City Orientation Walk, Hartford

Hartford is full of different old and modern landmarks. You can find historic buildings, statues, places of worship and other prominent structures that have great historical significance. Take this Orientation Walk to discover Hartford’s most interesting sights and districts.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: USA » Hartford (See other walking tours in Hartford)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Author: Caroline
1
Connecticut State Capitol

1) Connecticut State Capitol (must see)

The Connecticut State Capitol houses the Connecticut General Assembly; the upper house, the State Senate, and lower house, the House of Representatives, as well as the office of the Governor. The Connecticut Supreme Court sits across Capitol Avenue in a different building. The building is one of the largest Eastlake Style buildings. The exterior is East Canaan, Connecticut marble and granite from Westerly, Rhode Island.

The building is roughly rectangular, the interior spaces organized around two open interior courts that run vertically to large skylights. In the center is a third circular open rotunda beneath the dome. The large hall of the House of Representatives forms an extension on the south side. There are high relief scenes from the state's history in the 16 tympana above the doors, (except for the carving above the main north door, which is of the state seal). The typanum of the main east door, "The Charter Oak" by Charles Salewski, was the first piece of sculpture created for the Capitol. The State Capitol was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
The Museum of Connecticut History

2) The Museum of Connecticut History (must see)

The Museum of Connecticut History is located in the same building as Connecticut’s State Library and Supreme Court Building. Here you will find different exhibits that represent the military and industrial history of Connecticut and much more. Visitors can admire permanent collections such as Portraits of Connecticut Governors, Coin Collections, Colt Firearms Collections, and so on. The Museum is open Monday thru Friday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm and Saturdays between 9.00 am and 2.00 pm.
3
Bushnell Park

3) Bushnell Park

Bushnell Park in Hartford, Connecticut is the oldest publicly funded park in the United States. It was conceived by the Reverend Horace Bushnell in the mid-1850s at a time when the need for open public spaces was just starting to be recognized. Today the park comprises 50 acres (20 ha) of green space, and is visited by over one million people each year. Paths through the park contribute to the East Coast Greenway. Additions to the park include: the Horace Wells Monument in 1875, sculpted by Truman Howe Bartlett; the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, designed by George Keller in 1886 to commemorate those who fought in the American Civil War; the Corning Fountain in 1899, with sculpture by J. Massey Rhind; the carousel in 1974; and the performance pavilion in 1995.Today Bushnell Park is a focal point in downtown Hartford, and it is the site of several festivals and music events each year. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch

4) Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch (must see)

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch is a famous monument dedicated to the American Civil War. It is the first stable commemorative archway in the USA. It was completed in 1894 and designed by architect George W. Keller. Between 1986 and 1988 the original sculpted angel was substituted with bronze angels that can be seen at the present time. Gothic style structure is made of brownstone and is composed of two towers, each of them decorated by an angel.
5
The Corning Fountain

5) The Corning Fountain

Corning Fountain is a sculpture fountain located in the most famous park in Hartford. The fountain was created by J. Massey Rhind in 1899. It was dedicated to John J. Corning's father. The Corner Fountain is approximately 9 meters tall and is made of sandstone and bronze. The basin is surrounded by four Saukiog braves. There are water spots representing animals such as the fox, the bear, the beaver, the lion and the catamount.
6
Alexander Calder's Stegosaurus

6) Alexander Calder's Stegosaurus (must see)

The Alexander Calder's Stegosaurus is one of the famous creations of this American sculptor. The steel plate Stegosaurus is 15,24 meters tall. The masterpiece is located in Atheneum Square between the Travelers Tower and the Wadsworth Atheneum. Alexander Calder's Stegosaurus was established in 1973 and is one of the most original structures in Hartford.
7
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

7) Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (must see)

The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the United States. Its architects were Alexander Jackson Davis and Ithiel Town, who designed the "castle" that is the atheneum's oldest building. Construction began in 1842 after the museum was incorporated on June 1 of that year. While "1842" can be seen clearly above the building's name above the front doors, the museum itself did not open until July 31, 1844.

The Wadsworth family, being one of the oldest and most affluent in the city contributed numerous valuable pieces of art to the museum to be displayed at the time the Atheneum opened. The first collection consisted of 78 paintings, two marblebusts, one portrait miniature, and one bronze sculpture. The Wadsworth has also been utilized since its beginning as a place for dramatic and dance performances, exhibits of historical artifacts, social functions, and benefits. The structure itself consists of the original, castle-like building, plus 4 wings that have been added onto it since it was built.

The museum is home to approximately 50,000 objects, including ancient Roman, Greek, and Egyptian bronzes; paintings from the Renaissance, Baroque, and French and American Impressionist eras, among others; 18th-century French porcelains; Hudson River School landscapes; early American clothing and decorations; early African-American art and historical artifacts; and more. The collections span more than 5,000 years of world history.

Operation hours: Wednesday to Friday: 11 am – 5 pm; Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm; First Thursdays: 11am – 8 pm.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
The Travelers Tower

8) The Travelers Tower (must see)

Travelers Tower is a skyscraper located in Downtown Hartford. Travelers Tower was the seventh tallest building in the world when it was constructed in 1919, and is currently the second tallest building in Hartford. The building is 527 feet (160.63 meters) tall and has 24 stories. Travelers Tower is the fourth headquarters of Travelers Insurance Company.

The architect of Travelers Tower was Donn Barber, who also designed the Connecticut State Library, Supreme Court Building and the Hartford Times building. The tower is actually an extension of two other buildings of which it begins at the tenth floor so it is sometimes considered to have 34 floors. At the 27th floor is an open observation deck. The top of the building has become a nesting spot for the endangered species, the Peregrine Falcon, which is observed by web cameras.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
The Center Church and Ancient Burying Ground

9) The Center Church and Ancient Burying Ground (must see)

The Center Church and Ancient Burying Ground is located next to the Travelers Tower on the Main Street. It is the oldest landmark in the downtown area and it was built in 1807 by John Leffingwell. The white Baroque church with stained glass windows was the most magnificent construction in Connecticut in that period. The church spire used to be the tallest in the whole state. Until 1800 the graveyard was the only one in the whole town. Initially, the Ancient Burying Ground was much larger than the one you see today. During the next centuries, the territory began to be occupied by commercial buildings which whittled it down to four acres. Some old monuments can still be seen.
10
Connecticut Science Center

10) Connecticut Science Center (must see)

The Connecticut Science Center is a nine-story museum located on the Connecticut River in Hartford, designed by César Pelli & Associates. It opened on June 12, 2009. The building has a total 154,000 square feet (14,300 square meters) including 40,000 square feet (3,700 square meters) of interactive exhibits consisting of videos, audios, visuals, tactile components, programs, and live demonstrations. Planning for the Connecticut Science Center began in 2001.

The Center's goals are to promote the study of science by the state's youth and to encourage urban revitalization in Hartford. The state of Connecticut provided more than $100 million of support for the $165 million center, and the balance was donated by businesses, foundations and individuals. The Connecticut Science Center is the first science center to generate most of its needed power from an on-site fuel cell. This step was a major one for the Connecticut Science Center and its steps towards being a Gold Level (LEED) Certified green building.

Operation hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Constitution Plaza

11) Constitution Plaza

The Constitution Plaza is a large commercial development in the center of Hartford. It is an excellent example of mid-twentieth century commercial design. The entire center consists of three office towers that are the largest in the city. The glass areas have been substituted by other more competent systems that enrich the exterior of the building. The three buildings are connected by large pathways over street bridges. There is also a parking garage with a capacity of 1600 cars.
12
Old State House

12) Old State House (must see)

The Old State House (completed 1796) is generally believed to have been designed by noted American architect Charles Bulfinch as his first public building. The State House has been modified somewhat since it was first built. As originally constructed, the building had neither balustrade or cupola, but the balustrade was added in the early 19th century for the protection of firemen, and the cupola was constructed in 1827 with its bell and John Stanwood's statue of Justice.

An original (1796) stone spiral staircase behind the northern arch, designed by Asher Benjamin, led to the second and third floors; it no longer exists. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. It exhibits focus on the history of Hartford and important events in Connecticut history. Visitors can tour the original legislative rooms.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
The Sage Allen Clock

13) The Sage Allen Clock

The Sage-Allen Clock is located on the sidewalk of the Main Street. The clock was created in 1889 by Seth Thomas, as part of the Sage Allen Department Store that is now used as an apartment building. In 1992 a whirlwind caused damage to the timepiece but it was able to be repaired. As a consequence, it was moved to the other part of the street. In 2007 the clock was returned to its original place and restarted by a clock specialist.
14
Christ Church

14) Christ Church (must see)

Christ Church was established in 1795 and was considered the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut since 1919. In 1827, the Gothic Revival church was enlisted in the National Register of Historic Places. It is a very big church and there is a beautiful balcony from which the chancel can be seen. Near the altar is the antiphonal organ. The structure is enriched by stained glass windows, each of which is divided into three sections. The church has a famous history of music and a pipe organ that was installed in 1800. It was the first pipe organ in Hartford.
15
Ann Street Historic District

15) Ann Street Historic District

The Ann Street Historic District is a historic district encompassing part of Downtown Hartford. A commercial and light industrial area, the district includes properties along Ann Uccello Street (formerly called Ann Street) from Chapel Street south to Hicks Street. Within the district are the former Sport and Medical Science Academy building (a non-contributing property), and the Central Fire Station of the Hartford Fire Department. Other contributing properties in the district include St. Patrick - St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church (built in 1849), the Masonic Temple (built in 1894) and the Hotel Lenox (also known as Hartford Hotel), a Beaux-Arts eclectic style building at 280-294 Ann Street, built in 1899. In 2008, Ann Street was renamed "Ann Uccello Street" in honor of Ann Uccello, Hartford's first female mayor. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
Downtown North Historic District

16) Downtown North Historic District

Hartford's Downtown North Historic District is a roughly butterfly-shaped area, bounded on north by the Amtrak railroad tracks and centered on the junction of Albany Avenue with Main, High, Ely, and Ann Uccello Streets. The wings of the butterfly are located on either side of this junction, the left wing bounded on the south by Interstate 84 and Walnut Street, and the right wing bounded on the south by Winthrop Street. The eastern wing is dominated in size by the grounds of the former Barnard School, built in 1927 and now home to the Capital Preparatory Magnet School, with the Keney Tower park just to its north. The tower, a freestanding Gothic Revival structure designed by Charles C. Haight and built in 1898, is a memorial to the locally prominent Keney family, whose home and business were here. North of the tower is the Sacred Heart Church, a brick Gothic Revival church built in 1892. Across Main Street from the school are a row of Italianate duplex residences, built in the 1890s. At the triangular junction between Ann Uccello and High Streets is a "Flatiron" building, 105 feet (32 m) in height, built in 1896 to a design by Frederick Comstock. South of that building on Ann Uccello Street are a series of residential buildings, some single-family and some multiunit. The most elaborate is the Arthur G. Pomeroy House, a fine Queen Anne Victorian built in 1882. On the west side of High Street stands the Isham-Terry House, a c. 1854 Italianate villa that is now a historic house museum, and the Classical Revival Second North District School, built in 1891 and now housing the city's board of education. The area just to its south was a residential area when the district was listed in 2004, but that has been razed and is now occupied by the city's police headquarters. The area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Hartford, Connecticut

Create Your Own Walk in Hartford

Create Your Own Walk in Hartford

Creating your own self-guided walk in Hartford is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Art Galleries and Museums in Hartford Walking Tour Part I

Art Galleries and Museums in Hartford Walking Tour Part I

Hartford’s museums are pleasantly surprising because of the local history and culture. The uniqueness of this tour is due to the original buildings and unusual exhibits that can be seen there and nowhere else. Take this tour to visit some of the most remarkable museums and art galleries in Hartford.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Religious Self-Guided Tour in Hartford

Religious Self-Guided Tour in Hartford

Hartford is a wonderful town that is located on the Connecticut River. It is not remarkable just for its geographical position but also for the beautiful buildings and places of worship. Take this self-guided tour to admire the architecturally interesting places of worship in Hartford.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.7 km
Architectural Buildings in Hartford Self Guided Tour

Architectural Buildings in Hartford Self Guided Tour

Hartford is a magnificent city because of its unusual new and old architectural buildings. The first part of the guide will show you the most famous structures in the center of the city. Take this self-guided tour to explore the most important historical and architectural buildings in Hartford.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Historic Houses in Hartford Self Guided Tour

Historic Houses in Hartford Self Guided Tour

Hartford is a place where visitors have to explore almost all the streets to see all the historic buildings of the city. Most of them are registered in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Take this self-guided tour to admire the most important historic houses in Hartford.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Art Galleries and Museums in Hartford Walking Tour Part II

Art Galleries and Museums in Hartford Walking Tour Part II

Hartford is a magnificent city because of its original art galleries and historical museums. The second part of this tour offers you some other unique and extraordinary museums that reflect the artists’ originality and the most valuable exhibits representing the history of Connecticut and more. Take this tour to explore some of the most famous art galleries and museums in Hartford.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Hartford for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Hartford has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Hartford, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.