Skyline View of Downtown Hartford, CT in Daytime

11 Things to Know About Living in Hartford

Thinking of moving to Hartford? Connecticut’s capital city has a growing job market, affordable housing, top-rated universities, and plenty of fun things to do. Check out these 11 things to know about living in Hartford!

Live in an Affordable New England City

Arial View of the Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford. Photo by Instagram user @dres_c
Photo via @dres_c

Connecticut may be one of the most expensive states to live in, but Hartford offers a fairly reasonable cost of living. In fact, the cost of living in Hartford is 13% lower than Connecticut’s average, and the housing cost is 11% lower than the national average, with a median home price of $159,100 and median monthly rent of $914. So if you’re looking for a great place to live in New England that won’t break the bank, Hartford might be worth your while!

Find Excellent Job Opportunities

Outside of the Home Office for Aetna Insurance in Hartford, CT. Photo by Instagram user @thefrontdoorproject
Photo via @thefrontdoorproject

If you’ve been looking for employment opportunities within the insurance industry, Hartford is the place to be! Nicknamed the Insurance Capital of the World, Hartford has the highest number of insurance professionals per capita in the U.S.! Major insurance companies like Aetna, The Hartford, Travelers, United Healthcare, Lincoln Financial Group, and Cigna have offices or are headquartered in this Connecticut city. Of course, insurance work isn’t the only kind of work available here! You can also find health care jobs with medical centers like Hartford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Hospital. Or even opportunities in the financial sector with major employers like Conning or Prudential Financial!

Get Around with Public Transportation

CT Rail Train Engine. Photo by Instagram user @ctrailhartfordline
Photo via @ctrailhartfordline

Hartford offers plenty of convenient public transit options for residents. Travel throughout the city with the CT Transit Bus System, or use the Hartford dash Shuttle to get around Downtown Hartford for free during weekdays and for major events! Take advantage of CTfastrak, Connecticut’s first rapid bus transit system, which uses bus-only roadways while traveling to and from Hartford! There’s also the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program (NHHS), which allows residents to commute to cities between New Haven and Springfield, MA. Or if you’re looking to travel to New York City or Boston, leave your car at home and hop on the train at Hartford’s Amtrak Station or CTrail System.

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Pursue a Degree at a Local University

Trinity College Chapel at Trinity College in Hartford. Photo by Instagram user @trinalum
Photo via @trinalum

Looking to attend college in Connecticut? Hartford is home to many great universities! The University of Hartford offers more than 97 undergraduate degrees from art history to civil engineering, and the University of Connecticut-Hartford Campus has a wide range of study programs from English to business administration. Interested in a law degree? The University of Connecticut School of Law is a top-rated school and has one of the largest university libraries in the world. There’s also Trinity College, the oldest liberal arts school in Hartford, where you can study fields like biology, computer science, and philosophy. Or you can attend Capital Community College to earn your associate’s degree or certificate in nursing, accounting, or health sciences. No matter what you’re looking to study, Hartford has the options for you!

Support Hartford Sports

Arial View of Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, CT. Photo by Instagram user @hartfordyardgoats
Photo via @hartfordyardgoats

Love watching sports? Cheer on the local teams in Hartford! Take the family to a ball game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park to root for the Hartford Yard Goats (MiLB). Watch the puck fly across the rink at a Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) hockey game at XL Center. Cheer on the Hartford Athletic (USL), Connecticut’s professional soccer team, at Dillon Stadium. Prefer college sports? The Hartford Hawks have everything from football and basketball to lacrosse and rowing going on!

Spend Time Outside at Local Parks

Rose Garden Arch at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT. Photo by Instagram user @kate.mordarski
Photo via @kate.mordarski

Want to get out and enjoy Hartford’s beautiful New England weather? Visit one of the city’s many local parks! Play a game of golf, let the kiddos loose on the playground, or have a family picnic at Goodwin Park. Stroll through the rose gardens, relax by the pond, or visit the green house at Elizabeth Park. Take your boat out on the Connecticut River or bike along the riverfront trails at Riverside Park. Soak up some sun at the pool, play some basketball, or throw some frisbees at Pope Park. Dedicate a day to boating and fishing at Great River Park—and mark your calendars for the annual Sounds of Summer concert series at Great River Park Amphitheater! Or ride the carousel, visit The Soldier and Sailors Arch, or catch a show at the Performance Pavillon at Bushnell Park.

Discover Hartford’s History

Connecticut's Old State House Museum with Trees in Bloom. Photo by Instagram user @chandler__anderson
Photo via @chandler__anderson

Because Connecticut was part of the original 13 colonies, Hartford has plenty of unique American history—including the oldest continually published newspaper, The Hartford Courant. Want to check out historical sites in the area? Visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center to see the dining room table where she wrote her famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tour the childhood home of Noah Webster, an early abolitionist and creator of the first dictionary. Check out Mark Twain’s House to see where the famous author and his wife set up their New England residence. Learn about how Connecticut’s government was started and where the first written constitution was signed at Old State House of Connecticut. Or take a self-guided walking tour through The Ancient Burying Grounds to find gravestones dating back to the 1600s!

Visit Hartford’s Incredible Museums

Photo of the Exterior of the Wadsworth Museum of Art in Hartford. Photo by Instagram user @thewadsworth
Photo via @thewadsworth

Searching for things to do in Hartford? Check out one of Hartford’s many museums! Spend the day at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the nation’s oldest public art museum, to see works of art from artists like Caravaggio, Frederic Church, and Joseph Cornell. Have a family fun day learning about the changing Earth, space, and so much more at the Connecticut Science Center. Test your knowledge of the state with a scavenger hunt at the Museum of Connecticut History. Tour the Connecticut Historical Society‘s museum to learn about the state’s history, play with interactive exhibits, or stop by Waterman Research Center to learn about your family genealogy!

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Experience the Local Performing Arts

Actors in Waitress on Broadbway Performing at the Bushnell in Hartford, CT. Photo by Instagram user @thebushnell
Photo via @thebushnell

Interested in the performing arts? Hartford is the place for you! Catch a Tony award-winning show or the premiere of a new play at Hartford Stage. See new operas at the Hartford Opera Theater, home to Hartford’s resident opera company. Get tickets to the symphony, concerts, or popular musicals like Mean Girls and Hamilton at Bushnell Center. Attend a comedy night or take an acting class at the Playhouse on Park! Support local productions at nonprofit theater Theaterworks Hartford. Or watch some of the biggest names in music like the Backstreet Boys, Alanis Morissette, Meghan Trainor, or Tim McGraw as they perform at Xfinity Theatre’s indoor and outdoor amphitheater!

Get to Know Hartford’s Food Scene

Milkshake Covered in Candy with Two Large Straws from The Place 2 Be. Photo by Instagram user @ctfoodcravings
Photo via @ctfoodcravings

There’s no shortage of amazing restaurants in Hartford! Start your morning with a Spanish Latte and a Lox Sandwich at Story & Soil Coffee. Fill up on Cinnamon Apple Pancakes or a Bacon Cheddar Burger paired with a Chocolate Cannoli Shake at The Place 2 Be! Get your seafood fix with bowl of Clam Chowder, Shrimp Po-Boy, or Alaskan King Crab Legs at Chowder Pot. Grab a seat at the Whiskey Bar for happy hour deals and enjoy dishes like New York Strip and Prime Rib at Max Downtown. Order unique pizzas like the Marg, The Mac Attack, or the Smoked Wing at The Blind Pig Pizza Co. Or try classic southern dishes like Fried Okra and Pickle Chips, BBQ Beef Brisket, or Low Country Shrimp & Grits at Black-Eyed Sally’s.

Enjoy a Night Out on the Town

Beer Sitting on an Outdoor Table at The Half Door in Hartford, CT. Photo by Instagram user @lovehartford
Photo via @lovehartford

Whether you’re looking for a delicious cocktail during happy hour or a fun weekend hangout, Hartford’s nightlife has you covered! Play a game of billiards and try one of the 100 kinds of vodka at The Russian Lady. Enjoy live music, karaoke, or trivia night while drinking a Guinness at Irish tavern Half Door. Catch a drag show while eating dinner at LGBTQ-friendly cabaret Chez Est. Order a margarita or glass of wine while learning how to Salsa at Casona. Settle in for a night of live jazz at Arch Street Tavern. Looking for Hartford breweries? Stop by Hog River Brewing to try one of their locally-made beers like the Warehouse Pilsner, Cold Drip Coffee Stout, or Golden Messenger Kolsch. Check out unique beers like the Sizzling Hippie, Hefepotamus, or Chocolate Truffle Stout at Thomas Hooker Brewery. Or sip on the Norwegian Wood or Steampunk Porter while relaxing in the beer garden at City Steam Brewery.

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Considering living in Hartford? Connecticut's capital city has a rich history, top-rated education, and much more. Here are 11 things to know before moving! via @extraspace