With a population of a little over 20,000 people, Portsmouth in New Hampshire isn't exactly a bustling metropolis. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for with historic charm. This is one of the oldest towns in the entire United States, first founded in 1630 by British immigrants who named it after the English port they left from. To this day, Portsmouth is famous for its historic buildings and stunning coastal scenery.
But beyond its historic charm, Portsmouth is also home to more modern attractions. Interesting galleries and great seafood restaurants make it a worthwhile place to take a vacation no matter what you’re into. Drop off your bags at a Portsmouth bag storage and see what this coastal gem has to offer.
A weekend in Portsmouth
One of the best things to do in Portsmouth is relax and just take in the laid-back coastal vibe. A weekend in Portsmouth gives you enough time to see the major sites of the town and also experience the charming atmosphere. Drop off your bags with a Portsmouth luggage storage service and explore Portsmouth for yourself.
- Step into the past at Strawbery Banke Museum. This outdoor museum covers 10 acres and tells the story of the settlement's founding. It's a great place to learn what life was like for some of the first Europeans to settle in North America.
- Prescott Park runs along the banks of the Piscataqua River close to downtown Portsmouth. Its beautiful garden is the best place to relax on a sunny day, and the park also hosts Portsmouth's main arts festival in the summer.
- Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse is an icon of the town. This atmospheric spot looks out over the ocean, and you can climb to the top to enjoy stunning views over the water and Portsmouth itself.
Thanks to its ancient origins and small size, Portsmouth is an ideal place to explore on foot. Drop off your belongings at a Portsmouth luggage locker and you'll be free to wander throughout the town. The stunning scenery and quaint stores are best enjoyed at a slow pace, and knowing your belongings are safely looked after will give you peace of mind while you fall in love with the town.
Off the beaten path in Portsmouth
Beyond the better-known attractions, Portsmouth has some interesting places to visit that fall under the radar of most tourists. If you're looking for something a little unusual, try out these lesser-known Portsmouth spots.
- If you happen to visit Portsmouth at Christmas, you'll see why it was named the Christmas capital of North America in 2017. Vintage Christmas is a month-long celebration in December, featuring parades, the Christmas tree lighting, and a vintage Christmas trolley that takes passengers through downtown. It's impossible not to get swept up in the Christmas cheer.
- See an authentic submarine at the USS Albacore Museum. Launched in 1953, this vessel was once the state-of-the-art in submarine technology. Now, it's a museum where you can learn what it was like to serve on this impressive ship.
- See the oldest painted murals in America at the Warner House. This exquisitely decorated mansion dates back to 1716 and was the property of a single family for more than 200 years. Now, it's open to the public so you can get a taste of how Portsmouth's wealthy once lived.
What to do alone in Portsmouth
Portsmouth is a great place to visit by yourself. With a welcoming small town feel and extremely low crime rates, Portsmouth is ideal for solo travel. Drop off your belongings at a Portsmouth suitcase storage and enjoy some alone time in New Hampshire.
- Take a cruise through Portsmouth Harbor to see the city from another point of view. Harbor cruises begin at the docks downtown and allow you to see the city, its lighthouses, and the islands surrounding it. You can also visit Fort Constitution and learn more about Portsmouth history.
- Market Square is the heart of modern Portsmouth. Surrounded by charming brick buildings, this is a great place to do some shopping in the local galleries and boutiques, or simply grab a drink or a bite to eat and take in the lively atmosphere.
- Explore New Hampshire's craft beer scene on a Granite State Growler Tour. This fun-packed bus tour will transport you to some of the area's best-loved breweries, where you can sample the local product and pick up some delicious souvenirs of your own. You
Best souvenirs in Portsmouth
For classic New Hampshire souvenirs, visits Inside Out. This cozy store sells clothing, gifts, toys, books, and a little bit of everything else. If you're looking for something trendier, LIT Boutique sells clothes and jewelry with a funky modern twist. Or if fancy paper goods are more your speed, Gus & Ruby Letterpress is a great place to pick up prints, cards, wrapping paper, and other exquisite stationary.