Admit it: You’ve driven through Hartford many times, on Interstate 84 en route to New York City, perhaps, or on a college visit to Trinity or the University of Connecticut. But it’s definitely worth a stop to see what the state capital has to offer. (Trivia tidbit: The state actually had two capitals at the same time. From 1703 to 1875, New Haven and Hartford shared the honors, until Hartford became the sole capital in 1875.)
Famous as the home of author Mark Twain, the city of 125,000 is evolving. Recently Hartford has reclaimed its riverfront, which had been cut off from the city by interstate highways. Now a pedestrian bridge leads to sparkling overviews of the Connecticut River and a space for outdoor concerts and events, plus a boat pavilion and a river walk. And even the “Insurance Capital of the World” has its funky side — where else would you find an old State House that’s home to a two-headed calf? Here are a few highlights, easily explored by foot. Or use the free Hartford Star Shuttle to get around town.