Day 1: On Foot
Why not kick off your first day in Hartford by strapping on some comfortable walking shoes and pounding the pavement? Your reward for trekking the town? Why, a fine meal at one of Hartford’s finest restaurants, of course! Then take in a show at one of Hartford’s most famous theaters.
Hartford Walking Tours
This 90-minute walking tour of downtown Hartford hits all of its historic sites – the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Stone Field, Bushnell Park, the Soldiers & Sailors Arch, Corning Fountain, Israel Putnam, Thomas Hooker and much more. The orange stegosaurus sculpture is always a unique highlight! Tours are available seven days a week, morning until evening, and can accommodate groups as small as two or as large as 35 people. Rates are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children. Groups may qualify for a discount of $3 per person.
The Firebox Restaurant
539 Broad St.
Hartford, CT 06106
This trendy restaurant gets food from local farmer’s markets, so everything is fresh. The front bar that often features live local music, and the dining room keeps cozy with a fireplace and quaint works of art. Enjoy a glass of wine from local vineyards with your meal. The Firebox keeps it classy and is a tribute to Hartford, with a strong focus on recognizing Hartford arts, supplying food and beverages from the state, and supporting the people and ideals of Hartford.
The Bushnell Theatre
166 Capitol Ave.
Hartford, CT 06106
The Bushnell is Hartford’s place to be for theatergoers, presenting traveling Broadway shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “Mamma Mia!” It is a gorgeous theater and ticket rates are decent for such grand performances. Prices range from $79 on weeknights to $84 on weekends for orchestra and mezzanine. See the Web site for a list of upcoming shows.
Day 2: Famous Names and Faces
Get a glimpse of Connecticut through the eyes of some of Connecticut’s most famous former residents: Katharine Hepburn, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Katharine Hepburn’s Connecticut
Heritage Trails Sightseeing Tours
P. O. Box 138
Farmington, CT 06034
Katharine Hepburn was born and raised in Hartford and later became an iconic Hollywood legend and beloved national treasure. See Hartford through her eyes on this three-hour tour, which includes a lunch cruise aboard the Lady Katharine. This bus tour navigates through points of interest of her childhood, including her home and some favorite places, plus the theatre where she first performed. The tour ends at Hepburn’s gravesite.
The Mark Twain House and Museum
351 Farmington Ave.
Hartford, CT 06105-4401
As soon as you step into the entrance hall of the Mark Twain House, you are transfixed with Mark Twain’s world – his home, his era. The home is decorated as the “Huck Finn” author had it and celebrated by tour guides in period dress. Explore the exquisite library and conservatory to the billiard room and the nursery. The Mark Twain Museum, which opened in 2003, is an educational and entertaining experience into the legacy of Twain. See the exhibit, then step into the theater to watch a documentary of his life. There is also a research library, which can be viewed by appointment only.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
77 Forest St.
Hartford, CT 06105
Harriet Beecher Stowe, notable author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” created a name for herself not just in the literary world, but also as an advocate with her anti-slavery novel. Her words were not just read, they were heard. Visiting her house brings history back to life and is a great way to see the literary influence Hartford had and how this established author contributed to society. She made her mark on the world, and left it for everyone to see in Hartford.
Day 3: The Heart of Hartford
Wind down your three-day tour of Hartford with visits to some of this capital city’s renowned institutions. Visit the Old State House and the Capitol Building to see how history was made and how it is being made today.
Hook and Ladder
207 Main St.
Hartford, CT 06106
This restaurant – a great spot for the day’s lunch – pays homage to local firefighters, with a unique firehouse theme, and is located right next to the South Green Station. It’s a family style restaurant that features special events and creates a friendly environment. This restaurant combines food and fun, while reminding customers of important figures in Hartford. It also includes a shop with t-shirts and mugs, and there is free parking for patrons.
Old State House
800 Main St.
Hartford, Ct. 06103
The Old State House is an important monument to Connecticut’s history. This is where colonists built our constitution and paved the way for our country as we know it today. After America gained independence, the state capitol was built. The Old State House now it is a museum and focal point to what this city and state represent in our history.
State Capitol & Legislative Office building
210 Capitol Ave.
Hartford, CT 06106
Learn about Connecticut’s history as it is being made. The State Capital is graced with statues of notable Connecticut figures such as Nathan Hale and William Buckingham. Explore the hall of flags – a historical display of flags that have been carried to battle by Connecticut soldiers. The State Capitol also feature the Connecticut Hall of Fame, which recognizes grand achievements of Connecticut residents. While there, you can also tour the legislative office buildings and view proceedings from public galleries.
The Arch Tavern
85 Arch St.
Hartford, CT 06103
This restaurant is a staple in Hartford and the building has played a role in the city since 1895, first as the Hartford Brick Carriage Factory building horse-drawn carriages. Before the tavern opened, it was also a firehouse and a body shop. It has been a popular restaurant since 1978 – “legendary,” some say, and a must on your visit – where Hartford’s “soul” can be found. The tavern has many special features, plus live music, including jazz on Mondays and poker games on Tuesdays. It’s the perfect place to cap off your day and visit. And hopefully, at the end of three days, you will agree with Mark Twain, who wrote, “Of all the beautiful towns, it has been my fortune to see this is the chief!”