20 Best Things to Do in West Hartford, CT

West Hartford, CT
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West Hartford, Connecticut, is an excellent area for tourists to see new sights and take in the landscape.

Whether you're searching for a location to enjoy nature, a historic site to learn about West Hartford's past, or a great place to eat, at least one place in town will meet your needs.

Visit the world-famous Elizabeth Park to take in the stunning scenery of West Hartford.

Then, go to Park Road, famed for its dazzling variety of shops, including ethnic markets and jewelry boutiques, and more.

So put on your travel shoes and embark on this trip.

Here are the best things to do in West Hartford, Connecticut:

Spend Quality Time with Family and Friends at Elizabeth Park

Colorful roses in Elizabeth Park
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The National Register of Historic Landmarks includes Elizabeth Park.

Elizabeth Park is a 115-acre park with beautiful gardens, green areas, leisure activities, jogging trails, and the Pond House Café.

The Elizabeth Park Conservancy is located at 1561 Asylum Avenue in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Green house at Elizabeth Park
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This park also hosts special programs, outside performances, tours, presentations, and garden workshops throughout the year, many of which are freely accessible.

It is a non-profit organization that works with the City of Hartford to maintain, preserve, and develop Elizabeth Park.

Snap photographs and enjoy the splendor of the gardens and landscapes at this lovely tourist site.

Ducks swimming on the pond at Elizabeth Park
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Have a Delightful Meal in Restaurant Bricco

Restaurant Bricco has always had one primary goal since 1996: to serve simple, fresh, and excellent meals.

Restaurant Bricco takes inspiration from Mom's Spaghetti Carbonara, combining the warmth of a Sunday family supper with a sophisticated Italian-American flair.

Restaurant Bricco is inviting, bright, rustic, but elegant, looking ahead to the future while paying homage to the past.

Menus at Restaurant Bricco change regularly.

Cocktails, wine and beer, lunch, dinner, dessert, kids' menu, and current catering menu are among the categories on their menu.

Treat yourself or your buddies to a delicious and delightful meal at this Italian American restaurant.

Visit the Art Museum at USJ

You'll discover and develop your full potential at the University of Saint Joseph in a welcoming atmosphere that offers academic programs to students who want to thrive and make a difference.

It has grown into a thriving educational complex while never losing sight of its fundamental mission: to prepare students for intelligent leadership and service to others.

The Art Museum offers a wide range of options for the study and enjoyment of art, with over 2,200 pieces of art, rotating exhibitions, a printing study room, and various activities for both the University and the general public.

The Art Museum's specialties include American art from the 20th century and European art from the 17th to the 21st centuries.

As you go through West Hartford, CT, include this in your trip.

Walk around the West Hartford Reservoir

Pristine water at West Hartford Reservoir
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You can find the West Hartford Reservoirs at 1420 Farmington Avenue in Western Hartford, Connecticut.

The site is an environmentalist's dream, with 3,000 acres of lush forestland and over 30 miles of concrete and gravel routes for runners and bikers, hiking paths, picnic groves, and skiing.

With over 30 miles of track, the Reservoir received the moniker "West Hartford's copy of Central Park" from Travel and Leisure magazine in 2010.

Narrow path amidst the tall trees and grass at West Hartford Reservoirs
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The area is part of the public water supply watershed, which safeguards the safety of Metropolitan District reservoirs and water supplies.

Even though West Hartford Reservoir is not a park, the Metropolitan District reservoir has long become a significant leisure site and a must-see for tourists visiting West Hartford.

Different types of plants at West Hartford Reservoir
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Buy Traditional American Seafood at Max’s Oyster Bar

Max's Oyster Bar's menu features innovative interpretations of traditional American seafood, so there's something for everyone.

Though seafood is the main attraction, even some most avid landlubbers will find something to enjoy.

The menu includes ethnic influences and contains innovative variations on traditional dishes and a raw bar with a large selection of oysters and seafood.

Max's Oyster Bar received the title of  "Best New Restaurant" from Connecticut Magazine in 1999, the bar's first year.

It has also received several Readers' Choice Awards, including "Best Seafood Restaurant" in 2003 and 2005.

Max's Oyster Bar, nestled amid interesting boutiques, coffeehouses, and many restaurants, is another noteworthy success in the Max Restaurant Group's portfolio, complementing West Hartford Center's lovely and developing commercial district.

Enjoy High-Quality Entertainment at Playhouse on Park

This vibrant, compact performing arts theater is an integral part of the West Hartford community, providing a platform for young entrants both on and off the theater.

Playhouse on Park's objective is to provide high-quality entertainment to a wide range of audiences at reasonable prices and acknowledge and provide opportunities for career, emerging, and neighborhood artists.

The park also wants to provide educational and community engagement opportunities.

The venue will present every season a diverse lineup of live stage shows.

Playhouse on Park also attempts to develop creative theater productions through the Playwrights on Park series, comedy evenings every couple of months, and programs geared toward children.

Come by Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Rd, West Hartford, to see engaging shows with friends or family.

Grab a Bite and Go Shopping at Blue Back Square

Top view of Blue Back Square
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Why not go to the very heart of it all?

Everything is right here: fantastic shopping, delectable food, and first-rate service.

Blue Back Square, located at 65 Memorial Rd, West Hartford, is an eclectic mix of commerce, housing, dining, and entertainment.

Buildings at Blue Back Square
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It is a living destination in West Hartford's most upscale neighborhood, with metropolitan access to all of Central Connecticut.

At Blue Back Square, you'll find luxurious, light-filled apartment houses only steps away from stores, eateries, and everything you need.

Shops at Blue Back Square
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See why West Hartford Center is one of New England's nicest small downtowns where you can shop, dine and have fun!

Watch a Performance at Park Road

Park Road, West Hartford's most historic and fascinating neighborhood, will make you feel at ease.

This charming and inviting neighborhood has something for everyone.

It continues to grow, better than ever, thanks to the efforts of some exceptionally committed volunteers. It has evolved into a tourist hotspot for anyone seeking a calm way of life.

Park Road is home to various businesses, including hairdressers, retail, eating, and entertainment.

Park Road offers it all: a drink with friends, a performance, a bite to eat, a haircut, last-minute shopping, or just relaxing with a cup of coffee.

Their purpose is to improve the Park Road neighborhood's well-being by preserving the town's beauty and safety, bringing communities together via activities, and promoting businesses on Park Road and the neighboring streets.

Try House Specialties at Cora Cora Restaurant

Cora Cora is a Peruvian restaurant at 162 Shield St in West Hartford, Connecticut.

This well-known restaurant provides various services, including free WiFi, a full bar, vegan options, catering and take-out, and much more!

Their menu has so many options that you'll be stuck on which one to choose.

Cora Cora serves a variety of sides, beef sides, house specialties, appetizers, Cora specials, and more.

Some of the most popular meals at this restaurant are Lomo Saltado, Chicha Morada, and Ceviche Mixto.

Taste Peruvian cuisine in a setting that harmoniously mixes cuisine and culture.

Look around the Mark Twain House & Museum

Exterior view of Mark Twain House & Museum
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Mark Twain was an American comedian, businessman, publisher, and lecturer who lived from 1809 to 1865.

The press also recognized him as the "best comedian the United States has created."

He had a lifetime practice of writing in the lines of the works he read, regardless of whether or not the work was his own.

Mark Twain transformed how the world views America and how Americans perceive themselves from this residence.

The Museum Store sells books for all ages, souvenirs, Victorian presents, and unique items.

Their mansion is approximately 1,068 square meters and contains 25 rooms spread out over three stories.

Upon its completion in 1874, the mansion had the most cutting-edge contemporary technology.

According to the author, in their Hartford home, Mark Twain and his family had the greatest and most productive years of their lives.

Savor Exceptional Craft Beer at Thomas Hooker Brewery

Thomas Hooker Brewing is a tiny brewer with a big reputation in Connecticut, with multiple plaudits and awards.

This brewery is located at 140 Huyshope Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut.

They are delighted to be in their second decade of manufacturing exceptional craft beers in Connecticut.

They specialize in producing unique beers well-known for their consistency and excellent quality.

The brewery offers Wi-Fi, an outdoor terrace, live music, board games, a gift store selling t-shirts and accessories, and more facilities.

Their goal is to be the number one option for beer consumers in Connecticut, owing to our award-winning flavor, quality, and freshness.

Appreciate and Learn More about Nature in Westmoor Park

Westmoor Park spans 162 acres.

The town of West Hartford's Leisure Services Department administers the park, a self-funded environmental teaching facility.

It is a natural history, agricultural, and horticultural education facility committed to raising environmental knowledge and appreciation.

The public is welcome to regularly visit their demo farm, floral meadows, perpetual gardens, wooded walks, and wetlands.

Animals such as horses, cows, lambs, goats, chickens, bunnies, and cats will enchant the kids.

In addition, their Perennial Garden blooms from spring through the end of the season, and the Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden buzzes with colorful animals in the summer.

They also provide a diverse range of educational agricultural and outdoor programs for people of all ages.

Shop and Dine at Westfarms

Vineyard vines, a retail clothing shop at Westfarms
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Westfarms first opened in 1974 is Connecticut's third-largest mall, with a leasable space of roughly 29.1 acres.

Westfarms has over 160 of the best businesses and eateries.

Unlike some other indoor malls, Westfarms does not have a famous food court, but it does have many quick-service restaurants with shops in particular wings of the mall.

Entrance to Westfarms
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Everyone may find a snack or meal at one of the many restaurants that cater to Fine Dining, Casual Dining, Quick Eats, Café, and Food Specialties.

Apple, California Pizza Kitchen, Coach, Kiehl's, J.Crew, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co, and many more make up the shopping complex, unique to the trade area.

Centre decoration at Westfarms Mall
JJBers from Willimantic, Connecticut, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring Your Kids to the Children’s Museum

The Children's Museum in West Hartford, Connecticut, provides hands-on scientific and environmental experiences for younger students, their families, community and school organizations, and homeschooled youngsters.

The museum's mission is to "spark wonder through nature and science."

There are plenty of fun and live displays to keep youngsters entertained.

They educate youngsters to become imaginative and critical thinkers.

Their interactive laboratories, seminars, multi-sensory displays and demos, a live wildlife refuge, digital science dome planetarium presentations and films, holiday vacations, birthday celebrations, scouting activities, and special events keep children entertained.

Their unique Children's Museum Preschool, housed in their West Hartford location, incorporates science into early childhood education.

Swim and Dive at Fernridge Park

Fernridge Park offers a lovely public pool, equipped with a water park with funny characters for kids, that has been a beloved facility for years.

The pool provides at least 6 hours of accessible swimming every day, with mornings reserved for teaching.

A pair of well-equipped playgrounds are also available for younger family members.

It also has a picnic space.

A baseball field, tennis and basketball court, and plenty of grassy areas for frisbee games are available for sports.

Given the numerous activities available to the public, exploring Fernridge Park takes practically an entire day.

Do Landscape Photography at McGovern Pond

Found along West Hartford’s Mountain Road lies one of the hidden gems that’s a must see—McGovern Pond.

More than just a pond, this beautiful patch of wilderness offers amazing ecosystems that you can explore by trekking through its rugged trails.

Depending on the season you go, McGovern Pond offers varying aesthetics that’s a must-see for avid landscape and nature photographers.

During autumn, there’s a sense of desolate beauty at this pond, while spring and summer gives it a vibrant, lush feeling that’s perfect for a morning stroll.

McGovern Pond isn’t just plain woods, as this is well-maintained by the city and even has a boardwalk, so go check this place during your trip.

Tour the Noah Webster House

Exterior of the Noah Webster House
Msact, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

West Hartford is also home to a historic home that dates all the way back to the mid 1700s—the Noah Webster House.

This beautiful house is now a museum operated by the West Hartford Historical Society, depicting the early life in West Hartford during the 18th-20th Century.

If you’re not yet familiar with who Noah Webster is, he is the founder of the American Dictionary where the iconic brand Merriam-Webster derives its name from.

There’s a ton to see at this historic home of Webster, which has been declared as part of the National Register for Historic Places during the 1960s.

Various exhibits and a Hamilton gallery can be found here, so don’t miss out on touring the Noah Webster House, found along South Main Street.

Go Jogging Along Trout Brook Trail

Trout Brook Trail is a scenic way to enjoy the simplicity of West Hartford, located along Trout Brook Drive.

A sizable trail that goes through a significant portion of the city, Trout Brook Trail gives you access to a scenic pond that’s a quaint way to enjoy a nice morning run.

You can see a bit of ducks and other aquatic life here as well, adding serenity to the place.

If you want to cover more ground, bringing a bicycle with you will significantly enhance the experience as well.

One of the best ways to enjoy the calm neighborhoods of West Hartford, Trout Brook Trail is a great addition to your itinerary.

Play a Round of Golf at Rockledge Golf Club

Just a stone’s throw away from the Noah Webster House lies one of the best golf courses in Connecticut, Rockledge Golf Club.

Rockledge Golf Club is a great place to play golf thanks to the course being in great shape, coupled with its tee times being lax—a great bonus if you forgot to make plans ahead of time.

There’s also a nice clubhouse here that has a great viewing deck, a perfect way to appreciate the nature and landscape of West Hartford.

Rockledge Golf Club’s staff are courteous and professional, so you won’t have to worry about that as well.

An overall great all-rounder for any type of avid golfer, this course is a must-try if you’re into the sport.

Relax at Beachland Park

Found along Quaker Lane South lies Beachland Park, one of the best city parks in West Hartford.

One of the best parks during the hotter months, Beachland Park offers a splash pad and a public pool where kids can wade around.

There’s also great greenery here which makes for serene picnics, especially since there are ponds and lots of ducks around the area.

Because of these ponds, fishing is also a nice activity to do here as the place is brimming with trout.

Beachland Park also has a playground for younger children and a dog park—making it a great all-rounder for any kind of family.

Final Thoughts

West Hartford is connected to its bigger eastern neighbor, bringing must-sees like the Mark Twain House within minutes of each other.

The community also has plenty of green space, including the wild West Hartford Reservoir, and Westmoor Park, where kids may meet farm animals.

West Hartford, recognized as one of America's most excellent little towns, boasts a downtown that would make most other cities green with envy.

Visit West Hartford, Connecticut, for abundant sunshine, beautiful landscapes, delicious restaurants, and shopping centers.

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