What to Do in Hartford Tour the Mark Twain House and Museum (351 Farmington Ave.) and see the third-floor billiard room where Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. “Mark Twain”) penned “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and other famous works. The restored Victorian Gothic home, built for the author and his family in 1874, is an architectural wonder with 25 rooms and ornate interior woodwork designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Saddle up your glitzy, hand-carved horse and ride the 1914 Stein and Goldstein carousel in Bushnell Park (Trinity and Elm streets), one of many fun places to go with kids. One of only three of its kind in the country, the carousel is enclosed, heated and operates year-round. Other points of interest in Bushnell Park include sculptures, fountains and the Civil War-era Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch.
Marvel at impressive Gothic spires and a gold-leaf dome atop the Connecticut State Capitol (210 Capitol Ave.). Embark on a free guided history tour of the building and hear stories of Connecticut's most celebrated heroes.
Feel like a kid again—and learn a thing or two—at the Connecticut Science Center (250 Columbus Blvd.). More than 165 interactive exhibits spanning four floors cover everything from the human body and sports to physics and space exploration. An eco-friendly rooftop garden offers a chance to get outside in warmer months.
Hunt for ghosts of early settlers at Ancient Burying Ground (60 Gold St.), the city's first cemetery in use 1640 until the early 1800s. Brochures available at the Main Street gate and Greater Hartford Welcome Center, 100 Pearl St., will guide you to the gravesite of Hartford founder Thomas Hooker.
Lace up your walking shoes and stroll winding paths and elegant rose gardens at Elizabeth Park Rose Garden (1555 Asylum Ave.) on the city border in West Hartford . In June and July the park's century-old rose gardens are the place to be when more than 800 rose varieties are in full bloom. The perennial gardens are home to eye-popping displays of tulips in spring, while dahlias steal the show in fall. Best of all, it's free and open 365 days a year.
Order a bowl of old-fashioned clam chowder at family-friendly restaurant U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV (165 Brainard Rd.). Large portions and house specialties like Chowder Pot lobster pie and creamy lobster bisque are sure to satisfy.
Settle into your seats at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts (166 Capitol Ave.) and take in a Broadway show. The glamorous Art Deco theater, designed by the architects credited with New York City's Radio City Music Hall, features the country's largest hand-painted mural suspended from the ceiling. Take the free behind-the-scenes tour—you'll get to check out the theater's green room as well as a 14-foot glass chandelier designed by Dave Chihuly.
If smaller venues and off-beat productions are more your style, check the event calendars at Hartford Stage (50 Church St.) or TheaterWorks (233 Pearl St.). Both venues are highly regarded in the local arts community and are fun places to go with friends.
Spend an afternoon at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (600 Main St.), the country's oldest public art museum. The museum is known for its impressive collection of Hudson River School landscapes. Take a self-guiding cellphone tour for a fresh perspective on works by all the greats—Picasso, Dalí, Monet, Warhol and Van Gogh.
Hit the slots at Mohegan Sun Casino (1 Mohegan Sun Blvd.) in Uncasville or Foxwoods Resort Casino (350 Trolley Line Blvd.) in Mashantucket and prepare to be amazed. More like mini-cities than casinos, both feature plenty of activities for non-gamblers. Shopping malls, concert venues, day spas, golf courses and dozens of excellent places to eat are among the offerings. For lunch or dinner, try Alta Strada at Foxwoods.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Connecticut sales tax is 6.35 percent. Room occupancy tax in the greater Hartford area is 15 percent. The car rental tax is 9.35 percent with an added $1 per day tourism tax.
Hartford Hospital, (860) 545-5000; Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, (860) 714-4000.
One Constitution Plaza 2nd Floor Hartford, CT 06103. Phone:(860)256-2800
Bradley International Airport
Hertz, at the airport and at several downtown locations, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (860) 627-3850 or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station, (860) 727-1776 or (800) 872-7245, is downtown in the Union Station Transportation Center at 1 Union Pl.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (860) 724-7080 or (800) 231-2222, Peter Pan Bus Lines/Bonanza Bus, (800) 343-9999, and other intercity buses operate out of the Union Station Transportation Center at 1 Union Pl. Taxis and CTTransit buses also are available.
Taxis hired at the airport taxi stand charge $45 to downtown (for up to four people). Cab companies include Yellow, (860) 666-6666. Base fare (for up to four people) is $3.00 for first one-ninth mile, then 30c per each additional one-ninth mile.
The buses of CTTransit, (860) 525-9181 or TTY (860) 727-8196, run on more than 30 routes servicing Hartford and its surrounding towns. The buses operate daily, with reduced schedules weekends and holidays. Regular fare $1.75; all-day pass $3.50.