Concord travel guide

Concord Tourism | Concord Guide

You're Going to Love Concord

New Hampshire's state capital, Concord is an elegant city that offers fine food, cultural attractions, and is the gateway to the stunning scenery of the White Mountains. Few destinations in the lower fifty offer such easy access to hiking, skiing, and climbing country.

But the city itself has plenty to offer vacationers. There's the history and grandeur of the State House, numerous vibrant theaters, and even the homes of presidents to discover, along with delicious regional produce, museums, craft beer, and a warm welcome.

It's also a city of festivals. From the Granite State Music Festival to the shopping heaven that is Market Days Festival in June, Concord hosts event after event, and there's always something to enjoy.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Concord

1. Historical Attractions and Fascinating Museums

Built in 1819, the State House is a highlight of any visit to Concord, with its shining golden dome and beautiful interior, but it's just the start of the story. Follow it up with a visit to the home of president Franklin Pierce, then the New Hampshire Historical Society, to find out everything there is to know about the Granite State.

2. Hiking and Skiing in the White Mountains Is Just a Short Drive Away

With a rental car, you can use Concord as the perfect base to explore the White Mountains. Head to beauty spots like Franconia Notch, take the railway to the peak of Mount Washington and tour the various waterfalls that dot this stunning region.

3. Concord's Calendar Is Packed with Festivals

Concord loves to throw a party, whether its a shopping extravaganza like Market Days, the State Fair in nearby Hopkinton, or June's Multicultural Festival, which celebrates chefs and artists of diverse backgrounds from the nearby area.

4. It's a Wonderful Place for Nature Tourism

If you love nature, you'll love Concord. It's home to the Susan N. McLane Audubon Center, the famous conservation organization's oldest facility, where you can get to know majestic birds like bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and screech owls.

5. See the Gorgeous Fall Colors of the Merrimack Valley

Every year, thousands of people travel to the Merrimack Valley in search of reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, and infinite shades in between as the area's trees start to shed their leaves. There are few better ways to witness one of nature's most incredible shows than by renting a car in Concord and driving down the Merrimack Valley.

What to do in Concord

1. New Hampshire State House: History at Your Fingertips

Concord is one of the most historical locations in New England, so it may not come as a surprise that the Capital's State House is the oldest one in the nation continuously in use. The very same rooms which saw laws debated and passed hundreds of years ago are still used today, and visitors cannot get enough of this visceral contact with history. The surrounding grounds are also delightful and filled with historical statues for the people to enjoy.

2. Capitol Center for the Arts: The Magic of Live Theater

The most renowned entertainment venue in New Hampshire, this lovely theater has hosted all kinds of shows through the ages - from world-famous authors to travelling Broadway shows. Stand-up comedy, seasonal delights, local theater, you name it - anyone with talent can take the stage in this 1,300-seater. There is sure to be something on the schedule, so don't forget to check it out.

3. New Hampshire Historical Society: The Granite State

This centuries-old institution was founded in 1823 to preserve the history of New Hampshire, and it has been ever-successful in its mission. Paintings from colonial times up until the present, furniture that chronicles the daily life of Concord residents, and even flags from the Revolutionary War are all found in the Society's museum. Time-worn documents and drawings complete the collection, and special exhibitions regularly reframe the artifacts for an exciting trip down memory lane.

4. McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center: The Sky is No Limit

Concord's Science Museum is a hands-on wonderland for visitors of all ages. Named after local heroes from the community who collaborated with NASA and travelled to space, the center lives up to that grand reputation. A full-fledged planetarium, a night sky observatory, indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits, and even a full-scale replica of a Mercury-Redstone Rocket await eager patrons! The Center can accommodate a full day of fun, with an onsite café to boot.

5. Red River Theatres: It Takes a Village

The epitome of independent movie theaters in the United States, Red River is a beloved staple of the Concord community. The small venue is not-for-profit and largely sustained by its dutiful patrons, making a visit saturated with the love of the town. Red River, consequently, only shows independent films and local projects - projects that would not otherwise reach so many eager viewers. A truly historical stop in a truly historical city, this theater deserves your visit.

1. New Hampshire State House: History at Your Fingertips

Concord is one of the most historical locations in New England, so it may not come as a surprise that the Capital's State House is the oldest one in the nation continuously in use. The very same rooms which saw laws debated and passed hundreds of years ago are still used today, and visitors cannot get enough of this visceral contact with history. The surrounding grounds are also delightful and filled with historical statues for the people to enjoy.

2. Capitol Center for the Arts: The Magic of Live Theater

The most renowned entertainment venue in New Hampshire, this lovely theater has hosted all kinds of shows through the ages - from world-famous authors to travelling Broadway shows. Stand-up comedy, seasonal delights, local theater, you name it - anyone with talent can take the stage in this 1,300-seater. There is sure to be something on the schedule, so don't forget to check it out.

3. New Hampshire Historical Society: The Granite State

This centuries-old institution was founded in 1823 to preserve the history of New Hampshire, and it has been ever-successful in its mission. Paintings from colonial times up until the present, furniture that chronicles the daily life of Concord residents, and even flags from the Revolutionary War are all found in the Society's museum. Time-worn documents and drawings complete the collection, and special exhibitions regularly reframe the artifacts for an exciting trip down memory lane.

4. McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center: The Sky is No Limit

Concord's Science Museum is a hands-on wonderland for visitors of all ages. Named after local heroes from the community who collaborated with NASA and travelled to space, the center lives up to that grand reputation. A full-fledged planetarium, a night sky observatory, indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits, and even a full-scale replica of a Mercury-Redstone Rocket await eager patrons! The Center can accommodate a full day of fun, with an onsite café to boot.

5. Red River Theatres: It Takes a Village

The epitome of independent movie theaters in the United States, Red River is a beloved staple of the Concord community. The small venue is not-for-profit and largely sustained by its dutiful patrons, making a visit saturated with the love of the town. Red River, consequently, only shows independent films and local projects - projects that would not otherwise reach so many eager viewers. A truly historical stop in a truly historical city, this theater deserves your visit.

Where to Eat in Concord

Every evening of your vacation in Concord could feature a new gourmet dining option. There are high-quality gastropubs like the Barley House, reliable chains like Common Man Restaurant and Beefside, which specializes in surf and turf meals. If you fancy something fiery, El Rodeo is a great Mexican joint, while Angelina's is the finest Italian in town. Meals won't be too expensive. Expect the check to come to $15-25 with a couple of courses included.

When to visit Concord

Concord in December
Estimated hotel price
$208
1 night at 3-star hotel
Concord in December
Estimated hotel price
$208
1 night at 3-star hotel

If you want to do some serious leaf watching, head to Concord from late October onwards (November to be sure). Hikers and climbers flock to the White Mountains when the snows thaw around early April, while skiing is a big draw from December through March. The best of the town's festivals are in June, while September is another highlight, thanks to the State Fair in Hopkinton.

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How to Get to Concord

Plane

The closest airport to Concord is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT), around 20 miles to the south. The airport has branches of Dollar, Enterprise, and Thrifty, so it's a good place to rent a car. However, there's a direct bus connection as well that runs all day and costs just $4.

Train

Concord itself doesn't have an Amtrak station, but Durham does, which is around 30 miles east of Concord. Durham-University of New Hampshire station has direct links to Boston, and by extension the entire Amtrak network, and there are connecting buses to Concord, so train travel is a possibility.

Car

If you are coming from Boston, take I-93 northwards straight to Concord. Those driving from upstate New York should take I-90 and then change to I-93, while those coming from New York City should take I-91 and change onto Route 89 at Lebanon.

Bus

Concord only has intercity bus connections with nearby Boston via Concord Trailways, but you can reach Boston via a multitude of different carriers, making buses a cheap alternative to driving or flying.

Airports near Concord

Airlines serving Concord

United Airlines
Good (2,853 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,395 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,177 reviews)
KLM
Good (355 reviews)
Air France
Good (403 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,061 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,337 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,436 reviews)
SWISS
Good (458 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,219 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (973 reviews)
Iberia
Good (923 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,455 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (283 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (317 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (335 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (548 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (102 reviews)
Finnair
Good (702 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,642 reviews)
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Where to stay in Concord

Downtown Concord - New Hampshire's political center has an abundance of historical streets and attractions like the State House, the Historical Society, and the Franklin Pierce Manse, so there's plenty to see. It's also full of shopping opportunities like Capitol Shopping Center and thriving S Main Street.

Popular Neighborhoods in Concord

Hopkinton - home to New Hampshire's largest State Fair in early September and charming architectural sights like the Contoocook covered railway bridge (the oldest of its type in the USA), Hopkinton is a leafy, friendly part of town and a great place to stay.

Loudon - a couple of miles to the northeast of Concord proper, Loudon is a small town with one major attraction: the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Every year, this small community hosts NASCAR events and the Loudon Classic, the oldest motorcycle contest in the country.

Where to stay in popular areas of Concord

How to Get Around Concord

Public Transportation

Buses in the city are provided by Concord Area Transit, which runs buses into the Merrimack Valley as far as Manchester, along with suburbs like Loudon. Single fares cost $1.25 and you can buy a 10-ride pass for $10, so it's an affordable way to get around.

Taxi

There are plenty of local taxi operators, as well as Uber, who offer by far the most economical way to travel around the Concord area (unless you take the bus). Expect Uber cabs to cost around $1.20 for the flag drop, then another $1.20 per mile after that.

Car

Car rental services in the Concord area include branches of Enterprise and Avis, and you can find vehicles for as little as $20 per day. Having a car can be a real help if you intend to tour the White Mountains or stay in Concord's satellite towns, and parking is usually easy to find in downtown neighborhoods.

The Cost of Living in Concord

Shopping Streets

The best place to head in Concord for some serious shopping is probably Downtown, which is full of independent stores like Bravo Boutique, Capitol Craftsman, and Little River Oriental Rugs. It's a great area to window shop on a sunny afternoon. But if the weather turns rainy, you can always pop into malls like Steeplegate Mall on the road to Loudon. There are plenty of great shopping opportunities, with an added bonus: Concord has no sales tax, making everything extra affordable.

Groceries and Other

If you need to shop for groceries, the best places to go are supermarkets like Market Basket, Shaw's, and Hannaford, all of which have deli counters, fresh fruit sections, and all the essentials you could need. Prices are usually reasonable, with a gallon of milk costing around $3.50.

Cheap meal
$23.71
A pair of jeans
$59.27
Single public transport ticket
$4.98
Cappuccino
$6.12