In case you haven’t heard, Hartford has previously been nicknamed the ‘Insurance Capital of the World,’ and for a long time, the hustle and bustle of the 9-to-5 downtown lifestyle seemed to reflect that corporate culture feel. But in recent years, a shift has been taking place 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 the downtown. You are still likely to see people in suits having lunch, 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, and there are events happening on weekdays and weekends on historic Pratt Street. You'll find families attending a Yard Goats game, or friends enjoying Monday Night Jazz in Bushnell Park.
The downtown area is typically defined as the area from the Connecticut River stretching west over to the State Capitol, bordered by Capitol Ave just South of Bushnell Park. It includes the Downtown North area a few blocks beyond Dunkin' Park. Downtown Hartford 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 through Riverfront Recapture. Mortensen Riverfront Plaza is a great spot to check out gorgeous city views 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 one. 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 views of the downtown, a carousel, artwork, sculptures, and a lot more. On any given day, you can visit the park for people watching, meeting the dogs of Downtown Hartford, 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 Festival of Jazz, Movies in the Park, and the Hartford Marathon.
Located in the heart of downtown’s business district is a cobblestone street that's home to restaurants, shops, apartments, and a ton of fun events. We're talking about Pratt Street, which began to restore and reinvigorate the area beginning in 2021. It's since become a destination for anyone and everyone looking to get out and enjoy the city. There are workout classes, pop-up shops, and puppy hours—yes, puppy hours (don’t worry, there are also happy hours). This historic brick road is one of Downtown Hartford's most picturesque places. It’s literally the background for Hallmark movies (seriously, check it out).
(because honestly, we can’t explain it all—you just have to go explore for yourself)