15 Best Things to Do in East Hartford, CT

East Hartford, CT
Jeff Holcombe / shutterstock.com

If you want to experience the peace and charm of a small-town getaway, visit the town of East Hartford in Connecticut.

Known as the intersection of the New England region, the town is easily accessible and may be reached through major airports and highways.

If you’re looking for a quick trip not far away from major urban areas, East Hartford is a convenient option.

The town, situated on the eastern side of the Connecticut River, was once a part of the city of Hartford but was eventually established as a separate locality following petitions from residents in 1783.

Today, it is part of Hartford County and is home to over 50,000 residents based on the July 2021 census.

The town also boasts 650 acres of open spaces for community building, including parks, walking trails, courts, and playgrounds, among others.

For sure, you’ll find plenty of family activities that are worth trying in East Hartford.

Before heading out to your destination, check this list of the best things to do in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Hang Out at the Great River Park

The waters of Great River Park
Jeff Holcombe / Shutterstock.com

Get closer to nature and spend some quiet time at the Great River Park on East River Drive.

The park has a 350-seat amphitheater where you may catch a live show depending on the schedule.

The public park also features a public boat launch, access to nearby bridges, picnic tables, fishing areas, a playground, and a fitness station.

Trail with foliage at Great River Park
Cheng Yu / Shutterstock.com

You may also catch the sunrise or sunset as the park is open all day.

Walking around the park surrounded by greenery and sculptures is also a fun way to stay active.

The Great River Park has a lot to offer to all kinds of visitors, so don’t forget to add it to your list of places to check out in East Hartford!

Welcome sign of Great River Park
Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Book a Tee Time at East Hartford Golf Club

Golf enthusiasts will enjoy spending time at the East Hartford Golf Club.

If you’re new to the sport, you may try it here for the first time and learn why so many people enjoy playing golf, may it be for recreation or competition.

The golf course features several tee settings that may cater to all levels of golfing ability, so you may pick the perfect one for you.

For more competitive players, long tees that stretch up to 6,208 yards are available for a par-72 game.

You may find here some fairways lined by trees, small greens, and an overall classically-designed golf course.

A clubhouse and a pub are also available to assist you and provide you with your dining needs.

Whether you want to sharpen your golf skills or you just want to spend a laid-back afternoon outdoors, you should visit the East Hartford Golf Club on Long Hill Street.

Visit the McAuliffe Park

One of East Hartford’s many recreational spaces is McAuliffe Park.

If you want to spend some time outdoors, bring your family or friends to this park and pick an activity to do from the available amenities.

If you’re a fan of sports, you may play basketball at the court or baseball at the Ray McKenna baseball field.

The park also features wide open spaces filled with greeneries, so feel free to pick a spot to have a picnic, go people-watching, or read a book!

You’ll surely feel at ease in the presence of nature when you spend some time at McAuliffe Park on Remington Road.

Taste Local Drinks at Brew and Wine Hobby

You can’t pass up on the local brewing expert, Brew and Wine Hobby if you find yourself in East Hartford.

The shop has been serving home-brewed beer and wine in the community for over 40 years now.

Wine and beer enthusiasts will also enjoy various items from the shop because the place offers kits and books, among other needs.

You may also book a slot for one of Brew and Wine Hobby’s beer and wine-making classes, so check out their schedule in advance.

Whether you’re already an alcoholic beverage hobbyist or you’re just starting to get into the process, Brew and Wine Hobby on Cedar Street is the perfect place to visit.

Play Bowling at the Hall of Fame Silver Lanes

Hit a strike when you play with friends at the Hall of Fame Silver Lanes.

If you’re looking for a venue to party with a group, you should check out this bowling and arcade place.

It features state-of-the-art bowling lanes and arcades that serve as a visually pleasing backdrop.

Among the popular games you can play are Mario Kart, Jurassic Park Arcade, and World's Largest Pac-Man.

If you just want to hang around, sit at the sports bar, grab a drink, and enjoy watching a sports match or two.

Hall of Fame Silver Lanes on Silver Lane is one of East Hartford’s gems for quality recreation, so don’t miss out on the chance to spend some time here!

Explore Local History at Martin Park

East Hartford’s Martin Park has a museum complex made up of three buildings that are maintained by the Historical Society of East Hartford.

Here you’ll find the Makens Bemont House, best known as the Huguenot House, which was built in 1761.

The building is an example of a well-off 18th to 19th-century home in East Hartford.

Another building on the park is the 1820 Goodwin Schoolhouse, which displays historic items from early to mid-19th century schools in the locality.

The Burnham Blacksmith Shop, meanwhile, houses late 19th- and early 20th-century tools that were used in building and forging.

Aside from the historic structures, the park also has a football field, a skatepark, a pool, and walking trails.

Martin Park is located on Burnside Avenue.

Catch a Game at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field

Exterior of Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field
Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

While in East Hartford, you should check if there’s a scheduled match happening at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.

The 16-acre open-air stadium features 40,000 seats positioned in a U shape.

On the ground level, the stadium has a field with Natural Kentucky Bluegrass.

It also has different seating sections, including luxury suites, club seating, and press accommodations.

The construction of the premier venue started in 2000 and was completed in 2003.

In 2015, what was once known as the Rentschler Field was renamed the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.

Sports fans shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity to visit this stadium on Silver Lane!

Bring Your Kids to Gorman Park

You won’t run out of open spaces to explore in East Hartford, and Gorman Park is proof of that.

The park serves as a gathering place for the community where everyone, especially kids, can always find something to do.

For sure, kids will enjoy spending time with other children and meeting new friends when they go to the playscape, which features a colorful playground.

The park also has the Lord Pool Bathhouse, basketball courts, fields, and a stadium.

For those who want more adventure, hiking and walking trails are available.

You may also opt to lounge in the pavilions located in the park.

Whatever your hobbies may be, there is always something enjoyable for you to try at Gorman Park on May Road.

Try Local Craft Beer at the Paddle Creek Beer Company

Beer lovers shouldn’t leave East Hartford without dropping by the Paddle Creek Beer Company, located on the main street of the town.

The brewery was officially established in 2020, but it started the practice of brewing in 2015.

Today, it takes pride in its mastery and creativity in making craft beer.

Paddle Creek Beer Company employs a seven-barrel brew system and features an indoor taproom.

You may also enjoy your beer on their outdoor patio.

Spend a Special Day at Goodwin Park

Surrounded by trees and other greeneries, Goodwin Park provides both solace and fun recreation to residents and visitors.

The park features a Goldstar Pool that you may enjoy during the summer.

The pool may also serve as a party venue, so check with the administration if you want to host a pool party.

Other amenities for sporty visitors are the sports field and the basketball court.

If you want to spend a laid-back time or have a picnic, feel free to find a spot in the wide open space or the pavilions of Goodwin Park on Forbes Street.

Go Hiking at the Hockanum River Linear Park Trail

The Hockanum River Linear Park Trail comprises a boardwalk and a stone dust pathway that stretches up to 3.5 miles.

Hikers, both old and new, will enjoy this simple trail in East Hartford.

The trail starts from Hillside Street and extends to Meadow Hill Station on Pitkin Street.

If you’re bringing a vehicle, you may park at the facilities on Hillside Street, Elm Street, Martin Park, and Town Hall.

If you want to get closer to nature without going through difficult trails, you should try the Hockanum River Linear Park Trail.

Get Active at Bare Bones Boxing

If you’ve always wanted to try boxing but have never gotten the chance, you may finally learn the sport at Bare Bones Boxing.

The boxing gym offers cardio classes for people of all ages.

You may book an hour-long boxing class with an instructor and learn about the sport.

Even if you’re a beginner, you’ll have the chance to learn from seasoned boxers and fellow enthusiasts!

The facility houses more than 30 heavy bags for boxing and a 20x20 boxing ring for sparring.

It also has a separate workout area with equipment like weights, cardio machines, and jumping ropes.

Book your appointment to start your boxing journey with Bare Bones Boxing on Silver Lane!

Other Things to Do Nearby

After roaming the entirety of East Hartford, you should also stop by some unique attractions conveniently located near the town.

Enjoy Fun Outdoor Activities at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza

Riverfront recapture stage at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

You may reach the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza within 10 minutes of driving from East Hartford.

It is located in the neighboring city of Hartford, just along Columbus Boulevard.

The plaza has a seating capacity of 2,500 and is situated near the edge of the river.

Phoenix gateway bridge at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

People from nearby communities gather here and enjoy the facilities, including spaces for performances, sculpture installations, walkways, bike racks, and fishing access.

You may also try one of the public boat cruises available on the river side of the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.

Go Fishing at the Charter Oak Landing

The waters of Charter Oak Landing
Polaron at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the south of Hartford City’s downtown area, Charter Oak Landing is a park known among the community as a great fishing spot.

You may reach the park less than 10 minutes from East Hartford, so drop by!

Among the fish you may catch here are bass, smallmouth and largemouth, catfish, sunfish, and striper.

The park is also a great area for birdwatching.

When you’re here, look out for nesting ospreys, eagles, and herons, among over a hundred other species of birds.

Charter Oak Landing may be a park located in the city, but it is still brimming with nature and wildlife.

Appreciate and Learn Art at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Exterior of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

You’ll find the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on the main street of the city of Hartford, just a few miles from East Hartford.

The museum features a variety of rotating art exhibitions, including those about contemporary art, European and American art, and local art, among many others.

If you’re an art enthusiast, you’ll have the opportunity not just to appreciate the displays but also to learn from the archives and conservation work of the museum.

Interior of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Shanshan0312 / Shutterstock.com

After spending a day walking around the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, you may also drop by the place’s very own cafe.

Before leaving, don’t forget to drop by the museum shop and get a souvenir or two!

Art exhibit in Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Shanshan0312 / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

The town of East Hartford is a small but unique community in Connecticut.

It may seem like a simple town, but it will surprise you with all of its recreational offerings.

If you’re looking for a new place to explore, try visiting this small town not far from well-known urban areas.

Plan your visit and check this list of the best things to do in East Hartford, Connecticut.

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