Take a break from your hectic schedule and enjoy a few moments of relaxation at Elizabeth Park Conservancy. Operating since 1897, this beautiful park has been a place of interest for the locals as well as the tourists due to its charming gardens. The property spans an area of 102 acres (41 hectares) and is home to a heritage rose garden, horticultural garden, shade garden and four other gardens. Besides the lush greenery, it features four century-old Greenhouses verdant pathways, lawns and many more things to do on a sunny day. It also provides facilities for recreational activities like tennis courts, basket ball courts, picnic groves and many others. All in all you are sure to enjoy your time here.
Lake Compounce Family Theme Park is the one of the oldest continuously operated theme parks in the United States. The amusement park and adjoining water park are two of the hottest summer attractions in the region, as well as the Wildcat, (a wooden roller coaster built in 1927 and reconstructed with new wood in 1985) and a carousel built in 1911. This is the perfect spot for some family fun or to just admire this historic and fun-filled attraction.
The New Children's Museum is the fifth oldest children's museum in the country and was established in 1927. It provides interesting technology exhibits as well as natural ones like a wildlife sanctuary, butterfly house (seasonal) and a visit inside "Conny the Whale." The planetarium is another highlight and the programs include field trips, birthday parties, facility rentals and other outreach events with the community.
The University of Connecticut was founded in 1881, originally as an agricultural college. Today, its location about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Hartford and the school prides itself in its their high academic standards as well as its basketball teams.. The university's architecture is reminiscent of early 20th Century colleges, with gorgeous Gothic buildings alongside the modern facilities. UConn is one of New England's top-ranked public universities and is worth the trip to the serene countryside for a basketball game, to see a show at the Jorgensen Center, or some sightseeing in fall when the leaves change.
Built as a replacement for the Gothic-style church that burned down in 1956, the majestically modern Cathedral of St. Joseph built in was built in 1962. The cathedral is beautifully adorned with stained glass, elegant bronze bells and ceramic-titled murals that surround the altar of this impressive edifice.
This home on Farmington Avenue is where Mark Twain lived from 1874 until he moved to Europe (due to bankruptcy) in 1891. It is also the place where Twain wrote some of his most famous works, such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The estate is in constant renovation and the curating team is always looking to restore it as it was when Twain lived here. Nonetheless, the adjacent Museum offers an exclusive documentary about the writer by director Ken Burns and the home was one of the first 100 architectural sites to be registered as a National Historic Landmark in the United States.
Since the American Revolution, Connecticut has had three Capitols; built in 1878, this angelic-white structure is the state's third and last one. Designed by renowned American architect Richard M. Upjohn, the gold-domed building was erected in the Victorian Eastlake Movement-style and constructed using marble sourced from three different East Coast states. The iconic structure's stunning main facade is embellished with a series of carefully-crafted statues that bear likenesses to some of the most influential politicians and historic citizens to have come out of Connecticut. The capitol building is currently home to the state senate and the house of representatives, while also maintaining the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
This theater was built in 1930 in homage to local theologian Horace Bushnell and today it still remains as one of the Connecticut's best event venues. A must-visit for all culture lovers, the Bushnell has inspired audiences with its fantastic shows and plays a leading role in the Hartford's cultural vibrancy. It is a non-profit organization renowned for community programs and a leading educator and advocate of the arts. From Broadway shows to comedians, it's a great place to spend an evening.
Take a walk by the lake, have a picnic, or ride on the vintage 1914 carousel that is housed in one of America's first municipal parks. Since the mid-1850s, Bushnell Park has offered citizens a comfortable place to unwind away from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown Hartford. On the registry of National Historic Landmarks since 1970, the famous Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch dedicated to those in the Civil War is one of the major highlights as well as the Horace Wells Monument and the Corning Fountain.
With a congregation founded in 1636, the Center Church is the fourth meeting house to reside on its current location with the present church built in 1807. The Center Church has always maintained itself as not just a religious icon of the city, but as a cultural one as well. Today, there are concerts and important city events, such as First Night, which are held on the grounds of the church. Also on the site of the church is Hartford's oldest cemetery, the Ancient Burial Ground, where its citizens were interred from 1640 to 1802. "Our Church is 375 years old; our thinking is not" is the motto of the 375 year-old house of worship and is one of the most progressive congregations in the state.
One of the best museums in the entire country, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art houses some of the finest collections of European art. The museum walls are lined with Renaissance and Modern art, including work by Caravaggio, Lorrain, Picasso, Degas, Cézanne, van Dyck, Monet, Van Gogh, and more. One of the most outstanding collections at the museum is that of the Hudson River School and late 19th Century oil and watercolors from local artists. Open since 1842, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest public art museum in the United States.