Moving to Hartford? This capital city isn’t known for its professional sports teams or Ivy League schools, but it has earned the title of “the insurance capital of the world.” Located along the Connecticut River, Hartford was first known as Newtown when English settlers arrived in 1635. Since the early days when traders were doing business via the Connecticut River, Hartford has been a business hub for financial transactions. Today Hartford serves as the headquarters for many of the world’s insurance companies, as well as technology and financial leaders.
For a small city, Hartford has a lot to offer in the way of arts and entertainment. Catch a show at the Hartford Stage, a non-profit professional theatre that has won a number of awards, including a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. For everything from jazz to comedy to opera, visit the Bushnell Performing Arts Center. Not only was the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art the first public art museum in the US, it was also the first American museum to acquire works by such famous icons as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Balthus, Joseph Cornell, and many others. For more contemporary arts, Real Art Ways has exhibits of visual art, cinema and even live art (music, poetry, storytelling, and more). Artworks Gallery displays the work of local and regional contemporary artists, and offers music events, educational programs, poetry and lecture series, and theatrical performances.
Elizabeth Park is the oldest and largest municipal rose garden in the country, with its initial 100 rose bushes growing to 15,000 bushes. Today the park spans over 100 acres of gardens, greenhouses, picnic areas, and recreation areas. For a close and personal look at the underwater world, visit the Mystic Aquarium Institute for Exploration. Touch sting rays, discover creatures of the Amazon, and learn about sea lions, belugas and other marine life.
Hartford’s history is preserved at the Butler-McCook Homestead, which maintains a collection of art, furnishings, Victorian era toys, and household items from over 200 years. Be inspired by visiting the house of Mark Twain where he wrote the classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. One of the oldest historical societies in the country, the Connecticut Historical Society has prints, photographs, textiles, furniture, costumes, and much more in its various collections.