Portsmouth is a beautiful coastal destination with a charming harbor, green urban parks, diverse museums, historic mansions, restaurants, and unique attractions.
Go for a stroll in Prescott Park, explore the outdoor Strawbery Banke Museum and tour historic mansions like the Moffatt-Ladd House and the Governor John Langdon House on your weekend getaway.
Best things to do in Portsmouth, NH with kids include Discover Portsmouth, USS Albacore and the Isles of Shoals.
1. Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH
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Prescott Park is a ten-acre urban green space posed on the edge of the Piscataqua River just blocks from downtown Portsmouth. The Park is composed of manicured gardens, wide lawns, three boardwalk piers, and two public boat docks with 26 public slips. Paved walkways weave their way throughout the space, and picnic tables, grills, and shelters are dotted throughout the grounds.
The park is open year round, and in warmer months, Prescott Park is home to the Prescott Park Arts Festival. During the warm months of summer and spring, this expansive space is host to various music performances, theatre shows, big screen movies, and other special events. If you are looking for things to do in Portsmouth NH with the whole family, this is a great place to visit.
Prescott Park, 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-8748
2. Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden
© Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden
The DoMoffatt-Ladd House is a historic mansion-turned-museum located in downtown Portsmouth across from the Old Harbor. The home, originally built in 1763, is now a National Historic Landmark, and it was opened to the public in 2011.
The home showcases period era décor and architecture and elegant gardens, along with original artifacts such as papers, letters, and photographs belonging to several of the home’s original inhabitants.
The Moffatt-Ladd House is one of the best things to do in Portsmouth NH. Interestingly, some of these inhabitants include Revolutionary War figures, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and esteemed members of early East Coast society. More info
Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden, 154 Market St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-436-8221
3. The Music Hall
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The Music Hall is a nearly 1,000-seat venue in Portsmouth considered to be the oldest theater in New Hampshire and the 14th oldest theater in America. For nearly five generations, the Music Hall has been graced with performances by many notable characters, including multiple Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
The Music Hall is known for hosting and featuring a variety of performance mediums, including musical performances, dramatic, interpretive, or author readers, dance recitals, and cinema exhibits. Currently, the venue welcomes nearly 90 thousand visitors a year. The Hall offers a calendar on its website that outlines upcoming performances as well as ticket purchasing options. If you are looking for romantic date night ideas, watch a performance at the Music Hall.
The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-436-2400
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4. Portsmouth Athenaeum
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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 facility’s various resources.
Portsmouth Athenaeum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-2538
Romantic vacation ideas: Best Weekend Getaways in New Hampshire.
5. Seacoast Repertory Theatre
© Seacoast Repertory Theatre
The Seacoast Repertory Theatre is a year-round, community-based professional performance company based in Portsmouth. The Seacoast Repertory Theatre puts on multiple performances throughout the year. The company provides an annual scheduled calendar of upcoming events, and they also offer classes, private lessons, workshops, and camps to all age groups.
For a full calendar of Seacoast Repertory Theatre’s upcoming performances, events, camps, and classes, visitors can access the yearly schedule on the theater’s website.
Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-433-4793
6. Warner House
© Warner House
Dating back to 1716, the Warner House is the earliest urban brick-built house in northern New England. The house was built for wealthy seafaring Capt. Archibald Macpheadris, an Irish/Scottish immigrant, by a British builder who followed the early Georgian style which was then popular in England. The home has housed six generations of the original Macpheadris family and is today used as a museum, filled with many original furnishings and fittings. These include several original murals and a comprehensive collection of family memorabilia. Warner House is open to the public during the summer months. If you would like to join a guided tour of this grand old home you can check their website for details.
Warner House, 150 Daniel Street, Portsmouth, NH 03802, 603-436-5909
7. Black Trumpet Bistro
© Black Trumpet Bistro
Located in downtown Portsmouth, Black Trumpet Bistro is open to guests for dinner. The small bistro is known for serving globally infused, internationally flavored dishes using a combination of both classic and unexpected flavors and ingredients. The menu is based on seasonality and availability, and therefore it changes regularly.
Black Trumpet Bistro has two floors for guests; the main floor is a romantic and warm dining space with a welcoming and relaxed service, while the second floor features a lively wine bar with a more energetic environment. Both levels offer diners an unassuming and causal atmosphere in which they can enjoy fine dining.
Black Trumpet Bistro
, 29 Ceres St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-0887
8. Governor John Langdon House
© Governor John Langdon House
This historic mansion-turned-museum was once the home of shipbuilder, merchant, Revolutionary War hero, three-term governor of the state of New Hampshire, and signer of the constitution John Langdon. The home is a magnificent Georgian style mansion, once referred to as the first home of its stature by President George Washington.
After several generations of Langdon family residency, the home transitioned to a museum.
Today, the property is carefully preserved, and it has been outfitted with period era décor that illustrates the lifestyle of one of Portsmouth’s early notable citizens. Additionally, an on-site museum hosts original pieces of the home, property of the Langdon family, and historical artifacts.
Governor John Langdon House, 143 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-436-3205
9. Earth Eagle Brewing
© Earth Eagle Brewing
Earth Eagle Brewing is a local brewery and gastro pub known for its wide selection of microbrews. Earth Eagle’s selection of beer varies based on season and availability, and the on tap options are regularly updated on the Brewery’s website and social media.
The gastro pub features an eclectic menu that includes a variety of comfort food and classic pub favorites as well as a selection of unexpected choices. The Brewery also hosts special events, live music, and various festivals throughout the year, and its warm interior is decked out with laidback décor and subtle lighting to create a relaxed ambience.
175 High St, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Phone: 603-817-2773
10. Peirce Island
Peirce Island is home to one of Portsmouth’s most scenic and enjoyable outdoor recreational areas. The park on Peirce Island covers more than 27 acres, offering local residents and visitors various options for a fun day out. There is a large outdoor swimming pool which dates back to 1937, which is still in use today. There are also a few walking/hiking trails which link 5 waterfront lookout points. If you would like to go boating or fishing you can launch your vessel from the boat ramp. Other fun activities include exploring the tidal pools, bird-watching at the salt marches and just generally enjoying a day by the seaside.
Peirce Island, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603-431-2000
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11. Shalimar India
© Shalimar India
Located in downtown Portsmouth, Shalimar India serves authentic North Indian and Punjabi dishes for lunch and dinner. The menu offers both classic and contemporary takes on a variety of North Indian favorites along with an expansive drink menu of both wine and beer choices.
The cozy restaurant is outfitted with bold and ornate furnishings, including a festively painted ceiling, vibrant gold chandeliers, and quirky artwork adorning the walls. The restaurant is polished and refined, but it still maintains a very casual ambiance with the help of its lively energy and unique décor.
80 Hanover St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-427-2959
12. The Kitchen
© The Kitchen
The Kitchen is a charming sandwich joint in Portsmouth that has been featured on Food Network favorite Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, opened in 2011 by chefs Matthew Greco and Michael Prete. The lively diner serves comforting scratch-made fare for dine-in, takeout, or delivery. Artisanal burgers served throughout the day include the Duck Dynasty, which pairs a duck burger with Asian five-spice, cranberry-Stilton cheese, and pear-fennel slaw, or the Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, which showcases an Indian-spiced lamb burger, crumbled pistachios, and jalapeno-mango chutney. Grilled flatbread pizzas are also served up, along with unique "spudster" deep-fried mashed potato cones, served with diners' choice of clever dipping sauces.
171 Islington St, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Phone: 603-319-8630
13. The Franklin
© The Franklin
The Franklin has been bringing progressive, sustainable seafood menus to Portsmouth since 2015, carrying on the tradition of an historic oyster house in the same space that originally opened in 1867. The restaurant is the sister restaurant of popular area dining spot Moxy, serving up raw bar selections alongside a globally-inspired tapas menu. Diners can choose from a wide selection of raw oysters sourced from around New England, including Cape Cod and Great Bay favorites. Grilled oysters are prepared with toppings like poached pears, herb butter, bacon jam, and tomato bravas, available individually or by the half dozen. Housemade charcuterie selections pair with small plates like fish tacos, tuna poke, and baby octopus panzanella, served up alongside entree selections like oyster po'boys, Hawaiian shrimp skewers, and hot honey buttermilk fried chicken plates.
148 Fleet St, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Phone: 603-373-8500
14. Salt Cellar
© Salt Cellar
Inspired by a trip to Europe and the variety of beautiful and functional salt products available throughout international markets, a local Portsmouth couple opened Salt Cellar, an educated and resource-backed shop designed for the distribution of high quality salt products. Salt Cellar provides over 50 variations of salt for usage in food preparation, bath and body products, health related purposes, and as salted confections.
The store, aesthetically designed to capture the elegance and beauty the two noted while visiting salt shops in Europe, has educated staff members who are able to provide helpful advice and guidance on the variety of salt products available.
, 7 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-766-1616
15. Water Country
Offering all the summer fun you could wish for, Water Country is New England’s largest water park. The park covers 26 acres of children’s attractions and fabulous rides for the whole family. The facility boasts something for every member of the family; you can take a lazy tube ride along the Adventure River, cool off in the Activity Pool or entertain the kids in the Pirates Pool and Lagoon. Daredevils can ramp things up a notch on rides and slides like the Screamer, the Dragons Den, the Tunnel of Terror or the terrifying Black Hole. If these are too extreme, you can head to the Triple Giant Slides and Warp 8. There are several restaurants and snack bars to choose from.
Water Country, 2300 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603-427-1112
16. Old Ferry Landing
© Old Ferry Landing
Posed on the shores of the river facing tugboats, docks, and fisherman, you will find Old Ferry Landing
. Open for lunch and dinner during the warmer spring and summer months, this authentic East Coast seafood shack serves standard seafood pub fare, caught fresh and locally, along with a selection of beer and its signature cocktail, “the Jimmy.”
A fundamental component of Portsmouth, Old Ferry Landing is over 40 years old and has become a renowned institution in the city’s casual dining scene. Guests order inside the bright red shop and are welcome to sit at the tables and benches available in the back on the waterfront deck overlooking the bustling harbor area.
10 Ceres St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-5510
17. Isles of Shoals
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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 Blackbeard’s 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.
Isles of Shoals, 315 Market St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-431-5500
18. Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion
© Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion
Picturesquely perched on the banks of the Little Harbor, the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion is an historic homestead and farm which was built in the 18th century. Home to New Hampshire’s first Royal Governor, the mansion soon became the social and political hub of the colony. Much later, the mansion and its surrounds attracted a vibrant colony of summer artists, including John Singer Sargent and Isabella Gardiner who drew inspiration from the beautiful setting. The grounds of the mansion are open to the public all year round and make an ideal destination for a picnic. There is also a 1.5-mile walking trail along the edge of the waters. Guided tours of the mansion take place from May to October each year.
Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, 375 Little Harbor Rd, Portsmouth, NH 03801,
19. Portsmouth Escape Room
Whether you are a seasoned escapee or are completely new to the game, the Portsmouth Escape Room is your chance to have a really different fun experience. The escape rooms are immersive, family-friendly, original and exciting. You and your team (or family) will choose the theme that most appeals to you and then get to work unraveling a series of clues to solve the riddle of the room. You have a limited amount of time to solve the puzzle and each member of the team will bring some special skill or knowledge to the party. The Portsmouth Escape Room themes include Westower’s Study (solving a kidnapping), The Secret Laboratory and Roswell Incident (a UFO theme).
Portsmouth Escape Room, 95 Brewery Lane, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603-380-9160
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