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Your Guide to Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Centuries-old architecture and gorgeous sea vistas, fabulous shopping and serene natural spaces — Portsmouth has it all. Whether you’re planning an intimate romantic getaway or a family summer vacation, there’s so much to see and do. Located on the nearby island of New Castle, the elegant and luxurious Wentworth by the Sea — the newest member of the Opal Collection — is the perfect launching pad for your adventures.


TOP PORTSMOUTH LANDMARKS

Prescott Park

Stretching beside the Piscataqua River, this 10-acre tract of waterfront land is home to fountains, walkways, seating, docks, and special gardens, including a flower wall, an elegant formal garden, and a “trial garden” planted each year with over 500 flower varieties. Every summer, the Prescott Park Arts Festival organization transforms the park into a venue for music, theater and art.

105 Marcy St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Strawbery Banke Museum

This outdoor living history museum takes visitors on a journey in time, from Indigenous history to today — through architecture, costumed role-players embodying real people who once lived here; demonstrations of traditional barrel-making, basket-making, and weaving; and an array of historically accurate gardens, including a 1943 Victory Garden, a Ukrainian immigrant’s vegetable garden, and a romantic Victorian garden.

14 Hancock St.
Portsmouth NH 03801

The Music Hall

Built in 1878, this former Vaudeville theater and movie house narrowly escaped demolition in the 1980s with the support of a group of local citizens who launched a stunning restoration of the Victorian building. Today, it hosts boldface names ranging from Tony Bennett to Trevor Noah to Deepak Chopra, as well as musical theatre, indie movies, and more.

28 Chestnut St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

New Hampshire Black Heritage Trail

Through tours, living history tableaux, and special events, the Trail promotes awareness and appreciation of African American history and life in New Hampshire. Experience a tour guided by the Trail’s Sankofa Scholars, take a self-guided tour, or hop on a trolley or bus. Landmarks include the African Burying Ground Memorial and the docks of Portsmouth, where merchants engaged in the trans-Atlantic slave trade unloaded their cargo.

222 Court St,
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Portsmouth Athenaeum

Named for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, this 200-year-old nonprofit membership library and gallery in the heart of the city houses over 40,000 volumes and an archive of manuscripts, photographs, objects, and ephemera relating to local history. You can also catch special exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and other educational and cultural programs.

6-9 Market Square
Portsmouth, NH 03801

MOST POPULAR THINGS TO DO IN PORTSMOUTH

Shop and Sightsee in Market Square

Art galleries, bookstores, shops, and restaurants line the wide brick sidewalks in the charming downtown center. The vintage, antique, and contemporary shopping options encompass as many decades as the historic architecture that houses them, including Federalist townhouses, an 1860 post office building, and original cast-iron storefronts installed in the 1800s.

Intersection of Market, Pleasant, and Congress Streets
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Take a Guided Walking Tour of the Portsmouth Harbor Trail

This scenic stroll with gorgeous ocean views takes you past waterfront mansions, old-time tugboats, and the downtown historic district. You’ll hear stories about the brewers and politicians, fishermen and boat builders, writers and publishers who have made Portsmouth a bustling center of industry and creativity throughout the centuries.

Tours depart from the Market Square Information Kiosk
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Head to the Beach or River to Paddleboard or Kayak

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced paddler, you can find a great spot in the Portsmouth area to hop in a kayak or on a paddle board (there are lots of rental spots to choose from, many of which offer lessons). Sagamore Creek and the Lamprey River offer leisurely paddles through lush coastal vegetation. With a mix of salt and fresh water, the Great Bay estuary provides tides and currents for adventure-seekers. Or try harbor kayaking at Odiorne Point State Park (more on Odiorne below). 

Explore the USS Albacore 

Designed by the US Navy to test top-secret experimental features, this retired research submarine now provides an interactive learning experience. You can peer through the periscope; explore the control room, engineering spaces, and bunkrooms; and listen to audio recordings of crew members recounting their daily life and adventures at sea.

569 Submarine Way
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Relax at Odiorne Point State Park

Take in the sweeping vistas of ocean and rocky shore, picnic in a forested grove, and hike through the extensive trail network of trails winding through this 135-acre seaside park. At the Seacoast Science Center located within the park, interactive exhibits allow visitors to examine organisms under a high-powered microscope, learn about the offshore reef ecosystem, and pet a sea star, catshark, or hermit crab at the Tide Pool Touch Tank.

570 Ocean Blvd.
Rye, NH 03870

THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN PORTSMOUTH

SALT Kitchen & Bar

With a seasonal menu fresh from the sea and gardens, Wentworth By the Sea’s on-site restaurant has four distinctive dining areas: a live chef’s bar, lounge, main dining room, and private dining spaces. The menu features elevated classics, like pork, beef, and veal meatballs roasted in a stone oven, Spicy Lobster Arrabbiata, and saltimbocca chicken with local mushrooms and garlic spinach. Known for its Winter Wine Festival, Salt offers a varied and sophisticated wine selection year round.

588 Wentworth Rd.
New Castle, NH 03854

Row 34

This lively and welcoming destination boasts super-fresh seafood dishes culled from the local daily catch, paired with carefully chosen craft beers, including some two dozen brewed right here in New England. It’s comfort food from sea and land: bouillabaisse, salt cod croquettes, and oyster sliders alongside buttermilk biscuits and mac and cheese. 

5 Portwalk Place
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Cava

Known for its Vertical Garden, a native outdoor living wall, this tapas and wine bar offers modern and traditional Spanish cuisine and a list of 50-plus international wines poured by the glass. Start with chickpea fries and chargrilled baby octopus, move on to Cava’s signature paella with chicken and chorizo, and top it all off with crunchy churros or Meyer lemon cake.

10 Commercial Alley
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Bangkok Street Thai Kitchen

Authentic Thai street food and dim sum are the big attractions at this family-owned local favorite, with an extensive menu ranging from crab rolls and curry puffs to wonton egg noodles and pad thai, plus shrimp, pork, and vegetarian dim sum. Be sure to try one of the signature cocktails, with poetic names like “When the Flowers Bloom” (chrysanthemum-infused rum, mango, and egg white) and “Winter in Chiang Mai” (Hendrick’s gin, Asian pear, ginger, and lemon).

2454 Lafayette Rd.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

A LOCAL’S FAVORITES IN PORTSMOUTH

Poetry Readings at Book & Bar

“Eat. Drink. Read. Repeat” is the motto of this restaurant, bar, and live entertainment venue tucked into a bookstore — all inside a 150-year-old customs house in downtown Portsmouth. Sip a Cold Brew Martini or Hemingway’s Daiquiri while taking in a poetry reading or concert, or stop by for Game Night.

40 Pleasant St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club for Live Music

This world-class “listening room” pays homage to the classic jazz and blues clubs of the past, with top-tier musicians featured in dinner-theater style. Brothers Michael and Peter Labrie have painstakingly restored the century-old, state-of-the-art venue, adding superior acoustics and high-tech video and sound equipment.

135 Congress St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Breakfast at the Friendly Toast

After a late night or to kick off a day on the water, this all-day brunch and bar is the place to go for chicken and waffles, a breakfast sandwich on a toasted doughnut, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, and so much more. Founded in 1994, the Portsmouth location, bursting with bright colors and funky design, was the first in what’s now a Friendly Toast family of restaurants throughout New England.

113 Congress St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Shop at the Farmers Market

Located in the City Hall parking lot overlooking the South Mill Pond, Portsmouth’s seasonal outdoor marketplace features local fruit and veggies, seafood, baked goods, honey and maple syrup, and body care products, plus craft stalls and live music. All vendors make, grow, harvest, catch, or craft 100 percent of the products they sell here. The market is right across the street from the South Mill Pond Playground, so if the kids are along, leave time to stop by and let them run around while you sample your purchases. 

1 Junkins Ave.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

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