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If you’re looking for a trip to a beautiful small town in New England, you will love Littleton, New Hampshire. This is just the kind of town that people picture when they dream of small-town America, and there are so many cool things to do in Littleton NH.
We at New Hampshire Way love so many small towns in the Granite State. But honestly, Littleton might be our favorite town of all. It’s at least in the top three. We can’t get enough of this place, and we wish that more people spent more time here!
Nestled in the northwest corner of the White Mountains, just a stone’s throw from Vermont, Littleton is a picture-perfect slice of Americana. Settled on the Ammonoosuc River and filled with small independent shops, the town is a great base for exploring the outdoors and the surrounding towns of Bethlehem, Franconia, and Sugar Hill.
Littleton also makes a great alternative to North Conway, the most popular resort town in the White Mountains. North Conway is a lovely small town, but it’s extremely busy and expensive, only a small part is walkable, and there’s a ton of commercial development that travelers don’t expect. Littleton feels more local, more undiscovered, and more like a hidden gem.
Don’t let the quiet atmosphere fool you — there is plenty of fun and adventure to be found inside these tiny town limits. So, grab your favorite hot beverage and join us as we explore all of the great must-see shops, sights, and attractions in one of the cutest towns in the United States.
This post was most recently updated in May 2023.
The Best Things To Do in Littleton NH
Stroll the Best Main Street in New Hampshire
Take a stroll down New Hampshire’s loveliest main street and feel like you have traveled back in time. This walkable downtown is all about the kinds of shops you don’t see that often anymore — candy stores, toy shops, mom-and-pop stores, and retro diners.
Littleton’s Main street offers the perfect blending of nostalgic historic storefronts like Lahout’s Ski Shop, the oldest ski shop in the nation; Jax Jr. Cinemas, with its retro marquee; and the Little Village Toy & Book Shop, an absolute gem of a toy store; along with more modern retailers. Plenty of coffee shops and clothing stores are mixed in with traditional shops.
Chutters Candy Store is home to the world’s longest candy counter, and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen features art, jewelry, and home decor made by New Hampshire artisans. Littleton’s historic district is the perfect starting (and ending) point for your New Hampshire visit, and is an especially good spot for souvenir shopping.
Schilling Beer Co: New Hampshire’s Best Brewery
Speak to anyone with knowledge of New Hampshire breweries and they will likely mention Schilling Beer Company. It’s amazing how often Schilling works its way into New Hampshire beer conversations, even as far away as Portsmouth! It’s for good reason. Schilling is a unique brewery specializing in European-style beers, served up in an idyllic environment with decks overlooking the Ammonoosuc River.
Housed in the former Littleton Grist Mill, Schilling Beer Company lets guests enjoy a selection of European-style craft brews, from Czech Pilsners to German Marzens to Belgian Tripels. This is a big difference from the New Hampshire breweries that double down on New England IPAs, West Coast IPAs, and Double IPAs. (Don’t worry — if you really want an IPA, Schilling will have an IPA or two on tap!)
You can visit either the brewery and restaurant, or the tasting room just next door. The kitchen serves up some of the best pizza in the White Mountains and some snacks and appetizers. In the warmer months, there’s a food truck stationed outside. We recommend sitting outside and enjoying the food truck’s poutine, a hearty accompaniment to your beer.
Read More: The Best New Hampshire Breweries
Stop for a Photo-Op on the Riverwalk Covered Bridge
If you are looking for the picture-perfect New England photo, you can’t go wrong with a walk over the Riverwalk Bridge. This bridge features in most photos of Littleton, and it makes a lovely subject for your photos on its own.
Be sure to get photos from both sides. One of our favorite shots of Littleton is the former grist mill that now houses Schilling Beer Co., taken from the covered bridge.
Want more bridges? There are many more covered bridges in this part of the White Mountains, especially if you drive up Route 135 along the Connecticut River to Lancaster.
Pay Tribute to Pollyanna
Eleanor H. Porter, famed author of the childhood classic Pollyanna, is a native of Littleton NH. Pollyanna was the essence of finding optimism even when hope was lost. You will find references honoring the beloved heroine in the story all over Littleton.
Visit the Pollyanna statue outside the Littleton Public Library, and see if you can find all of the Pollyanna-shaped icons cleverly located throughout the town.
We’ll start you off with a hint: Check the crosswalks.
Grab a Sweet Treat at Chutters
Chutters Candy Shop is one of the most famous businesses in Littleton, and for good reason. This small-town confectionary happens to be a Guinness World Record holder: it’s home to the world’s longest candy counter at 112 feet long.
The Chutters candy counter is straight out of childhood fantasy with glass jars filled to the brim with an eye-popping array of sweet treats. Treat yourself to licorice, caramels, brightly colored candy fruit slices, gourmet jelly beans, chocolates, gummy bears, and hard candies galore. Fill up a bag to take home some of the amazing sweets that Chutters is famous for.
The store is also home to toys, gifts, and a spectacular fudge counter. You’ll find all kinds of flavors, from peanut butter to penuche to raspberry cheesecake. In fact, sometimes we wonder why the fudge isn’t as famous as the candy counter itself!
Browse the Little Village Toy and Book Shop
What could be better than a toy shop combined with a bookstore? The Little Village Toy and Book Shop‘s motto is “Play, laugh, learn.” This idea that led the owner to create a toy store where children are encouraged to play with all of the toys and games in the store. Littleton Village Toy and Book Store offers fun and educational toys and games that allow kids of all games and skill sets to learn through play.
This one-stop shop offers fun and educational toys for kids of all ages and a full bookshop with a selection of fiction, non-fiction, and regional books suitable for adults and kids alike. It’s one of the best places to pick up books on New Hampshire and the White Mountains in particular.
Every town needs a shop like Little Village Toy and Book Shop! We wish there were more of them, but that makes this Littleton shop all the more special. No matter your age you are going to find something to love at The Little Village Toy Shop.
Enjoy Pancakes at the Littleton Diner
New Hampshire is home to so many retro diners that look like they’re built inside a tin can. The Littleton Diner is one of these, crafted in Merrimack, Mass., in 1928 and transported to its current Littleton NH location in 1930.
But each diner as a specialty, and the Littleton Diner’s is pancakes. Enjoy a heaping mountain of warm, fluffy pancakes drenched in real New Hampshire maple syrup. (Don’t let Vermont get all the credit! We’ve got the good stuff, too!)
The Littleton Diner treats diners to a smorgasbord of pancakes from buckwheat, to whole wheat, to classic buttermilk pancakes, all served up in a vintage tin can. Join locals and out-of-towners for the most important meal of the day.
Take in a Show at the Littleton Opera House
The historic Littleton Opera House is an entertainment venue from a bygone era. Originally constructed in 1894, the Littleton Opera House has been host to a wide range of performances and events including plays, musicals, live comedy, and even wrestling. Yes, along with the occasional opera!
Today this iconic Littleton, NH venue serves as a popular tourist attraction, entertainment venue, meeting place, and event hall for the town and its guests.
Check the opera house’s schedule to see if any shows are going on during your visit.
Get Creative with an Art Class at Littleton Studio School
Want to try something creative during your visit? The Littleton Studio School in downtown Littleton is a must-visit venue for the artistic visitor.
Littleton Studio School is a nonprofit community arts center offering a wide range of art classes from pottery throwing to jewelry-making to basket-weaving. Classes are available year-round and open to visitors of all ages.
There are plenty of offerings for pint-sized Picassos, as well as art programs geared towards older kids and adults. You will even find a selection of family-style classes so the whole group can get in on the creative fun.
Visitors can sign up for a class or book open studio time to practice their hobby using the school’s studio space. Make sure you take a look at all of the great handcrafted wares available for sale from local artists in the school’s shop.
Step Back in Time at Littleton Area Historical Museum
Take a walk through colonial New England with an educational visit to the Littleton Area Historical Museum. Housed in the 1894 Littleton Opera House, the Littleton Area Historical Museum is home to hundreds of artifacts that allow guests to view a snapshot of historic New England.
Visitors will find documents from some of the Littleton area’s original residents, dating back to the 18th century.
Littleton Area Historical Museum also hosts regular historic and holiday-themed events to delight visitors and locals alike. Check the museum website to plan your trip around one of the museum’s awesome events. The museum is free to visit but donations are appreciated.
Enjoy a Fabulous Meal at Tim-Bir Alley
If you’re up for a nice meal, plan on spending at least one leisurely evening enjoying the sumptuous farm-to-table menu at Tim-Bir Alley. Tim-Bir Alley is the creation of DiRonNa (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) award winner, and American Culinary Federation member, Chef Val.
Chef Val specializes in crafting delicious meals using locally sourced, regional flavors straight from the surrounding New Hampshire farms. Dishes can include venison pistachio paté, crispy duck breast with carrots and box choi, and ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms and baby kale.
If you want to make an event of the night, order the five-course Chef’s Menu with signature wine pairing. This is fine dining, New Hampshire-style — delicious local food, no pressure to be fancy about it.
Visit Wallace Horse Cemetery
The Eli Wallace Horse Cemetery is one of those quirky roadside stops that you can’t miss. This tiny cemetery was created by Eli Wallace as the final resting place for three of his horses.
The Wallace Horse Cemetery features gravesites with headstones commemorating each horse, and an informative plaque telling the unique back story behind the family and the creation of this touching historic pet cemetery.
Plan on taking a short walk as the Eli Wallace Horse Cemetery is not accessible by motor vehicle. The small paddock housing the cemetery is located just a short stroll from Mount Eustis Ski Hill, just south of town, right past Route 93.
Have a Paddle at Moore Reservoir
The Moore Reservoir was created by the damming of the Connecticut River using the Moore Dam in 1956. It is now one of the most powerful hydroelectric plants in New England.
The Moore Reservoir offers more than just power. The reservoir is an angler’s paradise with a wide range of fish species including brook trout, brown trout, bullpout, chain pickerel, northern pike, rainbow trout, and rock bass, as well as smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Looking to spend some time out on the water? Moore Reservoir is immensely popular with kayakers, and paddle boarders as well. There is no need to lug your equipment along on your New England vacation — you can rent everything you need from nearby White Mountain Adventure Sports right in Littleton.
Hang Out at Remich Park
Remich Park offers fun for the whole family and is considered one of the best Littleton parks. Young children will love the new playground while older kids will appreciate the basketball court and swimming pool. During the summer months, the park hosts local concerts that are free to attend and there are a few walking trails, including one that offers an incredible view of Mt. Garfield.
Visit Lahout’s: America’s Oldest Ski Shop
One of the best things to do in Littleton is to pay a visit to Lahout’s, which proudly holds the title of America’s Oldest Ski Shop. The store, founded in 1920, has been in the same family for 4 generations, and still upholds the same values as they did when they originally sold their wares from a horse and wagon.
They’ve now expanded to eight locations in Littleton and Lincoln. Their Lincoln stores are close to several ski resorts, including Loon Mountain, though the original Littleton location will always have a special place in the heart of all locals.
Do the typical New Hampshire visitor thing — realize the hiking socks you brought are not quite good enough and make a panicked trip to Lahout’s for a new pair!
Take A (Short) Hike
If you’re looking to spend a little time outside but aren’t up for strenuous hiking or mountain biking, the Dells Nature Trail is for you. At just under a mile long, it takes just 30 minutes or so to walk, but takes you to a beautiful pond where you can relax at a table or spend some time bird-watching.
Even better, the Dells is just a few blocks from Main Street so while you’re surrounded by wilderness, you’re still right in the town of Littleton!
Another of the best hiking trails in the area is Kilburn Crags, commonly known as “The Crags,” which is a bit more strenuous at 1.4 miles and an elevation of 1,300 feet but absolutely worth it.
And if you’re up for more hiking, you can always head south to Franconia. The Artist Bluff Trail is one of our all-time favorites. And you’re also close to the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire.
In the winter months, skiing is one of the most popular things to do near Littleton. While there are lots of big ski resorts further south, the local favorite is Mt. Eustis Ski Hill, a legendary slope that originally opened in 1939. Though it was closed for 32 years, it re-opened in 2015 thanks to help from the community and has once again become a top ski destination.
Other popular places for skiing include Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, which is a great resorts for skiers of different abilities; Cannon Mountain in Franconia, which is best for experienced skiers; and Bretton Woods, a gorgeous spot with views of Mount Washington. See our guide to NH ski resorts to figure out which ski resort is best for you.
Where to Stay in Littleton, NH
We at New Hampshire Way recommend staying right in downtown Littleton if possible. The town is so charming and it’s the kind of place you enjoy soaking up over the course of a few days. It’s so nice to get up in the morning and being able to walk to everything.
Additionally, if you’re planning on sampling the beers at Schilling Beer Co., you can just walk back to your hotel and not worry about getting a taxi.
So where are some good spots to stay?
Thayers Inn — This historic hotel is THE place to stay in Littleton, and originally opened in 1850! Located right on Main Street and surrounded by Greek columns. Rooms are a bit small, as is standard in historic inns, but feature lots of comfy furnishings and classic New England decor.
Littleton Motel — Our team stayed here recently and we were surprised how much we enjoyed it. While “just a motel,” it’s very comfortable. It’s also located across from the Littleton Diner for easy breakfast access! However, keep in mind it’s only open from May 15th through October 20th.
If you’re open to staying outside downtown Littleton, there are plenty more options in Littleton, Franconia, Sugar Hill, and Bethlehem. The Hampton Inn Littleton is about a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk from Littleton.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, we recommend the Adair Country Inn in nearby Bethlehem, a great place just an eight-minute drive from Littleton.
Find deals on places to stay in Littleton here.
How Much Time to Spend in Littleton, NH
Most visitors to Littleton pop in for a few hours and leave. We understand the impulse — there’s just so much to see in the White Mountains — but we wish people hung out for a bit longer!
A lot of it depends on where you’re staying. If you dream of staying at a rural B&B surrounded by farmland, definitely go and do that! But if you like the idea of staying in a walkable downtown, we recommend basing in downtown Littleton.
You can spend your days out and exploring, from the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the Kancamagus Highway, then come home to the same cozy town each night.
How to Get to Littleton, NH
Littleton is located right off I-93, making it a nonstop highway journey from Boston! If you’re coming from the Boston area, keep this in mind! Despite Littleton being further away than North Conway, it’s actually a similar journey length due to being all highway.
If you’re flying in, the closest airports are Manchester, NH (90 minutes), Burlington, VT (1 hour 45 minutes), and Boston, MA (2.5 hours).
In terms of other White Mountains destinations, Littleton is a 10-minute drive from Franconia, 30-minute drive from Lincoln, 30-minute drive from Bretton Woods, and one-hour drive from North Conway. It’s also right across the river from Saint Johnsbury, Vermont (25 minutes).
Best Time to Visit Littleton, NH
Like most of the White Mountains, Littleton is busiest during the summer and fall months. Summer is an especially busy time for families, and it’s a fantastic time for hiking and other outdoor activities.
Fall brings the most brilliant colors to Littleton and the White Mountains. Peak foliage tends to hit in early October, and this is the busiest and most expensive time to visit the White Mountains. If you’re traveling at this time, book your accommodation way ahead of time.
Be sure to check out our guide on where and when to see New Hampshire fall foliage and our guide to things to do in New Hampshire in the fall.
Winter is quiet and very local; Littleton is a bit of a longer drive from the ski resorts so it isn’t as busy as Lincoln or North Conway. Spring is affectionately (or not-so-affectionately) known as Mud Season here in Northern New Hampshire, so we recommend visiting in mid-May or later if you want a festive spring atmosphere.
Littleton puts on a Christmas parade on the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), and a craft fair the day after. It’s one of our favorite Christmas activities in New Hampshire.
Is Littleton NH Worth It?
I hope you’ve been realizing how much we love Littleton — because this town is so, so worth it. It’s one of our absolute favorite small towns in New Hampshire and it makes a fantastic, quieter alternative to North Conway.
We think you’ll love your time in Littleton. Perhaps this will become your new favorite New Hampshire getaway!
More on the White Mountains:
- A Guide to Driving the Kancamagus Highway
- 27 Epic Things to Do in Lincoln, NH
- A Guide to Glen Ellis Falls, NH
- Visiting Jackson Falls, NH
- A Guide to the Mount Washington Cog Railway
- 25+ New Hampshire Cabins with Hot Tubs
- Tips for Driving the Mount Washington Auto Road
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire
- Snow and Ice Climbing in the White Mountains, NH
- 31 Fun Things to Do in North Conway, NH
- 16 Best Things To Do in Jackson, NH
- 30 Unforgettable Things To Do In The White Mountains, NH
Best of New Hampshire:
- 50+ Best Things to Do in New Hampshire
- 13 Best Beaches in New Hampshire
- New Hampshire’s Best Breweries
- New Hampshire Fall Foliage Guide
- 30 Unforgettable Things To Do In The White Mountains, NH
Have you been to Littleton? What are your favorite things to do? Share away!