Hartford, capital of the state of Connecticut, is a vibrant city with multicultural experiences and energetic nightlife. The Nutmeg state’s capital name dates back to 1635 when first English settlers arrived. The settlement of Hartford CT may be among the oldest cities in the country. The city has something for every visitor, explore some of the most popular attractions below.

City of Hartford CT Must See Attractions

The city of Hartford, often shadowed by increasing crime among its local neighborhoods, has plenty of local attractions for visitors. Historic landmarks, museums, parks, and diverse cuisine can be found in the downtown area.

hartford ct downtown attractions

See our top list of Hartford Downtown attractions

Great River Park and Riverfront Plaza

The Riverfront Plaza is the entrance to the city of Hartford CT. The bridge is located by the Great River Park and Riverfront Plaza, connecting Hartford and East Hartford. The Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, located at 300 Columbus Boulevard in Hartford, is the centerpiece of the Riverfront Recapture park system with a stage at the river’s edge. The city usually holds New Year events and summer concerts, among other activities there.

State Capitol

A must see attraction is the State Capitol on Capitol Hill. Overlooking Bushnell Memorial Park is the High Victorian Gothic State Capitol, built in 1879. This historic landmark is located at 210 Capitol Ave. in Hartford. It contains the State Senate Chamber; the Hall of the State House of Representatives; and the offices of the Governor of Connecticut, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of the State.

The Mark Twain House and Museum

The Twain House is located at 351 Farmington Ave. It was the home to the famous American writer Sam Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain.  He enjoyed life to its fullest here. His writing showed expressions of the rapid changing world of his time. During his younger years, Sam Clemens worked at different newspapers and found some success writing articles. Inspired by the Civil War, Sam even joined a volunteer Confederate unit but quit after just two weeks. Between 1874 and 1891, Sam wrote some of his most famous books while living in Hartford CT.

One of Twain’s major published work was the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which confirmed him as a noteworthy American writer. Some have called it the first Great American Novel, and the book has become required reading in many schools throughout the United States.

Attractions To Visit with Children in Hartford CT

When visiting Hartford, Connecticut with children make a stop at the Connecticut Science Center and the carousel in Bushnell Park and Elizabeth Park. Holiday celebrations usually kick off with Winterfest at Bushnell Park with free ice skating and free lessons. You can even enjoy hot cocoa while waiting your turn.

Another highly visited attraction for children during the holiday season is Light Fantasia benefiting the Channel 3 Kids Camp. This 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland filled with holiday spirit. The display has a collection of over a million lights. The 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland of holiday spirit with a beautiful collection of over 1 million lights. Whimsical holiday scenes, familiar characters, and local tributes shine bright in larger-than-life lighted scenes and 200 individual displays.  Lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, New Years, and Three Kings Day.

Hartford CT Native Famous People

Some Hartford natives include Samuel Colt, William Gray, and Suzanne Collins to name a few.

Samuel Colt, born in Hartford, was an inventor and industrialist who made his fortune in the gun business. As founder of the Colt Manufacturing Company, he revolutionized manufacturing by patenting firearms with interchangeable parts and creating an assembly line around 1840.

On Aug. 13, 1889 William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut, received a patent for a coin-operated telephone. The first public coin telephone (pay phone) was installed in a Hartford bank in 1889. The telephone was a post pay design, meaning you deposited coins after the call was made. The plaque is located between the corner of Main and State Street in downtown Hartford (The Hartford Connecticut Trust Building). An easy-to-miss plaque marks the building that first held this 19th-century telephone innovation.

For fiction enthusiasts, famous Hartford native Suzanne Collins wrote a set young adult dystopian novels based on the Greek myth of Theseus and Minotaur; the Hunger Games.

Hartford CT is affordable and easy to access by car, train, or plain. The closest airport, Bradley International located in Windsor Locks, is only 20 minutes away. Most local attractions are located near one another making it easy for visitors to explore them. When choosing to stay in the downtown Hartford area, you have a variety of hotels and cuisines to choose from. Some popular restaurants include Max Downtown, Salute, Monte Alban, Agave Grill among many wonderful choices.

To keep visitors safe, Hartford Police and CT State Police Troop H have teamed up to patrol the city 24/7. While we hope your visit to the Nutmeg’s state capital is a memorable experience, remember that because you never know our 3-D Bail Bonds local services are always available 24 hours, seven days.