Locals Love: Hartford Last Updated: February 2022

Connecticut’s capital city is located in the center of the state, where I-84 and I-91 meet. But it’s certainly not a city you’ll want to drive by. It’s home to America’s oldest continuously operating art museum and America’s #1 favorite minor league ballpark (two years in a row!) We asked some locals in the mayor’s office for their favorite Hartford haunts, and were not disappointed. Check out these great recommendations for where to eat, drink, stay and play in Hartford.

How to Get Here

The aforementioned highway system can get you here easily from Boston or New York City. You can also arrive via Amtrak or on the new Hartford Line train, which travels between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts. See all the transportation options near you with the CTrides transit finder.

If you're flying in, Bradley International Airport in nearby Windsor Locks brings visitors from the Caribbean, Canada, Europe and all over the United States to Connecticut, and is just 20-minute cab ride to downtown Hartford.

Where to Indulge

Looking for local flavor? Hartford offers great selections from regional favorites to international flair. Dunn’s River in the city's North End and Sun Splash Bar & Grill in the South End are two Jamaican restaurants that are particularly popular. Along Franklin Avenue, Hartford’s own “Little Italy” thrives with classics like Carbone’s and Andrea’s. Enjoy South American and Caribbean inspired small plates and a cocktails at 50 Elm Café & Spirits. You can also savor a tasty panini with a glass of wine at Bin 228 Gastropub, or experience the vintage chic vibe with burgers at Republic at the Linden.

Where to Unwind

If you’re staying in and around the capital city, you’ve got a lot of choices. Hartford’s Goodwin Hotel recently got a facelift and is now a boutique hotel that retains its history, heritage and authentic character. And the Hartford Marriott Downtown, located near the Connecticut Convention Center and the Connecticut Science Center, exudes a vibrant, modern flair.

Where to Hang Out

Hartford’s lively Front Street District offers a myriad of entertainment options, including fine dining, quick bites, movies and live music performances at Infinity Music Hall. Just down the street, you’ll find Hartford new gem of a ballpark, Dunkin Donuts Park, home to the Connecticut Yard Goats and a great way to spend a day or evening. For a mellower type of hang out, Elizabeth Park offers gardens to stroll in, and, in summer months, evening movies and musical performances. And if you’re looking for a place with character, don’t miss Hartford’s City Steam Brewery, a landmark in Hartford history and a legend in local beer, or the funky Little River Restoratives for creative cocktails and more.


Where to Find a Hidden Gem

Some of Hartford’s best kept secrets are off the beaten track, but others are right in plain sight. Browse the collection of natural wonders and unusual oddities at the Museum of Curiosities—tucked away on the top floor of Connecticut's Old State House. For lunch, try the Polish National Home, a Hartford landmark and an authentic Polish pub. And don’t forget a sweet dessert—Capital Ice Cream is a tiny little shop on Capitol Avenue that is making a big name for itself in the city. Then between City Hall and the Woodsworth Athenium Museum of Art, discover a 50-foot, red-orange Stegosaurus statue constructed by sculptor and Connecticut resident Alexander Calder. Top the day off with a visit to Hartford’s Coltsville National Historical Park for a unique glimpse into mid 19thcentury industrial America, not to mention the Thomas Hooker Brewery there.

What Not to Miss

Hartford is home to a rich artistic history. Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe made their homes in the city and you can still visit them today. The innovative Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest continuously operating art museum in the country. And Hartford is home to award-winning theater as well. If you’d like to see the city from above, the On20 restaurant offers sweeping views to the Connecticut River Valley, along with highly rated cuisine, on the 20th floor of One State Street. For a real change of pace, why not try Pine & Iron Axe Throwing? This edgy new activity is taking the city by storm. And don’t miss our award-winning art and theater venues!


Want More?

There’s more where these came from. Make sure you visit Hartford Has It — the premier resource for what’s on and happening in the capital city.