The state capital of Connecticut is well worth a visit here are Things To Do In Hartford CT, despite being overshadowed by larger New England cities. Book lovers will have plenty to do in Hartford, as they can visit the homes of two American literary giants: Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The Wadsworth Atheneum houses a large and distinguished collection of American arts, and several other museums and historic homes contribute to the city’s cultural offerings at west hartford.
The Connecticut Science Center and the carousel in Bushnell Park will appeal to children. With our list of the top tourist attractions in Hartford, Connecticut, you can plan a trip that the entire family will enjoy.
List of 11 Things To Do In Hartford CT Today
1. Mark Twain’s House and Museum
In 1873, Samuel (Mark Twain) and Olivia “Livy” Clemens commissioned and moved into their new home in Hartford. The house was equipped with every modern convenience, some of which will be demonstrated during the tour of this three-story Victorian mansion. Louis C. Tiffany was one of four interior designers hired for the house, and you’ll notice some of the exotic influences that were popular at the time at west hartford.
Throughout the tour, you’ll hear engaging stories that reveal insights into both Samuel’s and Livy’s personalities, as well as the family’s somewhat eccentric habits. Because it was difficult for them to return to this house where their daughter had grown up after her death at mark twain house, the family sold it in 1903 at new haven.
Clemens, on the other hand, remembered Twain’s years in Hartford as the happiest and most productive of his life. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and several other of his best-known works here. The Victorian Gothic mansion has been designated a National Historic Landmark at West Hartford Center.
Hartford, Connecticut 351 Farmington Avenue New York
2. Wadsworth Atheneum
The Wadsworth Atheneum houses one of the finest collections of American art, particularly works from the Hudson River School. It is the oldest free public museum in the United States, and its impressive Gothic-style building houses over 50,000 works of art in connecticut history.
The European collection’s major highlights include Italian Baroque painting, including major works by Caravaggio, and Surrealist artists, including works by Salvador Dal, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, and René Magritte. The Impressionists are represented by works by Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and the museum continues its mission to support living artists by regularly adding contemporary works to its collection at hartford stage.
Among the 7,000 objects in its European Decorative Arts collection are ancient glass and bronzes, as well as an outstanding ceramics collection, particularly of Meissen, Vincennes, and Sèvres ware at Yale University.
The Cabinet of Art and Curiosity, inspired by Victorian collectors who dedicated rooms to their collections of art, technology, and natural curiosities, is perhaps the most engaging room. Over 200 objects from the European Decorative Arts collection are displayed in cabinets resembling those found in the home of a wealthy collector. They are unlabeled, allowing for a more personal and interactive experience, though you can learn more about each piece via a mobile tour or digital touch screens.
Hartford, Connecticut, 600 Main Street
3. Connecticut Science Center
Connecticut Science Center, the majority of the 168 exhibits in this hands-on science museum will appeal to both adults and children. Each section delves into a different aspect of the world around us, complete with kid-friendly DIY activities. They can build and test flying devices at Forces in Motion at new hartford, and they can race robots and invent with Legos at Invention Dimension.
Kids can feel hurricane-force winds and create their own weather forecasts using the interactive exhibits in Planet Earth. Sight and Sound, Exploring Space, Picture of Health, Energy City, and River of Life, with a marine touch tank that examines the Connecticut River and its creatures, are among the others.
250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, Connecticut
4. State Capitol
The High Victorian Gothic State Capitol, built in 1879 on Capitol Hill, overlooks Bushnell Memorial Park. It houses the State Senate Chamber, the State House of Representatives Hall, and the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and State Secretary. From the inlaid white and red Connecticut and Italian marble floors to the stained glass windows, the building is a National Historic Landmark with many beautiful features.
Guided and self-guided tours (ask for a tour brochure) include the Hall of Flags, the Connecticut Hall of Fame, which honors outstanding achievements by Connecticut residents, and the opportunity to watch the General Assembly proceedings from the public galleries when it is in session.
Hartford, Connecticut, 210 Capitol Avenue
5. Rose Garden in Elizabeth Park
Elizabeth Park Rose Garden, the country’s first municipal rose garden and the third-largest in the United States, was named after Elizabeth Pond and planted on 102 acres donated to the city by her husband, Charles H. Pond, in 1903. The garden now has over 15,000 plants, including 800 different varieties of roses.
These include hybrid tea, climbers, hybrid perpetual, floribunda, shrub, and pillar roses, both old and new varieties. They are in bloom throughout the summer, but the best time to visit is in late June and early July, when the ramblers that cover the arches are in full bloom. The park is open for ice skating in the winter.
Hartford, Connecticut, Prospect Avenue and Asylum Avenue
6. Bushnell Park & Carousel
Bushnell Park & Carousel, this 37-acre park adjacent to the Capitol grounds is known as America’s first public park. The Civil War Memorial, the Pump House Gallery, the Israel Putnam statue, and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch are all located here.
One of only three surviving Stein and Goldstein carousels, a 1914 Stein and Goldstein carousel with 48 hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots circling a Wurlitzer band organ, is one of the city’s most popular places to visit for families.
Tours of the park are available on the second Saturday of each month from May to October, and tours of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch are available on Thursdays at noon from May to October.
7. The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts is number seven on the list.
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts is Connecticut’s premier center for music and performance, with multiple performance spaces ranging from the magnificent 2,800-seat Mortensen Hall to the 900-seat Belding Theater.
A recent season included the Russian Ballet performing Swan Lake, Connecticut Lyric Opera’s Die Fledermaus, a forum on the history of the fight for racial justice, Banff Film Festival screenings, tributes to the Beatles and Aretha Franklin, The Blue Man Group, jazz singer Diana Krall, and Broadway shows Hamilton and My Fair Lady. Every season features over 350 events, including major Broadway tours.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra performs here on a regular basis, with concerts ranging from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to Shankar’s Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra. Mortensen Hall’s opulent 1930 Art Deco interior is crowned by a 187-by-40-foot oil painting, the nation’s largest hand-painted ceiling mural.
Hartford, Connecticut, 166 Capitol Avenue
8. Harriet Beecher Stowe Museum
The restored home of author Harriet Beecher Stowe, where she lived from 1873 to 1896, is located in Hartford’s Nook Farm neighborhood, near the home of fellow author Mark Twain. Stowe’s depiction of slavery in her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin made such an impact on the Abolitionist movement that Abraham Lincoln once credited her with sparking the Civil War.
The Gothic Revival cottage’s kitchen is based on the kitchen described in her book The American Woman’s Home. The house, which has a steep hip-roof, bay windows, and two side porches, is undergoing long-term restoration, but tours of the property are still available, and they include information about the process of restoring such a significant historic site.
The neighboring Katharine Seymour Day House, which was home to the author’s grandniece and is now the Stowe Center Research Library and the Stowe Center’s administrative offices, is also included.
Hartford, Connecticut, 77 Forest Street
9. Museum of the Connecticut Historical Society
The collections of the Connecticut Historical Society are housed in a Colonial Revival mansion that was once owned by inventor Curtis Veeder. The collections contain over 200,000 artifacts and images, as well as publications and manuscripts dating back to the 1600s, with over 500 of these displayed in interesting and often interactive exhibits.
Inn & Tavern Signs of Connecticut is a particularly interesting collection, the largest in the country, and other special exhibits include women’s suffrage, the home front, WWII propaganda posters, Victorian fashion, traditional folk artists, costumes from Hartford’s West Indian Community, and other themes in New England history and culture.
Hartford, Connecticut, 1 Elizabeth Street
10. the Old State House
The Old State House stands on the former site of the Hartford Convention and the first Amistad Trial. The decision reached here in the first of several trials was later upheld by courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which declared the slaves to be free and not the property of Spanish slave traders.
This National Historic Landmark was built in 1796 and is one of the country’s oldest state houses. Several interesting exhibits, paintings, and historical collections are on display. Some claim the structure is haunted. There are guided and self-guided tours available.
Hartford, Connecticut, 800 Main Street
11. Relax in Riverside Parks
The Connecticut River runs through downtown Hartford, and four public parks are connected by riverwalks along its banks. Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, with a riverfront stage and 2,500-person capacity grassy terraces, is at the heart of these. During the annual Riverfront Asian Festival, this is the best place to watch the Dragon Boat races.
Riverside Park, located north of downtown, features miles of walking trails, Riverfront Rowing, a community rowing program, as well as a boat launch, fishing access, picnic tables, and a playground.
Charter Oak Landing, located south of the center, also has picnic areas, a boat launch, a playground, and ballfields. The Charter Oak Bridge spans the river to East Hartford and Great River Park, which features a 350-seat amphitheater in an outdoor performance area.
FAQs about Things To Do In Hartford CT
Is it worthwhile to travel to Hartford, Connecticut?
The state capital of Connecticut is well worth a visit, despite being overshadowed by larger New England cities. Book lovers will have plenty to do in Hartford, as they can visit the homes of two American literary giants: Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Is Hartford, Connecticut a nice place?
When it comes to quality of life, the Hartford area ranks higher, ranking 12th among cities in the U.S. News Quality of Life Index. This study looked at a variety of factors such as crime, health care, education, and average commute time.
Is Hartford, Connecticut safe?
Hartford remains one of the least safe cities in the country. What exactly is this? Visitors to Hartford should be aware that there are daylight robberies in supposedly safe areas of the city and that people have reported attacks downtown, but if you remain vigilant, you should be fine.
When is the most ideal time to visit Connecticut?
Connecticut is best visited in late spring, from May to June, or in early fall, from September to October. Connecticut has generally pleasant weather that is similar to the rest of New England. In the winter, there are a few heatwaves and heavy snowfall.