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Straddling the Connecticut River, Connecticut’s capital mixes politics, big business and high culture. Birthplace of America’s insurance industry and the first colonial constitution (the Fundamental Orders of 1639), Hartford also boasts fine museums and was home to famous authors like Wallace Stevens, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The area between Main Street and the Connecticut River has two standout attractions: the Wadsworth Atheneum – America’s oldest art museum – and the Connecticut Science Center. Rounding out downtown’s culture-rich landscape are Hartford Stage, the Bushnell Performing Arts Center and the Aetna Theater, which stage independent cinema, theater, music and dance.
For a boat cruise or a splendid stroll, head for the parkland along the river, beautifully rejuvenated by Hartford’s Riverfront Recapture project. Other attractive green spaces include Bushnell Park and the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens. Further afield, don’t miss the historic Victorian home of Mark Twain, complete with Tiffany interiors, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. For a bird’s-eye perspective on the city, climb to the observation deck atop the 34-story Travelers Tower.