Hartford is an almost 400-year-old city that has survived the ups and downs of America’s history. Explore the rich heritage of this destination that features some of the oldest institutions in the nation and the former residence of America’s beloved author, Mark Twain.
Start the day with a calming walk through America’s oldest public park, Bushnell Park. Located in the city center, this thoroughfare is decorated with graceful pathways, monuments to American soldiers and a huge archway crowned by two turrets. Relax under trees to escape typically hot and humid summers. In winter the park is often covered under a blanket of snow.
Walk to the nearby Wadsworth Atheneum to delight in more than 50,000 works of pilgrim-era and European art in one of the nation’s oldest art museum. Tour the exclusive rooms and stages of the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts or the award-winning Hartford Stage, then come back later to see a show. Both theaters host musicals, plays and orchestras several nights a week.
Many of the city’s restaurants and hotels can be found along the busy Asylum Street. Stop for lunch then walk to the nearby Mark Twain House and Museum. Here you’ll experience the living quarters of the famous author and see exhibits themed around his life. Take in more history at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library or the Butler McCook House and Garden. Both restored mansions, they feature civil war-era art and antiques and large manicured gardens perfect for a quiet stroll.
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut. At the Museum of Connecticut History see excellent exhibitions on the colonial formation of the state. Take children to the Connecticut Science Center, where there are hands-on displays and a 3-D digital theater showing educational movies.
In the evenings take the family to the XL Center, which has performances throughout the year. In winter you’ll find a public ice-skating rink and shows on ice.
Stay downtown next to the Connecticut River. Rent a bicycle and ride along the banks of the picturesque river and grab a drink at one of many bars, restaurants and clubs.