A Day Out: Great Attractions & Free Activities Within Hartford, CT

Finding Something to Do in Hartford County, CT 

Planning a day out? As Connecticut’s capital, Hartford features many historic landmarks and interesting attractions that any person would enjoy checking out. The city is also known for its parks, which are perfect to take walks in when the weather is nice. Get out of your apartment for the day, and visit one of the excellent destinations that Hartford has to offer. 

Connecticut Science Center 

Connecticut Science Center
Source: Yelp 

Situated along the Connecticut River, the Connecticut Science Center was established in 2009 as part of an effort to increase interest in science in the Hartford area. This nine-story complex features over 165 interactive exhibits, as well as four educational labs. Featured exhibits give visitors the chance to encounter butterflies, design flying machines, race robots, and dig for fossils.  

The Science Center also has its own 3D digital theater, which is used to show immersive 3D presentations and movies. Programs are available for residents of all ages, so anyone can participate in the complex’s science programs. Thanks to its engaging exhibits, the Connecticut Science Center is the state’s premiere destination for people interested in science. 

The Mark Twain House & Museum 

Mark Twain House
Source: Yelp 

One of Hartford’s premiere landmarks is the former home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen-name, Mark Twain. Twain and his wife lived in this house until 1903, when it was sold to the Richard Bissell family so the two could travel abroad. The mansion served as a school and as an apartment during the following decades, before it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962. 

By signing up for a tour, visitors can go through the house, and get a firsthand look at the home of one of the world’s most iconic authors. Next to the building is the visitor’s center, which showcases key works from Twain’s past. Before you go on a tour, you can visit the Nook Farm Café to grab a quick bite or a drink. 

Bushnell Center for Performing Arts 

Frequently referred to as Connecticut’s performing arts hotspot, the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts is the place to be if you are a fan of culture. From comedies to dramas, all genres are tackled here, so it is easy to find a show you will find enjoyment in. Broadway hits, including Dear Evan Hansen, can be viewed here as well. 

Live music performances are held as well, and renditions of famous film scores are also done here. Some of these shows feature music from Star Wars and Harry Potter. If you are a fan of music, dancing, theater, or all of the above, we recommend that you visit the Bushnell Center in the near future. 

Lake Compounce 

Lake Compounce
Source: Yelp 

Though it is located in Bristol, Lake Compounce is only 20 miles away from Hartford, making it a popular destination for its residents. Operating as both a theme park and a water park (known as Crocodile Cove), Lake Compounce is the longest continuously running amusement park in the United States. The park is famous for the Boulder Dash, which has been rated as the best wooden roller coaster in the country. 

The park also includes bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, a drop tower, a wave pool, and a log flume, among other fun attractions. Live shows are held here too, and are perfect for entertaining your kids after a long day of checking out the rides. Lake Compounce is one of the best amusement parks in the country, and residents of all ages can have a great time here. 

Other Free Activities 

Bushnell Park lake and fountain
Source: Yelp 

If you are trying to save money, there are several interesting places you can visit without spending a cent. A helpful tool you can use to get around Hartford without spending money is the Hartford dash Shuttle. This free circulator bus operates throughout the week, and even offers enhanced transportation services during major events. 

Visit the Bushnell Park to ride its iconic Carousel attraction, and be sure to check for free concerts that are held here. Elizabeth Park is famous for its rose gardens, and it even offers a selection of recreational facilities. Lastly, the Museum of Connecticut History features a vast collection of exhibits detailing key events from Connecticut’s history. 

If you want to move to Hartford County, CT, take the time to browse the local apartment communities operated by Garden Communities CT, including Aspen Highlands and Aspen Woods.

View Hartford Apartments