Free and Fun in Connecticut’s State Capital

Do you want to take in the sights and sounds of Hartford, CT without breaking the bank? No problem. There are plenty of fun and free things to do around the state capital. You can walk around historic Trinity College Campus, or visit Katharine Hepburn’s grave at Cedar Hill Cemetery any day of the week. But we’ve lined up some of our favorite family-friendly things to do in Hartford. Walk through the day with us!

Morning: Tour the Connecticut State Capitol

Beautiful architecture with gold dome adorns the Connecticut State Capital in Hartford
Connecticut State Capital Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ground was broken for the gorgeous and historic Connecticut State Capitol in 1871 and construction was completed in 1878. It is on the list of National Historic Landmarks and overlooks Bushnell Park, the oldest public park in the United States. There are free tours offered during the week, but if you prefer to go at your own time and pace, you can also go on a self-guided tour of the building.

Bushnell Park beautiful architecture's.
Bushnell Park Source: Yelp

Morning: Musuem of Connecticut History

Museum of Connecticut History Source: Trip Advisor

The Museum of Connecticut History can be found just across the street from the Connecticut State Capitol. There, you will be taken through Connecticut’s rich governmental, political, industrial, and military histories. The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10am until 4pm and is always free of charge – however, guided tours are not available at this time.

Lunch: Picnic at Riverside Park

Couple sitting down opening up picnic basket.

Around this time in your day, you might be feeling a bit peckish. You should visit Riverside Park along the Connecticut River for a midday picnic. You could get a chance to watch crew teams that are part of the Hartford Community Rowing Program as they practice on the water. You can take a nice walk once you’ve finished your food to view the sculptures lining the riverside.

Afternoon: Reflect in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph

Large Beautiful Painting of Jesus inside Cathedral of Saint Joseph.

Take some time in the afternoon sun to gaze upon the magnificent stained-glass windows in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph. The towering cathedral built offers exquisite stained-glass art that was constructed in Paris and a ceramic tile mural behind the altar. Learn about the incredible history of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, from farm to fire to sanctuary.

Afternoon: Stop and Smell the Roses at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy

Elizabeth Park Conservancy Rose Garden with rose vines growing on pergula.
Elizabeth Park Conservancy Source:

While the flowers at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy are in bloom in the spring and summer seasons, the park is open all year round to visitors and botanists alike. Visit the Helen S Kaman Rose Garden, the first municipal rose garden in the United States. And third largest, with over 15,000 rose bushes in total. It is open all year round from dawn until dusk and never charges an admission fee.