There are dozens upon dozens of local, Hartford businesses to frequent at the holidays. Use this list as an excuse to never be knocked over by an old woman at a Disney store.
Businesses listed in bold are also taking part in Business For Downtown Hartford’s Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, November 24. For more info visit the Facebook event page.
The Jumping Frog
There are readers and there are book collectors. This one is for the latter. The Jumping Frog is like stepping back (or sideways) in time to a place where everyone loves to sit around and smell old books. Is that weird? Whatever, no it’s not.
Armstrong Rockwell Watches & Fine Jewelry
Armstrong Rockwell has been a fixture of downtown Hartford for over 40 years. They house the world’s most luxurious watches and jewelry. So luxurious you have to pronounce “luxurious” in a British accent. This is fancy stuff for fancy people and if you want to score huge brownie points with your significant other you should go here.
This might be Hartford’s most Hartford-y place on the list, with a wide array of Hartford-branded items, including apparel and accessories to books, jewelry, cards, and even locally-made honey.
The Wadsworth is one of the most magical places in the state and their museum gift shop is bananas. They feature handmade works by local artists, books, children’s gifts, handcrafted jewelry, and paper products just to name a few. They also carry special exhibition-themed gifts and souvenirs.
Mark Twain House
The Twain House gift shop obviously has a massive collection of all things Mark Twain, but also a wide array of Hartford-based memorabilia as well. They even have a great selection of gifts for the aspiring writer in your family. (It’s also highly recommended that you take a tour of the house during the holiday season.)
Painting With A Twist
The family or friends that paint together will absolutely be allowed to make fun of each other’s art work. What better way to tell someone how much they mean to you than by sipping wine, painting beautiful pictures, and possibly staining an old pair of blue jeans.
Hartford Yard Goats
No one is thinking about summer right now. It’s getting colder and darker every day. Which is why surprising that baseball lover in your life with tickets to a 2019 Yard Goats game (or a season ticket package) might just be the perfect gift.
Hartford Wolf Pack
On the other hand, hockey season is in full swing and the Wolf Pack have a full slate of games right up into spring. It’s recommended you grab a ticket for a Friday when the hot dogs and beer are super cheap, or a Wednesday (because if the Wolf Pack win you get a free ticket to the next Wednesday home game).
The Bushnell offers Broadway productions to go alongside Hartford Symphony Orchestra performances, live music, and family-oriented shows. Hartford Stage has been a proving ground for future Broadway productions for years and continues to showcase amazing works. Theaterworks offers up exceptional and intimate performances that sometimes feature famous people you’ve totally heard of. Hartbeat Ensemble offers thought-provoking and timely works in their Carriage House Theater. Seeing a Sea Tea Improv performance will easily be one of the funniest nights you have out, and you might even wind up on stage at some point.
If you have an aspiring photographer in your family then Camera Bar is going to be their new favorite place. Not only do they have a massive array of cameras for sale but they do film processing as well. That’s right, you can actually take pictures on film like they did in the olden days (you know, like 20 years ago) and have it developed at Camera Bar.
UCONN Barnes & Noble
If you’ve got a reader or five in your family you’ll want to hit up the UCONN Barnes & Noble specifically for all the amazing local Hartford/CT authors they carry. UCONN fans will also have a ton of Husky-branded stuff to choose from and you can even pick up some Starbucks gift cards while you’re there too.
Go To The Movies
With huge, comfy seats and a plenty of blockbusters and child-friendly movies, Spotlight Theaters is great for both date nights and family nights. Speaking of date nights, they also have a full restaurant right inside as well. For people who don’t mind subtitles or like films that only that one weird cinephile friend has ever heard of, Real Art Ways should already be your home away from home with their wide array of award-winning and groundbreaking indie and foreign films.
There’s a reason why this place has ‘warehouse’ in their name. This sprawling ode to all things golf is the largest golf supply store in New England. If you can’t find mom or dad their favorite golf stuff here you aren’t even trying.
Launch Trampoline Park
You know that line, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Yeah, well, this place is the exact opposite of that and your kids will absolutely love you for it. Plus they get to wear these cool “launching socks” that will add to the superhero complex they are going to get.
Boots, jackets, vests, biker accessories, and just about everything else you need to help your loved one look and feel like a total bad ass.
Your mom or sister or aunt or grandma, or whoever is already beautiful. Want to help them feel even more special? Get them a gift card to this unique studio where they can experience Tainted’s amazing makeup services.
Naturally Dogs and Cats
Don’t forget about your furry family members too. There is simply no place like Naturally Cate & Dogs. You can find homemade treats for your pets and a wide array of toys and natural foods that you just simply can’t get anywhere else.
A new pair of kicks under the tree is always a good thing. Salvin Shoes has been putting various forms of footwear on Hartford feet for over 90 years. If you’ve been in the shoe business for that long you’ve got to be doing something right.