Take a Connecticut State Capitol tour
Drive your Hartford rental car to the Connecticut Capitol building, which is a National Historic Landmark that shouldn't be missed. On Saturdays and weekdays, visitors can take advantage of free guided tours offered by the state government. You can also pick up a free booklet that gives you the information you need to plan your own self-guided tour. Explore the Hall of Flags, which contains the banners that Connecticut soldiers carried into battle. You'll also find displays of local history, like the statue of Civil War governor William Buckingham and the monument of Continental Army soldier Nathan Hale. While you're here, check out the Legislative Office Building, the meeting place for the state's top officials.
Visit the Wadsworth Atheneum
Get in a Hartford rental car and head to the first public art museum to be erected in the United States: Wadsworth Atheneum. This institution houses works by renowned artists like Thomas Cole, Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth and Albert Bierstadt. Check out the stunning Hudson River School collection, which has some of the country's oldest contemporary American art, spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. Admission is free on the second Saturday afternoon of every month between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.