With a slogan “Hartford has it,” the capital of Connecticut is one of the oldest cities in the US and one of the most culturally rich. Home of many pop culture icons and historically significant people like Noah Webster, Mark Twain, Katharine Hepburn, and Howard Stern, this revolutionary city has enough arts and entertainment to keep you and your family busy for a perfect long weekend out East.

"Mark Twain House" by Doug Butchy via Flickr Creative Commons

Retrace History through American Lit

Probably the most famous attraction in all of Connecticut, the restored home of Mark Twain, one of America's greatest authors and social commentators, is a must-see. A beautifully well-preserved Victorian mansion in the middle of downtown Hartford, the twenty-minute tour is a trip through the author’s life, as well a museum dedicated to his legacy. Right across the way is an attraction dedicated to another American literary great, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, best known for her anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The museum holds the largest collection of her personal affects and includes over 6,000 objects and 200,000 manuscripts.

"Wadsworth Atheneum" by Cliff via Flickr Creative Commons

Give Yourself a Museum Tour

One of the first major art museums in America, the Wadsworth Atheneum (a cultural institution devoted to learning about history, literature, the art, and science) is a impending castle-like structure that’s actually a five building collective housing 50,000 pieces that span over 5,000 years. If art’s not your thing or you have kids in tow, the Connecticut Science Center has fun and interactive, hands-on exhibits about Space, Energy, and my personal favorite: Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body.

"Fall Display and Greenhouse at Elizabeth Park" by John Cudworth via Flickr Creative Commons

Go Green

No trip to Connecticut would be complete without a moment of reflection along the scenic green hills of New England. Escape to Elizabeth Park Conservancy, a registered national historic place with over one hundred acres of neatly manicured gardens, green space, recreational facilities, walking loops, and the Pond House Café. Free to the public, you can enjoy preppy sports like tennis and lawn bowling for an afternoon the East Coast way.

"Amusement Park" by Michel G. via Flickr Creative Commons

Instagram your Trip

For memorable photo opps, be sure to head to Bushnell Park Carousel Museum, home of 48 wooden horses lovingly hand-carved by a couple who immigrated to America to help create the famous Coney Island amusement park. A ride costs just $1, which may very well be the best buck you’ll ever spend. Another iconic landmark in Connecticut? The Soldiers & Sailors Arch, a brownstone Gothic and Romanesque monument featuring terracotta friezes depicting scenes from the Civil War. Climb up the winding 97 steps to the lookout, which oversees Bushnell Park, the State Capitol and all of downtown Hartford.