Settled in 1623 and the 3rd oldest city in the nation, Portsmouth still shows roots of its past, with a working port, plenty of breweries, shipping freights, fishing, and the colonial Strawberry Banke to tour.  Best toured on foot due to narrow streets and limited parking, you’ll find an endless amount of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, lobster piers, and ice cream shops to explore.

Portsmouth, NH downtown decks.

Bow Street in downtown Portsmouth, NH as seen from the Memorial Bridge

The Basics

Where to stay:

  • Budget hotels starting around $60/night, but most hotels typically around $100/night, and closer to $200/night on weekends downtown in the summer.

Where to eat: 

  • Cheap: $5-10 for burgers, sandwiches, lobster rolls at small cafes or street vendors
  • Moderate: $15-20/plate at downtown restaurants
  • Expensive: $30+ at fine restaurants

How to get around: 

  • Local bus: Coast Bus.
  • Intercity bus: C&J Bus.
  • Local taxis/Uber: There are plenty of small local taxi companies, and Uber currently has a few cars in the city, though they’re in an on-going legal battle with the city.
  • Fly: Boston Logan Airport (60-minutes away) or Manchester Airport (45-minutes away) are a short trip away and connect with bus lines to get you around.

A Day In Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Only got one-day to visit Portsmouth and the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and wondering what to do? We got you covered.  Follow our guide below on getting the most out of 24-hours in Portsmouth.


  • Where to Eat
    • Our Recommendation:
      • The Friendly Toast: Locally sourced ingredients in a hip, funky downtown location, expect long-waits after 9am, but a huge menu and large portions. Been nationally recognized as a breakfast spot not to miss.
    • Runners Up:
      • Michele’s: Want to skip the lines? Enjoy brunch by Market Square in a small, slightly more upscale bistro.  Almost uncomfortably friendly staff will serve you a delicious breakfast in a restaurant that somehow never has a wait.
      • Colby’s: Famous local breakfast spot serving homestyle breakfast in a colonial home. Expect very long-weights due to extremely tight-seating.
  • Where to Drink (Coffee)
  • What to Do
    • Catch Sunrise at Nubble Lighthouse; York, Maine. One of the most iconic lighthouses in New England is slammed with tourists by day, but by morning you’ll watch the sun rise behind the lighthouse with only a few tourists and some local fisherman. 25-min drive from Portsmouth, NH.
    • Charter a Ride to Star Island: Book a harbor tour or trip to Star Island (Isle of Shoals) for a part-day (or full-day, if desired) trip to a body of islands 6-miles from shore. Beautiful harbor views, a little history lesson, and then a walk around a inhabited small island out in the sea.


  • Where to Eat
    • Our Recommendation:
      • Book & Bar: Take a break in the Old Custom House by Market Square and borrow a book from their extensive library while you sip on a coffee and a small sandwich.
    • Runners Up:
      • Portsmouth Brewery
      • Lexie’s Burger Joint
      • Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier: A BYOB lobster pier a scenic 15-minute drive from Portsmouth in Kittery, Maine.
      • Beach Plum: Best lobster roll in the area. Large menu of ice cream and fried foods at a hefty price, but worth it for their lobster rolls.
  • Where to Drink
    • Our Recommendation:
      • The Juicery: All-natural smoothies and organic juices.
    • Runners Up:
      • Coming Soon!
  • What to Do


  • What to Do
    • Watch Sunset: How much energy do you have left? Pick you option to enjoy sunset on the coast:
      • Keepin’ it simple: Hit “The Decks,” a series of bars/restaurants overlooking Portsmouth Harbor on Bow Street in downtown Portsmouth.  Snag an outdoor table and enjoy a meal while watching the sunset over the Piscataqua River.
      • Up for a little walk: Walk to the park on Peirce Island
      • Feelin’ ambitious: Hike Mt. Major: 50-minute drive from Portsmouth, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. Roughly a 1.5hr round-trip hike, not counting a break at the top to enjoy breath-taking views.
    • Be Entertained
      • Watch free outdoor movies, plays, or concerts from top names in the industry at the waterside Prescott Park (check calendar for daily schedule).
      • Catch a performance at 1878 Victorian-style Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., 603-436-2400).
  • Where to Eat
    • Our Recommendation
      • Black Trumpet: Entrees $20-30. 29 Ceres St., 603-431-0887
      • Annabels Ice Cream: All-natural ice cream next door to Black Trumpet. Cash only.
    • Runners-Up
      • Street: International street food, beer & specialty cocktails served in vibrant, bold-hued surroundings.
      • Brazo: A festive setting for Latin American fare & a buzzy bar scene fueled by exotic drinks & live music.
      • Shio: Sushi & cooked Japanese dishes in spare quarters with Eastern touches & traditional private rooms.
      • Portsmouth Brewery: Upbeat tavern serving pub fare with global accents plus house-brewed beer in airy digs with a patio.
      • Black Birch: Impressive beer list and delicious foods as an old record player plays classic albums from every generation.
  • Where to Drink
    • The Press Room: Intimate hangout for live music, beer & inventive pub fare in exposed-brick & wood quarters.
    • Martingale Wharf:  New American fare with seafood galore served in a flashy setting with a sprawling waterfront deck.

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