Hartford

32 Best & Fun Things to Do in Hartford (CT)

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Hartford is the best spot in Connecticut for tourists and visitors to enjoy various tourist attractions available. Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, in the United States of America.

Hartford offers extraordinary museums, upscale restaurants, great parks, wedding centers, performing arts theatre, and several tourist attraction spots.

Some of the amazing places you should see in Hartford include the Wadsworth Atheneum, Mark Twain House, the carousel in Bushnell Park, the Connecticut Science Centre, and the State Capitol house.

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Even if you just take a walk in the Rose Garden that’s in Elizabeth Park, you’ll surely fall in love with Hartford before your vacation is over.

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Let’s explore a checklist of the best and most fun things you can do during your vacation in Hartford.

Things to Do in Hartford, CT

1. The Bushnell Performing Arts Center

The Bushnell Performing Arts Center is a must site for art lovers that visit Hartford.

You will find so many theaters in the center including the Mortensen Hall, Maxwell M., and Ruth R. Belding Theatre.

Depending on the time of your vacation, you might watch performances from these theaters including the  Hartford Symphony Orchestra performance.

You can also enroll in any of the outreach or educational programs such as the Hartford Symphony Orchestra hosted by the Bushnell Performing Arts Center.

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You and your partner can also go out on a romantic date to the Bushnell Performing Arts Center to watch an amazing performance.

2. The Mark Twain House and Museum

For all Mark Twain lovers, this should be on the top list of places to go during your vacation at Hartford.

The Mark Twain House and Museum can be found at the great Samuel Longiorne Clemen’s house.

The Mark Twain House is built using the Victorian Gothic style of architecture in the year 1873 to 1874.  This house has about 19 rooms.

This house is a popular attraction because here famous books like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer were written.

The Mark Twain House was later converted into a museum, exhibiting features about the life of this great author.

3. Dish Bar and Grill

For all food lovers, Dish Bar and Grill is a must to visit during your vacation in Hartford.

This award-winning restaurant serves the best delicacies dish including Sepe Farm Lamb Meatloaf, Pan-fried Lobster Schnitzel, Pretzel Dusted Dayboat Calamari, and Rigatoni Bolognese.   

The Dish Bar and Grill is open on Saturday for dinners only while on Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.

4. Division West Bistro and Bar

This is another favorite restaurant for visitors in Hartford aimed at giving visitors and tourists top-notch relaxation and satisfaction.

They have different menu options which are the Lunch menu, Dinner menu, and Pre-fixed Sunday menu; all these menus contain delicious delicacies you’ll love to try. 

Division West Bistro and Bar is open from Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner while on Sunday they serve only dinner.

5. Morgensen Riverfront Plaza

Morgensen Riverfront Plaza should be one of the places you should visit in Hartford and it’s very close to the popular Riverfront Park.

You can stay on the stairs of the plaza and do some exercises or just relax while staring at the boats sailing on the river.

You can also attend the annual Dragon boast festival at the plaza or you could take a hike on the many trails along the river.

This is one of Hartford’s city attractions and should be on your list of best places in Hartford CT.

 6. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a U.S. National Landmark and a historic museum, making it one of Hartford’s tourist attractions.

The center is a 5,000 square feet, two-story brick house, painted gray and built in the cottage style.

The house is just adjacent to Mark Twain’s House and Museum.

You can go to this center to see objects belonging to the family, Harriet Beecher Stowe documents, and letters.

The center also has a research library and carriage house for visitors and tourists.

7. Bushnell Park

Bushnell Park is a large open space of over 50 acres and the oldest publicly funded park in the United States.

This park is listed on the US National Register as one of the Historic Places in the United States.

The park comprises a pond, a group of trees, a carousel, the Corning fountain, and a performance pavilion.

Taking a walk through the park, you’ll find memorials that were set up for men and women that fought during the American Civil War.

You could attend fun events like festivals, concerts, and other activities held at the park.

8. Old State House

The Old State House is the first public building and one of the oldest buildings in Hartford, making it a must place to visit whenever you come to Hartford to get the full experience.

The building itself is a mixture of architectural styles from the Federal exterior to the Victorian Representative’s chamber to the Colonial Revival Courtroom.

It is regarded as a National History Landmark, and here, you can find Joseph Steward’s museum of curiosities and other historic rooms in the building.

There is a stationed tour guide in the building if you want an organized tour around the house.

 9. Bear’s Smokehouse

This is for all the meat lovers visitors and tourists in Hartford. 

On the offered menu, you can order different types of meat like pork, beef, chicken, turkey, briskets, sausages, and lots more.

The meat offered is free from bones, smoked in fragrant woods, and marinated with spices before it is barbecued until ready.

Their current chef has so perfected his art with meat that he has been named “the bear”.

This restaurant is on a spot that was a garage and there’s a sink just by the exit to wash your hands and faces.

10. Carbone’s Ristorante

This is a very refined restaurant that you can take your partner or crush to when you visit Hartford for a vacation.

This restaurant is owned by the Carbone family and it runs by the “the customer comes first” principle.

Their menu offers 21st-century authentic delicacies but purely Italian food, and side options including fresh salads and deserts.

You may even meet the mayor or a celebrity there because this low-key spot is very popular for elites and high-profile individuals.

You will truly have an unforgettable experience you will get by eating at Carbone’s Ristorante.

11. Museum of Connecticut History

This museum is inside a 1910 historic building and it’s one of Hartford’s tourist attractions. So it should be a place you should visit for a complete experience in Hartford.

The Supreme Court and State Library can be found in this building also.

When you go to the museum, you will see a display of the past governors of Connecticut, collections containing uniforms, flags, weapons, and other exhibits on the state’s industrial, military and governmental history.

You will also see boxes that display important historical documents such as the state’s 1662 original Royal Charter, the Colt Firearms Collection, Mitchelson Coin Collection, and a lot of other collections.

 12. Feng Chophouse

Feng Chophouse is one of the best spots for you to dine in downtown Hartford.

Feng Chophouse’s menu offers great wine, New American dishes, Southeast Asian-Fusion cuisine, and Japanese dishes like nigiri, omakase sushi, and edamame.

Feng Chophouse is open for dinners only on Saturdays, while from Monday to Friday they serve both lunch and dinner.

 13. Francesco’s Ristorante and Pizzeria

If you love Italian food, then Francesco’s Ristorante should be on your checklist of places to visit in Hartford.

This restaurant brings the taste of Italy into every dish in the heart of Hartford.

Their menu offers excellent wine, cocktails, craft beers, spirit, and top-class dishes.

Francesco’s Ristorante is open for dinners only on Saturdays while from Monday to Friday,you can get lunch and dinner.

14. Connecticut Historical Society

The Connecticut Historical Society has a museum, a library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Centre.

If you are interested in learning about the culture and history of Connecticut, just pay this Historical Society a visit when you come to Hartford.

This building contains furniture, clothing, textiles, manuscript, prints, diaries, photos, and children’s books that are displayed in the museum.

You will see exhibits, images, documents, and objects on display that show the history of Connecticut that was gotten from contemporary times and Quinnetukut time. 

 15. TheaterWorks – City Arts on Pearl

TheaterWorks is a professional theatre company in downtown Hartford that you can visit during your vacation stay.

You can see the galleries, rehearsal rooms, office spaces, and storage spaces in this building that is called the City Arts on Pearl.

You can also see the intimate theater at the base of the building with a seating capacity of 195 people.

16. Hartford Stage

The Hartford Stage is a well-known theatre located on Church Street and a great place to visit in Hartford.

In this theater, you will see retellings of classical musicals and plays or you could participate in the educational outreach program offered.

After these performances, you can mingle with the cast and actors at the theater.

You could also attend major events hosted by the theater such as Sunday Afternoon Discussion, and AfterWords Discussion.

The theater also offers performances suitable for those with hearing or vision issues.

17. On20

This is a highly placed restaurant in Hartford, On20 offers delicious food and wonderful view of the river. 

You can visit here for a romantic date or a purely business lunch.

In this restaurant, locally sourced ingredients from farmers and food producers are turned into spectacular dishes.

You have to get a taste of the delicacies offered here before leaving Hartford.

18. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is one of the oldest art museums in the United States and is located on Main Street, Hartford.

You’ll see collections of works by contemporary artists, American Impressionist paintings, French impressionist paintings, modernist artworks,  and landscapes by members of the Hudson River school.

You could participate in any of their educational programs during your visits.

19. Elizabeth Park

Elizabeth Park is a city park with over 102 acres on Asylum Avenue, Hartford.

You will definitely be interested in the Rose Garden located in the park.

The Rose Garden is the oldest rose garden in the U.S with over 800 varieties of roses and more than 15,000 rose bushes.

You will also see the Park pathway,  a pond, tennis courts, lawns, and a greenhouse for picnics for you and your family.

20. Connecticut State Capitol

The Connecticut State Capitol building is where the office of the State Governor is located and you are free to visit during your stay in Hartford.

The Connecticut General Assembly, the Connecticut State Senate, and the House of Representatives also have their meetings here.

You can join a tour group which is only available from Monday to Friday and you’ll see historical artifacts and some are related to what happened in the Civil War.

So, this should also be on your list of the best things to do in Hartford CT.

21. Connecticut Science Center

The Connecticut Science Center is a science museum and theatre housed inside a nine-story building.

Visiting the science center is one of the engaging things to do in Hartford. You’ll see gallery-like visual exhibits that are interesting and engaging.

You can visit the Exploring safe gallery, which has moon craters and rock, allowing you to picture the Blackhole concept.

Other galleries include River of Life, Picture of Health, and Sight and Sound Experience Gallery offering a blend of science, music, and art.

22. Polish National Home.

The Polish National home is an 85-year-old social club and restaurant for people who are in the Polish-American Community.

If you are interested in polish dishes, then you could visit here because they offer Polish dishes including stuffed cabbage rolls, dumplings stuffed with potato, some fresh Golabki, cheese, cabbage, and Pierogis.

Once you are a member, you will be given discounts by the restaurant and also allowed to participate in their special events and celebration.

23. Toasted

Toasted sells warm, tasty, toasted sandwiches, that you would have to eat once you get into Hartford.

Their menu offers addictive tasty sandwiches with different options such as five cheese, three types of bread, 12 types of meat, 19 sauces, and five veggies.

The bread they serve is freshly baked, while the cheeses, veggies, and meat are freshly cut while you wait for your sandwich.

This will be an unforgettable experience for you during your stay in Hartford. 

24. Nixs Hartford

Nixs Hartford is the place to go-to for after-work cocktails and chill in downtown Hartford. 

Nixs Hartford is spacious and has a lively house DJ who plays every day.

You’ll find the environment comfortable and they specialize in local dishes such as crabs, lobsters, very fresh oysters, and shrimps.

This should be on your checklist of what to do in Hartford, for you will love the dishes and drinks collection.

25. Bin 228 Wine Bar

Bin 228 bar is one of the best wine bars in Hartford and they also offer delicious Italian dishes.

You will love the dishes made from locally sourced ingredients which include lamb and beef meatballs, artisanal cheese and charcuterie platters, risotto, pulled pork, and braised short ribs.

Bin 228 Wine Bar is open from Monday to Friday they serve both lunch and dinner while on Saturdays they serve only dinner.

26. Firebox

Firebox serves fresh and delicious meals gotten from local farms and food producers.

Their menu is mainly seasonal and can be made using locally sourced produce. 

You will love the setting, artwork, and interior design of the restaurant, for it is both warm and inviting.

Do and add a visit to this place on your list of best things to do in Hartford Connecticut. 

27. Trumbull Kitchen

Trumbull Kitchen is a modern, luxurious, cool restaurant. 

You can have an intimate dinner or a business lunch here during your stay.

You will love the food, wine, and craft beers served at these restaurants.

A taste of their delicious dishes with a nice wine might just be the highlight of your vacation in Hartford.

28. Charter Oak Landing Park

The Charter Oak Landing Park is a popular park for those who wish to take a boat tour of the river or a trip along the bank in their boat.

You can also come here for picnicking and fishing, playing with your dog, taking a hike, or even a jog.

There is also a playground in case you are coming with your children.

If you need a quiet place to relax, then you should include this peaceful place in your list of places to go to in Hartford Connecticut.

29. 50 Elm Cafe and Spirits

50 Elm Cafe and Spirits offers a creative menu with the best combinations of Caribbean and South American cuisine including Jamaican callaloo, Cuban black bean soup, Columbian empanadas,  Puerto Rican shrimp moving, and Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa.

You would love their signature dishes such as Jamaican braised oxtail stew, Peruvian ceviche, and jalea mixta.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Friday. 

30. Artisan Restaurant, Tavern, and Garden

Artisan Restaurant, Tavern, and Garden is a restaurant that can offer you an unforgettable experience with mindblowing dishes including Baked Vegan Tian, Royal Shrimp, Seafood Chowder, and lots more.

You’ll get to eat delicious food in a nice interior environment and take amazing pictures.

It offers dinner, lunch, and breakfast every day of the week.

31. Arugula Bistro

A visit to Arugula Bistro is one of the best things you can do in Hartford.

All the dishes served by this restaurant are made from locally sourced ingredients and they include Mediterranean-inspired, Northern Italian, Middle Eastern, and French dishes.

You will enjoy the full-service bar with collections of craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and top-shelf spirits.  

Arugula Bistro is open from Tuesday to Saturday and offers only lunch and dinner.

32. Cora Cora Restaurant

Cora Cora restaurant has a casual relaxing interior design and intimate atmosphere. 

Some of the dishes offered here includes Empanadas, Cora Tamal Criollo, Saltado de Rollo, Chaufa de Pollo and Cora Yuca Rellena. 

You will enjoy their nice collection of wine, imported craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and top-shelf spirits. 

Plan a Trip to Hartford, CT

The tourist attraction sights in Hartford, are exquisite and exciting, bringing fun to your vacation in Hartford.

You can start making preparations for your vacation to Hartford today.

You can pin this guide on the best and most fun things to do in Hartford CT and you can checklist based on your interest where you would like to go during your visit.

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