So in case you haven’t heard, Hartford had previously been nicknamed the ‘Insurance Capital of the World’, and for a long time, the hustle and bustle from 9-to-5 downtown seemed to reflect that corporate culture feeling. But in recent years, a change has been happening throughout the downtown area.
While there is still no shortage of insurance companies, other industries are on the rise, particularly in technology and innovation. These new industries have brought new life to downtown. You are still likely to see people having lunch in suits, but with the rise of new industries, there is a growing diversity of what you will find on any given day. Small startups are taking advantage of exciting new co-working spaces; there are events happening on weekdays and weekends on historic Pratt Street, families enjoying a Yard Goats game, or friends enjoying Picnic in the Park at Bushnell Park.
The downtown area is typically defined as the area from the Connecticut river stretching West over to the State Capitol; it’s bordered by Capitol Ave just South of Bushnell Park and includes the Downtown North area a few blocks beyond Dunkin Donuts park. Downtown is home to the main business district but it’s also home to parks, restaurants, sporting venues, museums and so much more.
Ready to get out and get moving? Take a walk or a jog down to the Riverfront. Mortensen Riverfront Plaza is a great spot to take in the city view or attend an event, it's the centerpiece of the Riverfront Recapture park system. The park itself features boating and fishing access, performance facilities and more. If you work up an appetite, don’t worry — you're just a quick walk away from the Front Street District! We highly recommend trying some incredible BBQ from Bear’s Smokehouse or swinging by El Pollo Guapo and picking up an Almost Legal bowl – trust us on this.
Or if you’re feeling fancy, Capital Grille is the perfect spot for a special night out.
If a stroll in the park is more your thing, Downtown Hartford is also home to Bushnell Park, 37 green acres with incredible downtown views, a carousel, artwork and sculptures and a lot more. On any given day you can visit the park for great people watching, dog watching, a yoga class, a tree tour, food trucks or even a picnic. Bushnell Park is home to a whole host of events through out the year including The Greater Hartford Jazz Festival, Movies in the Park, and the Hartford Marathon.
Located in the heart of downtown’s business district is a great pedestrian brick road, it’s home to restaurants, shops, apartments and a lot of fun events. We are talking about Pratt Street, which has really kicked it up a notch since Summer 2021 and become a destination for anyone and everyone looking to get out and enjoy the city. There are work out classes, pop up shops, puppy hours - yes, puppy hours (don’t worry there are also happy hours). This historic brick road is the perfect gathering place in the city, so perfect, it’s literally the background for hallmark movies (seriously check it out) and we’re happy to report it’s welcoming a lot of new businesses in the next few months so keep checking back to find out what new places there are to visit!
(because honestly we can’t explain it all - you just have to go explore for yourself)