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Looking for the best things to in Concord NH? We’ve got you covered! Concord might not be one of the best-known state capitals in the US, but this small city has so much to offer!
The best things to do in Concord NH depend on your interests, but whether you’re into history, science, dining, or the great outdoors, Concord has something for you. Even if you’re just walking around and exploring, Concord is a charming place to get to know more intimately.
As the capital of New Hampshire, Concord is home to the New Hampshire State House and many other historic sites. It was also the home of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States.
Additionally, Concord has a strategic location, set in the dead center of the Granite State. This gives you easy access to the best places in New Hampshire, from the Lakes Region and the White Mountains to Monadnock and even the Seacoast.
In fact, many Concord transplants often cite the easy access to nature and variety of outdoor environments as a top reason why they moved here.
Let’s dive into what makes Concord a special place to visit!
Things to Do in Concord NH
Many of the activities in Concord are related to history. If you’re a history or government buff, you’ll thoroughly enjoy touring Concord. However, there are many other great things to do below if that isn’t your thing.
Some of the best things to do in Concord NH include visiting the New Hampshire Historical Society, floating down the Contoocook River, and exploring various breweries and coffee shops.
Visit the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center for space fun, spend a day with miniature horses, and have a day of fun at Chuckster’s.
You can see the best of Concord’s attractions in a single day, but we think Concord could work well as an unusual weekend getaway in New England.
Concord is well-connected by highways, including I-93, and it’s a 25-minute drive from Manchester Airport. You also have local and long-distance buses stopping in Concord.
New Hampshire Historical Society
The New Hampshire Historical Society Museum is one of Concord’s greatest gems, and we highly recommend visiting if you’re here on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. This museum and library has exhibitions and resources dedicated to the history of New Hampshire.
The historic artifacts have been saved and collected for nearly 200 years, and as a result, the extensive history has been documented thoroughly.
The Historical Society is located in a 1911 building on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s home to hundreds of objects, including Native American artifacts, objects from the Civil War and WWII, and many other notable pieces of NH’s history.
The NH Historical Society is open Thursday through Saturday, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. You can also make an appointment if you’d like to visit the library for research.
New Hampshire State Capitol
Known as the New Hampshire State House, the New Hampshire State Capitol was built in 1819 and is made of — what else? — granite from the quarry down the street! Built in the Greek revival style with stately columns and a gold dome that you can see from I-93, the New Hampshire State Capitol is often seen as the symbol of Concord.
The capitol building houses the New Hampshire General Court, Governor, and Executive Council. New Hampshire has a very large legislative body for the size of its population — one lawmaker per 3,444 residents, a record within the United States.
You can take a self-guided tour of the New Hampshire State Capitol are available 8:00 AM-4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is a space science museum with interactive and innovative exhibits to explore. It’s named for Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire social studies teacher who became the first teacher in space and died in the Challenger explosion in 1986.
It’s also named for Alan Shepard, a native of East Derry, NH who became the first American to travel to space in 1961. In 1971, he became one of only 12 people to walk on the moon — and the first person to golf on the moon!
In addition to exhibits dedicated to astronomy, space history, science, and engineering, the McAuliffe-Shepard Center has a planetarium, an observatory, and various programs and workshops to help educate visitors.
Tickets to the museum cost $12 for adults, $11 for students and seniors, $9 for children ages 3 to 12, and are free for children under two. Planetarium shows are an additional $6 per person. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:30 AM-4:00 PM, but check the calendar for holidays and any changes to the hours.
Kayak, Canoe, or Stand-Up Paddleboard on the Contoocook River
The Contoocook River is a 71-mile long river that flows through Concord, connecting to the Merrimack River, the main river of New Hampshire. It’s the perfect place for relaxing and spending time with friends and family on the water.
The Contoocook River Canoe Company has been offering rentals of kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards since 1997. The rentals are reasonably priced and offer packages for different lengths of time. You can even reserve your rental in advance.
Keep an eye out for wildlife — you can often spot bald eagles nesting on Concord’s rivers!
Another option is to grab a tube and a cooler with some friends and float awhile down the river. There are tons of spots you can start from, and it’s a great way to relax and enjoy the nice weather.
The Pierce Manse is the former home of President Franklin Pierce, the 14th and too-often-forgotten president of the U.S. This is the only house ever owned by Pierce, who lived in the house from 1842 to 1848, just before his presidency. Pierce, to this day, is still the only New Hampshire resident elected to the presidency.
Today, the Pierse Manse has been turned into a historic landmark and museum. The historic home still has many objects, documents, and other artifacts that allow visitors to peer into the life of a family from the mid-19th century that got thrust into the spotlight when Pierce became commander in chief.
The museum is open for guided tours Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM. Call ahead for appointments outside these hours. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for children, and $25 for a family.
Visit Concord’s Breweries
We absolutely love the brewery scene in the state of New Hampshire — it’s filled with interesting and quirky breweries brewing up far more than just New England IPAs. There are several breweries worth checking out in Concord, including Concord Craft Brewing Co, Litherman’s Limited Brewery, and Odd Ball Brewery.
Concord Craft Brewing Company offers a very interesting collection of beers on tap, from the standard IPAs to Belgian Tripels, German Kölsches, Berliner Weisse sours, and more. The brewery is open Tuesday through Sunday. They also have a kitchen serving up flatbread pizzas, burgers, and snacks, including a kids’ menu. Visitors can try different beers on tap and go on a brewery tour.
Litherman’s Limited Brewery offers some of the quirkiest beers you’ll find in the Granite State, from a Mexican hot chocolate porter to a passion fruit pink guava sour ale to a lemon drop blonde ale to a Belgian Quadrupel (yes, quadruple). There is a large taproom and outdoor seating for beer tastings. The brewery is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Odd Ball Brewery is located in Suncook, just outside the city of Concord, and only about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown. Year-round beers include a lager, Belgian, IPA, and an ale, but there are a few seasonal beers — keep your eye out for the Olde English Ale with chocolate and orange!
Another nearby Central New Hampshire brewery is Canterbury Aleworks, a 25-minute drive from Concord, which pairs well with a trip to Canterbury Shaker Village if you’re up in that neighborhood.
Hang Out with Miniature Horses
Just 10 minutes outside of Concord, you can frolic on a farm with adorable miniature horses, just like Lil Sebastian on Parks & Rec. In their hands-on horse experience, you’ll You’ll get to choose your own horse for the day, care for it, go for walks together, and perhaps even do some show tricks with them.
This is a fun and incredibly Instagrammable activity a stone’s throw from Concord! Cindy, who hosts this activity, adores each mini horse in her herd and loves introducing people to the joy they bring.
This hands-on horse experience is a great way to take a break from your busy life, wind down, and rejuvenate yourself surrounded by nature.
Go on a Concord Scavenger Hunt
Looking for a fun way to discover a city? Consider going on a scavenger hunt through Concord, where you’ll get to play a game while visiting some of the famous spots in the city. Some of the sites you’ll see include the New Hampshire State House and Pierce Manse.
This is done by purchasing the scavenger hunt online, so you can do it whenever you’d like — no guides or meetups necessary.
You’ll get to work alone or with a team to solve questions and challenges related to landmarks around Concord. You can play this with a group, a friend, or even by yourself.
Coffee Shop Hop in Downtown Concord
One of our favorite ways to get to know a local community is to check out their coffee shops, and Concord has a few nice spots on offer. Soon you’ll be saying, “I love you a latte!”
The Brothers’ Cortado is a cozy and welcoming coffee shop that opened on Bicentennial Square in downtown Concord. The menu features lattes in interesting forms like the Mocha Borgia, a mocha latte with orange essence, and the citrus clove latte has a lot of fans, too! They serve up delicious cinnamon buns and host frequent game nights, too.
Revelstroke Coffee is named after a little Canadian mountain town, but inside it’s all New Hampshire pride, with a perfect view of the gold-domed State House. Owners Lyndsey and Alex started the coffee shop after driving all over the Granite State to sample what different shops in the Granite State had to offer. Here you can enjoy unusual offerings like pistachio blood orange flavor shots, espresso with ginger rose syrup, and regular and vegan breakfast sandwich “chubbies.”
The Bean and Bakery, newly arrived in 2022 in the space where White Mountain Gourmet Coffee used to be, is a delicious local coffee roaster with terrific pastries. The cafe in Concord has both indoor and outdoor seating and a menu full of different coffee blends, breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and other breakfast food options.
And if you’re more a chocolate person than a candy person, you’ll love hitting up Granite State Candy Shoppe in the heart of downtown.
Steadfast Spirits Distilling Co.
If you’re into tasting homemade liquors, Steadfast Spirits Distilling Co. in Concord is a must-visit. Steadfast offers a variety of top-shelf spirits, including Trouble’s Moonshine, their most famous liquor.
Trouble’s Moonshine comes in various flavors such as cinnamon, vanilla, maple, traditional, and honey. They also sell cocktails in a jar, one of our favorite New Hampshire distillery trends! You can get a jar full of boozy strawberry smash, lemonade, apple pie, and more. They’re great to keep in your fridge for an impromptu celebration.
The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday for spirit tastings.
Go Apple Picking at Carter Hill Orchard
Carter Hill Orchard, located on the outskirts of Concord past Penacook Lake, is open seasonally for picking your own produce. There is blueberry picking (usually starting in June or July), peach picking (usually mid-to-late July), and apple picking (early September through early October).
The farm also grows plums, pumpkins, and more. The on-site country store sells farm-grown vegetables and baked goods, including delicious cider donuts and one of our favorite New England treats — whoopie pies!
Visiting little farms like Carter Hill is one of our favorite things to do in New Hampshire. You really connect with the community while eating great food!
See an Independent Film at Red River Theater
The Red River Theater is a nonprofit cinema that plays indie films and other classics. They’ll occasionally throw in some bigger features, too. The venue has three theaters, a cafe, and a gallery.
It’s the perfect place to catch an independent film and watch something you wouldn’t find in a typical movie theater. Check out the calendar for upcoming shows.
The theater is open daily, and tickets cost $12 for regular admission or $9.50 for a matinee. Students, seniors, and military cost $9.50 for regular tickets or $8 for a matinee show.
New Hampshire International Speedway
Just outside of of Concord in the town of Loudon is the New Hampshire International Speedway, which is the home of NASCAR in New England. This 1.058-mile racetrack hosts annual NASCAR races and the Loudon Classic, a motorcycle race.
Four NASCAR races occur in the month of July, and prices vary depending on the event. Find out more on the NHMS event calendar.
And if you’re visiting Concord during the holiday season, don’t forget to hit up the Gift of Lights at the speedway, which is one of our favorite Christmas activities in New Hampshire. 3.5 million twinkly LED lights lead you as you drive along the race track. It’s a great activity to do with kids.
Old North Cemetery
Love walking around historic cemeteries? We’ve got a great one here in Concord. Old North Cemetery is a historic cemetery on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Originally established in 1730 and it’s the burial place of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president and Concord’s most famous residents.
The cemetery is about six acres in size, and surprisingly, they’re still accepting new burials to this day. That’s rare in New England cities.
You can take a wander through the cemetery in search of President Pierce’s grave, but as this is still a working cemetery, please be respectful of any mourners that you come across here.
Concord Antique Gallery
Concord is home to the largest antique shop in New Hampshire: Concord Antique Gallery. The shop is packed with ever-changing vintage items, from furniture to household goods to jewelry and beyond.
In this massive store, more than 100 vendors are selling fabulous finds. The prices are competitive (ever tried to bargain with a Granite Stater? Oh, it’s FUN!), and the items are one-of-a-kind.
The antique shop is open daily, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. You could spend all day exploring the confines of the 7,000 square foot store.
Chuckster’s is an outdoor family fun park located in Chichester, just outside Concord. Activities here include mini-golf, go-karts, zip-lining, an obstacle course, batting cages, bumper boats, rock climbing, and more!
There are also various one-on-one games, and the mini-golf course has the longest hole on the planet. Hole number 13 is 201 feet long!
Each attraction at the park costs somewhere between $5 and $25, depending on the activity. It’s a great place to bring the whole family when the weather is nice.
(And here’s a special recommendation from the NHW team — if you’re spending the day in Chichester, hit up Chichester Country Store for some delicious homemade cider donuts!)
Canterbury Shaker Village
Located in the town of Canterbury, NH, about a 20-minute drive from Concord, Canterbury Shaker Village is a historic site and museum and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1993. It’s one of many Shaker communities from the 19th century, but it’s the most intact and authentic Shaker site.
Canterbury Shaker Village was established in 1792 by followers of founder Mother Ann Lee. The religious group was originally formed in England during the 18th century and eventually emigrated to the U.S., starting communities throughout Maine to Kentucky. Today, the museum displays 200 years of Shaker life through historical buildings, exhibits, and artifacts.
The Shakers — formally the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing — were an interesting crowd of people. The Shaker religion encouraged pacifism, gender equality, and community building. However, they also believed in celibacy, which is why there are only three registered Shakers living today, all of them at the one remaining active Shaker community in Maine.
If you’re in Canterbury and up for a little bit of vice with your virtue, we recommend checking out Canterbury Aleworks for a beer.
Where to Stay in Concord, New Hampshire
Where’s the best area to stay in Concord, NH? It depends on what you’re in town to do. We enjoy the convenience of being located right downtown near Main Street so that you can explore on foot, but even if you choose a place on the outskirts of town, Concord is small enough to get anywhere quickly, and parking is abundant.
Here are our picks for the top-rated hotels in Concord:
Best Luxury Hotel in Concord NH: The Hotel Concord — A boutique hotel with luxuries and modern touches, is an elegant choice for guests visiting Concord. The hotel is located on the fourth and sixth floors of the Capital Commons building, with gorgeous views of the city and the State House. Terrace rooms have the floor to ceiling windows and large outdoor patios.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Concord NH: Holiday Inn Concord Downtown — Located right in the heart of downtown, this hotel is within walking distance to many major attractions of Concord. It has all the amenities you need: wifi, pool, hot tub, gym, on-site restaurant, and more.
Best Budget Hotel in Concord NH: Tru by Hilton Concord NH — It’s a bit further away from downtown, but here you can enjoy simple rooms with pops of color. There’s a 24-hour market on site, which is very convenient when you arrive late and hungry, and there are work station pods and a foosball table in the lobby.
Find deals on more hotels in Concord NH here.
Read More: Best Concord NH Hotels
How Much Time to Spend in Concord
You can explore most of the sights of Concord in a day if that’s all the time you have. Especially if you’re sticking to the ones that interest you the most.
But if you want a little bit more time, Concord makes a fun offbeat weekend destination. If you’ve always lived nearby and have never taken the time to visit Concord properly, why not dive in a bit more deeply?
The next time you’re in town for a political event or a concert at the Capitol Center, consider sticking around a bit longer to take in more of the city.
And if you’re spending more than a few days in the Concord area, we highly recommend taking advantage of Concord’s central location and taking day trips to places that interest you. You can enjoy the best of Lake Winnipesaukee, head down to explore funky Keene, or head up north to the White Mountains.
How to Get to Concord NH
If you’re coming to Concord by plane, the closest airport is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH. This airport is about a 25-minute drive away.
Logan Airport in Boston is about an hour’s drive from Concord. There are many more flights to Boston than Manchester, so we recommend checking both airports for the best fares and routes. If you’re flying in from abroad, Boston will be much easier than Manchester.
In terms of public transit, several long-distance bus lines have routes to Concord. Concord Coach Lines has routes to destinations throughout New Hampshire, as well as to Logan Airport in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York City.
Greyhound Bus Lines has routes connecting Concord throughout the US and to Montreal in Canada. (You can even take a direct Greyhound bus from Concord to Jacksonville, Florida, or Little Rock, Arkansas, if you’d like!)
As for getting around Concord, Concord Area Transit has a few local bus routes around the city, and Uber is active here. That being said, like most of New Hampshire, you’ll have a much easier time getting around with a car.
Best Time to Visit Concord
Concord is fun to visit year-round, but you’ll have the best weather from late spring through early fall. Keep in mind that this is Northern New England, so we’re speaking about mid-May through mid-October.
Concord doesn’t have much of a tourist presence, but summer is when you get to enjoy sunshine, heat, and summer festivals. Peak fall foliage in Concord tends to hit in mid-to-late October. (See our New Hampshire fall foliage guide for more information on where to go and how to time your leaf-peeping.)
The Deerfield Fair takes place in late September and early October, just outside Concord in Deerfield. As “New England’s Oldest Family Fair,” they claim, it’s been running for more than 145 years. This is a great time to visit Concord and New Hampshire as a whole.
Midnight Merriment is an annual Christmas event in December Concord when shops are open until midnight, serving delicious goodies and putting on fun events. There are fun winter festivals in Concord, including Concord Winter Fest, which takes place in late January.
Is Concord NH Worth It?
Concord might not seem like the biggest tourist draw at first glance — but if you take the time to explore in properly, you’ll discover a lovely destination without the tourist crowds.
Whether you’re passing through Concord briefly on your first New Hampshire trip, or planning a weekend getaway in a New England city you’ve never been to before, Concord will delight you.
We wish you a very pleasant trip to Concord! You’re going to love it here.
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Have you been to Concord? What are your favorite things to do?