Often overshadowed by larger cities in New England, the state capital of Connecticut is well worth a visit. Book lovers will find a lot to do in Hartford, as here they can visit the home of two American literary giants: Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, authors of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Wadsworth Atheneum houses a large and prominent collection of American art, along with a number of other museums and historic houses that add to the city’s cultural attractions. Kids will love the Connecticut Science Center and the Bushnell Park carousel. You can plan a trip the whole family will enjoy with our list of The best things to do in Hartford: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hartford, Connecticut.
Smell some roses at Elizabeth Park
The park might just look like a normal city park from outside, but wait till you take a step in! Not only is the park quite alluring, but there is also another important thing inside it.
You will walk inside to find a gorgeous rose garden. But, wait till you hear the historic part- this also happens to be the oldest ones in the city! The government maintains this garden with 15,000 rose bushes of different variants. Needless to say- it is extremely pretty as a picture. Apart from the many gorgeous flowers that bloom throughout the year, snow falls during the winter. The park is used as an ice-skating rink in the winters.
Pay your respects at Bushnell Park
Before Bushnell Park, there were not any public parks in America. So, you can practically say that this one of the first.
It is situated inside the State Capitol properties and has many interesting spots. Most famous among these are the statues and the memorials entirely dedicated to the Civil War heroes. There is also a gallery that has pictures related to the Civil War. You can even find various hand-carved sculptures. Bushnell Park is one of the major tourist attractions that you can check out after visiting the State Capitol.
Connecticut State Capitol
Impossible to miss for the gold-plated dome 60-meters above the south-west side of Bushnell Park, the Connecticut State Capitol was completed during the 1870s and replaced the Old State House.
This striking Eastlake Movement building is the seat of the Connecticut General Assembly, the State Senate, the House of Representatives and the office of Connecticut’s Governor.
Monday to Friday you can go inside for free guided or self-guided tours.
These will take an hour, and some of the memorable stops are the Genius of Connecticut statue, the Hall of Flags, the House and Senate chambers, the Legislative Office Building and the Connecticut Hall of Fame recognizing the state’s good and the great, from Katharine Hepburn to Mark Twain.
The oldest park in the United States to be created with public funds, Bushnell Park was conceived in 1854 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park was ready in 1868 and is a product of a time when planners were just starting to understand the benefits of open space in cities.
In these 37 acres there’s sculpture, trails and play areas for children and monuments like the George Keller’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, dedicated in 1886. But the main draw is the vintage carousel, dating back to 1914 and brought here from Canton, Ohio in 1974. The ride sits beneath a large Turkey Oak, and has a Wurlitzer band organ, 48 delicately carved horses and two lovers’ chariots.
Cathedral of St. Joseph
Replacing an earlier Gothic Revival cathedral that was destroyed by fire, the Cathedral of St. Joseph was dedicated in 1962 and in 1979 was named as a contributing property in the Asylum Avenue District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The new building was designed in a more modern interpretation of the Gothic style, with the soaring lines of the previous structure and a tower 284 feet high.
Tall bronze doors are covered with biblical scenes and above the entrance is a frieze honoring the church’s patron, Saint Joseph. Highlights of the interior are the series of 70- by 14-foot stained-glass windows created in France, and the ceramic tile altar mural of Christ in Glory thought to be the largest in the world. The pipe organ is the largest in the state.
Dunkin’ Donuts Park
When Minor League’s New Britain Rock Cats relocated to Hartford in 2016 they were reborn as the Hartford Yard Goats and took up residence at the brand new Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
In doing so they became Hartford’s first professional sports team since NHL’s Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997. The Yard Goats are a Double-A team (Minor League’s second-highest class level) and are an affiliate of MLB’s Colorado Rockies.
The stadium, holding 6,850, was declared Ballpark of the Year for 2017 by Baseballparks.com.