Hartford Attractions

Hartford is a place that not only features an incredible collage of historical significance, but it presents those various aspects of the past in a truly compelling scenario that includes beautiful buildings, expansive areas and enticing natural beauty. So it makes perfect sense that when you are out to take in some of the city's most noteworthy attractions, you are very likely to encounter a truly impressive variety of surprises. Encompassing and embracing everything from nature to art to history, here are some of Hartford's most essential attractions.

The Mark Twain House & Museum
Mark Twain's unquestionable influence on both the literary world as well as American history is celebrated in a fascinating way when you visit the Mark Twain House. This is where the author wrote such famous works as Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and The Prince and the Pauper. The home is a Stick-style Victorian mansion originally built in 1874. Guided tours are available that offer an even deeper look at Twain's life, his work and his overall impact on generations of readers.

Address: 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105 - MAP
Phone: (860) 247-0998
Web: www.marktwainhouse.org

The Children's Museum
Entertaining the kids is always a challenge. It becomes less of a chore when you take them to visit the Children's Museum. This impressive facility seamlessly melds education and entertainment to offer visitors a chance to have fun while they learn. Among the many highlights and attractions are a planetarium and a wildlife sanctuary that features over 30 animals. Star Station One is another popular exhibit, as it dramatically recreates the experience of outer space, complete with an amazing replica of the International Space Station.

Address: 950 Trout Brook Drive, Hartford, CT 06119 - MAP
Phone: (860) 232-0705
Web: www.thechildrensmuseumct.org

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden
Amid the day to day hustle and bustle of the city, escaping to a natural haven isn't as difficult as you would think thanks to Hartford's Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens. Your senses will be stirred in this beautiful natural setting that features amazing views of meadows, fields and water. And of course, the roses of the park's namesake are the main attraction. A half-acre garden of rose bushes has attracted international attention, and once you see it, it's easy to see why. There are also several greenhouses, a picnic grove and recreational areas.

Address: 915 Prospect Ave, Hartford, CT 06105 - MAP
Phone: (860) 722-6541
Web: www.elizabethpark.org

Museum of Connecticut History
The state of Connecticut is proud of the role it has played in American history, and you can delve deeper into the past when you visit the Museum of Connecticut History. The facility is housed in the same building as the Connecticut State Library and the State Supreme Court. From the state's colonial charter to the various significant events that have led to both progress and challenges, the museum presents them all in a dramatic yet honorable fashion through the use of various types of exhibits and attractions, artifacts, documents and photographs.

Address: 231 Capitol Ave, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT 06106 - MAP
Phone: (860) 757-6535
Web: www.museumofcthistory.org

Matrix Gallery at The Wadsworth Atheneum
Art that stays within expectations is alright, but that's not what you'll find at Hartford's Matrix Gallery. This is artwork that will challenge you and maybe even elicit feelings that bring about a new way of thinking. This gallery is located in the Wadsworth Atheneum and has attracted an impressive level of attention for its activist exhibitions and attractions that feature non-traditional media and themes that are meant to make the viewer just a little uncomfortable–but in a good way.

Address: 600 Main Street, Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT 06103 - MAP
Phone: (860) 278-2670
Web: www.wadsworthatheneum.org

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration
Taking the plunge into the aquatic world is something that never ceases to amaze. The startling array of creatures are both wondrous and too numerous to mention. Get closer to that world when you spend some time at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration. There is much to marvel at when you make your way through the exhibit gallery, but perhaps the biggest highlight is the stunning reef that features 30,000 corals, sharks, and stingrays. Of course, be prepared to be captivated by the many colorful species of fish. You can get a more in-depth look at the various underwater life forms when you visit the Institute for Exploration. There's also a daily dolphin show, an outdoor Beluga exhibit and many other attractions.

Address: 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355 - MAP
Phone: (860) 572-5955
Web: www.mysticaquarium.org

Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
Noah Webster grew up in Hartford, and his contribution to American history is immeasurable. His surname graced the first dictionary, and his authorship of the first American edition of the dictionary is just one of the many fascinating aspects of visiting his historic home. Guides dressed in period clothes will not only tell you of Webster's life, but you can also experience that life for the length of your visit as flax breaking and wool carding are just a couple of the hands-on activities and attractions you can experience. You'll also see the original china, glassware and desk that Webster himself used. The whole visit is beyond words!

Address: 227 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06107 - MAP
Phone: (860) 521-5362
Web: www.noahwebsterhouse.org

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Mark Twain wasn't the only significant literary figure who made his home in Hartford. The city was also where Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, resided and worked. Her cottage-styled home still stands in its Victorian Gothic glory, originally built in 1871. In addition to her literary legacy, Stowe's home is dedicated to a program that focuses on social issues like race relations and women's roles. Among the many attractions and highlights of this quaint abode are Stowe's writing table and several paintings that she created herself.

Address: 77 Forest Street, Hartford, CT 06105 - MAP
Phone: (860) 522-9258
Web: www.harrietbeecherstowe.org