21 Best Things to Do in Hartford, WI

Hartford, WI
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Hartford, Wisconsin, is best known as a conservative suburban community with beautiful parks, excellent schools, and a vibrant downtown.

Even though it's close to Milwaukee, Hartford is its own thing - a family-friendly community that takes pride in its small-town feel.

The Menominee and Potawatomi people once lived in the Hartford area, and there are still traces of their presence there.

In 1883, Hartford was incorporated as a city; it's home to a large German-American population.

The city is known for its factories and foundries, which have been the heart of Hartford's economy for generations.

These days, Hartford is a thriving community with a strong sense of history and tradition.

Here are the best things to do in Hartford, WI:

Walk around the Historic Hartford Downtown District

Buildings and cars along Hartford Downtown District
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Historic Hartford Downtown District boasts several attractions, such as Wisconsin's largest Auto and Truck Museum.

It is perfect for those who want peace; just spend a few minutes walking alongside the gorgeous riverwalk.

The Historic Hartford Downtown District is also home to various shops and quaint restaurants.

You can visit the Shauer Arts Center to explore the galleries or take a show for those in the arts.

You can also join the Classic Car show and a Block Party in the summer.

Situated in the picturesque Kettle Moraine's Rolling Hills, the Historic Hartford Downtown District is a must-see in Hartford.

Look around the Wisconsin Automotive Museum

Exterior of Wisconsin Automotive Museum
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wisconsin Automotive Museum is perfect for car lovers and history buffs.

The museum features vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles from the early 1900s to the present day.

You can also learn about the automotive industry in Wisconsin and see how it has shaped the state's economy.

The museum is also home to the Kissel luxury automobiles manufactured in Hartford from 1906 to 1931.

The interior of the Wisconsin Automotive Museum is designed with art deco for more than 115 different vehicles.

See various models of Pontiacs, Kaisers, Chevrolets, and more inside the museum.

The Kissel Gallery features rotating exhibits of historical and contemporary automobiles.

The Nash Car Club of America has an area in the museum devoted to the vehicles and related collectibles representing Wisconsin.

Explore the Expansive Jack Russell Memorial Library

If you're looking for things to do in Hartford that are both educational and fun, then you'll want to visit the Jack Russell Memorial Library.

The library is one of the best in the state and has many books, magazines, and other resources.

The Hartford Public Library opened in 1904.

Until 1906, the volunteer Juno Goetz ran the library, and then the city decided to contribute $100.

The library also has a meeting room that you can rent for events and is home to the Hartford Area Genealogical Society.

The Jack Russell Memorial Library features a unique space for teenagers that caters to their interests in music and literature.

It also offers special programs, book groups, and gaming sessions.

If you're interested in learning more about the history of Hartford, then this is the perfect place to start your research.

Take a Hike through Kettle Moraine State Forest - Pike Lake Unit

The waters of Kettle Moraine State Forest
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A 678-acre section of the Wisconsin state park system is the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

It's a beautiful nature preserve covering over 22,000 acres.

The facility is on the eastern shore of the 446-acre Pike Lake, approximately east of Hartford, Wisconsin, along State Highway 60.

The Pike Lake Unit is one of the most popular forest areas in the region, perfect for hiking, camping, picnicking, and fishing.

This unit also has a beach for swimming, and you can rent boats.

If you're looking for an adventure, then you can explore the caves or go on a hayride.

Work It Out at the Rubicon River Bike Trail

The Rubicon River Bike Trail is a great place to exercise while enjoying the area's natural beauty.

The three-mile-long trail runs along the Rubicon River.

The trail combines paved and gravel roads and will take you through a trip along the towns and city streets.

Feast your eyes on the beautiful surroundings rushing past you.

The Rubicon River Bike Trail is connected to the Pike Lake State Park, where you can explore more hiking trails and stay by the beach.

The Rubicon River Bike Trail is a great way to explore the outdoors.

You can also rent a bike or bring your own to ride on the trail.

Bring Your Family to the Pike Lake State Park

Picnic tables overlooking the waters of Pike Lake State Park
Archbob, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kettle Moraine is a strip of glacial formations that runs through southeast Wisconsin to Lake Winnebago.

It features the Pike Lake Unit, where you can find Pike Lake State Park.

Pike Lake State Park sits on the 446-acre Pike Lake, and it's one of the most popular areas in the Kettle Moraine.

The Pike Lake State Park is where you can spend some quality time with your family.

Admire its stunning landscape of eskers and glacial remnants of mounds of sands, ice, and gravel.

Nature trail at Pike Lake State Park
Kris Gould / Shutterstock.com

Powder Hill, a large glacial kame, is one of the most popular trails in the park, and it offers a stunning view of Pike Lake from the top.

This state park offers a wide range of activities that everyone will enjoy, such as hiking, swimming, fishing, or relaxing on the beach.

There are also playgrounds, and you can have a picnic in one of the many pavilions.

Explore the Hartford Recreation Center

Established in 1958, the Hartford Recreation Center is one of the best places in the city to have some fun and stay fit.

The recreation center offers various activities, such as an indoor pool, a weight room, an indoor track, basketball and volleyball courts.

You'll also see a game room and a sauna.

There are also several classes that you can take, such as yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and martial arts.

Hartford Recreation Center also offers classes for seniors, Silver and Fit and Silver Sneakers.

The Recreation Center's pool is also open during winter.

The center keeps it warm for lap swimming.

The recreation center is open to everyone and a great place to meet new people and make friends.

Go Swimming at the Indoor Signicast Family Aquatic Center

The Significant Family Aquatic Center is great for taking a dip, especially during winter.

The center features an Olympic-size pool, a diving well, a locker room, and a concession area.

The Significant Family Aquatic Center is open year-round, and it offers swim lessons.

It also features a giant water slide and three lap lanes.

The Significant Family Aquatic Center also has spray water features for the enjoyment of the little ones.

You can also join classes at the center, such as water aerobics.

Spend a Day at the Hartford Golf Club

Founded in 1928, the Hartford Golf Club is one of the oldest courses in Wisconsin.

The course is on the west side of Hartford and features a nine-hole and one of the longest par 72 layouts.

The Hartford Golf Club is where you can spend a day with your family or friends and offers a gorgeous countryside view.

The Golf Course's rough is cut for the average golfer's skill level, and the fairways are likewise immaculately maintained.

Playing a game at the Hartford Golf Club will let you breathe fresh air and astounding scenery.

You can try the Dude's CLubhouse and feast on their baked cod, garlic-lime shrimp, and key lime pie.

Discover Bargain Prices at the Hartford Flea Market

The Hartford Flea Market is great for finding bargains on everything from clothes to furniture.

It is in the parking lot of Hartford Recreation Center.

The Hartford Flea Market is the perfect place to find gifts for your friends and family and is a great place to find antiques and collectibles.

You can also find a wide variety of food at the Hartford Flea Market, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and ethnic foods.

The flea market is held every Saturday, from May through November, and features vendors selling various items.

The Hartford Flea Market is a great place to find unique gifts for your loved ones, and it's also a great way to support local businesses.

See a Concert at the Schauer Arts Center

Schauer Arts Center is the right place for those who are fascinated with history and culture.

The Schauer Arts Center is a great place to see a variety of concerts, plays, and other performances.

The center has an art gallery featuring rotating exhibitions.

Since opening in 2001, Schauer Arts Center has become the home of the 521-seat Ruth A. Knoll Theater.

Constructed in 1912, the building was initially a canning factory.

The Ruth A. Knoll Theater also houses the Suckow Family Art Gallery and the Wisconsin Automotive Museum.

The Schauer Arts Center also features lodge meeting rooms, a dance studio, and the Pikes Peak banquet.

Join a Class or a Club at the Hartford Senior Center

The Hartford Senior Center is an excellent place for seniors to socialize and stay active.

The center offers various activities, such as exercise classes, cards and games, Bingo, and special events.

The Hartford Senior Center also has a library and computer lab.

The center is open Monday through Friday and offers classes, such as needlework classes and membership to a Writer's Club.

A Wii gaming and exercise room is available for seniors who want to stay fit and have fun.

The center also offers transportation to and from the site, as well as medical appointments.

Sample Local Culture at the Hartford Players Community Theater

The Hartford Players Community Theater is a community theater that has entertained audiences since 1957.

The Hartford Players Community Theater is in downtown Hartford.

Find the theater at the Schauer Arts Center.

The theater produces six main stage shows, such as the classic Phantom of the Opera, and two or three children's shows each season.

The theater also offers various educational opportunities, such as acting classes and workshops.

The Hartford Players Community Theater is a great place to see a variety of live performances.

Book a Tee Time at Washington County Golf Course

Washington County Golf Course is one of the golfing spots in Hartford that you should visit at least once while on your trip.

Moderately difficult and picturesque—this golf course is the masterpiece of designer Arthur Hills.

Opened in 1997, it has a championship 18-hole golf layout with a playing par of 72.

Some of the facilities within the golf property include a well-stocked pro shop and a deli for your meal break.

If you're fairly new to golfing, there are practice ranges to help you get used to the fairways, bunkers, and the classic golf play experience.

Washington County Golf Course is on Clover Road.

Travel Back to the Past When You Savor a Bite of Ice Cream at Scoop DeVille

While in Hartford, don't forget to give yourself a sweet treat with a visit from Scoop DeVille.

Opened in 2009, this local ice cream shop is the go-to site for many residents and tourists.

From over 32 flavors of homemade ice cream to anise candy and other nostalgic sweets, you have many options to choose from.

Other snacks you can expect to get from this store include roasted nuts and Bonomo Turkish Taffies.

But what makes this shop a hit is its nostalgic setting.

Its interior comes with a functional soda fountain and a checkerboard floor.

The building itself has been standing since the late 1880s!

And to solidify this fact, the shop contains memorabilia and other photographs of Hartford's distant past.

Scoop DeVille is on North Main Street.

Take Your Social Events to the Chandelier Ballroom

Have an event coming up while on your trip around Hartford?

The Chandelier Ballroom is the best venue for you to host all your special parties.

This historic facility originally stood to serve the Eagles clubhouse back in the 1920s.

And in the years that followed, the halls and walls of this building have lent themselves to many businesses and families.

Its unique architecture features an octagonal ballroom and a fascinating Art Deco chandelier.

This ballroom accommodates up to 500 people—spacious enough for your largest events.

The Chandelier Ballroom is on Jefferson Avenue.

Spend Time in Nature at Willowbrook Park

The waters of Willowbrook Park
Robb Shaffer / Shutterstock.com

For your simplistic nature retreat in Hartford, Willowbrook Park is your best bet.

This tucked-away gem of a park comes with a playground, picnic areas, and walking trails.

It also offers glimpses of a small river rushing past the park.

So, you can be confident that you and your loved ones, no matter the age, can have fun within its premises.

Drive along East Sumner Street to reach Willowbrook Park.

Stone bridge at Willowbrook Park
Robb Shaffer / Shutterstock.com

Browse the Artworks at ArtfindZ

ArtfindZ is your best choice for an art gallery, framing shop, and decor store all in one.

This facility has all the best art finds from local and international artists in all of Hartford.

It comes in a variety of mediums too.

From sculptures and landscape paintings to abstract art and other sports memorabilia, you've got many artworks to draw inspiration from.

So, add this place to your itinerary if you still haven't yet!

ArtfindZ opens its doors for you on Main Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area

Wetland at Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area
vagabond54 / Shutterstock.com

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area is a wetland found in Wisconsin's Dodge and Fond du Lac counties.

You'll find it in Horicon, Wisconsin, 29 minutes from Hartford.

The Green Bay lobe of the Wisconsin glacier during the Pleistocene epoch produced Horicon Marsh.

For those who like to experience wildlife, Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area is where you can see various birds, such as herons, egrets, and pelicans.

Boardwalk at Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area
Allen C from Prairie du Sac, WI, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dogs are allowed at the Marsh, but they should be leashed at all times.

Hiking is an activity you can enjoy in the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Location.

It features five miles of paths for hiking through forest areas and cultivated grasslands.

The park is open daily and has a visitor center for guidance.

Enjoy the Druid Lake

Druid Lake, a 122-acre lake, is just 3.1 miles away from Hartford.

You'll find it in Erin, Wisconsin, nine minutes from Hartford.

The naturally-formed glacial lake is a great place to take a kayak or canoe out for a paddle.

If you are interested in fishing, head to Druid Lake and try to catch its regularly stocked bass, bluegill, and catfish.

A public boat dock provides access to visitors to Druid Lake.

The lake has a maximum depth of 53ft and a mean depth of 15ft.

The lake is also home to various wildlife, such as blue heron, osprey, ducks, and geese.

Check Out the Milwaukee Art Museum

Exterior of Milwaukee Art Museum
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the US and features various artists from different cultures and periods.

The museum has a collection of thousands of works of art and a library with over a million books.

The Milwaukee Art Museum also has a cafe, a gift shop, and a museum store.

Pathway leading into Milwaukee Art Museum
David Canty / Shutterstock.com

The museum offers a variety of tours, such as docent-led tours, self-guided tours, and group tours.

Founded in 1888, the Milwaukee Art Museum was formerly known as Milwaukee Arts Center.

It is home to the world's biggest collection of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings.

Interior of Milwaukee Art Museum
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Final Thoughts

Hartford, Wisconsin, is a great place to visit for its many activities, attractions, and cultural opportunities.

Hartford City has something to offer everyone, whether you're interested in the arts, history, or nature.

You're sure to have a great time with family, friends, or even on your own.

Book your Hartford trip today!

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