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Things To Do In Portsmouth Maine

Book And Bar Portsmouth

TOP 3 Things to DO in Portsmouth Shopping, Beach & Food

Located in a late 1860s building, Book and Bar provides guests with a unique entertainment and dining combination. This unique eatery and pub has the feel of a bookstore because of its many shelves of books. Beer, wine, coffee, and tea products are served throughout the day alongside a bistro menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, and small plates.

The ambiance is not at all typical of a quiet library Book and Bar is an upbeat and vibrant eatery where visitors are welcome to hang out and chat at their leisure. Tall bookshelves rest alongside cozy armchairs, solid wood tables, and cozy sofas, creating a welcoming environment in this stylish establishment.

40 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-427-9197

Visit The African Burying Ground Memorial

While Portsmouth can seem like a bit of a present day wonderland, its important to remember the dark history of the area. Everyone who visits Portsmouth, New Hampshire should spend some moments at the African Burying Ground Memorial. Its right in downtown Portsmouth NH on Chestnut Street, between Court and State Street.

This memorial site is extremely important place that at one time was erased from history and existence. In the 1800s, this space was paved over and long forgotten. It wasnt until 2003 when a work crew discovered wooden coffins and human remains that were determined to be of African descent. After much discussion, this memorial was erected in 2015 to restore this historically sensitive space as a sacred ground. Its now a public cemetery, park, and site to memorialize the lives of the slaves buried there.

The African Burying Ground Memorial was created by the people of Portsmouth. As it reads on a plaque, Those buried here are not part of black history or white history. This is our collective history. The first enslaved man arrived in Portsmouth in 1645 from Guinea. Hundreds of people from Africa were forced into slavery in New Hampshire. In fact, as an affluent port town, Portsmouth had the largest population of slaves in the entire colony by 1767 . By 1810, there were very few slaves left in Portsmouth.

Why Take A Day Trip To Portsmouth Nh

If you have longer to spend in New Hampshire or in Portsmouth, you can definitely find plenty of beautiful places to keep you busy. However, if you are looking for easy New England day trips, consider taking a day trip to Portsmouth, NH.

Its a beautiful city even in the cold and rain. The architecture of the homes and buildings is incredible, the food is delicious, and you can find plenty of free things to do in Portsmouth to make this a budget day trip.

For more New Hampshire travel tips, get our full weekend in New Hampshire itinerary. It includes one day in Portsmouth and then a trip up to the White Mountains to explore more of the beauty of New Hampshire including the best waterfalls in New Hampshire.

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Visit The Uss Albacore

Looking for cool things to do in Portsmouth NH with kids? And grown ups who love submarines and navy history? Definitely check out the USS Albacore, the research submarine that offers an opportunity to see for yourself what life inside a submarine would be like! This is definitely a unique Portsmouth experience.

Browse Books With A Beverage At The Book & Bar

© Photo: Downtown Portsmouth

Who doesnt love a good bookstore with a cafe right in it? The Book & Bar goes one step further and has several beers on tap. Enjoy a good book with your latte, chardonnay, or IPA. There are also small plates and appetizers to choose from.

Book & Bar hosts live music, poetry, and community events. Its a great place to grab a drink, get some work done, curl up with a good book, and/or listen to some live music. You might even meet someone!

After a few tumultuous years, the Book & Bar has opened to the public again, primarily keeping evening hours. Were glad theyre back, as sitting back with a beer and a book is one of our favorite things to do in Portsmouth, NH.

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Discover Portsmouth New Hampshire

Discover Portsmouth, located downtown, is owned and operated by the Portsmouth Historical Society. It is designed to provide visitors with information on local sites, attractions, and historical facts and features.

Open to the public throughout the day, Discover Portsmouth acts as a community center and resource hub, housing information, volunteers, literature, videos, and artifacts. The on-site staff members are educated in the citys characteristics, and they are on hand to provide information, directions, and contact information and to help schedule tours or events.

The information provided on site is related to the citys numerous performance venues, walking tours, musical events, historic homes, interesting buildings, art galleries, festivals, and more.

10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-436-8433

Meander Around New Hampshires Smallest Town

That would be New Castle, which is also New Hampshires easternmost community, and the only town in the state that is located entirely on islands. Take Route 1B around the island, and explore the rich history and natural landscapes along the coast.

Highlights include Wentworth by the Sea, a grand historic hotel that was built in 1847, Fort Constitution and Fort Stark State Historic Sites, the Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse, and a lovely little park called the New Castle Common. We could have spent the whole day in New Castle, there was so much to see and do. Next time!

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Portsmouth Athenaeum Portsmouth New Hampshire

The Portsmouth Athenaeum is a locally run and independently managed, non-profit library, gallery, and museum located in the downtown core of the city. The Portsmouth Athenaeum dates back to the early 1800s when the citizens of Portsmouth mutually joined their educational resources in order to elevate other members of the community.

This system of resource distribution, once the norm, now represents a tiny portion of national libraries, and as such, it is a unique representation of the earliest system of libraries. Today, guests can tour the library, museum, and gallery to view authentic Portsmouth artifacts and utilize the facilitys various resources.

9 Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-2538

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Why Visit Portsmouth New Hampshire In The Winter

12 Things to do in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1 Day from Boston, MA

Portsmouth is conveniently located just off Interstate 95 near the border of New Hampshire and Maine. It is an easy drive from Boston and New York City, which makes it a lovely getaway for semi-local city dwellers. Tourists flock to Portsmouth in the summer, but the town is a bit more relaxed in the off-season. Unlike many coastal towns that totally shut down in the winter, Portsmouth is always open for business, and the winter views are amazing!

Visiting Portsmouth in the winter months will allow you to explore at a slower pace. You can meander along the shore of the Piscataqua River where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean, take a self-guided history tour, and pop into more than 100 local restaurants. Fair warning you may never want to leave.

Another advantage of visiting Portsmouth in winter? Its cheaper! As budget travelers, we love traveling during the off-season because it means fewer crowds and cheaper prices. Winter rates at many of our favorite Portsmouth hotels start at $85 per night in the winter, compared to $150 + during the summer. Use that extra money at a nice downtown restaurant or at one of Portsmouths eclectic shops.

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Head To South Freeport For A Boat Tour

South Freeport is home to a large working fishermens harbor, where you can dine on freshly steamed lobster and seafood while watching boats travel in and out of the Harraseeket River.

If you are looking for some adventure on the water, hop aboard a scenic ocean cruise or sailboat charter. You can even rent kayaks or enjoy an L.L. Bean Discovery School tour with a Maine guide to explore tidal rivers full of wildlife.

Festival Of Trees At Portsmouths Urban Forestry Center

One of the Seacoasts longest-standing holiday traditions returns when the 24th Festival of Trees takes place Nov. 18 to 20 at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth. Local garden clubs, historic homes, businesses, garden centers, artisans and other groups from across the region will celebrate by decorating the Centers Forestry Learning Center and grounds with dozens of full-size and miniature trees, wreaths and more.

The festival is presented by Portsmouth Garden Club and the Urban Forestry Center, which is part of the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Garden Clubs Festival of Trees Scholarship Fund, environmental and local historical garden projects, and conservation grant program.

The festival takes place Nov. 18 to 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, located at 45 Elwyn Road in Portsmouth. Admission is $10 children ages 12 and under are admitted free. Tickets are not sold in advance but instead are purchased at the ticket booth on site. For more information, visit or call the Urban Forestry Center at 603-431-6774.

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The Isles Of Shoals & Cruises From Portsmouth Harbor

The best views of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse and historic Fort Constitution, which has guarded the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor since colonial times, are from the water. Harbor cruises begin at Portsmouth’s downtown docks near Market Street, where you can also board cruises to the Isles of Shoals, a small group of islands that are divided between New Hampshire and Maine.

While the islands are all privately owned, some cruises do allow landing on Star Island. Cruises to visit Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden on Appledore leave from New Castle, near Fort Constitution. On any of these, you’ll learn the fascinating history of the fort.

Harbor and river tours in a replica of the shallow drafted cargo sailing ships, called gundalows, which were used for local transport throughout the Colonial Era, depart from the Gundalow Docks at Prescott Park, on Marcy Street.

Uss Albacore Portsmouth New Hampshire

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USS Albacore is a submarine whose unique shape pioneered the field of watercraft. Initially used for research, this vessel has a very specifically designed hull that allows her to move quickly and with incredible agility. The submarine was designed to operate during World War II, and the design of the shape of the ship made a profound impact on other designs during maritime war operations.

Today, the sub is open to the public, and visitors are able to tour the boat and learn more about its unique features and contribution to the American navy. Visitors can see where the crew would have worked and lived and learn about the process of operating the ship.

600 Market St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-436-3680

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Travel To Portsmouth New Hampshire

What are the best things to do in Portsmouth, NH?

Some of the best things to do in Portsmouth, NH include exploring the shops of Market Square, visiting some of the historic homes, and enjoying the views at Prescott Park.

How much time do you need in Portsmouth, NH?

You could explore Portsmouth in a day, but take a few days to really get to know it and explore the surrounding Seacoast.

How do you get to Portsmouth, NH?

Portsmouth is an hours drive or a 90-minute bus ride from Boston. Its right off 95 and close to Amtrak connections at Dover.

What are some good things to do in Portsmouth with kids?

Take the kids for an educational day at Strawbery Banke Museum or, in the summer, ride the waterslides at Water Country!

Explore The Unique Desert Of Maine

Freeport is home to one of the most unique tourist attractions in the state the Desert of Maine. Just 4 miles from the shops of Freeport, youll step into history as you stroll across 20 acres of sand dunes formed from a glacial outwash during the Ice Age and tour the barn that dates back to the 1700s.

There is a guided or downloadable walking tour that explains the rich history and the evolution of this geological phenomenon. Additionally, you can walk well-marked nature trails, visit the unique gift shop, and grab refreshments at the Oasis Cafe.

Plus, kids have a blast digging in the sand for gemstones and climbing the natural playground. Theres even a campground right on the edge of the sand if you want to extend your stay.

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Hike The Trails At Odiorne Point State Park

You cant visit Odiorne State Park without exploring some of the beautiful trails that crisscross the 135 acres of the coastal landscape. While the park is not big, it encompasses 7 distinct ecosystems, including New Hampshires largest stretch of undeveloped shoreline.

The first European settlers in New Hampshire landed at Odiorne Point, and there is a memorial dedicated to those settlers just off the trail along the coast. The park is open year-round for outdoor adventures, but pets are not permitted. For trail maps and fee information, please visit the New Hampshire State Parks website.

Tour Historic Portsmouth With Portsmouth Harbor Trail Tours

Visit Portsmouth Destination Film

If youre looking to see Portsmouth NH tourist attractions, what better way than to take a guided tour by people that know it best? Portsmouth Harbor Trail Tours offers a walking tour that has been named Best of New England Editors Choice by Yankee Magazine and will take you must visit spots like the Portsmouth NH waterfront, historic homes of Portsmouth, and more.

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Amazing Things To Do In Portsmouth New Hampshire

Check out all the incredible things to do in Portsmouth, New Hampshire along the New England seacoast and one of the most charming destinations on the East Coast as well as one of the nations oldest cities.

A destination packed with history settled in 1623 and the states oldest settlement and sole seaport you can find many great historic places to visit in Portsmouth along with some great Atlantic seafood plus some great tax-free shopping!

Situated at the mouth of the Piscataqua River known for its picturesque views of tug boats chugging away hard at work through the river and harbor you can find plenty of places to eat, drink, and sightsee around this charming New England seacoast destination.

Visiting Portsmouth, New Hampshire can be done in an afternoon if you just want a taste on your way to or from Portland, Maine to the north or Boston, Massachusetts to the south or what we recommend is staying the night, taking your time, and enjoying all the amazing places to visit in Portsmouth.

Things To Do In Portsmouth Nh With One History

The port city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a darling day trip or extended stay if youre in the New England area. For our purposes here, Ill be detailing the best things to do in Portsmouth if you have a full day in town.

With more time, you can certainly even use Portsmouth as a base for other adventures nearby. Ill get into all of that, too. Dont you worry!

Disclosure: Please note that the post below contains affiliate links, including links through the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I wont recommend something I have not used/would not use myself, and any income earned supports the upkeep of this site.

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Go Sailing With The Gundalow Company

All aboard this stunning replica of the last commercial gundalow in operation, the Gundalow Company offers sailing excursions from the dock at Prescott Park between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, so if youve ever wondered what itd be like to sail in a historic vessel on the sea, this is your chance!

Things To Do In Portsmouth New Hampshire: Isles Of Shoals

The Very Best Things to do in Portsmouth, NH in the Winter

Six miles off the coast on the border between Maine and New Hampshire are six small islands that compose the Isles of Shoals. Each island has its own unique character and story one hosts a renowned religious conference center while another is the alleged site of notorious pirate Blackbeards honeymoon. Today, the rustic and remote islands are most commonly enjoyed from aboard a cruise ship that takes passengers alongside the islands for a short and scenic tour of the region.

A variety of tours take visitors along several difference courses, providing a unique perspective of these desolate islands. Visitors can also admire a beautiful and expansive view of the ocean, harbors, and surrounding coastline.

315 Market St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-5500

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Stop : Portsmouth Book & Bar

Wine, books, and live music in an 1860s-era building. Whats not to love? Oh, they also have coffee if you need to perk up for the rest of your evening. If you want to time your visit around one of their special events, visit their website for a schedule of live music, comedy, and more.

Otherwise, pop in when the mood strikes for a visit to an establishment that may just feel more like Portsmouth than anywhere else.

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