Settled in the early 1600s, this walkable working seaport has locally owned restaurants and shops, and a vibrant arts and culture scene, year-round.
Long before the Boston Tea Party, Portsmouth’s first citizens arrived on the shores of Odiorne Point with the goal to establish a flourishing seaport in the new colonies: establishing a port for fishing, fur trade, and shipbuilding to thrive. Over the centuries, this community has been called home by historical figures that aided in the creation of the United States of America, hosted international peace treaties, and more. Whether it is the visit from President George Washington in 1789, Ona Judge’s escape from slavery, the creation of the Frank Jones Brewery in the 1800s, or the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty of 1905, there is always more to learn about Portsmouth.
Of course, with all the astounding history we have in this city, we would be remiss to not mention the cost of the city’s development: the impact on the land called home by the indigenous Abenaki tribes for more than 10,000 years and the enslaved peoples brought to Portsmouth, whose stories have previously been unacknowledged. Listen to our stories, both new and old, as you visit our historical homes, explore our museums, and take guided tours through town.
Portsmouth is a vibrant, coastal New England city that honors its colorful history, preserving its authenticity while remaining passionately engaged in shaping its future. Its working seaport, unique locally owned shops and restaurants, world-class culture, engaging outdoor activities, vibrant nightlife and interesting local character attracts visitors from around the world, year-round. The whole-life, healthy environment of this walkable regional capital provides the catalyst for residents and visitors to enjoy a unique urban experience within a sustainable and progressive business environment.
Insider’s Tip: the wise person will ditch the car upon arrival in Portsmouth to enjoy this walkable city!
Take a quick walk along with a group of our visitors to get a sense of Portsmouth’s Vibrant downtown!
NH’s Gateway to the World
Once one of the nation’s busiest ports and shipbuilding cities, Portsmouth has one of the oldest working ports in the United States. Today, the port sees five million tons of cargo on import/export ships from trading partners worldwide, plus pleasure boating and commercial fishing vessels. Visitors to Portsmouth can catch a glimpse of the Moran tugboats escorting the larger vessels up and down river. Across the Piscataqua River is the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800 as the first federal navy yard, famous as the site of the 1905 signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth which ended the Russo-Japanese War. Upriver from the port is the Pease International Tradeport, formerly the home of the Strategic Air Command‘s Pease Air Force Base, now a prospering business and aviation industrial community.