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Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth NH Harbor Lighthouse

Portsmouth NH is a picturesque northeastern city that overlooks an entrance to the enchanting Atlantic Ocean and embraces a vibrant culture that is exclusive to this charming port town. 

Portsmouth is a quaint city that offers something for everyone. From restaurants, cafes, and pubs to museums, galleries, and art centers, there is a never-ending list of activities that can be enjoyed by both visitors and locals alike. In addition to its diverse culture, Portsmouth is also home to many innovative businesses, offering high quality services and products to its visitors. With so much to offer, Portsmouth is a great place to live, work, and play. 


Nestled on the New Hampshire seacoast, Portsmouth is a mere stone’s throw away from Boston and Portland. Whether you take I-95 or fly into its own quaint airport, Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, getting to this charming city is an effortless task! 

This small yet vibrant city is a great place to settle down, start a business, or even retire. With its rich history and culture as well as amazing access to the ocean, Portsmouth has something for everyone. Its restaurants offer delicious cuisine from all around the world, its businesses provide quality services and products—all while surrounded by natural beauty—Portsmouth is a city worth visiting and even more so, worth living. 

Whether you’re looking for excitement or serenity, Portsmouth has it all! 

Portsmouth NH History:

Portsmouth NH is a city that boasts of an illustrious and diverse history stretching back to the colonial era. Here are some remarkable events and periods in its chronicles:

  1. Early Settlement: Portsmouth was founded in 1623 by a group of English fishermen led by Captain John Mason. The settlement was initially known as Piscataqua and was an important center for trade and commerce.
  2. Colonial Era: Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Portsmouth continued to grow and prosper as a trading port. The city was a center for shipbuilding and fishing, and was also an important site during the American Revolution. In 1774, Portsmouth hosted the first Provincial Congress of New Hampshire, which laid the groundwork for the state’s participation in the revolution.
  3. Industrialization: In the mid-19th century, Portsmouth experienced a period of rapid industrialization, as factories and mills were built along the Piscataqua River. The city’s economy shifted from maritime trade to manufacturing, and industries such as textiles and shoe production flourished.
  4. Naval History: Portsmouth has a long and storied naval history, dating back to the early days of the American Navy. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which was established in 1800, played a key role in the country’s naval defense and has been the site of many important naval developments and innovations.
  5. Modern Era: In the 20th century, Portsmouth underwent significant changes as the city adapted to changing economic and social conditions. The city’s historic district was restored and preserved, and the downtown area became a center for arts and culture.

As Portsmouth continues to thrive and be filled with life, it proudly honors its colorful past. Guests can delve into the renowned landmarks, museums, and tourist spots within the city—all of which provide a glimpse through time into how key figures and events have molded this enthralling destination. 

Portsmouth NH Geography and Climate:



Portsmouth is located in southeastern New Hampshire, along the Piscataqua River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The city covers an area of approximately 16.8 square miles (43.5 square kilometers) and has a population of around 21,000 people. The terrain around Portsmouth is characterized by rolling hills and forests, and the city is located just a short drive from the White Mountains, which offer stunning scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities.


Portsmouth has a humid continental climate, which is characterized by hot summers and cold winters. Average temperatures in the summer months (June-August) range from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 18-24 Celsius), while average temperatures in the winter months (December-February) range from the mid-20s to mid-30s Fahrenheit (around -4 to 1 Celsius). The city receives around 47 inches (120 cm) of precipitation per year, with the highest levels occurring in the summer months. Snow is common during the winter months, with an average snowfall of around 56 inches (142 cm) per year.

Portsmouth NH Business and Economy:

Portsmouth NH has a rich and vibrant business sector that consists of small to large-scale companies in multiple industries. Here are some insights about the city’s economic development:

  1. Major Industries: Portsmouth’s economy is driven by a variety of industries, including healthcare, technology, education, and hospitality. The city is also home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which is a major employer in the region.
  2. Small Business Growth: Portsmouth has a thriving small business community, with many locally-owned and operated businesses in the downtown area. The city has been recognized as one of the best places in the country for small business growth, thanks in part to its supportive business environment and strong community.
  3. Tourism: Portsmouth is a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year. The city’s historic district, vibrant arts and culture scene, and proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities make it a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

 Portsmouth truly stands apart when it comes to business and economic growth. The city boasts a diverse, innovative atmosphere that is propelled by an unwavering community spirit and flourishing tourism sector. All of these components join together to create the perfect foundation for ongoing success in the years ahead!

Portsmouth NH Attractions and Activities:

Portsmouth NH has much to offer visitors and locals alike! From historical sites to outdoor activities, here are some of the best attractions in the city:

  1. Arts and Culture: Portsmouth has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and performance spaces throughout the city. Visitors can check out the Music Hall, one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the country, or attend the annual Prescott Park Arts Festival, which features outdoor theater performances and concerts.
  2. Outdoor Recreation: Portsmouth is located in close proximity to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, kayaking, and skiing in the nearby White Mountains. The city itself also offers several parks and green spaces, including the waterfront Prescott Park and the urban South Mill Pond Park.
  3. Events and Festivals: Portsmouth hosts a number of events and festivals throughout the year, including the annual Portsmouth Market Square Day, a street fair featuring local vendors and live music. Other notable events include the annual Portsmouth Halloween Parade and the New Hampshire Film Festival.

Portsmouth NH Dining and Shopping:



Portsmouth, NH has a thriving food scene with a variety of dining options ranging from casual to upscale. Here are some of the top spots to try:

  1. Surf Restaurant: This waterfront restaurant serves fresh seafood dishes, including lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fish and chips.
  2. The Black Birch: This farm-to-table restaurant serves seasonal New American cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients.
  3. The District: This modern American bistro offers a wide range of dishes, including wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and seafood.
  4. The Friendly Toast: This quirky diner is known for its unique menu items, including stuffed French toast, breakfast poutine, and boozy milkshakes.
  5. Moxy: This contemporary restaurant offers small plates and craft cocktails, with a focus on seasonal, local ingredients.


Portsmouth’s downtown area is known for its unique shops and boutiques, offering a variety of shopping experiences. Here are some of the top spots to check out:

  1. Pickwick’s Mercantile: This quirky shop offers a variety of gifts, home goods, and vintage finds.
  2. Gus & Ruby Letterpress: This boutique stationery store specializes in custom invitations and paper goods, as well as a selection of unique gifts.
  3. Macro Polo: This men’s clothing store offers stylish, high-quality clothing and accessories from a variety of brands.
  4. Treehouse Toys: This locally-owned toy store offers a wide range of toys and games for children of all ages.
  5. Ten Thousand Villages: This fair trade store offers handmade goods and gifts from around the world, including jewelry, home décor, and textiles.

Portsmouth entices both visitors and locals alike with its exceptional variety of restaurants, cafes, and stores, making it a vibrant destination to explore. 

Portsmouth NH Real Estate and Living:

Portsmouth NH is a stunning city with its historic architecture, vibrant downtown area, and waterfront views – it’s no wonder why many are eager to call this place home. But what do you need to know about real estate and life in Portsmouth? Let us fill you in on the details.

Real Estate:

Portsmouth’s real estate market is competitive, with a variety of housing options ranging from historic homes to modern condos. The median home value in Portsmouth is around $500,000, with prices varying depending on the location and size of the property. The downtown area is particularly sought-after, with many properties offering walkable access to shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.


Living in Portsmouth offers a high quality of life, with a variety of amenities and attractions at your fingertips. Here are some things to know about living in Portsmouth:

  1. Cost of Living: Portsmouth’s cost of living is higher than the national average, but is still lower than many other cities in the Northeast. Housing and transportation are the largest expenses for residents.
  2. Education: Portsmouth has a strong public school system, with several highly-ranked schools in the area. The city is also home to several private schools and the University of New Hampshire’s Portsmouth campus.
  3. Healthcare: Portsmouth is home to several healthcare facilities, including Portsmouth Regional Hospital and the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in nearby Dover.
  4. Transportation: Portsmouth is a walkable city, with many residents opting to walk or bike to work and around town. The city also has a public transportation system, including a bus system and a seasonal trolley.
  5. Recreation: Portsmouth offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including several parks and beaches, a public pool, and a community center. The city is also close to outdoor recreation opportunities in the nearby White Mountains and on the coast.

With its thoughtful combination of old-world charm, seaside relaxation and modern conveniences, Portsmouth is a highly sought after place to live. 

Portsmouth NH Education and Employment:



Portsmouth NH has a strong education system, with several highly-ranked public and private schools in the area. The Portsmouth School Department oversees several schools in the city, including three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Portsmouth High School is consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in New Hampshire, with a strong academic and extracurricular program. In addition, the city is home to several private schools, including Berwick Academy, which is located just across the border in Maine.

Portsmouth is also home to the University of New Hampshire’s Portsmouth campus, which offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields. The campus is focused on experiential learning and community engagement, with a particular emphasis on sustainability and entrepreneurship.


Portsmouth is a thriving hub for work, with an assortment of job chances in industries such as healthcare, education, hospitality and technology. Here are some of the most renowned employers located in this city:

  1. Portsmouth Regional Hospital: This hospital is one of the largest employers in the city, with over 1,000 employees.
  2. Liberty Mutual: This insurance company has a large office in Portsmouth, employing several hundred people.
  3. Bottomline Technologies: This technology company provides financial software and services, and is headquartered in Portsmouth.
  4. The Portsmouth School Department: The city’s public school system is also a major employer, with several hundred teachers and staff members.
  5. Pease International Tradeport: This business park, located on the former site of the Pease Air Force Base, is home to over 250 companies and employs over 10,000 people.

Portsmouth boasts an impressive education system and a thriving economy, offering exciting job opportunities for its citizens. 

Portsmouth NH Transportation:

If you’re looking for the best way to get around Portsmouth, NH, walking, biking and driving are your top choices. Here’s what you should know:

  1. Walking: Portsmouth is a very walkable city, with many amenities located within walking distance of downtown. The city’s sidewalks are well-maintained and there are several pedestrian-friendly routes throughout the city.
  2. Biking: Portsmouth also has a growing bike culture, with several bike lanes and paths throughout the city. There are several bike rental shops in the area, making it easy to explore the city on two wheels.
  3. Driving: While driving is a common mode of transportation in Portsmouth, traffic can be heavy during peak tourist season. Parking can also be difficult to find in downtown Portsmouth, so it’s recommended to utilize public parking lots or park-and-ride options.
  4. Public Transportation: Portsmouth has a public transportation system, including a bus system and a seasonal trolley that runs throughout downtown. The bus system connects Portsmouth with nearby cities and towns, making it easy to explore the region.
  5. Air Travel: The closest major airport to Portsmouth is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, which is located about an hour away. Portsmouth also has a small municipal airport, the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, which offers limited commercial flights and is primarily used for private aviation.

Portsmouth provides a range of convenient transportation options, ranging from walking and biking to driving or taking public transit. 

Portsmouth NH Community and Events: 

The community in Portsmouth, NH is known for its strong sense of history and culture, as well as its vibrant arts scene. The city is home to several museums and historical sites, including Strawbery Banke Museum, which showcases over 300 years of New England history, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which played a crucial role in American naval history. In addition, Portsmouth is home to several theaters, galleries, and music venues, which host a variety of performances throughout the year. 

Portsmouth is a vibrant hub of activity, hosting numerous popular annual events which draw people from far and wide. A few standouts include:

  1. Market Square Day: This annual festival, held in June, features live music, food vendors, and arts and crafts.
  2. Prescott Park Arts Festival: This summer-long festival includes a variety of outdoor performances, including theater productions, concerts, and movies.
  3. New Hampshire Film Festival: Held in the fall, this festival showcases independent films from around the world.
  4. Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth: This holiday celebration includes several events, such as a tree lighting ceremony, a holiday parade, and tours of historic homes decorated for the season.
  5. First Night Portsmouth: This New Year’s Eve celebration features live music, dance performances, and fireworks.

Portsmouth’s vibrant cultural events provide an unparalleled experience for those who live, work and visit the city. 

Portsmouth NH Sustainability:

Portsmouth NH has made incredible strides towards their commitment to sustainability and environmental preservation. For instance:

  1. Renewable Energy: Portsmouth has invested in renewable energy, including solar panels on several public buildings and a community solar project. The city has also joined a regional initiative to purchase renewable energy credits.
  2. Waste Reduction: The city has implemented a single-stream recycling program and offers composting services. Portsmouth has also banned single-use plastic bags and is working to reduce the use of other single-use plastics.
  3. Transportation: Portsmouth encourages alternative modes of transportation, including walking, biking, and public transportation. The city has also installed electric vehicle charging stations in public parking lots.
  4. Green Infrastructure: Portsmouth has implemented green infrastructure projects, such as rain gardens and bioswales, to manage stormwater and improve water quality.
  5. Sustainable Development: The city has adopted a sustainable building policy, which encourages the use of green building practices and materials in new construction and renovations.

Portsmouth takes a pledge to sustainability and is taking meaningful steps towards reducing its ecological footprint. 

Places To See and Things To Do In Portsmouth NH:

Have you been searching for an adventure? Look no further than Portsmouth, NH! From captivating historic sites to thrilling outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone in this New England city. Here are some of its must-see attractions: 

  1. USS Albacore Museum and Park: This museum is home to the USS Albacore, a retired Navy submarine that is open for tours. Visitors can explore the submarine and learn about its history.
  2. Prescott Park: This waterfront park features gardens, a performance stage, and stunning views of the Piscataqua River. The park also hosts the Prescott Park Arts Festival during the summer months.
  3. Market Square: This historic square in downtown Portsmouth is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.
  4. Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse: This lighthouse, located on nearby New Castle Island, is open for tours during the summer months.
  5. Odiorne Point State Park: This state park, located just outside of Portsmouth, features hiking trails, a rocky beach, and a science center with exhibits about the local ecosystem.
  6. Portsmouth Brewery: This popular brewery and restaurant serves a variety of craft beers and pub food.
  7. Seacoast Repertory Theatre: This community theater hosts a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, and concerts.

Immerse yourself in Portsmouth’s vibrant culture, explore its captivating history, appreciate nature’s beauty, or take part in exciting entertainment – there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy here!

Portsmouth NH Healthcare Options:

The city of Portsmouth NH is home to a plethora of healthcare options for local residents and visitors alike.

  1. Portsmouth Regional Hospital: This full-service hospital has over 200 beds and offers a range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and maternity care.
  2. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital: Located just outside of Portsmouth in Dover, NH, this hospital is a part of the Massachusetts General Hospital network and offers a range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and cancer treatment.
  3. ConvenientMD: This urgent care center provides walk-in medical care for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
  4. Goodwin Community Health: This community health center offers primary care, dental care, and behavioral health services for individuals and families, regardless of their ability to pay.
  5. Seacoast Mental Health Center: This nonprofit organization provides mental health services for adults, children, and families, including therapy, medication management, and crisis intervention.
  6. Aesthetic & Reconstructive Breast Center: This medical practice specializes in breast reconstruction surgery and offers a range of services for breast cancer patients.

Portsmouth and its nearby locales offer a wide selection of healthcare services to accommodate all the needs of both locals and travelers.


Whether you’re a local or just passing through, Portsmouth, NH has something for everyone. From incredible architecture and museums to delightful eateries and shopping spots, this charming city is truly filled with history and beauty. Enjoy spectacular natural sights while exploring swanky restaurants – it’s an experience no one should miss!

Additionally, the municipality is dedicated to sustainability and provides a variety of healthcare solutions for both inhabitants and travelers. 

Need legal aid in Portsmouth or its surrounding areas? Reach out to Boynton Waldron – they’re the experts! 

Boasting years of experience and a promise to provide tailored yet powerful representation, their attorneys are ready to assist you with any legal quandary. Ring them up for an appointment today and discover how they can help you succeed!