Keene is the only city in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, and is home to Keene State College and Antioch University New England. Keene’s Cheshire Rail Trail is a 42-mile long rail trail that runs through Fitzwilliam, Troy, Keene, Westmoreland and North Walpole. Cheshire Children’s Museum is a hands-on children's museum for kids age 10 and younger and their families. The museum features a number of interactive exhibits, themed play rooms and special rooms for toddlers. The Colonial Theatre opened its doors in 1924 and quickly became a focal point for the local arts, hosting movies, operas, vaudeville shows and various community events. Since its reopening in 1995 more than 350 live performances have entertained audiences of all ages and at award-winning films are shown nightly. Hannah Grimes Marketplace is a store filled with crafts from more than 250 local artisans. The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College is a performing center established in 1981 to provide high quality artistic performances for the college and the rest of the Keene. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Cheshire Rail Trail
Cheshire Rail Trail is a 42-mile long rail trail that runs through Fitzwilliam, Troy, Keene, Westmoreland and North Walpole in New Hampshire. This trail crosses a beautiful arch bridge over the Ashuelot River. The trail breaks through the Town of Keene and continues after on the way to Westmoreland via Island Street. The Rail Trail consists of Ashuelot Railroad and Cheshire Railroad rail beds, which were abandoned after the decline of the railroads in Keene in the 20th century. The Cheshire Rail Trail is used for mountain biking and horseback riding, and when it is covered in snow, for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The entire route may also be used by snowmobilers, who actually help maintain the trail.
Keene, New Hampshire
2.Cheshire Children's Museum, Keene, New Hampshire
© Cheshire Children's Museum
Cheshire Children’s Museum is a hands-on children's museum for kids age 10 and younger and their families. The museum features a number of interactive exhibits, themed play rooms and special rooms for toddlers. The exhibits are focused on the world kids live in and are sponsored by the local businesses such as supermarket, food truck, post office and many others. Each business has a room where kids can pretend play. Monadnock Community room includes exhibits that show kids the places they can explore in the Monadnock region. Transport room shows kids where they can go and how to get there. In the New Hampshire Park room, they learn about their state, pass over the musical bridge, visit the ranger cabin and more. There is also a special Monadnock Munchkins room for kids under 3, with a toddler-sized kitchen, table, chairs, mats for crawling, large soft blocks and more.
149 Emerald St, Keene, NH 03431, Phone: 603-903-1800
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3.Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH
© Colonial Theatre
The Colonial Theatre opened its doors in 1924 in the heart of the city of Keene, New Hampshire. It quickly became a focal point for the local arts and was called “New England’s most modern and perfectly appointed theater.” The Colonial has hosted movies, operas, vaudeville shows and various community events such Metropolitan Opera star Rosa Ponselle singing four encores of “O Sole Mio” and Amelia Earhart lecturing on the possibilities of cross-Atlantic air travel. The Colonial started to decline in time and by the early 1990s, it looked like it might not survive. But, in 1993, a group of locals had established the theatre as a nonprofit organization, raised funds for the renovation and in 1995 opened it to the public. Since then, more than 350 live performances have entertained audiences of all ages and at award-winning films are shown nightly.
95 Main St, Keene, NH 03431, Phone: 603-352-2033
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4.Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Keene, New Hampshire
© Hannah Grimes Marketplace
Hannah Grimes Marketplace is a store in Keene, New Hampshire, filled with crafts from more than 250 local artisans. The store is located in a historic building that was home to Hannah Grimes, a local entrepreneurial woman more than 200 years ago. The goal of the Marketplace is to provide a market for local products and teach business skills to the people who grow or make those products. Since its opening 22 years ago, the Marketplace has been home to more than 1,000 local artisans. The Marketplace now includes The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides the space, tools and connections that any entrepreneur need to develop strong, thriving local business. The Center also offers a co-working space, Startup Lab, Young Professionals’ Network, Radically Rural Summit and various programs that support a new business.
42 Main St #3734, Keene, NH 03431, Phone: 603-352-6862
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5.Redfern Arts Center, Keene, NH
The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College is a performing center established in 1981 to provide high quality artistic performances for the college and the rest of the Keene, New Hampshire community. The Center hosts performances, residencies, and related programs that highlight the link between the arts and audiences. It encourages the creative exchange of ideas between artists, students, campus and community members. The Center values experimentation in the learning process as well as in creative expression and it provides space and resources for artists to explore diverse, thought-provoking ideas. The Center consists of the Main Theatre, Alumni Recital Hall and Wright Theatre. All of them can be rented for private and social events.
90 Wyman Way, Keene, NH 03435, Phone: 603-358-2168
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6.Elm City Brewing Company, Keene, NH
© Elm City Brewing Company
Elm City Brewing Company is a brewery and restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire, in the heart of the Monadnock region. Opened in 1995, Elm City was Keene's first brewery that brought American brewing traditions after the prohibition. Elm City Brewing Company has become known locally and regionally for its well crafted beers and superb food. The restaurant has a cozy dining room with mahogany booths, lovely glass-enclosed sun room and beautifully landscaped patio for those warm summer days and evenings. They serve food made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and their soups, breads, sauces, salad dressings, and desserts are made fresh every day. Since their opening in 1995, they have brewed many styles of beer, from German lagers, Belgian Dubbels, and American IPA’s to English porters. Their selection, available in the restaurant, is constantly changing, and their regulars like to come often and find out what new is on tap.
222 West St #46, Keene, NH 03431, Phone: 603-355-3335
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7.The Pub, Keene, NH
Established in 1969, the Pub is Keene’s oldest family restaurant. It has seen many changes, renovations and new menus over the years but two things always stayed the same: it stayed affordable and the food stayed delicious. Its spacious dining room is elegant and understated, with bright white tablecloths and cozy private booths, perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a family celebration. The menu includes everyone’s favorites, with American comfort food such as juicy burgers and delicious Greek traditional dishes such as spanakopita and dolmatas. Full bar offers beers, wines and imaginative cocktails. The Pub has special menu for kids.
131 Winchester St, Keene, NH 03431, Phone: 603-352-3135
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8.Machina Kitchen & ArtBar
© Machina Kitchen & ArtBar
The Machina Kitchen & ArtBar is an organic farm-to-table restaurant, cocktail bar, live music venue, and art gallery in Keene, New Hampshire. The Machina Kitchen offers trendy small plates made from organic farm-to-table ingredients, prepared in a contemporary New American style. The restaurant menu changes seasonally, using what is fresh and available from local farms and producers. Once a month, on Tuesday evening, is the Test Kitchen Dinner, and restaurant is reserved for chef tasting multi-course dinners with drink pairings. Their regular menu is replaced with the la cart special menu crafted by Chef Jordan Scott. The adjacent ArtBar serves locally inspired craft cocktails in the space that features installation art from local and regional artists. The ArtBar hosts live music, costume parties, performances, DJs, gallery openings and other events.
9 Court St, Keene, NH 03431, Phone: 603-903-0011
© Stonewall Farm
An educational center and non-profit working dairy farm in Keene, Stonewall Farm is situated within a scenic New Hampshire valley and includes woodlands, fields, and pastures. Open to the public year-round, free of charge, the farm consists of a Learning Center, a farm store, a community-supported agriculture garden, and a certified organic dairy. Stonewall Farm also hosts the Stonewall Farm School and the Wild Roots Nature preschool, as well as offers facility rentals, hay rides, sleigh rides, and more. School and summer vacation camps, school programs, special events, and public programs are also held at the farm throughout the year.
242 Chesterfield Rd, Keene, NH 03431, 603-357-7278
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10.Horatio Colony Museum
© Horatio Colony Museum
The Horatio Colony Museum in Keene, New Hampshire is housed inside of an “old-time” New England house and is full of collections from throughout the world and original furnishings. Visitors to the home can get a look at a vanishing lifestyle of travel, refinement, and culture. The house museum includes writing desks featuring elegant writing accouterments, tall clocks, landscape paintings, Oriental rugs, family portraits, and much more. Much of the home is left fully intact and how the Colony family left the rooms. Tours of the Horatio Colony Museum are available free of charge from May through the middle of October.
199 Main St, Keene, NH 03431, 603-352-0460
11.Horatio Colony Nature Preserve
© Horatio Colony Nature Preserve
The Horatio Colony Nature Preserve encompasses almost 650 acres of conservation land in Keene, New Hampshire. Across this massive stretch of land are five miles of trails for hiking that traverse through gold and green forests that offer rich habitats for a variety of animals and plants. The hiking trails are open to visitors on a daily basis for recreation and nature study from dawn until dusk. There are numbered stops along the trails indicating geological features, plant communities, and historic sites as well. Visitors can grab a guidebook from the trailhead kiosk that contains corresponding information with the stops.
199 Main St, Keene, NH 03431, 603-352-0460
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12.Bretwood Golf Course
Bretwood Golf Course is a very well maintained and lush golf course in Keene, New Hampshire located on the picturesque banks of the Ashuelot River. With the river meandering lazily through the facility’s two courses, guests can play one of two 18-hole golf courses for a total of 36 holes. Bretwood Golf Course features an ever-present wind, plenty of water, several elevation changes, gently rolling and generous fairways, mound and strategic bunkering protecting Penncross bentgrass greens. All of this, combined with the clubhouse and Pro Shop, helps make the golf course a popular choice among both competitive and recreational golfers.
365 E Surry Rd, Keene, NH 03431, 603-352-7626
12 Best Things to Do in Keene, New Hampshire
- Cheshire Rail Trail, Photo: Vinoverde/stock.adobe.com
- Cheshire Children's Museum, Keene, New Hampshire, Photo: Cheshire Children's Museum
- Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH, Photo: Colonial Theatre
- Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Keene, New Hampshire, Photo: Hannah Grimes Marketplace
- Redfern Arts Center, Keene, NH, Photo: etitov/stock.adobe.com
- Elm City Brewing Company, Keene, NH, Photo: Elm City Brewing Company
- The Pub, Keene, NH, Photo: klaikungwon/stock.adobe.com
- Machina Kitchen & ArtBar, Photo: Machina Kitchen & ArtBar
- Stonewall Farm, Photo: Stonewall Farm
- Horatio Colony Museum, Photo: Horatio Colony Museum
- Horatio Colony Nature Preserve, Photo: Horatio Colony Nature Preserve
- Bretwood Golf Course, Photo: pakorn/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: City of Keene
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