Phil Rigueur, VP, Joint Venture Markets, Aetna

Vibe
Hartford is known as New England’s rising star. It’s a smaller city but has a lot of energy. This is partly due to the number of colleges—UConn-Hartford, the University of Hartford, Trinity College and Wesleyan University— which makes for fun and exciting Friday nights. But we also have a diverse ethnic population that adds richness to our food, entertainment and arts.

Dining scene
We have an extensive choice of cuisines for a city our size. Restaurants range from upscale American to Italian, Portuguese, Caribbean, Asian and Mexican.

Favorite new restaurant
It’s hard to choose, but I’d say Bear’s Smokehouse for southern barbeque, Metro Cafe Hartford for a good breakfast and lunch, and Salute or Firebox, both farm-to-table restaurants, for dinner.

Classic eats
Carbone’s Ristorante. This northern Italian restaurant opened in 1938. It’s old school, with photos of local politicians, celebrities and athletes hanging on the walls. The traditional Italian food is great. I love the salmon, calamari and veal.

Stay
Hartford Marriott Downtown by the convention center. It is conveniently located off Interstates 84 and 91 and in walking distance to the Front Street District, a dining and shopping corridor that is home to some great restaurants—The Capital Grille and NIXS Hartford, to name two.

Watering hole
I take clients who are staying at the Marriott to The Capital Grille. They have great drinks and appetizers as well as an outdoor seating area and valet parking. ON20 is a high-end restaurant that also serves good cocktails and has an excellent view of the city.

Artsy
Real Art Ways in the funky Parkville neighborhood is one of the country’s best contemporary arts spaces. Founded in 1842, the Wadsworth Athenaeum is the oldest continuously operating public art museum in the United States. Within the Athenaeum is the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, which opened in 1987. It houses art, artifacts and popular culture objects that document the experience, expressions and history of people of African American Heritage.

Green
Bushnell Park is the oldest publicly funded park in the United States. It is a great place for a run or bike ride, as is Elizabeth Park, which has a beautiful rose garden in the center. It was the first municipal rose garden in the country and is the nation’s third largest rose garden today.