Hartford

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Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New England Connecticut Hartford

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Introduction

Day 61 - Watch & Clock Museum, Exterior Clock

Day 61 - Watch & Clock Museum, Exterior Clock

© All Rights Reserved jl98584

Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, in the New England region of the United States. The Greater Hartford region is enmeshed with Springfield (Massachusetts), which lies only 24 miles to the north. The area is called the Knowledge Corridor due to its 29 colleges and universities and 120,000 college students.

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Sights and Activities

  • Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main St, ☎ +1 860-278-2670. W-F 11AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. Downtown. America's first public art museum, founded in 1842. The Wadsworth has 45,000+ works of art as part of its permanent collection. Free admission during final hour (4PM-5PM) $15/adult, $12/senior, $5/student, children free.
  • Connecticut Science Center, 250 Columbus Blvd, ☎ +1 860-SCIENCE (7243623). Downtown. With 150 hands-on exhibits, a state-of-the-art 3D digital theater, four educational labs, plus daily programs and events, the Connecticut Science Center offers endless exploration for children, teens and adults.
  • Old State House, 800 Main Street, ☎ +1 860-522-6766. M-F 10AM-5PM. Downtown. The original Connecticut Capitol building is a National Historic Landmark that dates back to 1796 making it one of the oldest state houses in the country.
  • Connecticut State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave, ☎ +1 860-240-0222. M-F 8AM-5PM. Downtown. Located downtown atop Bushnell Park the capitol is a National Historic Landmark that opened back in 1878. This stunning building is made of marble and is topped off by a gold dome. Open for free on-hour tours year round. free.
  • Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave, ☎ +1 860-247-0998. 9:30AM-5:30PM. Located in the city's historic Asylum Hill neighborhood, this is where popular author Mark Twain lived from 1874-1891. During this time Twain wrote many famous books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Built in the high Victorian Gothic style, this home has been fabulously restored and offers an enlightening insight into the family life of one of America's favorite authors. The accompanying Visitors Center offers an additional educational perspective relative to the issues of Twain's day. Museum: $6/adult, $4/child; Tour & museum: $20/adult, $18/senior, $12/child.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe House & Library, 77 Forest Street, ☎ +1 860-522-9258. This is the historic home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, who is best known for being the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Stowe's moved in this house in 1873, one year before Mark Twain moved in next door.
  • Butler McCook House & Garden, 396 Main Street, ☎ +1 860-522-1806. Downtown. The oldest home in the city that dates back to 1782. Also home of the city's oldest collection of art, antiques and household items. The site also includes a wonderful restored garden.
  • Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library, ☎ +1 860-236-5621. One Elizabeth Street at Asylum Avenue. Located in the West End the Connecticut Historical Society is one of the oldest historical societies in the country and has one of the greatest library and museum collections in New England.
  • The Governor's Residence, 990 Prospect Avenue, ☎ +1 860-566-4840. Located in the city's West End neighborhood the governor's mansion was built back in 1909 and has been the home of governor's and their families since 1943. The 15,000 square foot residence is on 4 acres and has 9 fireplaces, nine bathrooms, a pool and is a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours can be arranged.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

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Weather

Summers last from June to September and are nice and warm, between 25 °C and 30 °C during the day and between 15 °C and 20 °C at night. Winters last from December to March with average daytime temperatures mostly around zero or slightly above. Nights are well below zero during this time. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, with sometimes very heavy snowfall in winter. During summer, heavy showers can occur, especially after periods of hot weather.

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Getting There

A recommended route for getting to Hartford from a rather distant city is to fly into Boston Logan International Airport, and then taking one of the below-mentioned buses into the city. This also happens to be the cheaper route.

By Plane

Bradley International Airport (BDL) is the second-busiest airport in New England, after Boston's Logan International Airport. It is located about halfway between Hartford and Springfield. There are many flights, including to/from Montreal, Toronto, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Punta Cana, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cancun, Orlando, New York City, Cincinnati, Raleigh/Durham, Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, West Palm Beach, Baltimore, Denver, Tampa, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Newark, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

By Train

Two Amtrak trains stop in Hartford:

By Bus

  • Greyhound operates from Hartford Union Station. Buses are available to Springfield, New Haven, New York City, and Boston.
  • Megabus operates double decker buses to/from New York City, New Haven, Burlington, Amherst, and Boston.
  • Peter Pan Bus operates express buses from Hartford Union Station to/from 50+ cities in North East United States.
  • Go Buses operate from the Morgan Street Garage Bus Station to/from Manhattan, Cambridge, Newton, and New Haven.

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Getting Around

Hartford does not have tourist-friendly public transportation and a car is the best way to navigate Hartford and its surrounding towns.

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

  • CT Transit operates public bus service throughout the Greater Hartford Area. Most bus-stops receive service every 15-30 minutes. The regular fare is $1.50, with one free transfer. All day passes are also available for $3.00. Passes can be bought online or at the CT Transit Customer Service and Sales Outlet located at State and Market Streets next to the Old State House (M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-3PM,
  • Dash Shuttle is a free circulator bus that operates in the downtown area every 15 minutes Monday-Friday 7AM to 7PM and weekends during major events. The route connects the CT Convention Center, the Riverfront, the Arts and Entertainment District, various restaurants, and downtown hotels.

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Eat

With its large Italian population, phenomenal Italian cuisine and pizza seems to be at every street corner, especially in the South End. The Park Street area has many Puerto Rican restaurants. Most expensive restaurants can be found in Downtown Hartford and in the west and south ends. Over the last few year many new restaurants have opened their doors downtown and many will continue to do so over the next few years so be ready. Hartford also has one of the largest concentrations of West Indians in the country, concentrated in the North End. For exceptional West Indian cuisine go to Albany Avenue, where you will see many Jamaican bakeries and other West Indian restaurants.

  • Bear's Smokehouse Barbecue, 25 Front St (Downtown), ☎ +1 860-785-8772, e-mail: info@bearsbbq.com. This location, opened in 2014, brings southern-style BBQ to the neighborhood. $$.
  • Black-Eyed Sally's Southern Kitchen & Bar, 350 Asylum Avenue (Downtown), ☎ +1 860-278-7427. Serves BBQ and Cajun restaurant southeastern food and has expanded since it opened in 199. The restaurant also plays live music from many well-known and local blues artists.
  • Coyote Flaco, 635 New Britain Avenue (Frog Hollow), ☎ +1 860-953-1299. Tasty Mexican restaurant located near Trinity College that has served the community since 1998.
  • First & Last Tavern, 939 Maple Avenue (South End), ☎ +1 860-956-6000. Great New York-style pizza and Italian food, visited by many famous people. It has a cozy bar, reasonable prices, and is a favorite local spot.
  • Gold Roc Diner, 61 Kane St, ☎ +1 860-236-9366. Cheap 24-hour diner on Hartford-West Hartford line (Exit 44 off I-84).
  • Golden Krust Caribben Bakery & Grill, 1170 Albany Avenue, ☎ +1 860-724-7983. And 657 Blue Hills Avenue. This is a regional chain.
  • Max Downtown, 185 Asylum Street (Downtown), ☎ +1 860-522-2530. Part of one of the city's finest restaurants and is consistently ranked as one of the city's best restaurants.
  • Mo's Midtown, 25 Whitney Street (West End), ☎ +1 860-236-7741. Consistently ranked as best breakfast and brunch spot in the area, by the Hartford Advocate. Very laid back atmosphere with big portions and dishes you can't find anyplace else.
  • Vaughan's Public House, 59 Pratt Street (Downtown), ☎ +1 860-882-1560. Near the Hartford Civic Center / XL Center on trendy Pratt Street. This place is an Irish-owned and themed restaurant, with many traditional Irish meals on the menu. Excellent happy hour specials and is also a popular place to go to before or after a UCONN game or to watch a soccer game.

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Drink

  • Pour House, 103 Allyn Street. One of the top rated bar/clubs in the city, this laid-back place offers 18 beers on tap and room to play video games and pool on the first floor - then head upstairs to the dance floor.
  • The Palace, 113 Allyn Street. Hip and chic downtown club that has two huge dance floors and a martini lounge. The first floor is where the VIP section is, and there’s a huge elevated bar area. The second floor is more casual, with a sports bar feel.
  • Agave Grill, 100 Allyn Street. Upscale tequila bar, quieter and more mature. Features an excellent selection of tequila and also serves up great Mexican cuisine.
  • Pig’s Eye Pub, 356 Asylum Street. Famous for never having a cover, and live bands on the roof top patio. Overall a rowdy little place with lots of fun.
  • Coach's Sports Bar & Grille, 187 Allyn Street. 24 plasma TV's make this the perfect place to catch the game. Watch out for pre and post Civic Center events, since there just two blocks away. Also has live music, great DJ's and a full menu of burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads.
  • NV Nightclub, 177 Allyn Street. Popular downtown dance club with a trendy vibe that is a hit with college students and young professionals.
  • Arch Street Tavern, 85 Arch Street (across from the Connecticut Convention Center & Marriott Hartford Downtown Hotel). Historic restaurant/bar featuring a rustic atmosphere, pub food and live music.
  • Mayor Mike's, 283 Asylum Street. An upscale bar in Downtown run by former Hartford Mayor Mike Peters.
  • The Spigot, 468 Prospect Avenue. Laid-back bar with wide selection of draft and bottled beers.
  • The Federal, 84 Union Place. Hartford's oldest bar is a pretty laid-back place with the occasional DJ or live music. Happy hour five days a week here as well.
  • Black Eyed Sallys - Nice bar with a southern blues theme featuring great beer live music and southern food.

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Sleep

There are an abundance of large chain hotels in the Hartford area as well as many upscale ones downtown and in the suburbs. Over 60,000 rooms are located in Greater Hartford.

  • Radisson Hotel Hartford, 50 Morgan Street, ☎ +1 860-549-2400, toll-free: +1-866-490-0937, fax: +1 860-549-7844. Located downtown and just a short walk to the Connecticut Convention Center and the XL Center with spectacular views of the Connecticut River. Hotel features a full breakfast buffet and daily drink specials, an outdoor pool, fitness center, business center, and 40" TV's.
  • Hartford Marriott Downtown, 200 Columbus Blvd, ☎ +1 860-249-8000, toll-free: +1-866-373-9806, fax: +1 860-249-8181. Attached to the Connecticut Convention Center and overlooks the Connecticut River and downtown. This new hotel features 409 rooms on 22 floors plus an indoor pool, fitness center, full service spa called Glo, as well as a restaurant and a bar.
  • Hilton Hartford, 315 Trumbull Street, ☎ +1 860-728-5151, fax: +1 860-240-7247. Located downtown attached to the Hartford Civic Center / XL Center. Hotel features 393 rooms, an indoor pool, fitness center, a restaurant and an upscale bar.
  • Residence Inn Hartford Downtown, 942 Main Street, ☎ +1 860-524-5550, toll-free: +1-800-960-5045, fax: +1 860-524-0624. Located in the heart of downtown in the Richardson Building which dates back to the late 1800s, two buildings away from the Old State House and the Hartford Stage and one block from the Hartford Civic Center / XL Center. Features 120 rooms on 8 floors plus a restaurant, 2 cafes and a fitness center.
  • Homewood Suites of Hartford, 338 Asylum Street, ☎ +1 860-524-0223, fax: +1 860-524-0264. This hotel is in the historic Bond Hotel which opened back in 1921. Located downtown directly across from Bushnell Park and one block away from the Hartford Civic Center / XL Center. There are 116 rooms and a fitness center.
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Convention Center Area, 185 Brainard Road, ☎ +1 860-525-1000, toll-free: +1-877-HOTEL-CT (46835-28), fax: +1 860-525-2990. Located in the city's south meadows neighborhood the hotel is just 5 minutes from downtown. There are 129 rooms, a fitness center, complimentary parking, an outdoor pool and is right next door to the popular USS Chowder Pot IV Restaurant.
  • Days Inn Hartford, 201 Brainard Road, ☎ +1 860-247-3297, fax: +1 860-249-3297. Located in the south meadows just 5 minutes from downtown. This hotel features 68 rooms, a fitness center and complimentary parking.
  • Motel 6 Hartford Downtown, 100 Weston Street, ☎ +1 860-724-0222, fax: +1 860-724-0433. Located in the city's north meadows neighborhood just 4 minutes north of downtown. Features 115 rooms and complimentary parking.
  • Super 8 Motel Hartford/Windsor, 57 West Service Road, ☎ +1 860-246-8888, fax: +1 860-246-8887. Located just north of downtown in the north meadows just 4 minutes from downtown. There are 104 rooms and complimentary parking.
  • Mark Twain Hostel, 131 Tremont St, ☎ +1 860 523-7255, fax: +1 860 233-1767. Located in the historic and trendy West End around the corner from the Mark Twain House, Harriett Beecher Stowe House and just 6 minutes from downtown. Beds start at $15 per night, single rooms start at $48 per night.

View our map of accommodation in Hartford or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 41.766467
  • Longitude: -72.673165

Accommodation in Hartford

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Hartford searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Hartford and areas nearby.

Contributors

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Hartford Travel Helpers

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This is version 20. Last edited at 12:57 on Mar 25, 19 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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