Snow-capped mountains sparkle as sunlight dances off the swaths of bright white snow drifts. Twinkling lights dance around festive, tree-lined downtown streets. Events that are filled with hometown charm have a longevity that appeals to generation after generation. Christmas towns in New Hampshire embody the spirit of the season, bringing joy and happiness to all.
These quaint New Hampshire magical Christmas towns are listed in no particular order.
On December 4th at 5:00 p.m., the holiday season kicks off in downtown Hanover. When the Christmas Tree on the Green’s lights are switched on, the first festive night of the holiday season begins.
The entire downtown ushers in Christmas cheer with storefront decorations, and many vendors offer special seasonal gifts. Surrounded by glittering Christmas trees, overhead lights, a menorah, and other twinkling decorations, downtown Hanover is transformed into a winter wonderland.
The Hanover Holiday Food Market is a collection of eight local restaurants dishing up delicious options from their kitchens. Diners will love outdoor restaurant hopping from stall to stall while the market is open on weekends in December (4-6, 11-13, and 18-20) and the four days leading up to Christmas Eve.
Situated just off Main Street next to Dartmouth College, The Hanover Inn is a wonderful option for your Christmas season-focused getaway weekend. Perfectly located for a stroll through campus or enjoying the downtown spirit, the historic Hanover Inn has been serving guests for many years.
Pro Tip: You will love exploring Hanover any time of year. Our destination guide has lots of ideas to get your itinerary started.
2. North Conway
Beginning Thanksgiving and running weekends and other select days, Santa’s Holiday Express is a 1.5-hour train ride along the Conway Branch of the Conway Scenic Railroad. Santa, cookies, and riding a Christmas train are akin to sugar plum dreams for wide-eyed children. Whether it is the beginning of a long-standing tradition or a new family outing, riding Santa’s Holiday Express is a special way to celebrate your Holiday spirit.
You can also Journey to the North Pole in North Conway. Jump aboard the train to Santa’s Workshop where you will be entertained by Santa’s elves and the big guy himself, Santa. On your journey from the train to the workshop, you will stop at the North Pole Post Office where you can mail those special letters to Santa.
Enjoy M&D Playhouse’s twist on the classic A Christmas Carol. Watch Ebby Scrooge’s transformation from curmudgeon to the life of the party as she is visited by the ghosts of Christmas. The adaptation breathes new life into the traditional tale.
For dinner, try the Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub. The pub grub fare served up in a cozy, lodge-like ambiance is a perfect spot for sharing a meal after a day riding the rails. Chow down on the Muddy Moose Rack of Ribs smothered in house-made barbecue sauce or the vegetarian Moosini Vegetini pasta with pesto and feta.
Pro Tip: Cranmore Mountain Resort is a great spot to begin a newbie skiing adventure.
Christmas by the coast in New Hampshire is synonymous with a vintage Christmas in Portsmouth.
For decades, the Candlelight Stroll at the Strawbery Banke Museum takes place the first three weekends in December. Visitors enjoy pathways lit with hundreds of candle lanterns, period decorations, and historic revelers brought to life by costumed performers. Holiday traditions come alive as you tour the historic houses while enjoying the candlelight stroll.
Scoring a sweet treat should be on your agenda, and enjoying the Annual Gingerbread House Contest is a great way to start your visit to Portsmouth. This year’s theme is fictional places and characters, and you can expect to be amazed at the edible creations the gingerbread masters create. A wild imagination, a lot of sugar, a strong architectural foundation, and storefront windows to display the decorated cookie masterpieces are the trademarks of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, gingerbread house creations.
Pro Tip: The beautiful seaside town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will keep you busy for an extended visit. Our destination guide will help you plan your stay.
A Christmas adventure in New Hampshire should include a stay at the Christmas Farm Inn. Only a short drive from North Conway, it is a choice spot to overnight after a train ride to the North Pole.
Dine at the Thompson House Eatery, where the kitchen is under the watchful eye of Chef Jeffrey Fournier, a James Beard Award Semifinalist. You know every dish will be a mouth-watering extravaganza of flavors. Open Wednesday through Saturday, reservations are required to partake of the seasonally inspired menu. Share T.H.E. Farmhouse Board filled with local cheese and accompaniments. Follow it with the Property Preserved Tomato Bisque. Finally indulge in the Roasted Property Acorn Squash Campanelle for a decadent dinner.
A symphonic treat — the Holiday POPS Concert – Concord — is an enchanting way to celebrate the season. Musical selections from beloved Christmas classics fill the auditorium with Christmas spirit. It is a wonderful evening where you can share the beautiful music of the season with someone you love.
The Gift of Lights at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is in nearby Loudon. Because the event is open from the end of November until early January, you can extend your Christmas celebration by visiting the drive-through light extravaganza before, during, or after Christmas day.
Pro Tip: You can find plenty to keep you busy in the charming city of Concord. Visit our destination guide for lots of great ideas.
Early in December, Christmas is taken over by the Fright Before Christmas. This scary holiday spooktacular is filled with evildoers and creepified Christmas cuties. It is a must for any fright night fans.
A childhood memory that withstands the march of time is a visit to Santa’s Village. Your favorite munchkins can spend time at the North Pole Workshop and become an official Santa’s helper. Visit the barn where Santa’s reindeer live and interact with these friendly, four-legged sleigh pullers.
The Skyway Sleigh ride takes you on a miniature roller coaster-like trip — almost like flying on Santa’s sleigh. Other fun rides like the Little Drummer Boy, S.S. Peppermint Twist, Little Elf Flying School, and many more child-friendly, Christmas-themed rides fill the park. Of course, there is lots of shopping including the Snowball Mall, the Jolly Lolly Candy Store, Stocking Stuffer Gift Shop, and more. Keep in mind that tickets are not sold at the door, they require pre-purchase online.
After exploring, spend a relaxing night at the Jefferson Inn. Warm and cozy, the Jefferson Inn offers beautifully decorated rooms, a warm and hearty breakfast, and is perfect for a family gathering.
Pro Tip: Santa’s Village is a kiddie-focused theme park; plan in lots of restful breaks to keep your day happily on track.
The small town of Enfield has been the home to a Christmas event for almost 70 years. The hillside at Shrine of our Lady – La Salette is transformed into a lighting spectacular reflecting the true meaning of Christmas. As you stroll through acres of landscape-lighted tableaus, you are filled with the Christmas spirit. Many make an annual pilgrimage to La Salette Shrine to be immersed in the blessing of Christmas and enjoy the fantastic lighting display.
Pro Tip: There is a fair amount of walking to view the lights. Wear warm sturdy shoes to keep your feet happy.
9. Bretton Woods
In New England, Christmas heralds the beginning of ski season. What better place to embrace the holiday spirit — and hopefully some snowy White Mountain peaks — than the Omni Mount Washington Resort?
“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…”
Hop on a sleigh ride led by powerful horses along snow-covered trails; it conjures up an old-fashioned Christmas feeling. Enjoy a reading of Christmas classics by the jolly old man himself as he takes a break from his naughty or nice list.
Embrace the Mount Washington winter wonderland and hit the slopes for an exhilarating day of skiing. Alternatively, taking a walk through the woods with the help of sturdy snowshoes is a wonderful way to enjoy the scenery and add steps to your pedometer.
There are lots of getaway stay options available including the iconic Omni Mount Washington Hotel and the Omni Bretton Arms Inn. Whether you are vacationing as a family group or looking for a romantic long weekend, you will find the right accommodation to suit your needs.
Celebrate The Holiday Season In New Hampshire
Snow-covered mountains, Christmas-themed train rides, gorgeous mountain-top resorts, sleigh rides, and Christmas lights displays can be found across the beautiful State of New Hampshire. Embrace the holiday fun while on the holiday gift hunt for your favorite people.
Explore all or just one Christmas town, it will surely launch you into the Christmas spirit. It is possible you will encounter some white fluffy snow during your visit — bring your warmest winter coat.
Pro Tip: If you want to spend more time skiing in the picturesque mountains of New Hampshire, visit our New Hampshire ski like a local guide.