New Hampshire

Guide to Concord, New Hampshire | Eat, Stay, and Play

Business and politics, arts and culture, shopping and fine dining — it all blends beautifully in the state capital of Concord, New Hampshire.

By Cathryn McCann

Dec 26 2018

Main Street, in downtown Concord, New Hampshire.

Guide to Concord, New Hampshire | Downtown

Photo Credit : Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo
New Hampshire’s state capital isn’t just a place for business and government. Over the years, Concord has developed into a lively city with a pedestrian-friendly downtown brimming with dining and entertainment options. The Capitol Center for the Arts is a cultural hub, while nearby trails and the Merrimack River offer outdoor recreation opportunities. Plus, history is everywhere you look — especially the beautiful gold-domed capitol building that’s been a fixture for almost 200 years. And somehow, despite being the state capital and a centrally located city, Concord still maintains a townlike atmosphere. Read on for some of our favorite places to eat, things to do, and places to stay in Concord, New Hampshire.
Guide to Concord, New Hampshire
Guide to Concord, New Hampshire | Downtown
Photo Credit : Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo

Guide to Concord, New Hampshire | Eat, Stay, Play

Best Things to Do in Concord, New Hampshire

There’s a thriving arts scene in Concord, from the League of N.H. Craftsmen and the many local art galleries to Symphony NH (the oldest professional orchestra in the state) and shows at the City Auditorium. Shopping encompasses small businesses along Main Street as well as big retailers a short drive from downtown. There’s a whole network of trails for hiking, biking, and running, as well as plenty of places for learning, including the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and the New Hampshire Historical Society.

Capitol Center for the Arts | Performance

This 1,304-seat theater — originally opened in 1927 and completely revitalized in the early 1990s — is now the venue for some of the largest productions and highest-profile performers in the state. Marquee offerings include Broadway shows, dance performances, and concerts.

Red River Theatres | Cinema

You can’t miss this 8,500-square-foot movie house right off Main Street, offering high-quality entertainment on three screens using the latest technology. Choose from independent films, classics, foreign films, family films, and more. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Movie Theater.”

Contoocook River Canoe Co. | Outdoors

Part of the beauty of Concord is its location along the Contoocook and Merrimack rivers. If you’re looking for a break from the city bustle, try a few hours on the water with the Contoocook River Canoe Co., a family-owned business that offers kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard rentals, sales, and lessons, as well as guided trips (including fishing). Named a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Urban Escape.”

Gibson’s Bookstore | Shopping

An independent bookstore since 1898, Gibson’s has seen three generations of owners on its way to becoming the longest continuously operating retailer in the city. In addition to its wide-ranging inventory of books, Gibson’s hosts more than 100 events every year, featuring internationally known authors as well as local ones. Grab a coffee at True Brew Barista and spend a few hours in the largest indie bookstore in northern New England. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Bookstore” and one of our picks for the Best Independent Bookstores in New England.

Concord Antiques Gallery | Shopping

This two-story, 10,000-square-foot store is filled wall-to-wall with treasures of every kind, thanks to the 150-plus dealers who offer up their wares here. And since new items are added every week, no matter when you go, you’ll likely find something worth taking home.
Guide to Concord, New Hampshire
Guide to Concord, New Hampshire | Revival Kitchen
Photo Credit : Revival Kitchen & Bar

Best Restaurants in Concord, New Hampshire

The Barley House | Casual

If good food and local brews in a comfy setting is what you seek, check out the Barley House. Modeled after old-school European pubs, it makes beer geeks feel especially at home. Tip: Try the Dublin burger or the McBarley burger, both customer favorites. Named a 2012 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Burger.”

Revival Kitchen and Bar | Fine Dining

At his Depot Street eatery, chef-owner Corey Fletcher “revives” Old World dishes with a New England spin and locally sourced meats, dairy, and produce. The result? Farm-to-table fine dining.

Smokeshow Barbecue | Meat

Meat lovers, meet Smokeshow. Owner Matt Gfroerer brings Texas barbecue experience to this New Hampshire joint, yielding “a little bit of the South with a lot of New England attitude,” he says. Visitors rave about the ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches, sides, and overall strong and tasty barbecue flavors.

Bread and Chocolate | Bakery

The operation at Bread and Chocolate may be small, but the French-inspired pastries, croissants, cakes, and artisanal sandwiches at this beloved downtown Concord bakery have earned it a passionate following. The eclairs, chocolate croissants, and fruit tarts are not to be missed!

Live Juice | On-the-Go

This café utilizes locally sourced and organic food in its range of breakfast, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Need a quick pick-me-up? Have them blend up a  juice or smoothie for you, or grab a tea or coffee — all in a range of flavors and combinations.
Guide to Concord, New Hampshire
Guide to Concord, New Hampshire | The Centennial Hotel
Photo Credit : The Centennial Hotel

Best Hotels in Concord, New Hampshire

The Centennial Hotel | Concord

With its grand Victorian exterior, this luxury boutique hotel makes a big impression. The historical (c. 1876) building has been handsomely revitalized; the 32 rooms are outfitted with modern decor and amenities.

Old Story Farm Bed & Breakfast | Hopkinton

Located 10 minutes from downtown Concord, this B&B promises a genuine farmhouse experience. The c. 1760 residence has five guest rooms, common rooms with puzzles and games, a large screened-in porch, and a lovely rural setting. And the delicious breakfasts are not to be missed.

Colby Hill Inn | Henniker

Offering a great retreat after a day in the city, this eco-friendly country inn is just 20 minutes from Concord but feels a world away. Situated on five peaceful acres, it offers 14 individually decorated rooms, plus on-site dining at the Grazing Room and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool. Have you ever been to Concord, New Hampshire? Let us know your favorite things to do, places to eat, and places to stay! This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated. 

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