg, salmon cured with citrus and presented with arugula or you can have the egg with smoked bacon with piquillo peppers and garlic braised kale.
Do add a visit to this place on your list of things to do in Hartford Connecticut, you won’t regret it.
Address: 539 Broad Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
27. Trumbull Kitchen
Trumbull Kitchen is a modern, upscale, luxurious but cool restaurant. The interior decor is lit.
The walls of the restaurant are covered with soft custom-made leather and the lighting set up is talk-of-the-town.
It is truly a great place to hold an intimate dinner for two or a business lunch. The name of the Executive Chef in the house is Chef Chris Torla, a highly experienced chef.
He knows how to play around with locally sourced ingredient which he gets from local farmers and food producers to create an exquisite food which is loved by all.
You will love the way he mixes the flavors in his food. Trumbull Kitchen also has a great collection of some of the best wines and craft beers.
A taste of their dishes with a nice wine will take your mind off so many worries.
Address: 150 Trumbull Street, Hartford, Connecticut.
28. Charter Oak Landing ParkThe Charter Oak Landing Park is one of the most frequented parks by those who wish to take a boat tour of the river and those who want to take a trip along the bank in their boat.
It is also a wonderful place for picnicking and fishing, playing with your dog, taking a hike, or even a jog.
There is a lovely playground right there on the beach and your kids are going to love it.
You will also find a pavilion which has a shade, and along the park trails, you will find so many benches where you can relax, and enjoy the beauty.
If you need a quite place to think, then I suggested you include this peaceful place in your list of things to do in Hartford Connecticut.
29. 50 Elm Cafe and Spirits
50 Elm Cafe and Spirits boasts of a creative menu in which you will find all of the best combinations of Caribbean and South American cuisine.
You will also find the list of the tropical-inspired cocktails of this newly added restaurant quite lovable.
The 50 Elm Cafe and Spirits is located on the South Downtown neighborhood in Hartford.
Some of the dishes they serve include Jamaican callaloo, Cuban black bean soup, Columbian empanadas, Puerto Rican shrimp moving and Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa.
Under their signature dishes, you will find Jamaican braised oxtail stew, and Peruvian ceviche and jalea mixta.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Friday. On Saturday, they offer only dinner.
Address: 50 Elm St, Hartford, Connecticut.
30. Artisan Restaurant, Tavern and Garden
Artisan Restaurant, Tavern and Garden is an award-winning restaurant located on the west side of Hartford.
It offers an unforgettable experience with their mind-blowing dishes. You can find the restaurant in the heart of the Blue Back Square which is at the Delamar Hotel.
What’s better than eating delicious food in a nicely decorated restaurant?
You will love the 1,500 square foot outdoor garden which is decorated with hanging globes. This, and soft music played in the background makes the garden so romantic.
The name of the Executive Chef and Partner is Frederic Kieffer and some of the dishes he prepares includes Baked Vegan Tian, Royal Shrimp, Seafood Chowder and so on
It is opened seven days a week for dinner, lunch, and breakfast.
Address: 1 Memorial Rd, West Hartford, Connecticut.
31. Arugula Bistro
Opened in the year 1996 in the west of Hartford, a visit to Arugula Bistro is truly one of the best things to do in Hartford CT.
All the dishes served by this restaurant are made from locally sourced ingredients. Each of their dishes is made from scratch to perfection. In their menu, you will find Mediterranean inspired dishes, Northern Italian, Middle Eastern and French dishes.
You will also love their fully serviced bar which contains the best collections of craft beers, handcrafted cocktails and top-shelf spirits. Arugula Bistro is open from Tuesday to Saturday and in those days, they offer only lunch and dinner.
Address: 953 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, Connecticut.
32. Cora Cora Restaurant
Cora Cora Restaurant is one of the best places in the city to-go-to when it comes to Peruvian Cusine.
Located in Shield Street Plaza, this eatery has a casual both relaxing interior design. You will love the romantic and intimate atmosphere there.
Some of the dishes it serves includes Empanadas, Cora Tamal Criollo, Saltado de Rollo, Chaufa de Pollo and Cora Yuca Rellena. There are vegetarian option in the menu.
They also have a nice collection of wine, imported craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and top-shelf spirits. Cora Cora Restaurant is open every day of the week and serves both lunch and dinner.
Address: 162 Shield St, West Hartford, 06110.
Plan a Trip to Hartford
I will be missing it if I fail to point out that the sight-seeing spots in Hartford are world-class and with so much significance, these will bring you to love your stay in this city.
Start planning your trip today! You can pin this guide of things to do in Hartford CT while making your checklist based on your interest in what you will like to see during your visit.
Go to Hartford, go on that vacation!