Nestled along the picturesque coastline of New Hampshire, Portsmouth stands out as the embodiment of a quintessential New England town. With its cobblestone streets, historic charm, and a vibrant cultural scene, Portsmouth is a captivating destination for a weekend getaway. What sets this city apart is its remarkable walkability, making it a paradise for strollers and explorers.
We’ll help you explore the enchanting facets of Portsmouth, from its rich history and maritime heritage to its thriving culinary and arts scene. Discover why Portsmouth’s compact and pedestrian-friendly layout has earned it the reputation of being the most walkable city in New Hampshire, perfect for an idyllic weekend escape.
15. USS Albacore Museum
(image via Boston Globe/Boston Globe/Getty Images)
The USS Albacore Museum, located in Portsmouth, is a spectacular site dedicated to the pioneering submarine USS Albacore (AGSS-569). This one-of-a-kind museum features the USS Albacore, the United States Navy’s first composite-hull submarine, which set the standard for modern submarine design.
Visitors can tour the preserved submarine, learn about its revolutionary technology, and get a glimpse into the life of a submariner. The museum features exhibits and artefacts relating to the service of the USS Albacore, making it a must-see trip for history buffs and those interested in the advancement of naval technology.
14. Portsmouth Athenaeum
(image via Daderot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
The Portsmouth Athenaeum, founded in 1817, is a historic treasure in Portsmouth. This prestigious institution functions as a library, museum, and scholarly activity centre. It is housed in a charming historic building and houses a large collection of books, manuscripts, pictures, and artworks, making it a paradise for researchers, historians, and history buffs.
The Athenaeum provides a view into Portsmouth’s and New England’s rich history, with a focus on preserving and promoting the region’s cultural legacy. It’s a refuge for intellectual exploration and a significant resource for anyone interested in the region’s history.
13. Portsmouth Brewery
The Portsmouth Brewery is a popular Portsmouth company noted for its long brewing legacy and dynamic culinary choices. It is one of New Hampshire’s original brewpubs, having opened in 1991, and has a broad assortment of handcrafted beers ranging from ales to stouts, all brewed on-site. The brewery has a pleasant and cosy environment, making it a popular destination for both residents and tourists.
This location offers a broad menu with a focus on locally produced foods, featuring exquisite meals and pub fare, in addition to its craft beer. The Portsmouth Brewery is a must-see for anybody interested in craft beer and New England cuisine.
12. Isles of Shoals
The Isles of Shoals are an enthralling and historic archipelago off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Isles of Shoals are a group of small islands that offer a unique combination of natural beauty and maritime history. These islands have been inhabited for centuries, with a rich and sometimes mysterious history that includes early inhabitants, artists, and even pirate lore.
Today, The Isles of Shoals entice visitors with their beautiful coastal scenery, wildlife, and the chance to explore the lovely and lonely Star Island, which holds periodic conferences and events. It’s a fantastic site for environment and history buffs.
11. Taste the World’s Best at Cure Restaurant
Cure Restaurant is a culinary treasure that welcomes diners to savour a world-class dining experience. The restaurant is known for its exquisite and imaginative food, with a diverse menu that combines world flavours and local ingredients. Cure, with an emphasis on culinary mastery, presents a constantly changing menu of tantalising meals.
Its dedication to seasonal and sustainable foods, combined with a warm and inviting setting, make it a top choice for foodies looking for an unforgettable culinary adventure. Cure Restaurant provides a memorable dining experience, whether it’s a big occasion or a simple night out.
10. Portsmouth Harbor Trail
The Portsmouth Harbour Trail in Portsmouth is a historical and scenic treasure. This 2.6-mile self-guided walking track winds through the city’s core, revealing its compelling past and lively present. It connects visitors to over 70 points of interest, including colonial-era homes, historic landmarks, and cultural venues, along the cobblestone streets and shoreline.
The route, which is lined with plaques and interpretive markers, provides an immersive trip through Portsmouth’s rich past, highlighting its critical part in America’s growth. A walk along the Portsmouth Harbour Trail is an exquisite tour of the heritage and architectural grandeur of this coastal city.
9. Prescott Park
Prescott Park is a famous seaside sanctuary in Portsmouth. This lovely park, spanning 10 pristine acres, offers a mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions. Visitors can wander through well maintained gardens filled with vibrant flowers and plants.
The park is well-known for its open-air arts festival, which hosts a variety of concerts, theatre shows, and activities in a gorgeous outdoor environment. It also has beautiful views of the Piscataqua River and various walking routes, making it a great site for leisurely strolls. Prescott Park is a beloved destination for residents and tourists alike, thanks to its lush vegetation, cultural events, and magnificent riverbank setting.
8.Black Heritage Trail of NH
The New Hampshire Black Heritage Trail is an important cultural and historical journey that illuminates the African American experience in the Granite State. This instructive and inspirational route winds through several areas in New Hampshire, particularly in Portsmouth, highlighting the stories and contributions of African Americans throughout the state’s history.
Visitors will come across historic sites, monuments, and markers along the path that provide insights into the lives, successes, and challenges faced by African Americans in New Hampshire. The Black Heritage Trail is a strong tribute to perseverance, community, and the continued pursuit of racial fairness, making it a great educational resource as well as a method of increasing awareness and appreciation of this important component of American history.
7. Odiorne Point State Park
Odiorne Point State Park is a gorgeous and historic attraction on the New Hampshire coast in Rye. This 330-acre park mixes natural beauty with a historical tradition. Extensive pathways lead visitors through a variety of environments, including woodlands, rocky coastlines, and salt marshes. It’s a popular site for picnics, bird viewing, and coastal relaxing, with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Aside from its natural beauty, Odiorne Point is home to the Seacoast Science Centre, which educates visitors on marine life, environmental conservation, and local history. The park also contains World War II military structures, providing a historical aspect to its attraction. Odiorne Point State Park is a great experience for anyone interested in nature, history, or simply enjoying the seaside ambiance.
6. Tugboat Alley
Tugboat Alley is a popular shopping destination located in the heart of Portsmouth. This quaint and charming alleyway is home to a variety of unique boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops.
Visitors can browse through a diverse range of offerings, including locally crafted art, jewelry, clothing, and maritime-themed items. Tugboat Alley captures the essence of Portsmouth’s vibrant arts and crafts scene, making it a delightful place to explore and find one-of-a-kind treasures. The welcoming atmosphere and the eclectic mix of stores make it a must-visit for those seeking a taste of the city’s creative and maritime heritage.
5. Strawbery Banke Museum
(image via Facebook)
The Strawbery Banke Museum, located in the heart of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a remarkable trip through time. This live history museum encourages guests to go through three centuries of American history. Stroll down the cobblestone alleyways lined with perfectly kept homes, gardens, and stores, each offering a glimpse into a distinct era of the region’s history.
The museum’s immersive displays, costumed interpreters, and interactive events offer a dramatic view of ordinary life from colonial times to the 1950s, creating a tapestry that connects the present with Portsmouth’s rich legacy. The Strawbery Banke Museum is a tribute to the town’s surviving character, as well as to preservation and education.
4. Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Newington, New Hampshire, is a pristine natural refuge covering approximately 1,000 acres of protected coastal wetlands, salt marshes, and upland woodlands. This refuge is a wildlife haven, providing essential habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl, and other animal species. Great Bay visitors can explore a network of paths, boardwalks, and observation sites that provide possibilities for birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife photography.
The refuge is an important part of the wider Great Bay estuary, helping to conserve this ecologically crucial area. It is also important in research and education, allowing the public to engage with and understand the region’s natural beauty and biological significance.
3. New Hampshire Theatre Project
The New Hampshire Theatre Project is a dynamic cultural hub in Portsmouth dedicated to the transformational power of the performing arts. This theatre company, which focuses on community participation and social change, has a broad roster of thought-provoking performances ranging from classics to modern pieces.
Their productions frequently tackle interesting issues, encouraging conversation and raising awareness. Aside from the stage, the theatre project is dedicated to arts education, offering a variety of programmes and workshops. It is an important component to Portsmouth’s unique cultural landscape since it serves as a catalyst for personal growth and community interaction.
2. Water Country Water Park
Water Country Water Park is a renowned water park in Portsmouth, known for exhilarating aquatic fun and giving refuge from the summer heat. This large park has a variety of water rides and activities, such as water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and play areas for all ages.
Visitors can partake in adrenaline-pumping activities or simply relax in the sun, making it an excellent destination for families and water aficionados. Water Country Water Park is a popular seasonal destination for residents and tourists looking for a splash-tastic experience, thanks to its assortment of slides, a range of culinary options, and a colourful summer environment.
1. Tax Free Shopping Downtown
Downtown Portsmouth provides an inviting shopping experience with the extra benefit of being tax-free. This thriving commercial neighbourhood is home to a diversified range of boutique retailers, specialised shops and local companies catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences.
Downtown offers an eclectic shopping scene that appeals to both residents and visitors, with everything from unique fashion boutiques and art galleries to small gift shops and specialty food stores. Downtown Portsmouth is a premier destination for retail therapy and a wonderful shopping expedition, thanks to its lovely historic setting, dynamic ambiance, and the extra pleasure of tax-free shopping.