Best Summer Performances: Prescott Park in Portsmouth New HampshirePhoto Credit : Philip Case Cohen
With an eye on what’s new for 2023, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. For more of our New Hampshire picks, check out our comprehensive Best of New Hampshire 2023 guide.
Burger Joint | Lexie’s, multiple locations
Founded in 2010, Lexie’s—now with five full-service locations from Dover to Newburyport, Massachusetts—keeps burger fans coming back with hand-crafted gourmet patties served up in a laid-back, local-joint atmosphere. Choose from nearly a dozen creative options (like the avocado-and-chimichurri-topped Green Lantern) or build your own with anything from ham to fried pickles to chipotle aioli. For a side of scenery, beeline it to the seasonal Lexie’s Landing for sunset water views.
Downtown Stay | Hotel Thaxter, Portsmouth
Leave it to Seacoast hospitality veterans Jay and Amanda McSharry to create a downtown boutique hotel that channels a genuine sense of place for Portsmouth newcomers. The name and decor pay homage to 19th-century Portsmouth author Celia Thaxter, while the 15 guest rooms in the renovated c. 1860 building display works by today’s local artists. Add-on packages spotlight revered local businesses (e.g., macarons from La Maison Navarre), while the excellent Japanese restaurant, Nichinan, ups the city’s already-thriving seafood game.
Live-Music Haunt | The Press Room, Portsmouth
Despite changing hands in 2017, undergoing lengthy renovations, and enduring the pandemic, Portsmouth’s oldest continuously running music venue is still keeping the beat. Upstairs you can get up close to local and national talent spanning jazz to roots rock—or step into the spotlight yourself on open-mic and karaoke nights—while downstairs is a lounge-y space great for sipping, snacking, and socializing.
Sightseeing Cruise | The Gundalow Company, Portsmouth
Built at Strawbery Banke Museum using traditional techniques, the gundalow Piscataqua takes passengers on a voyage into the past while giving them an eyeful of local landmarks including Portsmouth Harbor Light and Fort Constitution. Take the sightseeing up a notch with a live-music or sunset cruise, or set sail with a local expert sharing historical and environmental tidbits on a Speaker Series cruise.
Summer PerformanceS | Prescott Park Arts Festival, Portsmouth
Portsmouth’s lovely waterfront park becomes a cultural magnet every summer with its lineup of 80-plus events, two dozen nationally touring bands, and close to 300 performing artists—all for an optional donation. If you’ve never been, there’s no better time to give it a whirl, as Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary celebration is bound to take the festive atmosphere to new heights in 2023.
Vegan Restaurant | The Green Elephant, Portsmouth
Long before oat milk and plant-based meats became grocery staples, the Green Elephant opened in 2007 in Portland, Maine, and helped put accessible vegan dining on the map with its deeply flavorful Thai-inspired offerings. That same delicious fare—and accompanying acclaim—arrived in Portsmouth eight years later when the city hosted a second location, still going strong today.
Check out our full 2023 Best of New England Summer Travel Guide to find our current editors’ picks in all six New England states.