The Holiday Spirit rings loud and clear all across New Hampshire, but every year we face the same struggle of finding the perfect gift for that special someone. Luckily, there is no shortage of quality shopping, regardless of what wares you seek. Make a day of it at one of our quality outlet malls, explore a cool new downtown area, or take a trip to a quaint village full of antiques and artisan goods. Break through that online shopping bubble and support your local economy with our comprehensive guide to finding the best holiday shopping destinations!
It can be hard to find deals to impress residents of a tax-free state, but the Merrimack Premium Outlets does their absolute best. Over 100 stores, with something for literally everyone, all at 25-65 percent off. Name brands from Barbour to Bose, Tumi to Timberland make the Merrimack outlets one of the most comprehensive and cost effective shopping experiences in the state. Be sure to check their website when you plan your trip, for special sales and discount days for military personnel, students, and more, as well as extended hours during the holiday shopping seasons.
Since 1770, the town of Littleton has been one of the most special areas of our great state. One visit makes clear why this community has been named one of the “Top 10 Small Towns in America,” but such accolades have fortunately not caused inflated egos, but rather a continual dedication to New Hampshire values and local commerce. Visit the longest candy counter in the world at Chutters and browse over 500 types of candy, then pick up some fresh made pancake mix at the Littleton Grist Mill. Purchase quality crafts and hand goods, or have a look at the raw materials to make your own at one of the local fabric or yarn suppliers. Stop into the Littleton Diner for a light snack, or indulge in their famous corned beef hash. One of the few remaining, traditional “main streets” in America holds fast to its small-town identity while offering exciting and varied shopping opportunities.
Downtown Manchester offers an impressive five million square-feet of retail space divided between small, local businesses and national chain locations. One of the most eclectic shopping areas in the state in terms of variety and quality, start out at the Mall of New Hampshire for department stores and 125 specialty retailers, then move onto the city streets for even more extensive offerings. Downtown Manchester may just be the key to the ever elusive one stop holiday shopping.
If a diamond outlet isn’t enough to get you to the Tanger Outlets in Tilton, plenty of other options for retail therapy are at your disposal. Alongside the newly opened Zales The Diamond Store outlet, a veritable bazaar for buying special, quality items await you at this centrally-located location. Surrender to your senses at the Yankee Candle Store, slip into some staples at Banana Republic, or stock up at The Book Warehouse for cozy winter nights at home. If you are somehow unable to find the perfect gift for someone on your list, pick up a coveted Tanger Outlet gift card and give them an unparalleled shopping experience they will never forget.
A cozy, classic college town with a twist. Visit Plymouth year-round for a top-notch shopping and cultural destination. Start out at Artistic Roots, a store celebrating all things handmade, from pottery to greeting cards to quilts. Move onto Boomerang Used Furniture and Funky Stuff LTD., a local cooperative offering vintage and upcycled treasures, from antiques to gifts and accessories. Keep your engines roaring with the famous eggs benedict at Main Street Station, or stop into the beloved Chase Street Market and put together a quality meal of local favorites with help from doting staff.
Step back in time with Portsmouth’s annual Vintage Christmas extravaganza! Browse the 19th century brick storefronts of the historic district, filled with painstakingly curated general inventory and holiday displays. Revel in the festive decorations of Market Square, and stop into the original location of Pickwick’s Mercantile on State Street for thoughtful, inexpensive gift ideas and simply charming service. For the little ones on your list, be sure to check out G. Willikers!, an old fashioned toy store on Market Street, miles away from the high tech gadgets and gizmos so admired by today’s youngsters. Check out the Vintage Christmas website to synchronize your visit with one of their festive events, or simply admire the magical displays and decorations as you explore Historic Portsmouth.
Fifteen years after Milford was awarded a “Great American Main Street Award” for its dedicated effort to restore and preserve its historic central district, this small town is still thriving, still quaint, and still overflowing with incredible antiques. Don’t miss a pop in at Robin’s Egg, rated New Hampshire’s No. 1 antique store, offering 9,000 charming square-feet of wares. If you’re still craving pieces of the past, fuel up with a pit stop at the beloved Riverhouse Café before moving onto the New Hampshire Antiques Co-Op, 20,000 square-feet featuring 200 unique antique dealers with incredible goods. Take a moment to admire the uniqueness of Milford’s Town Oval, a twist on the traditional square, and pop into Pastiche, a sweet little store with solid offerings in apparel, accessories, gifts, and home decor. Stop for a quick coffee or craft beer at the Union Coffee Co., and finish your day at Antiques on the Oval, a wonderfully curated glimpse into the past.
Settlers Green Outlets in North Conway offer not only a solid array of discounted shopping, but quality extras, too. Make your first stop customer service, and grab your complimentary coupon book for savings at more than 30 stores. Browse classic stores like L.L. Bean, Famous Footwear, and Sunglass Hut, and be sure to take a look at Waterford Wedgewood Royal Doulton for the highest quality crystal and dinnerware available. Avoid schlepping too many purchases and take advantage of the Settlers Green UPS and FedEx shipping drop boxes—whether you choose to ship them to yourself or directly to the intended recipient! Many of the stores at Settlers Green are dog friendly, so consider bringing your canine shopping companion along for the adventure.
Status not only as a “college town,” but as one of the oldest college towns in the United States, helps Hanover deliver small town charm with enough bustling excitement to keep you coming back. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Retail Gallery is not to be missed for hand goods of unsurpassed quality. Be sure to check out the King Arthur’s Flour Baking Store, Simon Pearce, and Left Bank Books, which features over 10,000 out-of-print, rare, and used books. Even if you have no personal connection to The Big Green, check out the Dartmouth College Bookstore for music and books, as well as the nearby Dartmouth Co-Op for a serious variety of gear and gifts. Keep up your strength with breakfast, lunch, or a snack at beloved local institution Lou’s Restaurant, opened in 1947 and offering Mile High Pie, famous breakfast platters, and home run malted milkshakes.