Hartford Tourist Information and Tourism

(Hartford, Connecticut - CT, USA)

A small and busy city called home by a number of large insurance companies, Hartford has its modern-day roots at the start of the 17th century, gaining the status of Connecticut capital in the year 1875. For tourists choosing to stopover or pass through, there are a number of historical places of interest well worth visiting.

The centerpiece to the cityscape is without question the granite and marble Connecticut State Capitol Building, which presides over downtown Hartford with its gleaming golden dome and regal architecture. Guided tours of the Capitol will allow you to learn all about its rich history and these are available on weekdays, being completely free of charge.

Lying alongside the Connecticut State Capitol is the very spacious Bushnell Park, where events and concerts are regularly staged, often being held at the Pumphouse Gallery. Children will enjoy riding on the park's famous carousel ride, which dates back to 1914.

Greater Hartford has become known for its high concentration of universities and colleges, which number almost 30 in total and have earned this area the nickname of the 'Knowledge Corridor'. For local tourist information, look out for the Central Regional Tourism District office on Constitution Plaza (close to the Connecticut Science Center), where you will find out everything that you can possibly do around the Greater New Haven region, the River Valley of Connecticut and the New England area.

Hartford Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

The fairly harsh winter climate means that the tourist attractions on offer in Hartford tend to be of a fairly seasonal basis. During the summer months, picnics and open-air events are the order of the day at the beautifully landscaped Bushnell Park, as well as the Great River Park. Visitors and tourists on holiday often choose to stroll alongside the scenic pathways fronting the Connecticut River, passing by its attractive sculptures and large amphitheater.

Entertainment comes in the form of a real plethora of venues, with some of the largest and most popular including the Comcast Theater and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, where both the Connecticut Opera and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra regularly perform. Touring shows and musicals from Broadway are often a big draw at the Tony-winning Hartford Stage, while for sporting events, the XL Center (formerly named the Hartford Civic Center) regularly plays host to basketball matches, hockey games and concerts, and serves the city as a multi-purpose arena with its overall capacity of more than 16,000 spectators. For football fans, in the region of 40,000 spectators can gather to watch a game at the Rentschler Field stadium, just a stone's throw from the Bicentennial Square Shopping Center. More information about Hartford Tourist Attractions.

Many of the principal sights in Hartford are within walking distance of the Connecticut State Capitol Building, with the Connecticut State Library standing close by and also comprising the Supreme Court Building. On Main Street, both the Old State House and the Butler McCook House are stately properties, as is the Governor of Connecticut's official residence on Prospect Avenue. Other landmarks of note in Hartford include the palace-like Aetna Headquarters, with its grand Colonial Revival-style facade, the Cathedral of St. Joseph and its surprising post-modern architecture, and the beautiful Armsmear House, which dates back to the mid-19th century and is where affluent firearms manufacturer Samuel Colt once lived. The spreading campus of the University of Hartford also more than deserves a mention, particularly its Harry Jack Grey Center and Mortensen Library. More information about Hartford Landmarks and Monuments.

History, science and innovation are all topics covered within the varied museums of Hartford. The Mark Twain House on Farmington Avenue is a hugely popular attraction in the city and it was in this very house where the novels about the infamous Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were actually written many years ago, in the 1870s and 1880s. Standing next-door, on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, is the Harriet Beecher Stowe House complex, which also includes the Katharine Seymour Day House and Stowe's Nook Farm, as well as a historic carriage house now used as the main Visitors Center. On a rainy day, families favor a visit to the extremely hands-on Connecticut Science Center on the Columbus Boulevard, or a trip to the fun-filled Children's Museum on Trout Brook Drive, with its endless assortment of interactive gadgets and simulators. At the Museum of Connecticut History on Capitol Avenue, information about the early days of the state and the Declaration of Independence is on display. A further injection of culture is available by paying a visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum on Main Street, which boasts the title of the most historic art gallery in the whole of the United States. More information about Hartford Museums and Hartford Art Galleries.

One of the main reasons why Hartford has been such a successful city, gaining the title of state capital, is due to its fairly central situation in Connecticut and its excellent transport connections. From the air, the main highways and interstates intersecting Hartford look almost like a star in their appearance, heading off in all directions. New Haven, the second-biggest city in Connecticut, is roughly an hour away and to the south, being most easily reached by following Interstate I-91. With its coastal setting alongside the Long Island Sound, New Haven offers some very pleasant beaches and is highly suitable for day trips. Roughly 30 minutes down the road, Bridgeport serves as the state's biggest city and is home to Beardsley Zoo.

Across the border in Massachusetts, Springfield is also a popular destination for excursions and is slightly closer to downtown Hartford, being in the region of 45 minutes away and directly to the north, and also connected by Interstate I-91. Close to Springfield is the ever-popular Six Flags New England theme park and its exciting selection of rides and rollercoasters. If you are prepared to travel further afield, then both Boston and New York are quite reachable, and if you are able to leave nice and early in the morning, then day trips to these world-famous destinations are possible, although do try to put together an itinerary in advance of your arrival, so that you optimize your use of time. More information about Hartford Attractions Nearby.

More Hartford Information / Fast Facts and Orientation