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9 Things To Do In Concord: Complete Guide To this Quaint, Historic New Hampshire Getaway

Amid the central forests of beautiful New Hampshire sits the city of Concord. Built right on the Merrimack River and nearby Penacook Lake, this city has lots of natural beauty in store for any traveler who visits. Although Concord, New Hampshire, is the state’s capital city, it is only the third-largest city in the area.

Originally, the area was home to Abenaki Native Americans, who utilized the area for its excellent fishing, fertile soil, and birch forests. In 1659, the city was founded during the European colonization of the area. At first, the city was originally named “Penacook,” meaning a “bend in the river” from the native Abenaki language.

Later on in the 1730s, the name was changed to “Rumford.” However, after a long and bitter row between this city and a neighboring town, the name was changed in 1765 to “Concord,” to show amity between the two settlements. Visitors to this area should keep a sharp eye out for the 18th-century buildings that survive on the main street in the Concord Historic District.

In the 20th century, Concord became famous for its role as the hometown of astronauts during the space race. Alan Shepherd, who famously was the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the moon, came from a nearby small town. Tragically, however, this site was also the home base of American schoolteacher, Christa McAuliffe, who died in the horrific Challenger disaster in 1986.

Top Things To Do In Concord, New Hampshire

Visitors planning a trip in this area will have so many cool things to look forward to! There are so many awesome things to do in New Hampshire. From the earthy beauty of local forests and the Penacook Lake to the celestial and scientific discoveries at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, visitors will have a wide range of places to explore.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

In an area known for its natural wonders and US history, visitors will find a hidden gem of scientific discovery in the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Visitors here of all ages will have so much to explore, from planetarium shows to exhibits on spacecraft to local weather exhibits.

What makes this museum unique, however, is the memorial exhibit dedicated to Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepherd. Visitors here will be able to learn about their heroic lives and see personal items on the Tribute Wall.

  • Hours: Wednesdays-Sundays 10:30am-4pm
  • Address: 2 Institute Drive Concord, NH 03301
  • Admission: General admission: Adults $12, Seniors $11, students (13-college) $11, children 2 and under are free, Planetarium shows: $6 per person ages 3 and up
  • What to do here: See many space-related exhibits, enjoy the planetarium, pay respects at the memorial to Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepherd

The Pierce Manse

For travelers enamored with US history, the Pierce Manse is the place to go. This mid-19th-century home was owned by 14th president Franklin Pierce and his wife, Jane. Visitors here will learn all about President Pierce’s life, from his views on politics to his tragic home life.

Although often ranked as one of the country’s worst presidents for his inaction during the growing conflict between the North and South of the 1850s, President Pierce still led a life worthy of understanding, study, and empathy.

Visitors to the Pierce Manse will enjoy hands-on living history activities, will get to see artifacts from President Pierce’s life, and will get to learn more about daily life in the 1850s.

  • Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 10am-3pm
  • Address: 14 Horseshoe Pond Lane, Concord, New Hampshire, 03301
  • Admission: Adults $10, children $5, Seniors $9, Families $25
  • What to do here: enjoy living history exhibits, learn about 19th-century history, learn about President Franklin Pierce

Walk The Oak Hill Tower Trail

When visiting New Hampshire, one of the things visitors absolutely have to do is enjoy an afternoon in the great outdoors. With some of the best hikes in New England, New Hampshire is one of the best places in the United States for hiking.

At the Oak Hill Tower Trail, visitors can do just that. With 5 miles of forest trail to walk through, visitors will truly be able to unwind and listen to the many birdcalls that will fill the forest. At top of the hill, visitors will be able to see a fire tower.

  • Hours: Sunrise-sunset
  • Address: 292-342 Shaker Rd, Concord, NH 03301
  • Admission: free
  • What to do here: Enjoy a 3.8-5 mile hike, immerse oneself in the sights and sounds of nature, enjoy New Hampshire’s natural beauty firsthand
  • Length: 3.8-5 miles depending on the route

The New Hampshire Historical Society

A great thing to do in Concord, NH, during a rainy or snowy day is to explore the New Hampshire Historical Society. This museum chronicles the history of New Hampshire from the precolonial period all the way through the present.

Visitors here will be able to learn about the Abenaki Native Americans and their way of life. With a collection of 35,000 museum objects, this museum is the best place to learn about New Hampshire history.

  • Hours: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 9:30am-5pm
  • Address: 30 Park Street Concord, NH 03301
  • Admission: Adults $7, children under 18 are free
  • What to do here: explore the museum collections, see artifacts from pre-colonial to modern times

Canterbury Shaker Village

Another great day trip for those interested in New Hampshire history is a visit to the Canterbury Shaker Village. Visitors to the grounds will learn about the history of the Shaker religious movement, which started with Mother Ann Lee and focused on ecstatic worship, egalitarianism, and the female manifestation of Christ through Mother Ann.

With 25 original buildings and 4 reconstructed buildings, visitors walking around the grounds will feel transported through time back to the 19th century. To fully get the most out of a trip here, visitors should take a guided tour to learn about the history of the site.

  • Hours: Village grounds and nature trails: dawn-dusk, guided tours vary depending on year and season
  • Address: 288 Shaker Road Canterbury NH 03224
  • Admission: Grounds admittance: free, guided tours: $25
  • What to do here: see historic buildings, hike around the grounds, participate in a guided tour

Granite State Candy Shoppe

For visitors with a sweet tooth, a stop at the Granite State Candy Shoppe is a must when visiting Concord! With a three-generation history, this candy shop has been a go-to place for tourists and residents alike since 1927. Visitors can enjoy homemade chocolates and other sweets, most using original recipes from the 1920s.

  • Hours: Sunday 12pm-5pm, Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm
  • Address: 13 Warren St Concord, NH 03301
  • Price: $$
  • What to do here: Enjoy delicious candy using recipes from the 1920s, support a local New Hampshire family-owned business, see all kinds of novelty candies

Carter Hill Orchard

When going to New Hampshire visitors will want to experience a bit of country-style living and hospitality. To get this, visitors should visit Carter Hill Orchard. From June-October, visitors can enjoy “pick-your-own” blueberries, peaches, and apples.

Visitors will thoroughly enjoy the taste of a fresh apple or peach as they gaze out at the green hills of the orchard contrasted against the bright blue sky. When apple picking in the fall, visitors should keep on the lookout for the spectacular orange and red trees.

The orchard also has a bakery, where visitors can try famous New England cider donuts, as well as a variety of other breads, pies, and cookies. Visitors should also try the apple cider!

  • Hours: July 1-October 28: Every day 8am-6pm, October 29-December 18: Every day 9am-5pm
  • Address: 73 Carter Hill Road Concord, NH 03303
  • Price: $$
  • What to do here: Pick apples, peaches, and blueberries depending on season, enjoy the country air and aesthetic of the orchard, try a famous cider donut or a homemade pie, try apple cider

Capitol Center For The Arts

A great thing to do during the evenings in Concord, New Hampshire, is to enjoy a show at the Capitol Center for the Arts. Visitors here will be able to enjoy music concerts from all different genres, from Rock to bluegrass to Celtic, Latin, and World.

They even have comedy shows and film festivals, as well. Inside the building, visitors will be stunned by the gorgeous Egyptian-revival architecture. When sitting before a show, visitors should look up at the beautifully painted ceiling designed to emulate a pharaoh’s tomb!

  • Hours: Box office: Monday-Friday 12pm-6pm
  • Address: 44 South Main Street Concord, NH 03301
  • Price: Tickets can range from $40-200 depending on the show and seats
  • What to do here: Enjoy a music concert, laugh at a comedy show, experience art at a film festival, see the Egyptian-revival-style architecture of the building

Red River Theatres

After a long day of enjoying the many sights of Concord, New Hampshire, visitors will want to finish up the night with a good movie. The Red River Theatres are a great place to do just that.

With a repertoire of artistic, independent, and foreign films, visitors here will be in for a unique film experience.

  • Hours: Thursday-Sunday, event times are typically in the evenings
  • Address: 11 S. Main Street Suite L1-1 Concord, NH 03301
  • Admission: Some movie events are free to the public, others require tickets (typically around $12)
  • What to do here: Enjoy a thought-provoking and artistic movie, practice language skills with foreign films

Best Time To Go To Concord, New Hampshire

Located in beautiful New Hampshire, Concord has a humid continental climate. This means that the area is prone to warm summers, with beautiful autumns and very cold, snowy winters. Visitors in the summer and springtime can enjoy hiking through lush, green forests, while visitors in the winter can enjoy seeing the world blanketed in snow.

Summer temperatures are typically in the 70s and 80s, while winter temperatures are often in the teens and 20s.

For visitors going to New Hampshire who are hesitant about the cold, a visit at the height of summer is a great idea. Visitors in the summertime can thoroughly enjoy walking through New Hampshire’s beautiful, lush forests without any worry about the cold.

Going to Concord in October offers visitors the chance to see the local landscape in its spectacular autumnal glory. Visitors here will be also able to enjoy seasonal events like apple picking and eat seasonal foods, like apple cider and pie.

  • Month: October
  • Temperatures: 40s and 50s

Visitors in winter should know that even though temperatures are cold and there’s lots of snow, winter in New Hampshire is still absolutely magical!

Best Ways To Get Around Concord, New Hampshire

When traveling to Concord, New Hampshire, visitors have a plethora of choices in terms of getting around. Walking is always a good option, especially if staying in the downtown area.

Public transportation is also great. The city of Concord waived all fares in 2020, so this is a great option for travelers on a budget.

However, to get to some of Concord’s best locations, visitors will need to either rent a car or take a rideshare.

  • Renting a car in Concord, New Hampshire, typically starts at $38 per day.
  • A typical rideshare fee for this area starts at around $14 but can go up to $44 depending on time, location, and availability.

Visitors who rent a car here should be sure to enjoy the many scenic views of New Hampshire, especially during the fall.

Where To Eat In Concord, New Hampshire

When traveling to New Hampshire, visitors just have to try one of the area’s classic diners! Tucker’s is a great place to do just that, with both breakfast and lunch options. Visitors should be sure to try their homestyle pancakes, their eggs benedict, their omelets, and their breakfast burritos.

  • Price: $$
  • Address: 80 South Street Concord, NH
  • Hours: Daily 7am-2pm

Lunch: The POST Downtown

One great recommendation is the Post, a breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant that offers pastries, classics like eggs or pancakes, and lunch options like hamburgers.

  • Price: $$
  • Address: 58 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301
  • Hours: Daily, 7am-3pm

Dinner: The Common Man

For a dinner of comfort for New England classics, a great place to go is The Common Man. This restaurant serves comfort food, like baked mac and cheese, salad, and chowders. They also have a wide variety of steaks and burgers.

  • Price: $$
  • Address: 25 Water Street, Concord, NH, 03301
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-9:30pm

Drinks: Tandy’s Pub

When looking for drinks in Concord, New Hampshire, a great place to go is Tandy’s Pub. With two bars and outdoor patio service, visitors here will enjoy the friendly ambiance of this restaurant. They also offer dancing, as well, as part of their nightlife.

  • Price: $$
  • Address: 1 Eagle Square Concord, NH 03301
  • Hours: Sunday 11:30am-9pm, Monday 4pm-9pm, Tuesday 11:30am-10pm, Wednesday 11:30am-12am, Thursday 11:30am-12am, Friday 11:30am-1am, Saturday 11:30am-1am

Where To Stay In Concord, New Hampshire

Concord has a range of accommodations in various neighborhoods convenient to local attractions.

Budget Locations

Comfort Inn Concord

Mid-Tier Price Locations

Holiday Inn Concord Downtown

Luxury Hotels

The Hotel Concord

Bed and Breakfasts

The Centennial

Tips To Know When Visiting Concord, New Hampshire

Concord, New Hampshire, also has a history as a university town—there are numerous Public Service training schools (like police and fire-fighting), a two-year community college, and is the home to New Hampshire’s premier law school, the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

This area is also known for its many festivals, as well! One of the best things to do here is to enjoy the Granite State Music Festival in late June.

Another great festival in this area is the Market Days Festival, which is typically held in the third week of June. Visitors to this festival can enjoy exploring the cute downtown area while supporting local businesses and enjoying local crafts.

How To Spend The Perfect Day In Concord, New Hampshire

The perfect day in Concord, New Hampshire, begins with a classic New Hampshire breakfast. Visitors should be sure to try a stack of pancakes with fruit or a plate of eggs and hashbrowns.

In the morning, visitors should be sure to stop at the Pierce Manse to learn more about President Franklin Pierce and his family, US history, and life in the 19th century.

After lunch, visitors should take a hike at the Canterbury Shaker Village. Here, they will be able to see historic buildings, as well as the beauty of nature on the grounds. During the drive to and from this location, visitors should be sure to appreciate the local forests of New Hampshire.

For dinner, a great option would be to have something comforting and classic, like baked mac and cheese or a burger. Afterward, visitors can enjoy seeing an avant-garde movie at Red River Theatres. Finally, visitors can stop for drinks at Tandy’s Pub.


Q: Is Concord, New Hampshire, worth visiting in the winter?

Although the weather can get quite cold during the winter in this part of the country, New Hampshire is still magical in the wintertime!

Visitors can enjoy winter sports and hiking in the beautiful natural environment, or they can enjoy one of the many historical museums of this area, like the New Hampshire Historical Society.

Q: What are the best things to do in Concord, New Hampshire, during the fall?

Concord, New Hampshire, truly comes alive when the autumn winds start to blow. Some of the best fall activities here include walking the many hiking trails of this area, enjoying some classic cider donuts, spending a day apple-picking in an orchard, and visiting a museum like the Pierce Manse.

Q: Does Concord, New Hampshire, play a role in US history?

Concord, New Hampshire, has an important role in US history through its location as the home residence of 14th US President Franklin Pierce, its settled location of the 19th century Shaker movement, and as the hometown of the tragic astronaut, Christa McAuliffe.

Source : The Travel