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Skyline View of Downtown Hartford, CT in Daytime

11 Things to Know About Living in Hartford

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

Experience Affordable Living in New England

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

Photo via @dres_c

Connecticut may be known for its sometimes pricey real estate market, but don’t let that turn you away—compared to the rest of the Constitution State, Hartford is still one of the most affordable cities in Connecticut! In fact, the cost of living in Hartford is 17% lower than Connecticut’s average, with a median home price of $159,100 and median monthly rent of $914. Along with it being a top city in the U.S. in terms of housing market growth, Hartford also ranks among the top cities for quality of life! If you’re looking for a great place to live in New England that won’t break the bank, consider relocating to Hartford.

Find Excellent Job Opportunities

As 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, UnitedHealthcare, Lincoln Financial Group, and Cigna are headquartered or have offices in this Connecticut city. Of course, Hartford jobs extend beyond the insurance industry! You can also find employment in healthcare at fantastic medical centers like Hartford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Hospital. Plus, there are also opportunities in the financial sector with major employers like Conning or Prudential Financial!

Get Around with Public Transportation

As a walk-friendly community, Hartford takes measures to keep the city accessible to pedestrians, meaning many things to do in Hartford are accessible on foot! Hartford also offers plenty of convenient public transportation options for residents. Travel throughout the city with the CTtransit 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 (NHHS) Rail Program, which allows residents to commute to cities between New Haven and Springfield, MA. 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. Hartford is even home to the Bradley International Airport, which provides opportunities to travel far and wide!

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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

Planning to attend college in Connecticut? Hartford is home to many great universities! The University of Hartford offers 100 undergraduate degrees in subjects like visual and performing arts, engineering, and business. Earn your degree from a wide range of programs like English, social work, or business data analytics at the University of Connecticut-Hartford Campus. Interested in law? Take advantage of one of the largest university law libraries in the world at the top-rated University of Connecticut School of Law. At Trinity College—the oldest liberal arts school in Hartford—you can study fields like biology, computer science, and philosophy. Or earn your associate’s degree or certificate in nursing, accounting, or health science at Capital Community College.

Spend Time Outside at Local Parks

Want to get out and enjoy the beautiful New England weather? Visit one of the many parks in Hartford! 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 greenhouse at Elizabeth Park Conservancy. Boat on the Connecticut River or bike along the riverfront trails at Riverside Park. Soak up the sun at the pool, play some basketball, or view public art installations in the Windy Metal Garden at Pope Park. Dedicate a day to boating and fishing at Great River Park—and don’t forget to mark your calendars for the annual Sounds of Summer concert series! Ride the Bushnell Park Carousel, visit the Soldier and Sailors Memorial Arch, or catch a show at the Performance Pavillon at Bushnell Park.

Learn Hartford’s History

Because Connecticut was a part of the original Thirteen Colonies, Hartford is steeped in unique American history—including the oldest continually-published newspaper, The Hartford Courant. Want to check out historical sites in Hartford? See the dining room table where Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote American classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Tour the home of the famous abolitionist and creator of the first American dictionary at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. Reserve a guided tour slot to see where famed Hartford resident and author lived and wrote at The Mark Twain House & Museum. Embrace our nation’s history by exploring exhibits detailing landmark events like the Amistad Case and the Constitutional Convention at Connecticut’s Old State House. Take a self-guided walking tour through Hartford’s oldest historic site, The Ancient Burying Ground—which dates back to the 1600s! Or watch the vibrant parade and enjoy food and a live music festival to celebrate Hartford’s long-established Puerto Rican population, dating back to the 1840s at The Greater Hartford Puerto Rican Parade and Festival del Coqui.

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

History buffs won’t be able to get enough of the museums in Hartford! Spend the day exploring famous paintings spanning 5,000 years from artists like Caravaggio, Frederic Church, and Salvador Dali at the nation’s oldest public art museum, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Have a fun, educational day with the family as you wander Science Alley, Butterfly Encounter, Invention Dimension, and other permanent exhibits featured at the Connecticut Science Center. Expand your knowledge of Connecticut’s government and military history at the Museum of Connecticut History. Engage in interactive exhibits like Making Connecticut, wander through art galleries, and see a new perspective on the city’s history at the Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library. Explore thousands of years of history and celebrate the diverse traditions of America’s Indigenous population at The Insititute For American Indian Studies Museum. Enroll your kids in fun, hands-on programs to nurture their curiosity—or explore exhibits featuring live animals like the Wildlife Sanctuary at The Children’s Museum in West Hartford.

Immerse Yourself in Local Performing Arts

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

Photo via @thebushnell

Love supporting local performing arts? Hartford is the place for you! Catch a new play or classics like Pride and Prejudice or A Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage. Witness powerful performances at Hartford Opera Theater. Get tickets to the symphony, comedy shows, or even Broadway plays at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts—and be sure to stop by the Maxwell M. & Ruth R. Belding Theater to see the largest hand-painted ceiling mural in the U.S. Attend comedy nights or see the world premiere of original works at the Playhouse on Park! Check out unique local productions at nonprofit theater company Theaterworks Hartford. Watch some of the biggest names in music as they perform at the indoor or outdoor amphitheater at Xfinity Theatre, which has hosted Snoop Dogg, Jason Aldean, Rob Zombie, and The Dave Matthews Band. Support high school and college performers’ fresh take on Broadway plays and musicals like Hello Dolly!, Annie Get Your Gun, and Fiddler on the Roof at the West Hartford Summer Arts Festival.

Support Hartford Sports

Sports fans will love the variety of professional and collegiate teams based in Hartford! Take the family to a ball game at Dunkin’ Park to root for the Hartford Yard Goats (MiLB). Watch the puck fly across the rink during a Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) hockey game at the XL Center. Root for Connecticut’s professional Hartford Athletic (USL) at Trinity Health Stadium—or cheer on the city’s semi-professional soccer team, the Hartford City Football Club (NPSL). If you prefer college sports, UHart’s athletics offers everything from basketball and baseball, to track and field, lacrosse, and more as the Hartford Hawks (D-III)!

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! Stop in for a pick-me-up like a Spanish Latte or Cortado and an Egg & Cheese Sandwich at Story & Soil Coffee. Fill up on Nutella Coconut Pancakes, Breakfast Nachos, or a Bacon Cheddar Burger at The Place 2 Be! Sit down for an upscale casual lunch of Salute Mac N Cheese, Sweet Potato Ravioli, or Shrimp Fra Diablo from Salute Restaurant. Grab a seat at the Whiskey Bar for happy hour deals and enjoy dishes like Prime New York Strip and Roasted Sea Scallops at Max Downtown. Sample delicious Southeast Asian dishes like the Wagyu Burger and Pineapple Chicken, or try signature sushi rolls such as the Autumn In CT or the Angry Dragon at Feng Chophouse. Or try classic Southern dishes like Fried Okra & Pickle Chips, the BBQ Beef Brisket Platter, 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, hang out on the Cigar Bar Rooftop, and try one of the 100 kinds of vodka at The Russian Lady. Sip on signature cocktails (called “Pig Tails”) like the Watermelon Pig-Rita, Pineapple Bomb, or the Bazooka! while you catch a UConn basketball game or play pool at Pigs Eye Pub. Catch a drag show over dinner with dishes like the Chez Steak Grindr, Flatbread Pizza, or the Western Burger at LGBTQ-friendly cabaret Chez Est. Split a charcuterie board with friends while you enjoy house drinks like the Mezcal Rabbit Punch, The Immortal Lance, or Gary’s Recovery Serum at Little River Restoratives. Settle in for a night of live jazz or fun-themed events like 2000s Night while you try classic tavern fare like a Tavern Pretzel or Philly Cheesesteak from Arch Street Tavern. Sip signature cocktails like the Lassi Me To The Moon, Poolside Party, or Cape Cod Float at Hartford Flavor Company. Check out unique beers like the Sizzling Hippie, Tom Lager, or #NOFILTER at Thomas Hooker Brewery. Or drink the Norwegian Wood Spiced Dunkle Lager or Steampunk Porter while relaxing in the beer garden at City Steam Brewery.

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Moving to Hartford? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities throughout the Hartford metro—including locations in Bloomfield and East Hartford. Find storage near you today!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.