The Southwest corner of Hartford is an unassuming neighborhood that’s sometimes mistakenly lumped in with the South End of Hartford, but the Southwest has its own distinct identity—propped up by buzzing locally owned businesses, quaint residential streets with parks scattered throughout, and a burgeoning food scene that offers authentic culinary options from around the world (truly—eating your way through the Southwest will take you to multiple countries in a matter of miles).
Join us as we take you on a trip to discover all the exciting things the Southwest holds in store. Whether you’re new to Hartford and looking for things to do, or planning to move to this area yourself, we’re unearthing the places that make this neighborhood tick so you can venture off and discover it for yourself!
Take It Outside: Parks & More
The Southwest neighborhood is hugely residential and throughout the neighborhoods, there are parks with playgrounds and sports fields. Right off New Britain Ave, you’ll find Hyland Park & Recreation Center, which is home to multiple baseball and other multi-use fields, along with a basketball court and a splash pad that is the ideal cool-off destination for those long, hot summer days in Hartford.
If parks aren’t exactly your speed but you still like being outside, may we suggest tromping through a graveyard? Hear us out on this one—Cedar Hill Cemetery is a worthwhile destination for history buffs and spooky-season lovers alike (though you can visit and tour it year round, not just at Halloween!) Plus they have a lot of fun, historical, and seasonal events.
Home to some intricately-designed tombstones and the final resting place of notable figures like Katherine Hepburn, JP Morgan, and Samuel Colt, walking the grounds of Cedar Hill can feel like being on a death-themed scavenger hunt. Grab a map and take a self-guided tour of the grounds to really experience it!
Family-Owned and Proud
House of Flora, a fourth-generation, family-owned florist shop in the Southwest of Hartford, has been arranging and spreading joy through flowers since 1974. Its lively and charming shop on New Britain Ave is filled to the brim with plants and floral arrangements. Owners Richard and his daughter Tracy really make this spot special. Spend only five minutes inside and you will feel their enthusiasm and positive energy radiate throughout the shop. It’s truly a neighborhood floral shop—the kind of place that really cares about the community they serve. Our favorite part about their team is that they are hard workers who know how to have a good time (as made clear on their fun and sometimes silly Instagram channel!)
Groceries in the Southwest of Hartford
For those of you that love running errands and appreciate a good grocery store, C-Town is not to be missed (and if you absolutely loathe the chore of grocery shopping, feel free to skip right over this part). This fan-favorite grocery store chain is a reliable staple in the Southwest and located right off New Britain Ave. Always stocked with fresh produce, meats, and poultry, plus a huge selection of Hispanic brands and foods (and a whole lot more!), C-Town is a bustling place nearly any time of the day. It also has a delicious selection of prepared foods at the hot bar and deli counter, which makes it a convenient stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Menu items include rice and beans, stewed meats, tostones, and more!
Best Restaurants in the Southwest Neighborhood
Now that we’ve gotten you all hot, bothered, and starving for some prepared food, we should talk about some of our favorite spots to grab food in this part of Hartford, because trust us, there’s no shortage of options.
Some of our other fave spots include Piolín Restaurant, another staple in the Southwest, serving up authentic Peruvian cuisine since 1998 and celebrating their 25th anniversary this year! The Russel Grab & Go is located on New Britain Ave and is a perfect place to get some Jamaican specialties like jerk chicken, curry goat, or beef patties.
Newer to the Southwest food scene but absolutely worth the shout-out is El Sitio, a family-owned Puerto Rican eatery that opened in early 2022. This casual dining spot is perfect for takeout or dining in (pro tip: if you want to eat in and have a really good time, it’s BYOB!). El Sitio satisfies the kinds of cravings you didn’t even know you were having, and we totally wouldn’t blame you if you ordered more food than you know what to do with!
The menu is packed with tons of Puerto Rican favorites. Here’s what we recommend: a Jibarito, which is basically a sandwich but instead of slices of bread, it’s two fried plantains. Other items to order for the table: Papas Locas (essentially the Puerto Rican take on loaded fries) plus yuca fries and tostones.
Looking for a sit-down family restaurant with tons of charm, character and an incredible spread of food that is sometimes set on fire? Yup, you heard that right. At Primavera Pub, you get the full Portuguese experience, where there are menu items that literally show up at your table ablaze. Sausages cook on an open, sizzling near-blue flame; raw steaks are thrown onto hot stone slabs and flipped midway by a chef to ensure they are cooked to absolute perfection. More of a seafood person? Primavera has no shortage of options for that, too. We’re talking clams, shrimp, mussels, and lobster served up in a variety of spicy broths or sauces, each more interesting than the next.
A visit to the Southwest isn’t complete without many margaritas and food from Coyote Flaco.
This neighborhood Mexican restaurant is cozy and vibrant. Perfect for Happy Hour (4:00pm on weeknights, of course) with friends or a sit down dinner, Coyote Flaco has an expansive menu featuring all your favorite Mexican dishes.
If it isn’t clear to you by reaching the end of this guide, we can go on and on about the Southwest of Hartford. From the locally-owned gems to the parks, cemeteries, and diverse food options, there’s no shortage of things to do. Next time you visit the area or any of these spots, be sure to give us a shout-out and tag @experiencehartford in the post!