Concord, New Hampshire is the capital of the granite state. Just over and hour north of Boston, this city easily gets passed by. The next time you take a trip to the White Mountains, be sure to stop in and see what this great city has to offer. Or better yet, dedicate a weekend to explore the area. Here is a list of what our family loves to do in Concord:
1. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Granite State Candy Shoppe
This family owned store has been making chocolates and candies since 1927. On a hot day, cool of with some premium ice cream. It’s also a great place to find gifts to bring home.
2. Play in a Pocket Park
Once you have your sweets, follow the “Merrimack River” in the sidewalk to Bicentennial Square. My kids loved climbing on the stone sculptures and listening to the waterfall.
3. Shop till you drop on Main Street
Main Street in Concord is the perfect place to spend the day wandering. Not only are there endless shops to explore, but the street itself has permanent artwork and sculptures on display. Some of my favorite shops are Bona Fide Green Goods and Simply Birkenstock. Joe King’s Shoe Shop not only has a great selection of kids shoes and boots but their staff is super patient and will help you find just what you need. At the end of Main Street, don’t miss Gibson’s Bookstore. There is a wide selection of children’s book and educational toys and is always my kid’s favorite stop.
4. Explore space at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
I think most people my age can remember exactly where they were when the Challenger exploded. My class sat in our school library where they had wheeled in a giant television for us to watch the take-off. I remember the explosion and the panicked teaches not sure how to handle it all, just quickly shuffling us back to class. Christa McAuliffe was a Concord native, so this space center was built in honor of her. It was emotional watching my son learn about it.
Don’t miss the planetarium shows. We watched Capcom Go, which was a documentary about Apollo’s Space program and what it took to put the first human on the moon. I had no idea the challenges they faced or the problems they endured to accomplish that goal. And just think… back then it was all done with a math equation written with pencil and paper. That equation had to be correct down to the second or the entire crew would die. The cell phone in your hand is more technologically advanced than what they used to put a man on the moon. I was teary when they touched down and we heard the words “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
5. Have a Magical Miniature Horse Experience
Bow, New Hampshire is just a 10 minute drive from Concord. After signing up on Airbnb Experiences, you can play with a herd of 17 miniature horses. Learn how to halter, groom and lead these calm, sweet animals with your experienced host. Click here to read about our experience playing with the minis for Lizzie’s Birthday.
6. Have a luxurious night at the Hotel Concord
This new boutique hotel has a prime location on Concord’s Main Street. It is the perfect home base for exploring the area. A covered garage makes parking easy, especially in a New England winter. The rooms provide ample space for a family and cribs are available upon request. Breakfast is included and parking is free. To read our full review on this hotel, click here.
7. Eat tacos in a jail cell
The location of Margaritas used to be the city jail. My kids had the best time eating in a cell. Margaritas is a really family-friendly restaurant with a great kids menu. It is also a really fun place for birthdays. The whole staff came out to sing to my daughter, who blushed and almost climbed under the table.
8. Catch a show at the Capital Center for the Arts
This historic theater has a variety of family-friendly shows that take stage. In 2020, you can look forward to The Magic School Bus, Llama llama Live, and Charlotte’s Webb. Check out their Education Series sure to entertain kids ages pre-k and up!
9. Getaway from it all
It you haven’t yet heard of Getaway Cabins, be sure to check them out. It is the best way to completely unplug and enjoy nature. The Boston outpost is actually in Epsom, New Hampshire which is just 15 minutes from Concord. These cabins that are dappled through the woods are like modern tiny homes. There is no WIFI and no television… just the sound of the river and your firewood crackling. To read all about our experience with Getaway Cabins, click here.
10. Enjoy the country
If you need some fresh air, Concord is surrounded by beautiful walking trails. Visit the Susan N. McLane Audubon Center which features wooded hiking trails, a raptor exhibit & indoor animal displays. Or explore the Contoocook River by renting a canoe, kayak or paddle board from the family-run Contoocook River Canoe Company.
As you can see, Concord, New Hampshire has so much to offer. It is a fun and easy trip the whole family is sure to enjoy!
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