Is there really anything quite as frigid as the walk down a wind tunnel of a sidewalk in downtown Hartford? We’re in the midst of January, and any hardened, seasoned New Englander knows the weather will not get much better until mid-March. The easy solution is to stay hunkered down until spring, hidden under a pile of blankets and streaming services. But what if we told you there’s still hope for fun times even in the coldest days of winter?
As optimists and Hartford enthusiasts, it’s our job to give you a guide full of things to do in the city during the winter months! So bundle up, give yourself a pep talk, and let’s get going.
It’s “stay indoors” season, which means it’s time to finally visit all the places you were too busy to check out during “outdoor happy hour szn”. Now’s your chance to see a live performance (or three!). Hartford is home to some great venues for the performing arts. Check out Hartford Stage, TheaterWorks Hartford, and The Bushnell, where you can see famous Broadway adaptations, provocative new plays, classics, and more!
More of a comedy fan? Sea Tea Improv & Comedy Theater will make you cry from laughing — they have tons of weekend shows! Other spots to catch comedy shows from time to time include Parkville Market or City Steam Brewery.
New year, new you, right? Embark on a culinary adventure! Hartford is a melting pot of distinctive foods from around the world. There are so many options, and we have tons of other guides that highlight Hartford food spots (here, here, and here — to name a few), but these are a couple we think you should check out ASAP!
One of the new kids on the block, El Sitio, is a family-owned Puerto Rican restaurant in the Southwest neighborhood. The Papas Locas is a must-try— think: loaded fries with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, mayo-ketchup, and your choice of meat.
For traditional Portuguese dishes that will transport you to the country itself, Primavera Pub is a great spot for date nights or family gatherings, offering a massive menu of meats, seafood, and more.
You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy Fire N Spice. This small but mighty takeout restaurant in Frog Hollow serves up Jamaican-influenced dishes that are 100% vegan — from hot entrees to juices and vegan patties.
And finally, C&K Restaurant in the Northeast neighborhood is a true hidden gem (even on the internet!) they proudly serve up delicious hot Jamaican food and some of the tastiest fried chicken around.
Do Something For YOU
Self-care comes in many forms. We believe that the cure to the January blues starts with physical activity, relaxation, and little treats [wink emoji].
Finding creative ways to fit movement into a winter schedule can be tricky. Luckily, we created a complete guide that outlines our favorite gyms and fitness classes in Hartford → Read it here. And so long as it isn’t snowing or icy, all of Hartford’s parks are open year-round for walks in the fresh air (and we’ve already made a guide for those, too!)
It wouldn’t be self-care without a spa treatment, would it? Hartford has several massage studios and spas specializing in stress relief, aromatherapy, facials, and more! Our favorites include Peaceful Surrender Massage, Healing Hands Massage, and Escape Massage & Esthetics Studio
Brighten Up Your Day
If there’s anything we should take away from Miley Cyrus’s song “Flowers,” it’s that more of us can and should be buying bouquets for ourselves to brighten up our days! With so many wonderful florists in the Hartford area, the opportunity to treat yourself to something cheery always awaits you.
We love House of Flora, in the Southwest neighborhood, for their magnetic and optimistic energy! Simply stepping foot into their shop brings a smile to our faces.
Looking for flowers, coffee drinks, and homemade baked goods? Check out Bloom Bake Shop for fresh blooms that stun no matter the season. Come for the flowers, and leave with a bouquet and one of their addictive flourless brownies (trust us on this one).
We hope this guide will inspire you to take these winter months by the horns and discover new ways to fall in love with Hartford!