In the state’s central region, an hour south of the Lakes Region is New Hampshire’s third largest city and the state capitol: Concord. It was settled in 1659 as the Plantation of Penacook and incorporated as a city in 1734 as Rumford but changed to its current name of Concord in 1765.
In the past, Concord was known for its furniture manufacturing, granite quarrying, and carriage-making before it became a railroad hub. Today, Concord entices both tourists and locals with its many opportunities to learn about history, science, nature, politics and food. While it is relatively small for a state capitol, it provides a robust selection of experiences to dive into for your trip. So let’s dive into the top 20 things to do in Concord, NH.
- Concord, New Hampshire
- 20 Things To Do In Concord
- 1- Stroll Around Downtown
- 2- Explore Local History At The New Hampshire Historical Society Museum
- 3- Visit The New Hampshire State Capitol Building
- 4- Step Back In Time At The Historic Pierce Manse
- 5- Visit The President’s Grave
- 6- Explore Space At The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
- 7- Go Boating In The Merrimack River
- 8- Take A Hike At Winant Park
- 9- Try Your Hand At Apple Picking And More
- 10- Play Or Relax At White Park
- 11- Take A Break In Nature At The Susan N. McLane Audubon Center
- 12- Peruse Some Fabulous Books At Gibson’s Bookstore
- 13- Experience Local Eats
- 14- Try Some Local Beer
- 15- See A Movie At Red River Theatres Inc.
- 16- Catch A Show At The Capitol Center For The Arts
- 17- Go On A Vintage Treasure Hunt At Concord Antiques
- 18- Take A Sweet Detour To The Granite State Candy Shoppe
- 19- Experience Performing Arts At Hatbox Theatre
- 20- Revel In Art At The Kimball-Jenkins Estate Galleries
- 20 Things To Do In Concord
Concord, New Hampshire
20 Things To Do In Concord
1- Stroll Around Downtown
Concord features a wonderful historic district with historical buildings that are best explored on foot while strolling around downtown.
Plan some time to hit the streets and explore the city’s cafes, restaurants, shops, historical buildings and theatres.
It’s a good way to get your bearings.
2- Explore Local History At The New Hampshire Historical Society Museum
Founded in 1823, the New Hampshire Historical Society preserves and shares the history of New Hampshire through its extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, newspapers and other documents.
The building is a beautiful piece of architecture and is an excellent example of architecture in the state.
Built in 1911, it features an exterior inspired by Greek temples, a sculpture by New Hampshire’s own Daniel Chester French, and 19th-century paintings of New Hampshire and some Native American creations.
The New Hampshire Historical Society Museum is at 30 Park Street, Concord, 03301.
3- Visit The New Hampshire State Capitol Building
Check out the Greek Revival architecture of this historic building with the iconic gold dome which houses the Governor, Executive Council, and General Courts.
The New Hampshire State House/ State Capitol Building was built in 1819, making it the oldest state house in which legislatures still occupy its original chambers.
It is also home to the largest legislative body in the U.S. today.
The grounds cover 118,403 square feet (11,000 square meters), which is open to the public and the building itself, as it is considered the “people’s house”.
Guided tours of the building, artwork, and artifacts are available from wonderful volunteers, and then make sure to check out the gift shop.
The New Hampshire State House is at 107 North Main Street, Concord, 03303.
4- Step Back In Time At The Historic Pierce Manse
While you may not think of a Presidential residence when thinking of New Hampshire, the Pierce Manse is just that!
This historic house is where the 14th U.S. president, Franklin Pierce, lived before taking office.
The property was nearly destroyed in 1971, but the volunteers dubbed the Pierce Brigade saved it and created the museum.
It is open to the public year-round for guided tours with various artifacts, original furnishings, and objects belonging to Pierce, the only President from New Hampshire.
It’s a stately showcase of what life was like in the mid-19th century.
The Historic Pierce Manse is at 14 Horseshoe Pond Lane, Concord, 03301.
5- Visit The President’s Grave
After observing his life at Pierce Manse, consider honouring him and his family at their gravesite.
The Old North Cemetery was the first burial ground in Concord and is the final resting place of President Franklin Pierce, his wife, and two of his sons.
The cemetery was established in 1730 and was listed on the National Register in 2008.
Parking is often a challenge, but well worth the time to walk among the graves and pay respects to the president and others buried there.
The Old North Cemetery is at 141 North State Street, Concord, 03301.
6- Explore Space At The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
Originally opened as the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium as a stand-alone planetarium with a small space for exhibits, it expanded to become a medium-sized museum with two stories and an observatory on the new side of the building.
The new name honours two New Hampshire space farers: Christa McAuliffe, who was a high school social studies teacher trained to be America’s first teacher in space but passed away in the Challenger space shuttle disaster, and Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space and one of the men to walk on the moon.
The Discovery Center features permanent and rotating interactive exhibits and programs about astronomy, space science, earth science, aviation, and general science.
Check out the life-size Mercury Redstone rocket replica outside, a planetarium show, and space travel artifacts, and see if there is solar observation in the observatory that day.
Then, you can enjoy snacks or even lunch in the cafe and browse the gift shop for fun space and science gifts.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is on the New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) campus at 2 Institute Drive, Concord, 03301.
7- Go Boating In The Merrimack River
Merrimack River flows through the city, offering easy access for exploring the water in kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards, with the best boating experiences starting here in Concord and moving up despite the fact the river flows down to Massachusetts.
If you need boating supplies, boat rentals, or boating activity help, there are several local options, including the Contoocook River Canoe Company.
Be sure to keep your eyes sharp to observe wildlife from the river, including birds like bald eagles and ospreys.
There are multiple boat launches within Concord and beyond.
8- Take A Hike At Winant Park
Winant Park is an 85-acre (34.4 ha) forested park with multiple trails that have signage offering cultural and natural information for visitors to explore while hiking.
It features wonderful vantage points, scenic views of both nature and the State House’s golden dome, and chances to see various wildlife.
Mountain biking is also allowed, so gear up!
Winant Park is at 53, 11 Fisk Road, Concord, 03301.
9- Try Your Hand At Apple Picking And More
One of the typical New England past times is picking your apples and other fruit, and despite being the state capitol, Concord has several must-visit orchards and farms.
Carter Hill Orchard
This has been a family-owned orchard since the mid-1700s growing apples, peaches, blueberries, plums, pumpkins, and more depending on the season in the hills of Concord.
Hand-pick your own produce, try their in-house maple syrup and apple cider, and check out their on-site bakery for pies, cookies, doughnuts, and sweetbreads.
The views are gorgeous on their own, and hiking trails are available to enjoy the grounds, views, mountains, and wildlife, including the occasional raptor.
A playground and a rope swing are available for children.
You can also purchase your fruit in the country store instead of picking them.
Carter Hill Orchard is at 73 Carter Hill Road, Concord, 03303.
Apple Hill Farm
At over 35 years old, this orchard established pick-your-own-fruit opportunities in 1995 and focuses on apples (Labor Day through Columbus Day) and other tiny fruits, including blueberries from mid-July through early September, strawberries from mid-June to mid-July, and more.
Check out their bakery and modern farmstand if you are in a hurry featuring other options like peaches, maize, tomatoes, and beans.
The Apple Hill Farm is at 580 Mountain Road, Concord, 03301.
Diamond Hill Farm
This farm does it all, featuring locally grown produce, dairy, and meat as part of the movement revitalizing small farms.
It features a 150-acre (60.7 ha) family-owned farm since 1827 with a large brightly coloured Victorian home and barn with beautiful views of Concord and the surrounding area year-round.
Purchase the various veggies in the farmstand on the main floor of the renovated 19th-century barn.
Walk along the trails, meet a llama, try natural ice cream, take in the gorgeous views, traverse the labyrinth, or sit on one of the city’s best-sitting porches and relax.
The Diamond Hill Farm is at 314 Hopkinton Road, Concord, 03301.
10- Play Or Relax At White Park
This beautiful 25-acre (10 ha) park on the west side of Concord provides an excellent natural haven with a pond, a baseball field, a soccer field, a basketball court, a pool, the largest playground in Concord, walking trails, and more.
The Monkey Around Playground is a fun place for play and new friends for the young and in a park that provides many other outdoor options.
During the winter, they also feature ice skating on the pond and a sledding hill.
You can also fish, particularly for Bass, in the large man-made pond.
White Park is at 1 White Street, Concord, 03301.
11- Take A Break In Nature At The Susan N. McLane Audubon Center
Formerly the Silk Farm Center, the oldest environmental centre in the state, features hiking trails, indoor animal displays, a raptor exhibit, and natural green spaces.
Check out the numerous vantage points, including lakefront views on the trails around the Audubon Center, making sure to keep your eye out for local wildlife, especially the birds.
Pack a picnic for the family to enjoy a meal in the designated picnic area and participate in one of its environmental education programs for all ages, such as an animal tracking walk or adventure treasure hunt.
The Susan N. McLane Audubon Center is at 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, 03301.
12- Peruse Some Fabulous Books At Gibson’s Bookstore
Originally opening in 1898, the independent bookstore is the oldest store in Concord and still a haven for book lovers and a happening place.
It houses a fantastic collection of books and presents for book lovers and hosts literary community events.
Take a moment to read in their cafe with a delicious beverage and treat while taking in the bustle of Downtown Main Street through the windows.
Gibson’s Bookstore is at 45 South Main Street, Concord, 03301.
13- Experience Local Eats
Concord features several award-winning restaurants, providing a culinary adventure.
Granite Restaurant and Bar
This is an award-winning upscale restaurant with classic American food made with fresh local ingredients and seasonal items influenced by various cuisines.
The wine options are also considered very good, even winning “Wine Spectator” on several occasions.
The Granite Restaurant and Bar is at 96 Pleasant Street, Concord, 03301.
Barley House Restaurant & Tavern
This is an award-winning gastropub known for its burgers with a wonderful variety, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, making it an all-around hit no matter your party’s dietary concerns.
Barley House Restaurant & Tavern is at 132 North Main Street, Concord, 03301.
Draft Sports Bar and Grill
This is a great location if you are looking for a more casual location and a place to catch a game with a draft beer and American comfort food, featuring fifteen 70″ H.D. T.V.s to help you catch whatever game you want.
Draft Sports Bar and Grill is at 67 South Main Street, Concord, 03301.
Makris Lobster and Steak House
This is a family-owned restaurant from the early 1900s, originally starting as the Priscilla Restaurant, with excellent options for an upscale night out.
Makris Lobster and Steak House is at 354 Sheep Davis Road, Concord, 03301.
14- Try Some Local Beer
While in Concord, check out some of their breweries for a fun tasting experience.
Concord Craft Brewing Company
This was the first nano-brewery in Concord and is in its historic downtown.
The Concord Craft taproom features 8 of the current brews, many with names featuring political overtones (i.e. the Ballot Box Brut IPA).
Take a tour of the back room to see how everything is made and get a few samples to figure out your favourite before checking out their retail store for miscellaneous beer gear.
Concord Craft Brewing Company is at 117 Storrs Street, Concord, 03301.
Lithermans Limited Brewery
The brewery was established in 2016, focusing on seasonal classics and experimental beers such as a sour ale inspired by fruitcake.
They also feature outdoor seating to help you take advantage of nice weather.
Lithermans Limited Brewery is at 126 Hall Street Unit B, Concord, 03301.
15- See A Movie At Red River Theatres Inc.
Red River Theater is a non-profit theatre downtown founded by the local community for the community in 2007 and cost almost $2 million.
You won’t find the latest blockbuster here, but they house three screens that play regional indie movies, art-house productions, and the classics.
It’s a gorgeous location but intimate and comfortable, with leather seating and a table for each chair.
In addition, they have a gallery, concession stand, and cafe with locally brewed beers and food from local businesses.
The Red River Theater is at 11 South Main Street, Concord, 03301.
16- Catch A Show At The Capitol Center For The Arts
The Capitol Center For The Arts is the premier venue in Concord and one of the premier venues in the state for theatrical shows, Broadway, concerts, and other events.
This non-profit performing arts centre accommodates over 1,300 people and is known for its unique interior, which features Egyptian motifs.
Known for its fantastic volunteers, staff, and eclectic variety of high-quality performances, it was originally built in 1927 but later modernised while still maintaining its historical appeal.
The Capitol Center For The Arts is at 44 South Main Street, Concord, 03301.
17- Go On A Vintage Treasure Hunt At Concord Antiques
Take advantage of no sales tax in New Hampshire by diving into the largest antique group store in the Capitol area that opened in 1997.
With more than 155 unique dealers across over 10,000 square feet (929 square meters), known for reasonable prices, you’re sure to find something for gifts, souvenirs, or even yourself.
Concord Antiques is at 137 Storrs Street, Concord, 03301.
18- Take A Sweet Detour To The Granite State Candy Shoppe
Make sure to plan a stop at this family-owned candy business since 1927 with confections, gourmet chocolates, and homemade ice cream, which still uses many of the same recipes and techniques as their ancestor, Peter Bart.
It is a favourite among tourists and locals for a tasty sweet treat.
The Granite State Candy Shoppe is at 13 Warren Street, Concord, 03301.
19- Experience Performing Arts At Hatbox Theatre
This small performing arts centre has only about 100 seats, creating a collaborative community with unique experiences for artists and viewers alike.
Hatbox Theatre focuses on local performers and creators, including plays, musicals, concerts, and more.
Check out the ever-changing walls devoted to local N.H. artists, many of which are available for sale.
The Hatbox Theatre is at 270 Loudon Road, Concord, 03301.
20- Revel In Art At The Kimball-Jenkins Estate Galleries
Kimball-Jenkins is an art school in a Victorian mansion that offers galleries, events, gardens, and grounds to the public.
Carolyn Jenkins Gallery in the Carriage House hosts changing contemporary art exhibitions by their students and faculty, as well as solo and group exhibitions from local artists.
Jill C. Wilson Gallery on the Mansion’s ground floor hosts exhibitions from acclaimed national and international artists.
The Kimball Jenkins Estate is at 266 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301.
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