"I always think that Hartford is such a pretty city," my mother said as we took the Capitol Avenue exit off of Route 84 the other day. I think she says something similar every time she's visiting and we have cause to head downtown. And the thing is, she's right. Hartford is a lovely, if petite, urban outpost, one with untapped potential and unrecognized tourism appeal.
Shadowed, as it is, by larger Northeastern cities, and lost, a bit, among New England's better known tourism destinations, Hartford may not register on your radar when you're planning a vacation. It should! A trip to Hartford can include visits to historic treasures such as the Mark Twain House, scenic views from a riverboat cruise, a fragrant stroll through the nation's oldest municipal rose garden and an evening of music or theater at one of the fine local performance venues. Best of all, Hartford is both easy to get to and central, so it provides a perfect home base from which to plan day trips and explore many other parts of the state and the region.
If you're planning your first visit to Hartford, this guide is designed to provide you with links to all of the resources you need to book accommodations, build an itinerary and heighten your anticipation. Live in Hartford? Even you may discover things to do and places to see that you didn't know were right in your own back yard.
Hartford Travel Resources
Bradley International Airport Guide
Hartford's Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is one of New England's most convenient and easily accessible airports. Whether you are departing from or arriving into Bradley, here are some resources that will help to ensure a smooth trip.
Request Your Free Hartford Travel Guide
Planning a visit to Hartford and other destinations in central Connecticut? It's easy to request the free, 80-page Travel Guide for Hartford & Connecticut's River Valley.
Greater Hartford Lodging Guide
If you're visiting Hartford, here are some accommodations options you might consider.
Riding Hartford's Free Star Shuttle
The free Hartford Star Shuttle connects the Connecticut Convention Center with downtown hotels, shops and restaurants.
How to See Hartford's Highlights
Connecticut's capital city offers visitors and residents a fine array of historic sites, museums and cultural attractions to explore year-round. Here are a few spots you won't want to miss.
10 Free Things to Do in Hartford
Whether you're planning your first visit to Connecticut's capital city or you're a resident looking for something fun and affordable to do in your own back yard, here's a quick look at 10 free things to do in Hartford.
Connecticut Convention Center: A Photo Tour
Visiting Hartford for an event at the Convention Center? This photo tour will help you get to know the new facility.
Hartford's XL Center: A Guide for Visitors
The XL Center, formerly the Hartford Civic Center, is downtown Hartford, Connecticut's premier indoor concert and sporting events venue.
72 Hours in Hartford
I wrote a piece for Gayot.com's 72-Hour Vacations series, "Hartford: City Sights without City Stress," that you may find helpful if you're planning a long weekend getaway in the Hartford area. It's filled with suggestions on where to say, what to see and do, where to dine and more.
Things To Do in and Around Hartford, Connecticut
Between 1890 and 1930, 6,000 carousels were made in the U.S. Hartford is fortunate to claim one of the only 200 or so that remain today. Find out how to ride the Bushnell Park Carousel, and come along on a photo tour, too.
Tour Hartford's Arch
Take a free tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, a Hartford landmark.
Visit Katharine Hepburn's Grave Site
It's not exactly an attraction, but if you are a Katharine Hepburn fan and you happen to be in Hartford, you may want to pay your respects to the late star of more than 75 films by visiting her grave site.
Walk with the Dinosaurs
Visit Dinosaur State Park, just south of Hartford in Rocky Hill, for a glimpse of "Jurassic Connecticut."
Visit a Sugar House
I'll take you on a sugar house virtual tour and tell you how to visit Lamothe's Sugar House yourself. This family-owned syrup producer, located west of the city in Burlington, is open year-round.
Iwo Jima Memorial
Did you know that Hartford County is home to the National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument? It's located west of Hartford on the New Britain/Newington town line. Come along on a virtual tour, or make plans to visit yourself.
5 Fun Things To Do On a Rainy Day
Especially if you have kids, you know the kind of terror rainy days can strike in a parent's heart. So pack up the kids and head out. Yes, head out! There are many fun things to do in Greater Hartford on a rainy day.
Day Trips from Hartford
These day trip suggestions will take you to some of the neatest sights and attractions that you can get to within a short drive of the Hartford area.
More About Hartford
Looking for more Hartford, Connecticut, travel information? Start with the Hartford Visitors Guide, where you'll find current articles and links to the best of the Net for Connecticut's capital city.