A Guide to Hartford

Here's all you need to know when visiting Connecticut's capital and surrounding suburbs.
The Arch At Bushnell Park 02

The Arch at Bushnell Park

Hartford is the heartbeat of Connecticut, with a pulse that’s quick to supply its residents and visitors with numerous eclectic opportunities. From diverse dining with ethnic eats, to destination hotels and cultural attractions, this is truly a must-stop, -stay, -dine and -play city.

The capital city lures history buffs as it is rich in culture and history. Many of Hartford’s historical sites and landmarks are some of our country’s “firsts”—such as the first public arts museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; the first publicly funded park at Bushnell Park; and the oldest public rose garden at Elizabeth Park. These historically significant and inspiring sites create a true urban oasis. The area also has ties to cherished American literary talents like Mark Twain and Noah Webster, plus social reformers like Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, courtesy of Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Facebook.

Known as “the insurance capital of the world,” Hartford boasts more than 100 insurance companies, but the city itself and its surrounding suburbs, like the town of West Hartford, have so much more to offer than insurance. A bustling music and arts scene, numerous cultural festivals, beautiful parks, diverse dining, professional sports and destination hotels help to create an environment that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike.

Adventurous types will enjoy Riverfront Recapture with scenic strolls along the banks of the Connecticut River. This beautiful riverfront renovation project has completely revitalized the banks of the river and offers paved and lighted walkways, four separate parks, hiking trails and rowing.

The Pond At Bushnell Park

The Pond at Bushnell Park

Foodies will rejoice in the plethora of dining establishments. According to OpenTable, Hartford and West Hartford collectively have more than 277 restaurants. Adventurous eaters can savor extensive and diverse cuisines at Parkville Market, the state’s first food hall. Discerning eaters will find the most delectable donuts and drinks at Bar Piña, located inside the historic Goodwin Hotel, and foodies looking for alfresco dining will enjoy the transformative patio at Artisan Restaurant, Tavern and Garden in West Hartford.

With hundreds of summer events to choose from, it’s best to plan in advance of your trip. Hartford’s culture, arts, music and dining might even have you visiting the area more often or possibly persuade you to relocate here.

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden 02

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden

Where to Go

The Goodwin Hotel And Bar Pina

The Goodwin Hotel

Where to Stay

Artisan West Hartdord Garden By Manny Vargas

Artisan West Hartford. Photograph by Manny Vargas.

Where to Eat & Drink

Bar Pina

Bar Piña

Where to Shop

Marketing and public relations consultant and cofounder of Instagram account @eatinconnecticut, Kristen Fritz is our go-to source for all that’s happening in the Hartford area.

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Heading to Hartford?