Thinking about moving to Manchester, NH? The Queen City is one of the best best places to live near the mountains—and a great New England city to call home, thanks to its fantastic museums, expansive outdoor activities, and exciting sports scene. Check out these 14 things to know about living in Manchester!
Live Affordably in the Granite State
Living in Manchester, and more specifically, the state of New Hampshire—comes with major perks. For one, residents don’t have to pay state sales tax or income tax. The Granite State also has the lowest poverty rate in the U.S., coming in at 7.2%—compared to the 11.5% U.S. average. On top of that, New Hampshire is one of the safest states to live in! And even though homeowners can expect to pay high property taxes, you can live more affordably in Manchester than in other major New England cities like Boston. The cost of living in Manchester is only 11% higher than the national average, whereas Boston’s cost of living is 46% higher.
Work for Major New Hampshire Companies
Once home to the world’s largest textile mill complex, Manchester is now one of the biggest business and financial centers of northern New England—making it an ideal place to start a career. Work in the Manchester offices of Fortune 500 companies like Eversource Energy, Northwestern Mutual, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Explore career options at software firms—like business software company Oracle or educational tech company Skillsoft, both of which have offices in the Manchester-Nashua metro area. Find healthcare jobs in Manchester at Catholic Medical Center, Elliot Hospital, or the Manchester VA Medical Center. Teach or work in IT, marketing, or human resources at Southern New Hampshire University. Looking for work in a bigger city? Many Manchester residents commute to Boston and nearby New Hampshire cities for work!
Attend Great New Hampshire Schools
Manchester and the surrounding New England cities of Nashua, Concord, and more are home to some of the best colleges in New Hampshire. Study business, biological sciences, or computer science at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, a top research university. Get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, physics, or criminal justice at Benedictine private college Saint Anselm College. Join the Penmen and study liberal arts, engineering, social science, and more with over 200 degree options at Southern New Hampshire University. Exercise your creative side at New England College in Henniker with degrees in animation, fine arts, or creative writing at NEC’s Institute of Art and Design. Or drive 25 minutes to Nashua to study public health, elementary education, or English at private Catholic school Rivier University.
Support Manchester Sports Teams
Sports fans will love living in Queen City! Catch a Fisher Cats (MiLB) baseball game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Cheer on the men’s, women’s, and youth rugby teams of the Amoskeag Rugby Football Club (NERFU). Watch local roller derby teams live up to their motto “Skate Free or Die” at an NH Roller Derby match. Sign up for recreational sports leagues like flag football or basketball with NH Urban Sport, a veteran-owned and operated organization. See the ladies of the New Hampshire Rebellion (WFA D-III) play tackle football at Gill Stadium. Watch the SNHU Penmen Penmen (NCAA D-II) men’s and women’s teams play volleyball, baseball, and more. Catch the UNH Wildcats (NCAA D-I) compete in field hockey, football, skiing, and gymnastics. Or get your NASCAR fix in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway—which has been deemed the “The Magic Mile”.
Find Incredible Outdoor Recreation
Whether you want to hike in the mountains, spend time on the river, relax in the parks, or have a beach day—the Manchester area has what you’re looking for! Play baseball, run on the track, or hit the pool in Livingston Park. Hike the 150-foot summit for a great view of the city, play pickleball, or let your child run on the playground at Rock Rimmon Park—one of the largest parks in Manchester! Go mountain biking and see the statue of the man who coined New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live Free or Die,” in Stark Park. Go boating and fishing, or hike the Rockingham Trail, at Lake Massabesic Watershed—named for a Native American word meaning “the place of much water.” Take a swim and relax on the beach by the bathhouse at Crystal Lake Park in Southern Manchester. For a peaceful escape from the city, go bird-watching or snowshoeing along The All Persons Trail at the Manchester Cedar Swamp nature preserve. Drop by nearby Allenstown to go mountain biking, swimming, fishing, hiking, and more at Bear Brook State Park, the largest developed state park in New Hampshire! Or drive 35 minutes to the town of Hampton and spend the day building sand castles, enjoying views of the Atlantic coastline, or attending annual events like the Miss Hampton Beach Pageant at Hampton Beach.
Hone Your Winter Sports Skills
Because of the city’s location in the New England area, the winter months transform the town of Manchester into a snowy wonderland. The annual average snowfall is 58 inches, creating the perfect landscape for winter sports. Go skiing, snowboarding, or tubing at McIntyre Ski Area, known as “Manchester’s winter playground.” Sign the family up for the Learn to Ski & Ride Program or Snowbike Lessons—or find new snowboarding and ski equipment during the Oktoberfest celebration at Pats Peak Ski Area. Get your Epic Season Pass to ski at Crotched Mountain, or cross the border into Massachusetts to visit Ski Bradford, Nashoba Valley Ski Area, and Great Brook Ski Touring Center—all located less than an hour away. If skiing isn’t your thing, go ice skating around the 18-acre Dorrs Pond in Livingston Park. Drop into JFK Coliseum for public skate days, and try out its tasty snack bar. Or head over to West Side Ice Arena for Stick & Puck days.
Visit Manchester Museums
Manchester museums and attractions draw in visitors from all over the area! See the Zimmermans’ collection of paintings, sculptures, and more while touring the Zimmerman House, one of the only houses in New England designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Learn about 11,000 years of Amoskeag Falls and Amoskeag Manufacturing Company history at The Millyard Museum—located in the historic Amoskeag Millyard. Explore the northeast’s largest display of Boy Scout and Girl Scout memorabilia, and browse books and scouting magazines from the Max I. Silber Library at the L. L. Lee Scouting Museum. Trace the history of the Derry area from its European settlement to the present with historical artifacts at the Derry Museum of History. Marvel at the Art Deco 1937 Terminal and learn about the history of flight in the Granite State at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. Or explore the early 1900s home of famous poet Robert Frost at the Robert Frost Farm Historic Site.
Take in Manchester’s Art Scene
Living in Manchester means you’ll have access to many local art galleries and museums! See exhibitions showcasing art from the Renaissance period to the modern era, take part in workshops, or attend Brunch in the Winter Garden at the Currier Museum of Art. Admire beautiful oil and pastel landscape paintings by local New Hampshire artist Diane Crespo at the Diane Crespo Fine Art in nearby Exeter. Check out other local artists’ work at Art 3 Gallery—or get custom framing services for your own art pieces. Learn how to paint with acrylics or figure draw with classes at Art House Studios School for Drawing & Painting. Paint your own pottery, sign the whole family up for Sculpting or Pottery Wheel Workshops, or send your teen to the Teen/tween Illustration camp at Studio 550 Art Center. Or shop for locally-made products like jewelry, baked goods, and more at Manchester Craft Market.
Appreciate Local Music & Dance
The Queen City has a ton of great attractions for patrons of the arts! Buy tickets to Broadway favorites or the ballet at The Palace Theatre. Let your kids or teens audition or volunteer at Palace Youth Theatre shows, the Palace Teen Apprentice Company, and other youth programs at Forever Emma Studios. Laugh the night away at Friday Night Comedy, listen to live music from major artists, or marvel at the Symphony NH at the Rex Theatre. See community theatre shows or take music lessons at The Majestic Studio Theatre. Catch an opera, jazz orchestra, dance, or Shakespeare on the Green performance at Dana Center for the Humanities. Enroll in a Young Dancer Camp, or see the annual performance of The Nutcracker at the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater. Or experience traditional West African dance and drumming led by Theo Martey at a show from The Akwaaba Ensemble.
Explore Manchester’s Family Attractions
Moving to Manchester with your kids? You’ll find plenty of fun for the whole family! Solve puzzles, find clues, and see if you can beat the hour buzzer at Granite State Escape Room. Watch the kiddos go on a fossil dig, learn about bubbles and the planets, and more at the SEE Science Center. Gaze at the stars during a planetarium show, watch the kids try to land the Space Shuttle, learn about spacecraft, and more at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. Play laser tag, climb on the indoor ropes course, and get your fill of classic arcade games at Block Party Social. Attend Bunga’s Babies Playgroup with the little ones, watch the kids play on the inflatable playgrounds, and more at Cowabunga’s Indoor Playground. See llamas, visit the animals at the Dairy Discovery Barn petting area, or go on a Horse-Drawn Ride at Charmingfare Farm. Ride go-karts, play mini-golf, and try out the batting cages at Mel’s Funway Park. Swim in the outdoor or indoor pools, have your pick of playgrounds, and spend a day in the Children’s Rec Hall when you rent a campsite or cabin at Friendly Beaver Campground.
Take Part in Community Events & Festivals
Manchester residents will find a variety of community events and festivals to keep busy throughout the year! Every September, listen to live music and sample all kinds of local brews at the annual Manchester Brewfest. Celebrate the state’s Irish heritage with Irish music at the New Hampshire Irish Festival. See a variety of films—ranging from comedies to documentaries—at the Manchester International Film Festival. Attend the NASCAR Cup Series, Gift of Lights, or Halloween Hooptiefest at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Put on your running shoes and participate in the 5k, relays, half marathon, or full marathon at the Manchester City Marathon. Or pick up fresh fruits and veggies from the Concord Farmers’ Market, Candia Farmers Market, or Bedford Farmers Market.
Discover Elm Street in Downtown Manchester
Once home to millyards, the downtown area is now full of unique businesses that line trendy Elm Street near the Merrimack River! Start your morning with a Cinnamon Raisin Bagel paired with a Caramel Macchiato, or try the Banana Rama Smoothie at The Bridge Cafe. Go browsing for a new book, or take the little ones to Storytime & Crafts at Manchester’s independent bookstore, Bookery. From June to October, stop by the farmers market held in Victory Park. Check out the antiques, candles, pottery, and seasonal decorations at With Heart & Hand. Pick up a unique Bonbon Sharing Box of artisan chocolates,—or grab a savory bakery item and coffee at the Cafe & Bakery at Dancing Lion Chocolate. Try the House-Made Ricotta, Branzino, or Classic Roman Carbonara from Campo Enoteca. Or play your favorite board games with friends while sipping signature cocktails like Her Royale Majesty or the Mad Hatter at Boards and Brews.
Dine Out in the Queen City
No matter what you’re craving, there are tons of restaurants in Manchester to choose from! Start your morning with breakfast favorites like Moe’s Steak Tips & Eggs, PB&C Waffles, or Pork Pie & Eggs from Red Arrow Diner. Want to try authentic Nepalese food in Manchester? Order the Bhindi Kathmandu Fry, Shrimp Curry, or Chicken Mushroom Curry from Kathmandu Spice. Munch on the Fenway Frank, Brisket Chinese Pie, or Original Pulled Chicken Sandwich at KC’s Rib Shack. Listen to live music while enjoying dishes like Blood Orange Brussels Sprouts, Goat Cheese & Beet Risotto, or Braised Pomegranate Lamb Shank at The Foundry Restaurant. Taste the cooking of chef, author, and owner Jeffrey Paige with Pan-Seared Scallops, Cotton’s Bistro Steak, and Buttermilk Herb Fried Chicken at Cotton. Or get the Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops, Surf and Turf, or Kurobuta Pork Chop paired with an Asian Pear Martini at fine dining restaurant Hanover Street Chophouse.
Get Down with the Nightlife
Want a fun night out in the Queen City? Check out Manchester nightlife! Relax in the bar or on the patio with a craft beer at Strange Brew Tavern—NH’s Original Craft Beer Bar. Sip on a Secret Wizard Handshake Hurricane, play your own records, or choose from the collection at To Share Brewing Company. Grab drinks with friends while attending fun weekly events like Rap Night Every Sunday or Comedy Every Wednesday at Shaskeen Pub. Listen to live music from local and national acts at Jewel Music Venue. Enjoy a Porch Party cocktail while listening to live music, or try line dancing at Bonfire Country Bar and Restaurant—Manchester’s “Original Country Bar!” Buy tickets to a show or hire a comedian for your next party at Headliners Comedy Club. Or try year-round brews on tap like Milly’s Oatmeal Stout, Tasha’s Red Ale, or the ManchVegas IPA at Stark Brewing Co.
Moving to Manchester? With convenient self storage facilities located in and around Queen City, Extra Space Storage is here to help you during the moving process. Find a storage unit near you!