Everything You Need to Know When Moving to or Around Hartford, CT
Connecticut's capital city has a growing job market, plenty of housing, and top-rated universities. But if you're thinking about moving to Hartford, Connecticut you'll want to know exactly why it's a great place to live. Is it because there are so many great things to do in Hartford? What does the restaurant scene look like? What's it really like to live in Hartford? If you're looking for a hometown steeped in history and just a hop-skip-and-jump to the nearby metro areas of Boston and New York, Hartford might be just the place for you to relocate.
Who Lives in Hartford, CT?
Demographics and Population
Hartford attracts people in every stage of life, and its population is fairly diverse. Its rich history and historical architecture call to history buffs, retirees, and young professionals while the surrounding suburbs are great alternatives to urban living for families.
According to the most recent census reports, the racial composition of Hartford is:
- Black or African American: 37.7%
- White: 31.3%
- Other race: 21.5%
- Two or more races: 6.4%
- Asian: 2.7%
- Native American: 0.4%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.06%
Hartford Job Market and Cost of Living
The city of Hartford has a lower cost of living when compared to the rest of Connecticut. For instance, the median home cost of a single-family residence in Hartford is significantly lower than that of the rest of Connecticut. The same is true for the cost of health care and groceries.
Hartford has recently become known for its booming insurance industry. In fact, its even been nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", since Hartford has the highest number of insurance professionals per capita in the United States. You'll find major insurance companies based here like Aetna, Travelers and United Healthcare. As such, medical care and research are also big industry in the area. Aetna is actually one of the largest employers in the city, employing more than 7,000 workers.
Other major employers include healthcare jobs with the local medical centers like Hartford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, and Connecticut Children's Hospital.
Hartford's Cost of Living
Keep in mind that though Hartford Proper has a fairly reasonable cost of living, the state of Connecticut is one of the more expensive states to live in. Residents in Connecticut will pay state income tax, property tax, and personal taxes on your vehicles. According to US News and World Report, the average cost of living in Connecticut is almost 24 percent greater than the national average, with utilities and groceries being the highest of these expenses.
Luckily, the cost of living in Hartford is 13% lower than Connecticut's average though and the typical housing cost is 11% lower than the current national average. Median home prices in Hartford County was around $284,000 in July 2021. The average monthly rent for Hartford was $1,261 for a 782 sq. ft. apartment (as of June 2021).
Where Should I Live In Hartford?
Here are a few Hartford neighborhoods to check out:
This area, situated a little west of downtown was home to New England's second oldest high school. It is also the place which boasts being Mark Twain's former homestead and is now home to the The Mark Twain House & Museum. Harriet Beecher Stowe lived right next door and her home is now also a museum and a center for social justice. The area is a good blend of commercial and residential space and is home to both the Aetna and Hartford insurance companies.
Shopping, museums, and historic buildings fill Hartford's downtown area which is undergoing a residential transformation. While many shops and businesses close early in this area, there are some new, modern apartments which are attracting young professionals to this neighborhood. Rent is cheaper here than in other areas of the city, but that is because it is mostly condo and apartment living, you won't find many single family homes here.
One of the most historic areas of town, this neighborhood gives off an old Manhattan vibe. You'll find historic three- and six-family apartment buildings reminiscent of row houses. This neighborhood is within walking distance from downtown and has easy access to the popular Pope Park.
What is there to do in Hartford?
Situated deep in one of the original U.S. colonies, this is one of the oldest metro regions in the nation. As such, Hartford has become home to many places to soak up early U.S. history and culture. You can visit The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (which is the nation's oldest public art museum), stop in at the Connecticut Science Center or tour the historic homes of authors Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
While the Connecticut Wine Trail doesn't officially list any wineries in Hartford, there are bunches just a short drive away. Luckily, there are a few small vineyards just outside of town who just aren't listed on the trail map. For instance, the Joseph Preli Farm offers handcrafted, small batch wines from fruit grown on their farm. Seasonally, they offer farm tours and tasting events too. There are several outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy a glass while absorbing the sights and sounds of small farm life, or you can purchase a bottle to take home. Or, try Crystal Ridge Winery, in South Glastonbury, CT where you can see the Hartford skyline from their cozy tasting room.
Hartford is a convenient place to live if you're an avid skier or snowboarder. Its proximity to famous ski resorts in Vermont make it a favorable place to live, but it also has a few small, ski resorts of its own to brag about. You will have the choice to visit Ski Sundown, Mount Southington, or Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort, all of which are only a 30-minute drive from downtown Hartford.
While there are no professional teams here you can cheer on all the local teams in Hartford. You'll become familiar with the Hartford Yard Goats (MiLB) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL). If you prefer college sports, the Hartford Hawks have everything from football and basketball to lacrosse and rowing to fill your super-fan needs.
Parking, Commutes, and Public Transportation
In downtown Hartford you can easily get around by bus, and it is also a nicely walkable area. However, the further you venture from Downtown, it becomes more difficult to get around without a car. That said, there are lots of public transportation options as long as you know how and when to use them.
You can travel throughout and around the city with the CT Transit Bus System, or there is the Hartford Dash Shuttle which traverses Downtown Hartford for free during weekdays and for major events.
There's also the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program (NHHS), which allows residents to easily commute to cities between New Haven and Springfield, MA. Likewise, if you need to travel to NYC or Boston, Hartford has its own Amtrak station which will also connect you all the way to Washington DC. For trips further afield, Bradley International Airport is just north of Hartford in Windsor Locks.
There is also a bicycle route that runs through the center of the city, which connects to the East Coast Greenway—which is a 3,000-mile bike route that runs from the Florida Keys to Maine.
Hartford Public Schools offer close to 50 schools including elementary, middle and high schools. Notably, Hartford Public High School, found in Asylum Hill, is the oldest high school in the nation. The area is also home to prominent high schools like Bulkeley High School, Global Communications Academy, and the Sport Medical and Sciences Academy.
Higher education also abounds here. Hartford is home to Trinity College, as well as the University of Connecticut School of Business, the Hartford Seminary, University of Connecticut School of Law, Capital Community College, Saint Joseph College School of Pharmacy, and the University of Hartford.
Hartford Restaurants and Nightlife
Nothing makes a place feel more like home than discovering the perfect restaurant and becoming a regular. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Hartford has plenty of options.
The Place 2 Be
There's almost always a wait at The Place 2 Be. It is truly an Instagram worthy breakfast joint. From brunch dishes to cocktails the presentation is beautiful, the prices are very reasonable, and the food is tasty.
Nothing says "East Coast" quite like seafood. You won't be disappointed with your choice to eat at The Chowder Pot of Hartford. From their homemade bread to their fresh catch options, everything on the menu gets two thumbs up. For a casual dining spot with great food and service this is your best bet. Hartford has several other seafood restaurants with excellent reviews too, but they are for a more formal occasion.
The Russian Lady
For a night out, The Russian Lady is a fun nightlife venue for live music. There are three different floors with a unique experience on each level. Customers can enjoy a pub-style atmosphere on the first floor, a vodka bar, and lounge as well as a billiards room on the second floor, and a cigar bar on the rooftop. There are two patios, a full pub menu, and lots of TVs to watch your favorite sporting events.
Greenspace, Parks, and Recreation
Hartford is home to some beautiful city parks. Residents can enjoy a game of golf, explore a new playground, or have a picnic at any number of city-owned greenspaces. Keep in mind that Hartford has typical New England weather so enjoying these parks is seasonal fun. The summers are warm with July being the hottest month, but winters can be quite cold and spring time is rainy in Connecticut. Hartford sees an average rainfall of 44.23 inches per year with May being the wettest month.
Pope Park is an active city park with a play ground, spray pool, basketball court, baseball and soccer fields and more. It is a popular area for residents to gather for events and has over 79 acres of greenspace to explore.
With several available boat launches, you can take your boat or kayaks out on the Connecticut River or bike along the riverfront trails at Riverside Park. This park is a great combination of the urban environment and natural beauty as its situated right on the river in Hartford. You can check out the Abe Lincoln and Harriet Tubman statues, or enjoy a number of festivals throughout the summer.
Great River Park
In East Hartford you'll find Great River Park. There's a public boat launch here too and well-lit pathways for walking. In the summer there's a concert series in the Great River Park Amphitheater.
Considering a move to Hartford?
The rich history of New England makes Hartford an appealing place to live. As long as you're prepared for the winters in the North East, Connecticut might be just the relocation opportunity you've been looking for. Just a quick drive to the major metro hubs of Boston and New York, Hartford can give you all the perks of being near those major urban areas but allow you to live in a place that feels like a small town.
If you need help navigating the details of your move to Hartford, Connecticut, please give College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving a call today. Our skilled moving professionals are available to make the moving process a breeze for you and your family.