This area of Connecticut is different from other parts of the state in that it is not dependent on out-of-state metropolitan areas such as New York City or Boston. It is on the fairly level land of the Connecticut River valley with soil less rocky than that of other areas in the state.
Hartford's role as a focal point for the American insurance industry is known nationally. The vibrant music and arts scene defines the region's culture. The region's economy is closely tied with Springfield, Massachusetts, as Hartford and Springfield are twin cities, only 25 miles apart. The area is served by Bradley International Airport, shared with Springfield. Although contiguous to Springfield's northern border, Westover Metropolitan Airport was briefly marketed as an alternative for Hartford-bound flyers. Hartford is also served by Hartford-Brainard Airport.
The population of Greater Hartford (metropolitan area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau), had a total population of 1,212,381 (2010 census).
The Capitol Region refers to a specific group of municipalities that the Capitol Region Council of Governments. Since Connecticut dissolved county governments, counties in the state have become purely ceremonial in nature. In place of county governments are local councils composed of the representatives from municipal governments. Other councils that fall within the Greater Hartford area the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency and the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (formerly known as the Midstate Council of Governments).
New England City and Town Areas (NECTA) are cluster of cities and towns throughout all of New England defined by the Office of Management and Budget. The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metropolitan NECTA consists of 54 towns, including 25 in Hartford County, 5 in Litchfield County, 6 in Middlesex County, 2 in New London County, 12 in Tolland County, and 4 in Windham County.
The United States Census Bureau also defines the Hartford–West Hartford–East Hartford, CT Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) based on towns as building blocks. The area contains 54 towns of Hartford County, Tolland County, and Middlesex County. The 2015 population estimate for the MSA is 1,211,324 and is ranked as the 47th largest metropolitan area by population in the United States. The MSA definition of the area contains a significant portion of the Lower Connecticut River Valley, which is not commonly considered as part of Greater Hartford.
A region very similar to the MSA is covered by the combination of the Hartford Service Delivery Area and the Mid-Connecticut Service Delivery Area, covering 56 towns.
The Hartford Metropolitan Statistical Area in combined with the Norwich–New London MSA in a larger entity known as the Hartford–West Hartford–East Hartford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2015, the population of the CSA was 1,483,187, ranking it 37 in the nation. Counties included in this definition are:
^2 Division of United Technologies (Otis and Carrier are under the UTC Building & Industrial Systems division)
Private, nonprofit, four-year universities in the area include:
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts is one of the largest indoor performing arts venues in the area. It houses two theaters within the complex: the 2,800-seat Mortensen Hall and the 906-seat Belding Theater. Other theaters in the area include the Hartford Stage and TheatreWorks.
The area is also home to the Xfinity Theatre, a 7,500-seat open-air amphitheater. The lawn outside the theater is capable of holding roughly 22,500 people, bringing total capacity to around 30,000 people.
The Connecticut Convention Center is located in downtown Hartford adjacent to the Hartford Marriot Downtown. The facility has more than 140,000 square feet (13,000 m2) of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot (4,000 m2) ballroom, and 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of space for meetings and conferences. Since 2005, it has hosted ConnectiCon, an annual, multi-genre, pop culture convention.
Greater Hartford is home to multiple minor league professional sports teams and college teams. There are currently no major league professional sports teams. However, it was home to the Hartford Whalers ice hockey team from 1974 to 1997. The Whalers came to Hartford playing in the World Hockey Association, until they were admitted to the National Hockey League in 1979. In 1997, the team relocated to North Carolina, where they were renamed the Carolina Hurricanes.
Throughout the mid-1990s, the New England Patriots were negotiating with the state of Connecticut for a brand new football stadium located in downtown Hartford to replace the aging Foxboro Stadium where they played. The team eventually made agreed to another proposal that saw Gillette Stadium. With the Patriots no longer in the equation, the state instead decided to construct a smaller football stadium on the former United Technologies-owned airfield in East Hartford. Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field seats approximately 40,000 spectators and is home to the Connecticut Huskies football team.
|Hartford Wolf Pack||Ice Hockey||AHL||XL Center|
|Hartford Yard Goats||Baseball||Eastern League||Dunkin' Donuts Park|
|Central Connecticut Blue Devils||Central Connecticut State University||NCAA Division I||Northeast Conference|
|Connecticut Huskies||University of Connecticut||NCAA Division I||American Athletic Conference|
|Hartford Hawks||University of Hartford||NCAA Division I||America East Conference|
|Eastern Connecticut State Warriors||Eastern Connecticut State University||NCAA Division III||Little East Conference|
|Saint Joseph Blue Jays||University of Saint Joseph||NCAA Division III||Little East Conference|
|Trinity Bantams||Trinity College||NCAA Division III||NESCAC|
|Wesleyan Cardinals||Wesleyan University||NCAA Division III||NESCAC|
Major shopping centers in the area include:
The Hartford Courant is the daily broadsheet newspaper serving the Greater Hartford area. Founded in 1764 as the Connecticut Courant, it is generally considered to be the oldest continually published newspaper in the United States. It is owned by Tribune Publishing.
From 1817 to 1976, the area was also served by another daily newspaper, the Hartford Times.
Highway transportation in Greater Hartford is primarily run by two mainline Interstates:
There were several plans to expand the highway system (with at least one plan calling for a full beltway). Various plans encountered resistance due to budgetary and environmental concerns. However, some highways were ultimately constructed, if only partially:
In the area, four major U.S. Routes serve the area's towns/cities:
Some state highways also serve as major expressways:
2015 saw the opening of the CTfastrak, a bus rapid transit system that runs from downtown New Britain to Hartford Union Station. The dedicated busway is over 9 miles long and stops at 10 stations.
Bradley International Airport (IATA: BDL, ICAO: KBDL, FAA LID: BDL) is located in the town of Windsor Locks, approximately 10 miles from Hartford. Bradley is the second-largest airport in New England (behind Logan International Airport), and was ranked the 55th busiest airport in the United States in 2008. Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, and US Airways account for more than half of the airport's passenger traffic. The Bradley Airport Connector provides highway access to the airport from Interstate 91.