About Portsmouth, New Hampshire

In naming Portsmouth a National Trust for Historic Preservation Distinctive Destination, then-president Richard Moe commented, “Thanks to a longstanding commitment to historic preservation, Portsmouth, New Hampshire has never forgotten its sense of place. With its captivating blend of coastal beauty, historic buildings and lively downtown, there is something for every age and interest to experience.”

  • US Dept of the Interior Preserve America Community
  • “Top Ten Green Streets in America,” Planning.org
  • “The Northeast’s best line-up of history, charm and scenery,” The Miami Herald
  • One of eight North American “Most Romantic Cities,” MSN.com
  • Forbes Traveler’s list of “America’s Prettiest Towns.”
  • National Geographic Traveler, “Historic Places” – #26 in the world; #6 in the U.S.A.
  • “Top 20 Towns in America,” Outside Magazine
  • New Hampshire’s “Best Walking City,” Prevention Magazine
  • “Small Town, Big Eats,” Boston Magazine
  • Portsmouth is blessed with an absurd selection of restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors to ponder,” New York Times
  • “Portsmouth you are a charming little must.” Chicago Tribune
  • “A city with old charm and a young heart,” Boston Globe
  • “Shopping in Portsmouth is like retail on Red Bull,” NH Magazine
  • “One of the region’s hippest small cities,” Boston Herald

Settled in 1623 at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth grew largely on its strength as a major shipbuilding center and fishing community. Four fires in the first half of the 1800s led the residents to build with brick, creating an extraordinary streetscape and architectural legacy. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt chose Portsmouth to host America’s first peace conference to end a war between two foreign powers and earned the Nobel Peace Prize for the resulting Treaty of Portsmouth.

The seaport of Portsmouth, the nation’s third oldest city, is one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country with a stimulating mix of historic buildings, sidewalk cafes, great restaurants, art galleries, jazz clubs and distinctive artisans’ boutiques. Radiating out from Portsmouth’s iconic North Church, streets bustle with activity. The town brims with preserved historic sites including, seven National Historic Landmarks.  From the striking selection of grand mansions, including the gabled former lodgings of renowned naval captain John Paul Jones to The Black Heritage Trail, a walking tour that traces the roots of African Americans in New Hampshire, Portsmouth is packed with history.