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Things To Do In Hartford

Mark Twain once said about Hartford, “You do not know what beauty is if you have not been here.” Known as “New England’s Rising Star,” the state capital of Connecticut is picturesque, friendly, and easy to explore on foot, by bike, or by car. Art museums, science centers, and music venues are around every bend, placing creativity at the heart of this historic riverfront city.  

As one of the oldest metro areas in America, Hartford has a rich history that carries into modern Connecticut. Explore its rolling hills to find cultural gems, entertainment venues, vineyards, and state parks.

Here are some of the best things to do near Hartford:

  • Explore the life of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, at the immaculately preserved Mark Twain House
  • Discover Bushnell Park, the first publicly funded park in the United States and the park that set a precedent for public parks nationwide
  • Grab a map and locate your favorite masterpieces at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
  • Become one with nature at the butterfly exhibit inside the Connecticut Science Center
  • Take your pick of shopping destinations, restaurants, live music, and entertainment at the Center in the Square downtown

Hartford has been home to famous painters and writers alike. Explore their lives at a museum, then take a once-in-a-lifetime photo from the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world.

Other popular attractions near Hartford:

  • A thrilling live musical performance at Theaterworks Hartford
  • Peruse the XL Center arena event center and attend a concert, convention or basketball game of your choosing
  • See the city from the top of the 7th-tallest building in the world on the 24th story of the Travelers Tower skyscraper downtown
  • Jump around to a touring act at the breezy outdoor XFINITY Theatre amphitheatre
  • Step inside a hurricane force wind tunnel and introduce yourself to a turtle with its own Twitter account at the Connecticut Science Center

There is always something happening in Hartford. Pick up a pint of freshly brewed beer or enjoy the view at the water’s edge of the Park River.

Exciting activities near Hartford include:

  • Taking a guided tour of the historic Harriet Beecher Stowe House and learning about the life of the famed author and abolitionist
  • Sipping a sumptuous craft beer from the family-owned Hog River Brewing Co.  
  • Rowing a boat along the Connecticut River at Riverside Park
  • Checking out one of the Wadsworth Atheneum collections, known for its cutting-edge exhibitions
  • Enjoying an afternoon of leisurely play at Keney Park Golf Course

When the sun goes down, the party is just getting started in Hartford. Quench your thirst on a pub crawl of the city’s most loved bars, or dance through the night to live music downtown.

Here are some ideas for nighttime activities near Hartford:

  • Score a balcony section seat in the The Bushnell Performing Arts Center
  • Grab a to-go growler of beer from the Hanging Hills Brewery tasting room
  • Enjoy delicious pub grub and theme nights on the rooftop bar of the Russian Lady
  • Laugh at a Sea Tea Improv comedy company show
  • Dance the borracha on Latin Night at Symmetry Ultra Lounge, a cool and casual nightclub downtown

When you have a weekend to explore Hartford, there are abundant options to choose from. Outdoor adventurists might take a day trip to a waterfall nearby, while history buffs should soak up the city’s unique stories.

Weekend activities near Hartford include:

  • Learn about Connecticut state history on a guided tour of the Old State House
  • Snap a photo on the quad of Trinity College, a stately campus where the buildings have towers and turrets
  • Find fresh local veggies at the Hartford Downtown Farmers Market
  • Feel the sugar rush with a cupcake from NoRA Cupcake Company before shopping at a high-end boutique in Blue Back Square
  • Enjoy a quick hike into Chapman Falls, a local waterfall used for swimming and exploring