Welcome to Hartford!
Area Attractions and Events
Dining & Nightlife
dash Downtown Shuttle
It's easy to catch the dash!
dash is the Downtown Hartford bus circulation system that provides FREE shuttle service to the Convention Center, hotels, restaurants, arts & culture destinations and Union Station.
This service is a collaboration among CTTRANSIT, CT DOT, the City of Hartford, the Capitol Region Development Authority, the Hartford Business Improvement District, the Hartford Metro Alliance, and the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau.
Area Attractions & Events
Bushnell Performing Arts Center
166 Capitol Ave
Event: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AskbanTM in Concert, April 6 https://bushnell.org/shows-and-concerts
The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, located on Capitol Avenue, is a performing arts venue formerly known as the Bushnell Memorial Hall. Named after Horace Bushnell, a highly respected 19th century intellectual, and envisioned by his daughter Dotha Bushnell Hillyer, the center was constructed between 1929 and 1930 during the Great Depression as a memorial to her father. The center consists of several theaters, including the original Mortensen Hall and the Maxwell M. and Ruth R. Belding Theater. In addition to presenting performances including those by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the center has educational programs and community outreach programs such as Passport to the Arts and iQuilt. If you are looking for romantic date night ideas in Hartford CT, watch a performance at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center.
Connecticut Science Center
250 Columbus Blvd.
Located right next to the Marriott, the Connecticut Science Center is a nine-story science museum and theater that opened in 2009. The center contains 40,000 square feet of interactive exhibits in its 154,000 square foot facility. The Connecticut Science Center is one of the top Hartford attractions for families. The galleries include audio, tactile, and visual exhibits, among others. The Exploring Space gallery allows visitors to see a moon rock and moon craters, or go on a Venture to a Black Hole, while the River of Life teaches guests about the importance of the Connecticut River. The Picture of Health helps to show the differences between good and bad health habits. Finally, the Sight and Sound Experience is a combination of art, music, and science.
Connecticut State Capitol
10 Capitol Ave
The Connecticut State Capitol is the home of the Connecticut State Senate, the House of Representatives, the Connecticut General Assembly, and the office of the Governor of the State of Connecticut. The current capitol, constructed with marble and granite and opened in 1871, was designed in the Eastlake Movement style and has been designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. On the main floor there are collections of historic artifacts, many of which are related to the Civil War. There are self-guided tours as well as free one-hour guided tours, which are conducted from Monday to Friday. School tours as well as private group tours are also available.
1561 Asylum Ave
Elizabeth Park is a city park located on Asylum Avenue. Covering an area of 102 acres, the site was owned by Charles M. Pond, who gave the land to the City of Hartford in 1894 and asked them to name the park after his wife, Elizabeth Pond. One of the most famous parts of the park is the Rose Garden. It is the oldest municipal rose garden in the U.S. and is made up of 15,000 rose bushes representing 800 varieties. If you are wondering what to do in Hartford CT with kids, this is a great place to visit. In addition to the rose garden, the park contains greenhouses, lawns, pathways, a pond, and tennis courts.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
77 Forest Street
Located on Forest Street, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a historic museum as well as a U.S. National Landmark. Author of the 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in this house from 1873 until her death in 1896. The 5,000 square foot two-story brick house was built in the cottage style, painted gray, and decorated with dormers and gables. It sits adjacent to the Mark Twain House. The center contains original objects from the family as well as several documents and letters. The center also has a research library and a carriage house that serves as the Visitor Center. Listed on the U.S. National Register of History Places, the center is open every day.
The Mark Twain House and Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Located on Farmington Avenue, the Mark Twain House & Museum is where Samuel Longhorne Clemens lived and worked between 1874 and 1891. Before living in this house, Clemens, known as Mark Twain, lived in several places including Hannibal, Missouri. However, it was in this house in Hartford where he wrote his most famous books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, among other well-known works. Built in the Victorian Gothic style between 1873 and 1874, the house has 19 rooms. Opened in 2003, the museum features permanent and rotating exhibits that give visitors the chance to learn more about the author and his life.
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
50 Columbus Blvd
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza is a popular park in downtown Hartford and a centerpiece of the Riverfront park system. A large stage near the river hosts a range of performances, and grass-covered terraces offer seating for more than 2,500 people.The plaza stairs are a great space for vigorous exercise or for relaxing and watching the boats on the river. They also serve as front-row seats during the annual dragon boat festival. From the Plaza, you can take one of the many walking trails along the river, get on a boat tour of the city, or walk across the Founders Bridge to East Hartford.
Museum of Connecticut History
231 Capitol Ave
The Museum of Connecticut History is located in the meticulously restored and historic 1910 building that houses the State Library and Supreme Court. Its focus is on the state’s governmental, industrial, and military history, which it showcases through a range of permanent and temporary exhibits. The exhibits follow the State’s growth and development and the part it played in the development of the United States. The visit to the museum starts at Memorial Hall with a display of the portraits of former Connecticut Governors. The Hall also contains display boxes with important historical documents such as the State's original Royal Charter from 1662. Other important collections are the Connecticut Collection, which contains flags, portraits, weapons, uniforms, and many other historic objects, The Colt Firearms Collection, Mitchelson Coin Collection, and many others. Admission is free.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
600 Main Street
The Wadsworth Atheneum is an art museum founded in 1842 and opened in 1844, making it one of the oldest art museums in the U.S. It has an extensive collection of American Impressionist paintings, works by contemporary artists, French Impressionist paintings, landscapes by members of the Hudson River School, modernist art works, and more. The museum also features American decorative arts and furniture and is one of the best things to do in Hartford, Connecticut. With 196,000 square feet, the Wadsworth Atheneum is the largest art museum in Connecticut and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It also offers many educational programs and hosts special events like film screenings.
The XL Center is Connecticut’s premier destination for sports & entertainment. The 16,000+ seat downtown arena is home to the eleventh-time National Champion UConn Women's Basketball team and the four-time National Champion UConn Men's Basketball team. Led by Hall of Fame basketball Head Coach Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie, the Men's & Women's basketball programs have established themselves as national powerhouses. The XL Center is also home to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the primary developmental affiliate of the New York Rangers. The team is coached by AHL Legend Ken Gernander. Coach Gernander won a Calder Cup as a player in Hartford during the 1999-2000 season.
Dining and Nightlife
50 Elm Café & Spirits
(Caribbean/South American) $$, L, D
50 Elm St.
Focuses on artisan spirits alongside South American and Caribbean inspired small plates. It is a relaxed, yet mature environment, where spirits, food and culture can be enjoyed.
(Modern Mexican) $$, BR, L, D
100 Allyn St.
There’s something different in store for your next business lunch, Sunday brunch, romantic dinner, group event or just an exciting night out on the town – from an eclectic menu of modern Mexican masterpieces, to the largest tequila bar north of the Rio Grande, to a lively bar scene that’s spicy in its own right!
As you step inside, step up your excitement. Awaiting you is an eclectic and electric atmosphere. An intriguing array of traditional Mexican favorites alongside exotic signature dishes. And it all starts with our signature tableside guacamole. In the cantina, Agave is a party. The extensive tequila bar offers dozens of varieties for shooting or sipping. And if that’s not your thing, the extensive cocktail menu will tempt you with our world-famous Margaritas, plus mojitos, cervezas and much more.
Arch Street Tavern
(American) $$, L, D
85 Arch St.
Serving tavern seasoned comfort food since 1978, Arch Street Tavern also features the perfect environment for all styles of parties & events.
BK Chicken & Waffles
(American) $$, L, D
915 Main St.
Family owned and operated restaurant with an all-inclusive atmosphere. Food is prepared fresh daily and made to order with a goal to provide you great service and a positive dining experience.
Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue
(BBQ) $$, L, D
31 Front St.
Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue offers a wide selection of wood-smoked, Kansas City styled barbecue as well as sauces and sides. Come on in for the best barbecue in Connecticut!
Bin 228 Panini & Wine Bar
(Italian Wine Bar) $$, L, D
228 Pearl St.
A go-to spot where the food is prepared with the freshest of ingredients and attention to detail that can only come from our artisan chefs. Pair your food selection with a wine from our extensive wine list, over 55 wines available by the glass.
Black-Eyed Sally’s Southern Kitchen & Bar
(BBQ/Cajun) $$, L, D
350 Asylum St.
Black-Eyed Sally’s is a local favorite Downtown landmark, built in a historic 100-year-old brick building with pressed tin walls and time-worn wood floors, full of southern folk art and blues memorabilia. Owned & operated by the same family who has been serving and enriching our community for over 20 years!
We put our passion on the plate, feeding your mouth and your soul with our award-winning Barbeque and Southern cooking in an authentic juke-joint atmosphere.
The Blind Pig Pizza Company
(Pizza) $$, L, D
89 Arch St.
Trendy pizzeria offering inventive pies, including BBQ topping options from Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, paired with craft beers, cocktails, or wine.
The Capital Grille
(Steakhouse) $$$, L, D
44 Front St.
From the moment you step into The Capital Grille, the experience is one of comfortable elegance. African mahogany paneling and Art Deco chandeliers provide a warm, stately setting for their nationally renowned dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and acclaimed world-class wines. With service as gracious as it is attentive, they look forward to impressing you.
(Italian) $$$, L, D
588 Franklin Ave.
Carbone’s Ristorante is recognized as one of the finest restaurants in the state. Originally opened as the Southern Plantation in 1938, current Chef-Owner Vinnie Carbone represents the third generation of family ownership. Consistently excellent cuisine along with old world hospitality and service define Carbone’s unique dining experience.
(Latin American) $$, L, D
One Union Place
A fusion of authentic Latin American street foods and the popular smoked meats from Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ. The menu features foods such as empanadas, enchiladas, and tacos.
City Steam Brewery Café
(American) $$, L, D
942 Main St.
With its upscale menu, award-winning brewery and historic setting in a 1870'The Finest Handcrafted Beer, Live Comedy and Upscale Casual Cuisine in a Historic Setting.
DISH Bar & Grill
(Eclectic American) $$$, L, D
900 Main St.
Dish Bar & Grill is located in the heart of downtown Hartford in the former Sage-Allen Department Store. Serving upscale interpretations of classic comfort foods and a large bar featuring live music and innovative cocktails, there is truly something for everyone.
Feng Asian Bistro
(Asian) $$, L, D
93 Asylum St.
Located in the center of downtown Hartford Feng Asian Bistro is a concept of the highly decorated Ginza Restaurant Group. The restaurant features a broad range of elegant South East Asian dishes spanning the Pacific Rim from Thailand, China and Japan. The restaurant’s chefs express fusion of east and west in every plate while still exemplifying authenticity. Feng’s atmosphere is very urban with hip music and a very global surrounding featuring stone, wood and stainless steel as the major materials used in construction.
First and Last Tavern
(Italian) $$, L, D
939 Maple Ave.
The First and Last Tavern has been a Hartford landmark since 1936. The First and Last Tavern derives its name for its location being the first tavern inside the town line and the last tavern when leaving the City of Hartford. For many years, it was known as the “tradesmen’s bar” when the “Original Special” of pasta, with a meatball/sausage and salad on a single plate was served at the bar or in a booth, often with a draft beer or glass of wine. Over time the First and Last pasta sauce has gained a following in the community. It’s truly a Hartford institution.
Infinity Music Hall & Bistro
(Contemporary American) $$, L, D
32 Front St.
Infinity Hall is home to a vibrant restaurant and bar scene, with a music-themed, four-star Contemporary American-style restaurant on premises. Experience the tastiest and most creative dishes you've ever had, or enjoy one of our popular favorites.
(Continental) $$$, L, D
185 Asylum St.
If ever there were a showplace for dining in Hartford, it is Max Downtown. Providing outstanding dining, service and atmosphere, Max Downtown offers a trend-setting atmosphere for more than 300 patrons daily. It has earned a 25 or “excellent” from Zagat’s Survey, a “Best New Restaurant” from Connecticut Magazine, more than six Reader’s Choice awards from Connecticut Magazine and 4-stars from The Hartford Courant’s Northeast Magazine. Internationally inspired dishes and other regional and traditional fare create a menu unlike any other in Connecticut. “It’s more than a Classic Chop House,” says Rosenthal. "We create dishes for people with a passion for dining.” An experienced staff of more than forty provides an in-depth knowledge of the unique menu and extensive wine list. A vibrant color scheme, high ceilings and artisan chandeliers create a contemporary, clubby environment that is perfect for a business dinner or a romantic one.
McKinnon’s Irish Pub
(Irish Pub) $$, L, D
114 Asylum St.
Stop by for a pint or traditional Irish fare, live music, and entertainment.
(Contemporary American) $$, L, D
40 Front St.
NIXS is Hartford's premier dining destination for modern America small plates and contemporary cuisine. Paying tribute to the Boston Harbor Island, the neighborhood restaurant and bar serves seasonally-inspired fare, capturing the true spirit of New England.
(Fine Dining) $$$, L Weekdays, D Wed. to Sat.
400 Columbus Blvd.-20th Floor
Since 1983, the restaurant on the 20th floor of One State St. has had a singular mission: to host its guests in the finest dining establishment possible. Founded and maintained by The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company, ON20 continues the tradition today. Under the guidance of Hartford native executive Chef Jesse Powers, the culinary team prides itself for its “innovative and progressive” cuisine with unobtrusive and unencumbered service. ON20 was voted one of the Top Ten restaurants for service in the country by Opentable diners, and was named one of the top scenic view restaurants in the country.
(Contemporary Italian) $$$, L, D
357 Main St.
Italian restaurant & bar serving upscale cuisine in a warm, intimate space. Private room available that seats up to 90 people – 80 very comfortably and can accommodate up to 150 people for standing or cocktail parties.
Republic at the Linden
(American/Gastropub) $$, L, D
10 Capitol Ave.
A gastropub serving new American plates & signature cocktails served up in a dimly lit, vintage-chic dining room. It incorporates handcrafted beers, boutique wines, small batch bourbons and artistic culinary creations in a high-end, pub-like atmosphere.
The Russian Lady
(American Pub) $, L, D
191 Ann Uccello St.
The Russian Lady is a multifaceted café and nightlife venue that has established itself as a domineering force in its industry. Originally opening in 1976 in Downtown Hartford, The Russian Lady quickly became a fixture for live music, gatherings, and of course- it's Infamous Russian Lady Iced Teas!
With over 12,000 square feet, three different floors, and various different rooms, The Russian Lady is able to offer a unique experience to its patrons. Customers can enjoy a pub-style atmosphere on our first floor, a vodka bar and lounge as well as a billiards room on the second floor, and a cigar bar on our rooftop. With our festive Happy Hours, pub-style menu, live entertainment, and multiple TVs for sporting events, we have a little something for everyone!
(New Italian) $$, L, D
100 Trumbull St.
Owners Jimmy Cosgrove, Andy Rizzo, and Dave Caudill run Salute Restaurant in Downtown Hartford. Located at 100 Trumbull St., our charming contemporary décor welcomes all old friends and newcomers to this energetic, upscale casual restaurant. We promise to bring you fresh Italian dishes that you’re bound to love and crave. As you enter Salute you will be greeted by our “host with the most” Dale “Daleo” Kirshnitz and many other smiling, familiar faces from the Hartford area restaurant scene. You are sure to feel at home in our warm and comfortable dining rooms being served by some of your favorite servers and bartenders. With handcrafted wood work, gorgeous Tuscan colors and hand painted murals, our dining room is the perfect environment for a romantic dinner, a fun night out with friends or co-workers, or to celebrate a special occasion. We also have private and semi-private dining areas available for special functions.
(Italian) $$ L, D
901 Main St.
Planning an event? Our place or yours, Sorella Ristorante will make it a memorable occasion for you and your guests. At Sorella we serve housemade pastas, ravioli and Wood Fired Pizzas. Make it special in our Wine Cellar, the perfect gather spot for friends, colleagues and family! Private dining capacity sit-down dinner: 34, cocktail reception: 40.
Ted’s Montana Grill
(American) $$, L, D
35 Front St.
Like bison at home on the range, our guests know they will always feel welcome at Ted's Montana Grill. Our commitment to showing guests the genuine hospitality that keeps them coming back is what we call, “Big Sky Spirit.” This is a place where they know they'll always find a greeting and a meal that makes them glad they visited.
(New American) $$, L, D
150 Trumbull St.
If you look in the Max Restaurant Group’s dictionary under hip, you’ll find a picture of its stylish restaurant, Trumbull Kitchen. Contemporary, cool and inventive, it has been fashioned by owner Richard Rosenthal and executive chef and partner, Chris Torla. Progressive cross-cultural dishes offer variations of familiar food from around the world. Chris’s menu features a collection of tasters and tapas as well as larger plates and entrées. Items range from the Trumbull version of macaroni & cheese to steamed mussels fra diavlo or a Chinese chicken salad. “It’s meant to surprise and tantalize a discriminating palate, as well as simply deliver some great comfort food,” said Chris. Located in one of the premier locations in Hartford, CT, Trumbull Kitchen presented Richard Rosenthal with a real challenge. “We wanted to push some boundaries, to introduce some new excitement and innovation, in both design and menu, to our restaurant clientele. We also wanted it to be different from other Max experiences.” Custom designed elliptical light fixtures give off a warm glow, accenting the leather-upholstered walls detailed with satin aluminum nail heads. A smaller loft dining room overlooks the restaurant and is enclosed by French glass doors. A mosaic theme is carried from the bar to the kitchen by way of a colorfully tiled floor and opaque glass wall, which provides a partial view into the kitchen.
Vaughan’s Public House
(Irish Pub) $$, BR, L, D
59 Pratt St.
Vaughan's Public House of Pratt St., Hartford is smoked salmon, tender corned beef and Glenkerry potatoes. It's homemade Irish cream, signature Irish coffees, the finest single malts and dozens of memorable ways to fill a pint glass. Its authentic hand-crafted furniture and décor, literally hand-carried across the pond. It's a place where you feel right at home. And if you feel like you're in Ireland, cear fo leor (that's great) because we want you to. Vaughan's promises true Irish warmth and hospitality all day, every day. Wander in sometime for lunch, dinner, after-dinner drinks, pre-show pints or just because. Sit. Stay. Stay some more. You may not ever want to leave. And we really don't want you to. Because, at Vaughan's today can wait till tomorrow... and tomorrow can wait till sometime next week.
(Italian) $$, L, D
280 Trumbull St.
Our Chef/owner has gained national notoriety from his Food Network competitions with Chopped champions and Iron Chefs. Our restaurants have been featured in the "Best Of" for years. Chef/Owner Rob Maffucci has creatively infused Old World Italian traditions with his cutting-edge style and presentation. Everything from our pastas to our sauces and bread are made from scratch. Our great food and incredible experiences aren't limited to our casual, upscale dining. It's the perfect place to host everything from corporate events and family celebrations like showers and receptions.
Vivo Seasonal Trattoria
(Mediterranean) $$$, B, L, D
In the Marriott Hartford, 200 Columbus Blvd.
“Fresh ingredients, prepared simply” best describes VIVO’s inspired selection of dishes, infused with simple, contemporary Mediterranean flavors and the finest in market-fresh, seasonal ingredients. Chef de Cuisine William Reardon creates pure and delicious culinary delights, presented with a refreshingly creative Napa Valley style.