Meet Your City: Indoors Walking Tours

Stowe Center


Connecticut Historical Society

At the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Asylum Avenue, this building houses a museum and research library.  Regular exhibit tours are offered, plus the occasional Secrets of the Veeder House Tour and Behind-The-Scenes Tour to see items not currently on display, such as a mitten belonging to Leatherman. It would be eye-opening if more museums offered behind-the-scenes tours so patrons could better understand how much material is not on view because of lack of space or because it can be damaged if out of storage for long. Admission to the museum is free on the first Saturday of each month.


Mark Twain House & Museum

View from the Twain House porch during a rain/hail storm

Seeking refuge in a recent hail storm under what was the porch belonging to Samuel Clemens, I learned that they are hardcore at the Mark Twain House & Museum. About two seconds after the downpour stopped, a tour group emerged from the museum, headed toward the house.

For writers, it’s always interesting to glimpse at another writer’s workspace, even if that author is not a personal favorite. For more context, there are fairly vanilla house and holiday tours offered. For those wanting something more interactive and wacky, there are  Living History Tours, Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours, and the Clue Tours.

Stowe and Twain have some connected discount system, so if you’re at one place and want a tour at another, ask how you can save money.


Twain House

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Guided tours of the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Katharine Seymour Day House, gardens, and visitor center are all part of the Stowe Center experience. After renovations, the Stowe House reopened in June for tours.


Asylum Hill Walking Tours

Most of these are outside, but several are indoors or a combination. Upcoming opportunities include touring Asylum Hill Congregational Church and Aetna.


Wadsworth Atheneum

Recurring highlights tours along with special theme tours are included within the price of admission — free for Hartford residents. There are three family tours offered on the second Saturday of every month.


Connecticut State Capitol

view of the Connecticut State Capitol

There are five opportunities each week day for a free guided tour.


Connecticut’s Old State House

I like to dodge formal tours as much as possible, opting to either go the self-guided route or just wander, but this is one place where getting extra guidance is useful, otherwise a few of the rooms are nothing more than rows of uncomfortable-looking seats. The Old State House is open Tuesday-Saturday when on its summer schedule, and then from Monday-Friday starting in early October. Free admission for U.S. active military members and veterans.


The Bushnell

Free tours of the building by appointment.



Swift Factory
: It looks like there is only one more chance — July 27, 2017 — to take a free tour of the Swift Factory on Love Lane before the building is renovated.








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