7 Top-Rated Things to Do & Places to See in Hartford, CT (2022)
The state of Connecticut is home to many beautiful cities. The capital of Connecticut is Hartford, a beautiful town worth visiting. This town was home to two American literary giants, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Hartford is home to beautiful parks, numerous unique museums, attractions, performing arts venues, and many famous restaurants. From visiting the Connecticut State Capitol to the Wadsworth Atheneum, which is one of the oldest art museums in the country, and the beautiful Rose Garden at Elizabeth Park, there is a lot to do in Hartford.
7 Top-Rated Things to Do & Places to See in Hartford, CT
Here are some of the top-rated things to do and places to see in Hartford:
1. Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford
Let’s begin the journey to Hartford from, the most beautiful place in the city. Hartford is the third biggest city in Connecticut, just behind Bridgeport and New Haven. The most iconic and majestic building in the city is the Connecticut State Capitol, which is magnificently topped by a gold-leaf dome. Inside the building are more beautiful places to photograph, including the impressive Hall of Flags, and if you are lucky, you may even catch sight of multiple politicians making their way in and out when the building is in session.
2. Downtown Hartford
The city of Hartford is stunning no matter where you visit. Downtown Hartford is regarded as being a famous arts and entertainment center. Being home to plenty of eclectic restaurants that add to any foodie itinerary, this city is definitely worth visiting, especially if you want to capture some gorgeous pictures of evening fun. There are extensive photography subjects in this city.
While in downtown Hartford, don’t miss the famous home of Mark Twain. Also, make a stop at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and the place where Harriet Beecher Stowe rested her head. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art was founded in 1842 and is today the oldest continuously operating public art museum in the US.
3. The Mark Twain House & Museum
Samuel (Mark Twain) and Olivia Clemens made Hartford their new home in 1873. The house is part of history today, and you will find every latest convenience inside the house. Four designers designed this three-story Victorian mansion, and during the tour, you will get to hear many engaging stories that give you an insight into the lives of these famous authors. This is the house where Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and several others of his famous works. This Victorian Gothic mansion is today marked as a National Historic Landmark.
4. Wadsworth Atheneum
The Wadsworth Atheneum houses the finest art collection in America, especially the works of the Hudson River school. It is the oldest free public museum in the US, home to over 50,000 works of art. The impressive Gothic-style building is one of the most photographed structures in Hartford.
Some of the major highlights of the collections housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum include Italian baroque painting, along with the major works of Caravaggio and many other Surrealist artists. The works of Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Claude Monet, and many other famous artists are housed here. Decorative arts are another major focus area here, and there are around 7000 objects included in the European Decorative Arts collection. Ancient glass and bronze items, as well as an outstanding ceramics collection, are all kept here.
5. Connecticut Science Center
The Connecticut Science Center is a major attraction in Hartford. There are 168 exhibits to be enjoyed in this hands-on science museum. Each section of the museum explores some feature of the world around us. There are many kid-friendly DIY activities to be indulged in at the center. For example, at the exhibit Forces in Motion, kids get to make and test flying devices, while at Invention Dimension, kids can race robots and invent new items with Legos.
There is also an interactive exhibit on our Planet Earth, where children can first-hand experience hurricane-force winds and take part in coming up with their own weather forecast. Some of the other incredible exhibits at the Connecticut Science Center include Sight and Sound, Exploring Space, Energy City, Picture of Health, and River of Life, where there is a marine touch tank that explores the Connecticut River and its marine creatures.
6. Elizabeth Park Rose Garden
The Elizabeth Park Rose Garden is the first municipal rose garden in the US, as well as the third-largest rose garden in the country. The garden was named after Elizabeth Pond and is sprawled over 102 acres of land that was donated to the city of Hartford by her husband, Charles H. Pond, in 1903. Today, the garden is home to over 15,000 plants, and there are over 800 varieties of roses.
These plants include both old and new varieties of hybrid tea, hybrid perpetual, climbers, shrub, floribunda, and pillar roses. These beautiful roses are in bloom all through the summer, but the best time to visit this stunning garden is in late June and early July, when these flowers cover the arches and are in full bloom. In the winter months, the park opens up for ice skating.
7. Bushnell Park & Carousel
Spread out over 37 acres and sitting right next to the Capitol grounds, the Bushnell Park & Carousel is the first public park in the country. The park is home to a Civil War Museum, the Pump House Gallery, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, and the Israel Putnam Statue.
The 1914 Stein and Goldstein Carousel is a famous landmark of Hartford, having 48 hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots that circle a Wurlitzer band organ. This carousel is even more special as it is one of the only three remaining Stein and Goldstein Carousels in existence. This park is one of the most popular places for families to visit in the city.
There are several tours of the park that open up on the second Saturday of the month, from May to October. If you want to see the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, tours open from May to October, on Thursdays at noon.