Are you planning to spend Christmas in New Hampshire? The Live Free or Die State is a wonderful Christmas vacation destination with holiday festivals, decorations, and oh, so much New Hampshire Christmas charm!
Quick Tip for Visiting New Hampshire in the Winter
Winter in New Hampshire is typically very, very cold, and very, very snowy, so be sure to dress in lots of layers and solid footwear and you should be good to go.
Participate in Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
Pretty Portsmouth has a lovely Christmas tradition called Vintage Christmas, where this historic seacoast town hosts an entire month of festive holiday fun that includes performances, a downtown scavenger hunt, a gingerbread house contest, and more! There’s even outdoor ice skating at Portsmouth’s Puddle Dock Pond to really get you feeling the holiday spirit.
Downtown Portsmouth is beautifully decorated for the holidays and has so many great things to do, including Christmas shopping on its charming cobblestone streets. Strawbery Banke Museum hosts a Candlelight Stroll, where role-players dressed up in period holiday wear bring the beautifully decorated space to life with handcrafted wreaths and candle lanterns. Portsmouth is also home to awesome vacation rentals, making this historic seaside town an excellent Christmas getaway spot!
Have a Merry Concord Christmas
The capital city of Concord begins its Christmas festivities the weekend before Thanksgiving, with a festive Christmas Parade through the streets of Concord, then the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony happens the following weekend with fun family activities like a rock wall, inflatables, craft tables, food trucks, music, and more before Santa arrives to the party! The official tree lighting is followed by fireworks, too!
Have holiday shopping left to do? Try to make it out on the first Friday of December for Concord’s Midnight Merriment event that runs from 5pm to midnight so you can enjoy holiday fun like Christmas music, s’mores, hot chocolate, and more while you support some of Concord’s favorite shops! There are lots of great places to stay in the capital city of NH, but boutique Hotel Concord’s downtown location puts you right in the middle of all the Christmas fun and could be the perfect hotel for your Christmas vacation!
Take a Christmas Skication
New Hampshire has some excellent ski resorts, so the biggest hurdle will be choosing which one is right for you and yours! One of New England’s favorite ski resorts is in lovely Lincoln: Loon Mountain Resort. With 61 trails, 6 terrain parks for boarders, 370 skiable acres, and the only Superpipe in New Hampshire, Loon Mountain Resort is an excellent choice for those looking to catch some air for Christmas!
Loon Mountain Resort also has snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and more, so there’s plenty of ways to have fun in the snow. The River Walk Resort at Loon Mountain is one of the best hotels in New England, and has a spa and winery on site (which is one of the top Lincoln restaurants), so you can properly pamper yourself after a long day out on the slopes! If your idea of the perfect Christmas getaway involves a lot of action-packed fun in the snow, Christmas in New Hampshire has plenty of options!
Spend a day at Santa’s Village
That’s right, Santa’s Village; this Santa’s Village is in Jefferson NH and is a Christmas-themed amusement park! This festively fun park has rides of all kinds, with a Christmas spin, of course, like the Reindeer Carousel, Santa’s Express Train, Chimney Drop, and the Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree swings. There are also shops, games, and plenty of places to eat onsite, too.
A visit to Santa’s Village puts you near some awesome New Hampshire places to stay, too, like Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa. This gorgeous resort offers lots of fun outdoor winter activities like snowshoeing, snow tubing, ice skating, and more, and then you can come in and warm yourself by the roaring fire and sip on some hot cocoa, but if you’re looking for something a little simpler and closer to Santa’s Village, you’ve got plenty of options for that, too!
Have a Glad Town Christmas in Littleton
Nicknamed “Glad Town” after the author of the optimistic Pollyanna book character that hails from Littleton, this adorable New Hampshire town is a great place to visit any time of year, but come Christmas, this little town serves up a hefty dose of Christmas charm! The Littleton Christmas Parade down charming Main Street is always a Christmas crowd-pleaser.
Littleton Opera House hosts a Polar Express movie night, holiday craft fair, and the Littleton Festival of Trees, so you can enjoy this gorgeous opera house with its halls all decked for the holidays! If you’re looking for a little more razzle-dazzle for your Christmas in New Hampshire, look into White Christmas at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, where you can enjoy all kinds of festive holiday activities like an Apple Cider Express Holiday Train Ride at Littleton’s finest luxury hotel.
Head North to North Conway
North Conway is already an adorable vacation destination, but once the twinkle lights and fresh garlands are hung around town, North Conway transforms into something out of a storybook! There are so many great things to do around town, and with wholesome events like Santa’s Holiday Express train ride at the Conway Scenic Railroad and the dedicated-to-all-things-Christmas Christmas Loft, North Conway makes for a fantastic family Christmas destination.
As an added bonus, just a few minutes up the road is the town of Jackson, another absolutely charming New Hampshire town! Stay at the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa, one of the best spa spots in New England. Jackson hosts a Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour on weekends during December, and of course, Christmas Farm Inn participates!
P.S. Look out for the covered bridge that’s featured in Hallmark’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!”
Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
When you think of a quintessentially quaint Christmas experience, what comes to mind? For many of us, it involves a trip to the local Christmas tree farm, or at least those distinctive scents of fresh-cut Christmas trees that make their way into all things Christmassy! You don’t have to be shopping for your Christmas tree to visit a Christmas tree farm in New Hampshire, you can go in search of a great, wholesome Christmas in New Hampshire experience and not have to leave with an evergreen strapped to the roof of your car.
Glove Hollow Christmas Tree Farm in Plymouth offers a viewing tower you can climb to get a better view, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot chocolate, and handcrafted holiday wreaths, and Noel’s Tree Farm in Litchfield offers a fantastic weekend experience with marshmallows to be roasted over outdoor fire pits, Santa visits every Sunday with hayrides and hot chocolate, and so many lovely hand-crafted holiday decorations that would make for a fantastic souvenir of your New Hampshire Christmas vacation!
See the Largest Parade in New Hampshire
Vibrant Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire, so it only makes sense that their Christmas Parade would be the largest in the state, too! The Manchester Christmas Parade is the first Saturday of December, and fantastically festive floats, live entertainment, vendors, and of course, Santa, make the event special for all those who attend.
There are so many great things to do in Manchester, like catching a holiday show at the historic Palace Theatre venues, eating at local restaurants, and shopping at the downtown Holiday Market where you can buy artisan-made, handcrafted goods. There’s outdoor ice skating at Dorr’s Pond at Livingston Park and oh, so many great places to stay in Manchester, but if you’re in the mood to splurge, travel a few minutes up the road to The Bedford Village Inn and Grand Boutique Hotel where you will be in for an absolute treat of luxury and comfort… there’s an onsite spa, too!
Enjoy an Exeter Christmas
The quaint seacoast town of Exeter is one of the cutest small towns in New Hampshire, and when it comes to Christmas charm, they’ve got more than their fair share! The Exeter Holiday Parade takes place on the first Saturday of December, and this sweet small-town parade features cleverly decorated floats, music, lights, and of course, the Big Man in Red himself.
Downtown Exeter is lovely when its storefronts are decorated with twinkle lights and handcrafted wreaths, making holiday shopping all that is Merry and Bright. With small-town Christmas activities like the Festival of Trees and the placing of luminaries on Christmas Eve, Exeter is a charming holiday destination. Consider a stay at the lovely Inn by the Bandstand so you can have a perfect view of the beautifully lit and decorated downtown bandstand.
Have Hanover Host your Christmas Vacation
Hanover is the home of Dartmouth College, and this college town is an excellent Christmas vacation destination. Hanover’s Downtown Festival of Lights is reminiscent of European open-air Christmas markets, with storefronts delightfully dressed with twinkle lights and fresh garlands, and food kiosks serving up Hanover staples and holiday treats like fresh cider doughnuts and hot cocoa. The initial lighting takes place the first Friday of December, but the festival continues for the first three weekends of December and in the days leading up to Christmas!
There is plenty of fun to be had in Hanover, but during the holiday season, the downtown is even more of a visual treat, with illuminated holiday trees and a menorah to commemorate the winter holidays. Plus, just a few minutes up the road is The Lyme Inn, the historic inn that makes for an absolutely gorgeous spot to settle in for a charming Christmas getaway.
Christmas in New Hampshire is a sight to see (and we didn’t even mention the Loudon Lights!) so it’s likely that wherever your holiday New Hampshire getaway takes you to, you’re going to be in for a great treat!
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Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.