As the capitol city of New Hampshire, you can bet that Concord has lots of fun things to do. It is home to the State House and its Hall of Flags visitor center. Its Capitol Center for the Arts makes it an entertainment hub. And if you want to get in touch with nature, you can hike the trails at the Susan N. McLane Audubon Center.
With so much going on, you can bet that Concord makes a great holiday vacation destination. Here are some things you can do when you’re in town.
Concord Christmas Parade
The Concord Christmas Parade has been a city tradition since 1952. It starts at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation Building on Hazen Dr. and runs east on Loudon Road to Canterbury. It then turns down Canterbury to Pembroke Rd. and ends at the Capital City Business Center.
The parade features over 50 floats as well as military vehicles, fire trucks, utility company and red cross vehicles. There are typically political figures present as well.
The Concord Community Chorus Performs Handel’s Messiah
Handel’s Messiah is practically synonymous with Christmas. To get your dose, head out to see the Concord Community Chorus perform the piece at the South Congregational Church. The event will feature professional soloists, and orchestra and exceptional singing talents.
Catch a Holiday Movie at Red Rivers Theatre
Red Rivers Theatre is known for presenting the best in arthouse cinema. Every year the three-screen theater serves up Christmas classics like “Elf”, “The Polar Express” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Be sure to catch your holiday favorites.
Visit the Granite State Candy Shoppe
The holidays are a great time to enjoy seasonal treats, and Granite State Candy Shoppe is sure to have plenty of them.
The shop has been open and owned by the same family since 1927. Their candies are made using the same recipes and techniques of the olden days. They have become a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
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The State House was designed in 1814. It features Greek Revival architecture with smooth granite bricks and a small projecting portico supported by Doric columns.
The exterior features square and arched windows while an octagonal drum in the center with large arched windows supports a golden dome with a bull’s eye window and small lantern. A huge gold painted eagle statue looks to the right and is a gift from the New Hampshire Historical Society.
The grounds are enclosed by a granite fence but there is no gate to impede the flow of visitors as this is considered the ‘people’s house’. The grounds include various statues and memorials.
The House of Flags Visitor Center is a great place to book a tour and purchase a flag or other items related to New Hampshire.
Booking a tour around Christmastime is highly recommended. The Visitor Center will be carrying New Hampshire themed ornaments and other great gifts.
The halls of the State House are decked out and the various chambers are decorated with natural boughs from trees across the state. Several trees are donated for the season filling the building with a festive look and a great smell.
Ten 30-inch-wide wreaths will be hung on the pillars in the Hall of Flags and a Jewish menorah will be added to the front lawn.
Go Antique Shopping at the Concord Antique Gallery
The Concord Antique Gallery is the largest antique shop in New Hampshire. It features over 155 dealers and covers over 10,000 square feet. It is known for its reasonable prices and great selection. You can find furniture, jewelry and all sorts of terrific Christmas gifts.
Visit Pierce Manse
Pierce Manse is a historic house museum and former home of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. The home is open to the public and you can schedule a guided tour at any time to find out more about 19th century living.
If you are in town for the Christmas season, be sure to check out what holiday events are happening at the house. In past years there have been concerts on the lawn and a Wreaths Across America Ceremony.
Check out the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is a great place to learn about astronomy, aviation and earth and space sciences through innovative, interactive exhibits. It offers a planetarium theater and high-tech observatory workshops for visitors of all ages.
Every holiday season, they host a members-only holiday party. Members are welcome to come and browse the exhibits while nibbling on holiday sweets. Past exhibits have also been holiday-themed including a video presentation on how astronauts celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah in space.
Christmas Eve Dinner at the Granite Restaurant and Bar
The Granite Restaurant & Bar is an award-winning restaurant known for its terrific food and drinks and opulent sense of ambiance. They host a Christmas Eve dinner that is sure to make your season bright. The interior is decked out for the holidays and there are many festive choices on the menu.
Brush Up on Your History at the New Hampshire Historical Society
The New Hampshire Historical Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1823 that is dedicated to preserving and sharing New Hampshire history. Its museum has thousands of books, documents, photographs and maps that are part of the state’s history. Many are holiday themed.
The building itself is also quite impressive. Built in 1911 many consider it to be the greatest example of architecture in the state. Be sure to check out the sculpture by New Hampshire artist Danial Chester French which is on display in its interior.
Concord, New Hampshire is a great place to visit any time of year, but it is sure to bring a lot of fun at Christmastime. What will you be doing when you make the trip?