Winterfest Hartford

10 Inexpensive (and Free!) Things to do this Holiday Season

Between baking and cooking for every holiday party you go to, buying presents for your family, friends, neighbors, neighbor’s dogs etc.. The holidays can be an expensive time of year. Here are 10 things to do around the Hartford area to get you in the holiday spirit without breaking the bank.

Ice Skating in Bushnell Park

When: Daily from 11 AM – 8 PM
Where: Bushnell Park
Price: FREE skating and FREE skate rentals!
Tell me more: This is one of our favorite things to do during the holiday season! And the best part? It’s free! This makes the perfect date with bae or afternoon out with the kids. Enjoy skating in the park and then grab some warm coffee or hot cocoa at our favorite cafe Story and Soil in the Frog Hollow area of Hartford.

Santa’s Workshop 

When: Dec. 9th, 16th, 17th, 23rd from 12 PM – 3 PM
Where: Bushnell Park carousel 1 Jewell St. Hartford
Price: FREE
Tell me more: Grab the kids (or just a group of your friends) and head to Bushnell Park Carousel for a visit with Santa. Get your photo taken with the big man and receive 1 FREE 5×7 photo that you can frame and save forever! Also, If you don’t know how to skate or have little ones that are dying to learn, come early – there are free ice skating lessons at the Bushnell Park Rink from 10 AM – 11 AM!

Winterfest & "Tunnel of Lights"

Winterfest & Tunnel of Lights

When: Dec. 8th – 10th, Dec. 15th – 17th, Dec. 22nd – 23rd, and Dec. 26th – 30th from 5 PM – 9 PM
Where: Connecticut Trolley Museum 58 North Road, East Windsor
Price: $12 for adults, $11 for seniors (62+), $10 for children (ages 4-12), $3 for children (3 & under). Museum Members receive half off admission.
Tell me more: The CT Trolley Museum will be doing trolley rides this holiday season, chose from a closed car or brave the cold in one of their open electric sleighs! Join in on singing traditional Christmas carols as the trolley takes you through the ‘Tunnel of Lights.’ But it doesn’t end here; after your ride head inside to the Visitor Center for a Winter Wonderland complete with model trains, and decorations. Don’t forget to take your picture with Santa inside one of the historic trolleys as you sip on some hot cocoa… Santa will have a gift for every child!

Know Good Holiday Bazaar

When: Saturday, Dec. 9th 11 AM – 5 PM
Where: 30-50 Bartholomew Ave, Hartford
Price: Entrance is FREE
Tell me more: Get all your holiday shopping done at the annual KNOW GOOD Holiday Bazaar! Find everything from local crafts, artisan foods and so much more. And, as always grab some delicious eats from the Craftbird food truck while you’re there!

Festival of Trees and Traditions Wadsworth Atheneum Museum

Festival of Trees and Traditions

When: Wednesday, Dec. 6th – Sunday, Dec. 10th, 10 AM – 5 PM
Where: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art 600 Main Street, Hartford
Price: $3 for Members, $3 for Hartford Residents, $18 for Adults, $15 for Seniors, $8 for Students, $3 for Youth (age 17 & under), $3 during Happy Hour (4-5 PM daily)
Tell me more: Experience the beauty of the Wadsworth Atheneum while it’s decorated for this holiday season. Discover festive trees and wreaths created by community members and local artists and organizations all over the galleries. Bonus: all trees and wreaths are for sale and proceeds benefit the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses! Double bonus: daily performances and weekend visits from Santa and his Mrs.

Its a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Play at The Mark Twain House

When: Saturday, Dec. 9th, 2 PM – 8 PM
Where: The Mark Twain House & Museum Lincoln Financial Auditorium
Price: $12 for Adults and $8 for Children
Tell me more: Join George Bailey, Zuzu and all your favorite character from It’s a Wonderful Life in celebrating this holiday season! They will be turning the classic holiday film into a live radio-show performance.

Bah Humbug Holiday Sketch Show

When: Saturday, Dec. 9th 10 PM – 11:30 PM
Where: Sea Tea Comedy Theater 15 Asylum Street, Hartford
Price: $10
Tell me more: Sea Tea Theater will be putting on the show of the season for holiday lovers and Scrooges alike. Come spend the night laughing at the classic holiday activities such as awkward office parties, overworked delivery employees and so much more. Stick around after for An Improvised Christmas Carol!

Gingerbread House Workshops

When: Adults only Friday, Dec. 8th at 7 PM and Kids and Adults welcome Saturday, Dec. 9th 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM
Where: Noah Webster House 227 S Main Street West Hartford
Price: $15 for museum members and $18 for non-members (per house kit)
Tell me more: Friday night is a BYOB event (must be 21+) so bring your favorite bottle of wine and have fun creating a gingerbread masterpiece. Saturday all ages are welcome for the three sessions offered. Your $15 (or $18) gets you one house kit and you can have a max of two people working on each house. So get your candy canes ready to create a spectacular gingerbread house! Note: pre-registration is required so make sure you call ahead.

Holiday Art Market

When: Saturday, Dec. 9th from 11 AM – 4 PM and Sunday, Dec. 10th from 11 AM – 3 PM
Where: 430 New Park Ave, West Hartford
Price: Entry is FREE
Tell me more: Come walk around and find the perfect presents for everyone on your list. Over 20 local artists and craftsmen will be in attendance. And don’t worry there will also be food for sale as well!

hartford things to do

Art+Soul Hartford: A Holiday Market to Benefit POA

When: Sunday, Dec. 10th, 11 AM – 5 PM
Where: Hartford ArtSpace Gallery 555 Asylum Ave, Hartford, CT
Price: Entry is FREE
Tell me more: This is Art+Soul Hartford’s 4th annual pop-up market and fundraiser at ArtSpace. There will be tons (and we mean TONS) of local vendors! Including our Pratt Street neighbors Hartford Prints!! Find all your holiday present needs and 100% of the vendor registration fee will be donated to Protectors of Animals (POA) along with 20% or more of all sales.

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