Hartford is Connecticut’s capital and fourth-largest city, more popular with business visitors than tourists because of the concentration of insurance companies in its borders.
Whether you take a train, bus, or your own vehicle, the trip takes between two and three hours. The train makes several stops along the way from Manhattan to Hartford, so it isn’t always the fastest method (it’s also the most expensive). However, unforeseen traffic around New York can also significantly delay your trip if you take the bus or drive.
Traveling to Hartford by train from New York City is a low-stress option, and even though it’s potentially longer than the bus or driving, you don’t have to worry about traffic delaying your arrival. Plus, the train is much more comfortable than taking a bus. Trains to Connecticut always leave from Penn Station at 34th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and you can look at schedules and buy tickets from Amtrak’s website. You can also buy your ticket at the station or even on the train, but you’ll get the best deal if you reserve your seat in advance.
A few trains go direct from New York to Hartford’s Union Station (and vice versa), while others require a transfer in New Haven. If you’re traveling into New York and live in Hartford, it may be easier to drive to New Haven and take the train from there, as there is much more frequent service between New Haven and Manhattan.
Bus service from New York City to Hartford is an easy and affordable option for visitors. The bus companies that make this route are Greyhound and Peter Pan, and trips take about two and a half to three hours but can be longer depending on traffic. Prices are usually similar between both companies but get more expensive as ticket demand goes up, so make your reservations early and compare websites to get the best deal. Greyhound and Peter Pan depart from within the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is near Times Square, and arrive in Hartford at Union Train Station.
Even though the bus isn’t as comfortable as the train, it’s potentially just as fast and costs a fraction of the price.
You can drive from New York to Hartford in as little as two hours when conditions are perfect. But between navigating around Manhattan, fighting with traffic in New York and Connecticut, and looking for coveted parking spots, conditions are rarely perfect. The drive passes through New Haven, Connecticut, which can also be troublesome during rush hour.
If you want to continue exploring New England by car, then renting a vehicle is the best way to explore the area, especially if you want to visit towns outside of the major cities. However, if you’re just visiting Hartford, driving yourself doesn’t make sense. You don’t need or want a car in New York or Hartford, and trying to park will be more of a headache than it’s worth.
Hartford offers a look back into America’s long history. The city flourished in the 19th century, attracting big-name writers like Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Wallace Stevens, and today you can visit the onetime homes of these authors. The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the country, housing centuries of artistic works in an impressive Gothic Revival castle. Families should visit the Connecticut Science Center, a modern-looking museum that stands out among the other colonial-era buildings in the city. It’s full of interactive exhibits, science films, and special expositions that are constantly changing.