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Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts

While seeing a play or concert in Hartford’s historic venue, look up to admire one of the largest ceiling murals in the United States.

If you are in Connecticut and want to see a show, you will likely find yourself at Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. “The Bushnell,” as it is commonly called, has been a destination for theater and music since the early 20th century.

Mortensen Hall, the original theater building, was built in 1930 in honor of Horace Bushnell, a local minister who created a lasting legacy of parks throughout Hartford. Spot similarities to features of Radio City Music Hall, the so-called “Showplace of the Nation” in New York City. The same architects are responsible for Mortensen Hall. 

Look up as you walk into Mortensen Hall. Drama, one of the largest ceiling murals in the United States, spans the heights of the theater. The Muse of Drama is the mural’s centerpiece. Mythological figures surround her feet while symbols of the modern era soar above her.  

In 2002, the Bushnell expanded with the 906-seat Belding Theater, named for longtime supporter Maxwell Belding. Note the ceiling mural here, which pays homage to Mortensen Hall’s celestial motifs with a modern interpretation.

Go to the glass-enclosed Autorino Great Hall just outside the Belding Theater. Your eyes will immediately be drawn to Ode to Joy, Dale Chihuly’s wild glass sculpture that dominates the space.  

The Bushnell attracts world-class performers from all realms of entertainment. It has hosted legendary late-night comedian Jay Leno, the Broadway musical Wicked and the dancers from the Alvin Ailey troupe. Enjoy the classical music of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Bushnell’s primary tenant. 

Purchase tickets online, by phone or at the box office. Some shows, like the holiday Nutcracker, sell out quickly so you should purchase your tickets well in advance. Others may be available on the day of the performance. Ticket prices vary depending on the show.

The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts is located in the heart of downtown Hartford. Choose from many eating and dining options within a short walking distance. You can easily find city parking nearby or pay for a valet service during evening performances.


Best Lodging Options Near Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts

See all 168 Properties near Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Holiday Inn Hartford Downtown Area NT$2,661
Holiday Inn Hartford Downtown Area

Holiday Inn Hartford Downtown Area

100 East River Drive, East Hartford, CT
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in the business district, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Connecticut Science Center, XL Center, and Connecticut Convention Center. Xfinity Theatre and Trinity College are also within 3 mi (5 km). Hartford Union Station is 26 minutes by foot.

    The Goodwin Hotel NT$4,049
    The Goodwin Hotel

    The Goodwin Hotel

    1 Haynes St, Hartford, CT
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Hartford, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Theater Works and XL Center. Connecticut Convention Center and Xfinity Theatre are also within 2 mi (3 km). Hartford Union Station is 7 minutes by foot.

      Hilton Hartford NT$2,661
      Hilton Hartford

      Hilton Hartford

      315 Trumbull St, Hartford, CT
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Hartford, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hartford Stage and XL Center. Connecticut Convention Center and Xfinity Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hartford Union Station is 7 minutes by foot.

        Marriott Hartford Downtown NT$3,418
        Marriott Hartford Downtown

        Marriott Hartford Downtown

        200 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Hartford, this spa hotel is steps from Connecticut Science Center and Connecticut Convention Center. XL Center and Xfinity Theatre are also within 2 mi (3 km). Hartford Union Station is 17 minutes by foot.

          The Capitol Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection NT$2,539
          The Capitol Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection

          The Capitol Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection

          440 Asylum St, Hartford, CT
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Hartford, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Theater Works, XL Center, and Connecticut Convention Center. Xfinity Theatre and Trinity College are also within 2 mi (3 km). Hartford Union Station is only a 2-minute walk.

            Residence Inn by Marriott Hartford Downtown NT$3,848
            Residence Inn by Marriott Hartford Downtown

            Residence Inn by Marriott Hartford Downtown

            942 Main St, Hartford, CT
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Hartford, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Christ Church Cathedral and XL Center. Connecticut Convention Center and Xfinity Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hartford Union Station is 10 minutes by foot.

              Homewood Suites by Hilton Hartford Downtown
              Homewood Suites by Hilton Hartford Downtown

              Homewood Suites by Hilton Hartford Downtown

              338 Asylum St, Hartford, CT
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Hartford, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of XL Center and Connecticut Convention Center. Xfinity Theatre and Trinity College are also within 2 mi (3 km). Hartford Union Station is only a 3-minute walk.

                Red Roof Inn Plus+ Hartford Downtown
                Red Roof Inn Plus+ Hartford Downtown

                Red Roof Inn Plus+ Hartford Downtown

                440 Asylum St, Hartford, CT
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Hartford, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Theater Works and XL Center. Connecticut Convention Center and Xfinity Theatre are also within 2 mi (3 km). Hartford Union Station is only a 2-minute walk.