The regal facade of the 1796 Old State House (800 Main St., 860/522-6766, www.ctosh.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tue.–Sat., $6 adults, $3 children 6–17, free children 5 and under, $3 students, $3 seniors, $5 groups over 15 people) dominates Hartford’s  downtown. The building was designed by Charles Bulfinch, the foremost architect of the Federal Period, who also designed the Massachusetts State House  and redesigned the U.S. Capitol. Inside the state house is an amusing “museum of curiosities,” drawn from the private collection of a colonial portrait artist who had his studio in the building and collected, among other things, the horn of a unicorn and a two-headed calf. A bit more serious “Acoustiguide audio tour” takes visitors inside the events that took place in the building, including the trials of the Amistad slaves and abolitionist educator Prudence Crandall.
The modern replacement of the state house, the Connecticut State Capitol (210 Capitol Ave., 860/240-0222, www.cga.ct.gov , tours 9:15 a.m.2:15 p.m. Mon.–Fri. July–Aug.; 10:15 a.m.–2:15 p.m. Sat. Apr.–Oct., free) is a mishmash of architectural styles dominated by a soaring central tower capped by a 12-sided golden dome. Tours take in the building’s ornate interior, as well as works of painting and sculpture important to the state.