Bring her up to speed on Hartford CT.
February 22, 2021 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Asking for my adult kid who just found she needs to relocate to Hartford CT in a four months ... what's Hartford like? Suggested places to live?

My daughter just found out she need to move to Hartford to continue her medical career. She'll be doing a fellowship at the Hartford Hospital. She needs to find a place to live and she's crazy busy doing doctoring stuff right now (you may have heard about this pandemic thing going on), so I volunteered the hive mind to give her the lay of the land.

Sooooo ... what's Hartford like these days and where would you suggest she live? She's currently in Charlottesville, VA, but she's lived in center city Philadelphia as well. She's streetwise but still a sense of safety would be welcomed as she may occasionally be leaving the hospital late at night. Is it feasible to live close to the hospital? How are rents? If she does live slightly away from work, how are the commutes? Just a general sense of living in the town vs. say, West Hartford or a surrounding community would be helpful.

Any other light you can shed on life and living in Hartford in 20201 would be greatly appreciated.
posted by lpsguy to Travel & Transportation around Hartford, CT (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Suggested places to live?

Not Hartford.

For safety, quality of life, and amenities, consider West Hartford or one of the surrounding suburban areas.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:36 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


I grew up and lived in Hartford, my family still lives there. Like "NotMyselfRightNow" suggested sadly 'Not Hartford' is probably the best answer. She would NOT want to live in downtown Hartford. Thing is CT is SMALL...so I would look for a place in Wethersfield or West Hartford (though that will be a bit more pricy usually) and she would still only have a 20 minute commute.

Downtown Hartford is still(ish) a big insurance city, so after 5 tends to become a ghost town. Like any major city there ARE things to do downtown (well pre-COVID at least), night life such as it is, Hartford Civic center has shows, hockey, other sports, the Bushnell theater which has plays, concerts, ect. But has no where near what you would of seen in Philadelphia.

I would not recommend walking around where the hospital is at midnight other than to your car, and even then ideally you are parked in a hospital attached garage.
posted by Captain_Science at 10:23 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Not a resident of Hartford but familiar with it as a near-ish neighbor. And not to pile on, but both of the previous commenters are dead-on. Hartford is very accessible by car, so living a few towns away isn't unreasonable.
posted by neilbert at 11:10 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Nthing the "Connecticut is small" advice, and the "ghost town after 5" advice. I lived in Connecticut for my entire childhood and I think in that whole time I visited Hartford less than 10 times, two of which were on class trips to the capital building or something. I vaguely remember a couple of childhood Christmas visits to see Christmas lights at some department store or something, but also remember that except for right around that store, the rest of the streets were empty.

The suburbs around Hartford seem to be decently served by a bus network, though - but it may still be a good idea to have a car anyway for getting around for off-hours, and if you're going to have a car anyway it may be worth taking your car most days.

I'd also suggest looking at some towns east of Hartford; the further east you go the more "rural" it gets, and there can be some inexpensive housing as a result, with a decent commute. The University of Connecticut campus has some lovely houses for rent in the area, and it's only a half hour drive from Hartford, much of it on fairly quiet roads. Coventry is similarly "rural but close".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:10 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


I really wish that Hartford would have some kind of city revival, but even friends and family who moved back home and tout its improvements live in Manchester, Wethersfield, or West Hartford. The good news is that Hartford Hospital is very close to the 91/84 interchange and if she's not working 9-5, there's a lot of housing within a shortish drive.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:03 PM on February 22


Oh, Manchester would be a good option. It's fairly well covered by the commuter bus system, and it's got more of a "town center" to it so there would be decent services close by; it'd be about a 15-20 minute drive to get to Hartford Hospital, but there are decent prices for rental houses (and I'm literally talking houses).

Plus it's in the same town as the diner where you can get the best cheeseburger in the entire damn world.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:15 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Not Hartford. Dangerous, especially right around Hartford Hospital.

All the younger folks in the Hartford area tend to congregate at or around West Hartford Center. Actually living in West Hartford Center gets noisy on a non-pandemic weekend with bars and such, especially on the corner near bartaco/Barcelona. We lived there for a few years and enjoyed it but made it a point to be out of town on weekends where we did not want to be out enjoying the nightlife ourselves.

Glastonbury has a lot of nice new apartments but is less walkable and I think a bit less nightlife.

I highly recommend living within walking distance of West Hartford Center but not right in the center.

I have different answers if she wants a rural lifestyle. I’m assuming she doesn’t want a rural lifestyle at the age/demographic I’m kind of guessing she might be in or around if she is going into fellowship and coming from a city like Charlottesville.

She will need a car to get to and from work.
posted by slateyness at 5:11 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


To get an idea of how compact the Hartford area is, the distance from Rocky Hill south of the city to Winsor north of the city is about 15 miles. Those places are not exactly rural, but they are more small town suburbia than urban.

Just as background, in the past 30 years or so, The City of Hartford has had a continuing huge turnover in population. I dont remember the exact numbers but its something like 50% of the population has lived there for less than 10 years. So anything I remember from living near there in the 70s is decades out of date.

I been to some nearby places for work more recently and I have just one piece of advice. If she gets interested in places to the NE of the city, she should stay east of Talcott Mountain. Not only is the Mountain a hazard to winter driving, but it blocks off the roadways so the commuter traffic to nice suburbs like Simsbury is brutal.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:19 AM on February 23


She will be shocked by how devoid of life Hartford is considering it's our state capital. Nthing what everyone said above about living outside of the city. Newington/West Hartford is a better option and the surrounding towns have a decent public bus service that goes into Downtown. Once youve seen the Science Center and the Mark Twain House, there's just nothing to do. It's literally a bureaucarcy disgused as a city.
posted by archimago at 10:09 AM on February 23


In Hartford's defense (okay, in this one institution's defense), I would also recommend the Wadsworth Atheneum, an art museum which is supposed to have a boffo-huge collection of Hudson River School works.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:56 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


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