While the official start of summer isn’t until June 21st, we can’t help but get excited about all the events happening in Hartford! Whether you’re visiting the city or a long-time resident, you can expect to see a jam-packed summer of events. We’re highlighting some of our favorites like the Greater Hartford Jazz Festival as well as new events like Hartford Taste, a food and music festival. Get your calendar ready, because this is your guide to summer activities and events in Hartford. 

Music & Entertainment

Picnic in the Park—June 2nd

Photo: WeHartford

What’s better than having a picnic in the park? Having a picnic in the park with live music, beer and wine, ice cream, and outdoor activities, of course! weHartford is hosting its annual Picnic in the Park event in Bushnell Park on June 2nd from 5:00pm–7:00pm. Bring the family and friends for an evening filled with fun (and really good food).

Enjoy a Picnic basket from Red Rock Tavern, beer and wine from Thomas Hooker Brewery, and ice cream from Capital Ice Cream. There will be live music from Sonia Morant, local vendors, and family-friendly activities. View the menu and purchase your tickets here.

Symphony at the Park—June 4th

Photo: Bushnell Park

Grab your lawn chairs, a blanket, and some snacks because Symphony at the Park is back! Symphony in the Park, hosted by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, brings together more than 55 HSO musicians performing a variety of music, including well-known favorites from the silver screen and celebratory selections from Latino and Black composers. 

Come down to the pavilion at Bushnell Park on June 4th at 2:00 for an afternoon filled with jams, blues, and a little bit of everything. This event is free and open to the public. This concert features the musicians of the Hartford Symphony, Assistant Conductor, Adam Boyles, and the 2021 Young Artist Competition co-first place winner Tyler Tan, violin. Click here to learn more about event details. Be sure to follow them on social media to get updates on live music performances throughout the summer.

Monday Night Jazz—Monday Nights July–August

Photo: Hartford Jazz Society

What better way to start the week than an evening of Jazz music at the park? 

Since 1967, the Monday Night Jazz Series has brought world-famous musicians and local aspiring artists together in Downtown Hartford for free concerts during the summer months of July and August. 

Monday Night Jazz is hosted at the pavilion at Bushnell Park every Monday. The opening act starts at 6:00 pm, so get there early to set up and relax. Bring your family and friends and make this a new summer tradition. View the event lineup and details here.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz— July 15–17

Photo: Allan Vega

This summer’s going to be filled with blues and jazz performances all over the city! The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is a two-day outdoor festival filled with musical performances by local artists and groups hosted at Bushnell Park. We suggest getting to the park early and bringing a lawn chair, some blankets, snacks, and beverages! Admission is free to this two-day festival. The festival begins on July 15th at 5:30 pm.

If you get hungry, don’t worry! There will be food trucks and vendors inlined alongside the park. Learn more about the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz here.

Dining & Shopping

West End Farmers’ Market—Tuesdays June–October

Photo: West End Farmers’ Market

Support local vendors and farms at the West End Farmers’ Market. Hosted every Tuesday from 3:00pm–6:00pm on Clemens Place Green, this market is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. Bring the family and shop from artisanal vendors and local farms. Every week there will be rotating vendors, food trucks, performers, and a variety of outdoor activities. Learn more about the market’s events here.

Hartford Taste Festival—June 10 and 11

Photo: Hartford Taste

Eat to your heart’s content at the Hartford Taste Festival, a two-day festival celebrating good food and good music in the heart of the city. On June 10th and 11th, Constitution Plaza will be transformed into an open space with 30+ booths serving food and drinks from Connecticut restaurants and food vendors, live music, and a variety of activities such as a celebrity dunk tank and eating contests. The festival starts at 11:00am and ends at 10:00pm on both days. Hartford Taste is free and open to the public. To learn more about activities and vendors, please click here.

West Side Square—All Season Long

Photo: Experience Hartford

Don’t know what to make for dinner? Check out West Side Square, Hartford’s first-ever food truck park! Located at 510 Farmington Ave, on the northwest corner of Farmington and Girard avenues, this food truck park is one of a kind. Not only will there be food trucks, but there will also be local artisanal vendors, pop-ups, live music, and more. While construction is still underway, the food truck park and marketplace are expected to open in early June. To learn more about food trucks and events, visit West Side Square’s Instagram.

Riverfront Food Truck Festival— July 15-17

Photo: Riverfront Recapture

The best part about summer in the city is the food! The Riverfront Food Truck Festival has over a dozen food trucks and vendors on-site at the Riverfront Plaza all weekend long. Enjoy a baked potato from Bears BBQ or fried goodies from Chompers Food Truck. The festival is open from 11:00AM to 8:00PM. Learn more about this three day food festival here.

Family-Friendly Activities

2nd Annual Pratt Street Summer Kick-Off Party—June 4th

Photo: Pratt Street Hartford

School’s out, which means it’s time to party! Pratt Street is hosting a kick-off party from noon to 5:00pm for friends, families, neighbors, and visitors to come together and celebrate the start of the summer season. Enjoy live music from DJ Sonia Sol, food and drink specials, local vendors, and a fashion show from Morneault’s Stackpole Moore Tryon.

Pratt Street hosts over 100 events on the historic cobblestone street like Salsa Social and Puppy Hour. Learn more about upcoming events this summer here.

Second Saturdays at the Wadsworth—All Season Long

Photo: The Wadsworth

Spend the day with the family at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art! Second Saturdays are hosted every other Saturday and are a great opportunity to get creative and learn something new. Admission is free all day on Second Saturdays. 

Families are welcome to participate in art activities, tours, and classes from noon to 2:00 pm. Activities and performances change every Second Saturday of the month, therefore be sure to follow the Wadsworth on social media to learn about event updates and schedules.

DominGO! Hartford—June 26th

Photo: Murphy Moschetta

Get up and go! DominGO! is an open streets event coming to Hartford on the fourth Sunday of every month from June to September. DominGO! will temporarily transform 2–4 miles of Hartford roads into car-free public spaces. This event is the perfect opportunity to get out and explore new neighborhoods and businesses, all while being active and outside. 

Every DominGO! event will have live music, performances, and activity hubs with family-friendly games and activities The first route is set to take over Farmington Avenue. Learn more about routes and event information here.

Fitness & Outdoor Activities

River Zumba—June 9th

Photo: Mortensen Riverfront Plaza

Get ready to break a sweat and learn new moves at River Zumba! Every Thursday starting on June 9th, Zumba classes will be held in the lower Mortensen Riverfront Plaza from 6:00pm–7:00pm. These hour-long, heart-pumping classes are led by Hartford Sweat and are a great way to enjoy the summer weather with a view of the river. Grab a friend (and a water bottle) and meet us at the Plaza! Learn more about upcoming classes here. To view all outdoor classes like Yoga, dance, and Tai Chi, visit the Riverfront Recapture event schedule.

Yoga in Our City—All Summer Long

Photo: Yoga in Our City

Tap into your inner yogi at a free outdoor yoga class. Yoga in our City, presented by ConnectiCare, is a series of free public yoga classes hosted throughout local parks in the community. Its mission is to build stronger, compassionate communities with a deep understanding of the natural connections between yoga philosophy and social justice. Classes are held all season long from May 22nd–October 9th. Hartford classes are hosted Mondays at 5:30pm at Bushnell Park, Tuesdays at 5:30pm at Elizabeth Park, Wednesdays at 5:30 at Bushnell Park, Thursdays at 5:30pm at Elizabeth Park, Fridays at 5:30pm at Keney Park, Saturdays at 10:00 AM at Pope Park, and Sundays at 10:00 AM at Colt Park. Download the class schedule here.

All you need to bring is a yoga mat and a water bottle! This is a great activity to attend with family or friends. Not only are you getting zen, but you’re also exploring local Hartford parks and meeting new people. They also host classes weekly in their virtual studio if you can't attend. Visit their website to learn more.

Eight Six Go—Every Tuesday

Photo: Eight Six Go

Explore the city of Hartford like never before with a group run. Eight Six Go is a free running group that meets weekly on Tuesdays for a 2–3 mile run around the city. Routes change every week and bring you through different neighborhoods, streets, and parks. Although the routes change weekly, the meeting point remains the same. If you’re thinking of joining, meet Eight Six Go at the corner of Pearl and Ann Uccello. 

Everyone is welcome, whether you’re new to running or a seasoned marathoner. The running group’s mission is to uphold an inclusive, comfortable and social community that inspires personal growth through challenging people to get up and go. Learn more and join here.

Riverfront Dragon Boat & Asian Festival—August 20

Photo: Riverfront Recapture

The boats and paddles are out for the season! Spend the day with the family at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza cheering on participating teams. Celebrate Asian and Pacific Island cultures through traditional music and dance, performances, food, and martial arts, more. We suggest getting there early! The opening ceremony begins at 7:30 AM with the first heat of dragon boat races starting at 8:00. View the event itinerary and details here.

Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival—August 6

Photo: Riverfront Recapture

Experience some of Hartford’s best cuisine at the Taste of Caribbean & Jerk Festival. Since 2006, the Taste of Caribbean & Jerk Festival has brought thousands of visitors to the city, celebrating the vibrant Caribbean communities in Hartford. This all-day festival highlights Caribbean culture, cuisine, music, arts, and more. Enjoy cool island beverages while enjoying live performances, costumes, and dance. 

This festival is free and open to the public. The festival starts at 11:00 AM and lasts all day until 9:00 PM. Families are welcome to participate and enjoy games and activities like face painting and dance classes. Learn more about the event here.

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