Celebrate the holidays in one of the world's Christmas capitals!
“For all the beauty Portsmouth offers during the summer, the holiday season just may be its finest time of year. The Christmas spirit you find here isn’t garish or overblown. It’s tasteful and subtle, more vintage than big-box store.” — Yankee Magazine
The holidays in New England are cozy and beautiful, and Portsmouth is no exception. Take a holiday tour around town, or drive through Portsmouth and its neighboring towns for Christmas lights sight-seeing and wintertime fun. See below for some of our recommendations of places to see and things to do!
City of Portsmouth Tree Lighting & Parade
The theme of the 2019 holiday parade is Hometown Holiday. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 7th (rain date December 8th), beginning with music in Market Square and then the Mayor lighting the tree at 5:30 p.m. The parade follows, stepping off from Islington/Summer Street at 6:00 p.m.
Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
A month long celebration of the holiday season with shows, strolls, shopping and more!
Join the Wentworth Hotel for one or all of their festive holiday meals in December.
Festive Sunday Brunch held in the Wentworth Ballroom. A special guest will join each Sunday, so bring the kids so they can finalize their Christmas lists with Santa. Reservations are required | $54.95++ per adult, $25.95++ per child aged 2 – 12.
Festive Christmas Holiday Buffet | Wentworth Ballroom
If you are looking for a spectacular setting to have a Christmas Day Holiday Buffet with all the holiday trimmings, then don’t miss this one! Enjoy a seemingly endless display of mouth-watering delicacies, glimmering lights, sparkling fountains, complimentary champagne, and much more. Reservations are required | $59.95++ per adult, $25.95++ per child aged 2 – 12.
Festive Christmas Dinner, SALT Kitchen & Bar and the Grand Dining Room | 1pm – 10pm. Enjoy an elegant three-course prix-fixe plated Christmas dinner prepared by our team of award-winning chefs.Reservations are strongly recommended | $59.95++ per adult, $25.95++ per child aged 2 – 12.
Open Christmas Eve, last seating at 7:00 pm.
Open New Years Eve for dinner.
Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant
Open Christmas Eve 11 AM – 6 PM.
IKKO Japanese Restaurant
Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for Lunch & Dinner.
29th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Exhibition
Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery surrounded by large format photographs: David J. Murray’s images of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and photographs of trains in New Hampshire winters by Andy Dolph. Featuring intricate creations by local residents and businesses, exhibited in the first-floor gallery from November 30 to December 22.
40th Annual Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum
3,000 holiday decorations handcrafted from natural materials, lanes lined with hundreds of wooden candle boxes with real candles, strolling carolers, bonfire, costumed role-players portraying December in Portsmouth 1695-1954 (including Mrs. Shapiro’s 1919 Hanukkah).
Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond
Provides seasonal outdoor ice skating at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum. The rink operates seven days a week, 9 am to 9 pm throughout December and on New Year’s Day, and the months of January and February.
Annie at The Musical at the Music Hall
Annie is the heartwarming and hilarious story of a merry, quirky orphan girl finding a home for Christmas, featuring Broadway actors and dancers! Sally Struthers’ show-stealing Miss Hannigan is back in a production that will knock your socks off. With a memorable cast of characters, and beloved songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” this is truly a family-friendly musical! Bring Annie home for the holidays!
The Seacoast Rep: A Christmas Carol
The classic Dickens Christmas story, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is brought to new life with music by Broaway composer Alan Menken and the best performers New England has to offer. Seacoast Rep is pleased to present the time-honored, family-friendly tale of Ebenezer Scrooge as he learns generosity, redemption, and the true meaning of Christmas.
Portsmouth Christmas Tree Lighting & Illuminated Holiday Parade and Food Drive
Experience this magical event in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. Excitement builds as the community counts down to the lighting of the Portsmouth Christmas Tree and the festive fun continues with a dazzling illuminated holiday parade down Islington Street through Market Square.
Players Ring Theater: A Christmas Carol
Spend the holiday season gathering with your favorite people and watching some of the season’s most beloved characters come to life before your eyes! The Players’ Ring is proud to present Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for this 65th Anniversary Season.
December 6-22, 2019
Wednesdays & Thursdays – 7:00 pm
Fridays – 8:00 pm
Saturdays – 3:00 and 8:00 pm
Sundays – 3:00 and 7:00 pm
Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra: A Brassy Baroque Christmas
This year the PSO invites to celebrate the season with Holiday favorites old and new! Tickets for these performances sell out quickly, get your ticket early.
Prescott Parks Arts Festival: Elf the Musical
A title known the world over, Elf the Musical is a must-produce holiday musical that can easibly become an annual traidion for any theater. Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, Elf treasures songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) and Chad Beguelin (Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway), with a book by Tony Award winners, THomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone.)
Portsmouth Pro Musica: 2019 December Concert
Christmas Music for Voices & Brass with Portsmouth Brass Quartet
Tickets purchased online will be held at the door for pick-up the day of concert.
December 13, 2019 – 8:00 pm
Current location: St. Mary’s Church, 25 Chestnut Street, Dover, NH
The River House
2019 Information Coming Soon
Tuscan Kitchen Tree Lighting
Tis the holiday season and no Christmas is complete without the unforgettable moment when a tree is illuminated for all to see. To kick off this bright and joyful time of year, Tuscan Kitchen in Portsmouth and Salem will host their annual Christmas Tree Lightings on December 5 and December 7 respectively.
With complimentary hot cocoa, cookies and coffee, sing festive carols while awaiting Santa Claus’ visit. Since it is the season of giving, Tuscan Brands invites revelers to support in their ongoing commitment to serve the community by holding a clothing drive to benefit Lazarus House Ministrie
Warner House Annual Christmas Open House
Enjoy this historical home beautifully decorated just as the traditions prior to 1929. Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 12 PM – 3 PM. Open House, snacks and music, including a fiddler playing seasonal favorites! Free to the public, but donations are always welcome.
Wentworth’s Annual Illumination
2019 Information Coming Soon
Wreaths Across America
On Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM, Wreaths Across America will be at USS Albacore– Portsmouth Submarine Memorial Association to Remember and Honor our veterans through the laying of Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country’s fallen heroes and the act of saying the name of each and every veteran aloud.
Portsmouth has many warm & inviting lodging properties to enjoy during your holiday getaway.
Stay two nights get a third night free during Christmas week!
G. Willikers is offering 20% off 1 item through December 21st, Check them out!
Solari Salon & Spa - Annual Holiday Event
Offering 20% Off all custom gift sets and Purchase a $100 Gift Card and receive 20% off OR receive a $25.00 Gift Card free.
There will be complimentary mini spa services, wine and tasty treats as well!
Thursday December 5th from 3-8.