Keep Calm and Hartford On: Entertainment Recap

Apr 22, 2015

This past Tuesday at our 8th Keep Calm and Hartford On, we brought in three local experts to talk about what kind of entertainment options we have in the region. You might be surprised at how much stuff goes on around Hartford. Ready?

We asked HYPEsters for their perceptions on entertainment in the region. Here are their responses, plus what we heard from our panelists on Tuesday night. Huge thanks to panelists Jordan Polon from the Hartford Business Improvement District, LB Munoz of Kinetic Dreams and Josh Urrutia from Riverfront Recapture for taking part in the event.

What do HYPEsters like to do in their free time?

Most HYPEsters like to do outdoor activities like biking, walking, jogging and hiking. That was by far the most popular answer in the survey. HYPEsters also like to go to sporting events, go out to eat, and listen to live music.

Josh from Riverfront talked about all of the trails they have in the four parks they oversee in Hartford and East Hartford. They have beautiful paved and wooded trails that you can walk or jog along, right up against the Connecticut River.

LB mentioned how many free things there are to do in the region, from the festivals and performances at the Riverfront, to the parades we have in the city for Saint Patrick's Day, Hooker Day and UCONN victories, to events like the one she puts on, Night Fall.

Jordan said that a lot of these great events can be found on the website she runs, She said they have trouble keeping up with event submissions because there are so many of them. is also a great place to check out local dining options and bars!

Where do HYPEsters find out about what's going on?

The most obvious answer, the internet. But HYPEsters also learn about new things to do from their friends, from social media, and from HYPE! That's what we like to hear.

Jordan talked about how talks about the city and about their presence online. Their website, which got a facelift a little over a year ago, is a beautiful representation of the city. The homepage will feature a photo of the skyline, of the city streets, or of local events. They have an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And if you've seen the Hartford Has It slogan, that's all their doing. They started using the tagline years ago, and when the city wanted a new tagline for themselves, they picked it up. If you search for the #HartfordHasIt hashtag, you'll find over 10,000 photos on Instagram that use it, showing off our city! Jordan says Hartford is "one of the greatest small cities that you could choose to live and work in."

What Hartford neighborhood do HYPEsters like to spend time in?

HYPEsters really love downtown; more than half of our survey responses were for downtown. Otherwise people like the South End (yummy Italian food!), the West End (beautiful houses, Tisane, Half Door) and Frog Hollow (very cool area, and the best name ever).

Through Night Fall, LB has gotten to know a lot of the neighborhoods really well. Her favorite? Parkville. Parkville has a lot of gems that people don't know about. She walked us through what a potential day in the neighborhood could look like. You could take CTFastrak and get off in Parkville, and start your morning at Tastease with some delicious tiny donuts, then head over to the Dirt Salon. You'll find LB's studio there, as well as a very cool event space. From there, head next door to the Design Studio and pick up something cool for your loft. Stop off at the Hartford Denim Company for some new jeans, go to Real Art Ways for a movie, and then head back home on Fastrak. Sounds good to us!

Other than a bar or restaurant, where do HYPEsters go to socialize?

Lots of great answers here; sporting events, art galleries, a friend's house or outside in a Hartford park.

Josh mentioned all of the awesome outdoor festivals they'll hold this summer, and there's almost too many to list here. Samba Fest, Summer Pops, Swing Night, Hartford Earth Festival... and that's just in May!

LB brought up the very cool reading/listening events that happen around the city. Just a few weeks ago they all happened to coincide in the same week. From The Ear Cave, to Syllable Series, to The MOuTH, you can get all the storytelling you want!

Jordan said that on, the top searches are always for the event listings, and not for bars and restaurants. Certain individual events like Winterfest and Envisionfest get huge traffic on the site. On Friday and Saturday nights in Hartford, you can't get a restaurant reservation and shows are sold out at the various local theaters, so people are definitely getting out!

Which event do HYPEsters think draws the most people to Hartford annually?

Most HYPEsters think the St. Patrick's Day parade draws the most people, or maybe the Hartford Marathon. Truth of the matter is, it's Riverfest. Josh filled us in, saying over 200,000 people come to the region for Riverfest every year. Riverfest is when the 4th of July fireworks happen, and they are a sight to be seen. This year they're adding in a 3-day food truck festival, which will end with Riverfest. Mark your calendars now! (Photo by Andy Hart, courtesy of Riverfront Recapture)

What kind of entertainment do people wish Hartford had?

This was interesting, because HYPEsters said they really want more live music, more shopping and more outdoor theater. Jordan says the shopping will definitely come as people start to move into the new apartments that are being built in Hartford.

All of the panelists were curious about people wanting more live music. According to, there is live music every. single. night. of. the. week. somewhere in the city. With places like Black Eyed Sally's, Arch Street and Sully's all hosting music events throughout the week, then Infinity Hall adding into the mix now, there's a TON of live music happening. And don't forget about all of the music festival at Riverfront.

If you want outdoor theater, check out Shakespeare at the University of Saint Joseph in the summer. And the City's Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs office holds Movies in the Parks all summer - free movie nights that show off the different parks around the city. Then mark your calendars for October 10th, when Night Fall will happen in Keney Park. A very cool performance with dance, theater, music and awesome puppets and costumes.

So there you have it! There's A LOT of stuff happening in the city.
What else? What do you like to do? Where do you like to go? We want recommendations!


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