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All About the Arts

Alexander Calder's sculpture "Stegosaurus" outside of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Alexander Calder's sculpture "Stegosaurus" outside of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

For those who crave cultural, artistic experiences, Hartford is one of the best places to be. Places Rated Almanac ranked the Hartford metro area in the top six percent of the country for arts and entertainment, based on its plethora of activities and exhibits through local organizations and ability to attract touring concerts and special performances.

With approximately 300 organizations offering arts and entertainment options within 30 minutes of the city, Hartford has plenty to offer its visitors. Everything from public art to professional theater to galleries filled with local artists can be found—the hardest part is choosing among them.

Live performances of all kinds light up downtown Hartford’s nightlife year round. Catch one of the 300 events held each year at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, including Hartford Symphony Orchestra concerts, touring Broadway shows, comedy acts and local productions. The Tony award-winning Hartford Stage produces nine theatrical shows each year, ranging in style from classic tales to newer works, and TheaterWorks offers professional off-Broadway performances to the public. If music is more your fancy, hear local and national talent at Black-eyed Sally’s and The Webster, or head to City Steam Brewery Café to find music on the main floor and comedy acts at the basement stage of Brew HA HA Comedy Club. For big touring performances, check the XL Center.

Hartford also offers various museums and galleries perfect for viewing work by local and nationally renowned artists. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the United States’ first public art museum, boasts more than 45,000 works of art in its permanent collection, which features American and European pieces, costumes, textiles and decorative arts. For a more contemporary take on art, visit Real Art Ways where you can browse through the gallery of visual art, enjoy live art performances or watch independent films in the cinema. Visitors can also learn about the history of Connecticut by visiting the Old State House, The Museum of Connecticut History or the several historical homes throughout the area. For more information about arts and entertainment in Hartford, visit the Greater Hartford Arts Council.

For those wanting to take the love of arts on the road, there are plenty of options outside the greater Hartford area as well. Follow the Connecticut Art Trail to see some the state’s best historical sites, museums and galleries. Thirteen of the spots are within 60 miles of Hartford, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, Hill-Stead Museum and Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center.

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