Who says you can’t find a quality, green, outdoor space in a major city? We’re here to set the record straight – CT’s Capital city is home to some of the most beautiful parks in New England and full of fun events and amenities that will keep you busy all summer and throughout the year.
Read on to dive into our guide to Hartford Parks:
Located in the heart of Hartford’s downtown district, Bushnell Park is home to some of the city’s biggest events and most beautiful scenery. You’ve probably seen the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch or the Bushnell Park Carousel on your newsfeed, as well as photos in front of the CT State Capitol, which overlooks the park.
The park is full of historic landmarks, grassy knolls, and paved paths for walking or biking. But, what the park is best known for is hosting events. Bushnell Park hosts many major festivals, concerts, and cultural events, with performers taking center stage at the Performance Pavilion. Major events include the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz and the Hartford Marathon.
Bushnell Park is also home to smaller, regular events such as Monday Night Jazz and Yoga in our City. Newer, seasonal events like the Bushnell Beer Garden and CT Peace Fest are added and grow bigger each year.
We Love: the Picnic in the Park event series that supports local restaurants and musicians.
As one of Hartford’s most insta-worthy locations, Elizabeth Park is a top 5 must-see in the city – especially in the summer! That’s when the park’s famous rose garden is in full bloom offering the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot, picnic, or sunset walk. Between the many gardens, greenhouses, and trees, you’ll find beauty around every corner.
Along with the fairy garden aesthetic, Elizabeth Park is home to many recreational amenities, including basketball and tennis courts, ballparks, walking paths, and even lawn bowling courts. You won’t find a shortage of sunny or shady spots for the perfect picnic, and the Pond House Café is a fantastic alternative on days you can’t be bothered to pack a basket.
The West End park is also home to various events that match the chic rose garden vibe, such as string instrument concerts and classic movie screenings. If you have a green thumb, you’ll love their gardening workshops, plant sales, and lectures about nature and art. If you’re just a fan of pretty flowers, there are plenty of viewing events and receptions that are all about stopping to smell the flowers with a glass of wine in hand.
Located on the east side of downtown Hartford, Riverside Park is the ideal choice for picture-perfect water views. With boat launches, a beach volleyball court, grills, and picnic tables, Riverside is the perfect park for a day of summer fun. Bike or walk the miles of unpaved trails, fish in the river, or up the adrenaline with a game of football or cricket.
Riverside Park and the adjacent Mortensen Riverfront Plaza are home to tons of events and festivals throughout the year. Keep up with them on IG for details on cultural celebrations, workout classes, concerts, movie screenings, and more.
We love: watching the boat launch and special events at the Boathouse.
Hartford’s golf destination in the South End offers a 27-hole, peaceful golf escape within city limits. If golf isn’t your game, Goodwin Park has plenty of backup athletic options: tennis, an Olympic-sized pool, a fitness circuit, and two trails – just to name a few. For a more laid-back day at the park, you can fish in the ponds or sunbathe in the numerous quiet corners of the park.
We love: the stellar city skyline views from the golf course greens.
The understated Pope Park has a lot to offer the Frog Hollow area. Kids and sports leagues love the playing fields, courts, and rec options. If you want a low-key park day, ample greenery and peaceful ponds provide a calm outdoor area to get away from the action.
Pope Park is host to a few different activities throughout the year. In addition to regular fitness classes like yoga and Zumba, the Park has also been host to carnivals and local cultural and arts events.
We love: Buying small dishes from different cuisines at Parkville Market, only a 5 minute walk away, for a picnic in the park.
Colt Park is a great place to get active in the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood with multiple athletic fields, two pools, and walking trails. Sports fans can also catch a Hartford Athletic game at the nearby Dillon Stadium or grab a post-game pint at Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt.
We love: getting in a vinyasa at free Yoga In Our City classes.
This park duo is another athletic destination with multiple fields, courts, and astroturf alongside Trinity College. Picnic tables make it easy to do a post-game snack sesh with your rec team.
We love: Picking up Peruvian from Piolin Restaurant to enjoy in the park.
Just north of the North End is one of the biggest parks in New England: Keney. Golfers like Keney for the highly-rated course, but everyone can enjoy a day of grilling or fishing at the park. If you don’t want to fire up the grill, the Tavern at Keney Park makes excellent salads and burgers.
Keney Park’s event calendar is full of creative community events. Have fun with friends at karaoke nights and block parties or learn something new at a free fishing, photography, or gardening class. Be sure to follow the park on Facebook to keep up with news on the latest events.
We love: the sustainability programs and community garden at the park.
This small, square park is a low-key, outdoor space for anyone in the Asylum Hill area.
We love: seeing the vibrant colors of the leaves every fall.