Thinking about moving to Manchester? The Queen City is one of the best places to live in New England! From its fantastic museums and expansive outdoor opportunities for all seasons to its exciting sports scene, here are 12 things to know about living in Manchester!
The Granite State Is a Great Place to Live
Living in Manchester—and more specifically, the state of New Hampshire—comes with major perks. For one, the state doesn’t have sales tax or income tax. The Granite State also has the lowest poverty rate in the U.S., coming in at 7.3%. Not to mention, it’s one of the safest states and healthiest states in the country! And in Manchester, you can live more affordably than you could in other major New England cities like Boston. The cost of living in Manchester is only 8% higher than the national average, whereas cost of living in Boston is 46% higher.
Work for Major Companies
The Queen City is one of the biggest business and financial centers of northern New England, which makes it an ideal place to settle down and start a career. Work in the offices of Fortune 500 companies like Eversource Energy, Northwestern Mutual, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Explore your career options at software companies like business software company Oracle or educational tech company Skillsoft, which are both headquartered in the Manchester-Nashua metropolitan area. Find healthcare positions at Catholic Medical Center or at Elliot Hospital. Teach or work in IT, marketing, or human resources at Southern New Hampshire University. Looking for work in a bigger city? No problem! Many Manchester residents commute to Boston and other New Hampshire cities for work!
Attend Great New Hampshire Schools
Manchester and the surrounding cities of Nashua and Concord are home to some of the best universities in New Hampshire. Study business, biology, or biotechnology and participate in research at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. Get a bachelor’s degree in nursing or criminology at Benedictine private college Saint Anselm College. Join the Penmen and study liberal arts and humanities at Southern New Hampshire University. Exercise your creativity in art studios with a degree in animation, fine art, or creative writing at New England College’s Institute of Art and Design. Specialize in healthcare sciences like health service preparatory studies, physical therapy, and kinesiology and exercise science at Springfield College. Learn about criminal justice and safety studies or behavioral sciences at Granite State College in Concord. Or head to Nashua to study public health or elementary education at private Catholic school Rivier University.
The Outdoor Recreation Is Incredible
Can’t decide between a hike in the mountains or a day at the beach? In New Hampshire, you don’t have to! Both the White Mountains up near Lincoln and Hampton Beach on the Atlantic Coast are just a few hours away. Of course, there’s plenty of great outdoor recreation in and around Manchester as well. 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 or play pickleball at Rock Rimmon Park. Take a stroll over grassy lawns and see the statue of the man who coined New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live Free or Die,” in John Stark Park. Visit the Weston Observatory tower and play on the playgrounds in Derryfield Park. Boat, fish, and hike the Rockingham Rail Trail at Lake Massabesic Watershed. Take a swim and relax on the beach by the bathhouse on Crystal Lake. Watch birds, snowshoe the trails, and more at the Manchester Cedar Swamp nature preserve. Or camp and check out the Museum Complex in Bear Brook State Park.
Hone Your Winter Sports Skills
Because of the city’s location in the New England area, the winter months transform Manchester into a snowy wonderland. The monthly average snowfall during the winter months reaches over 100 inches, which creates the perfect landscape for skiing, snowboarding, and skating. Located just blocks from Downtown Manchester next to Derryfield Park, McIntyre Ski Area is a prime spot for sledding, tubing, and skiing in Manchester. Before the ski season, you can head out to the nearby Pats Peak Ski Area for the Oktoberfest celebration, Ski & Snowboard Sale, or get your Epic Season Pass and sign up for lessons at Crotched Mountain. Cross the border into Massachusetts and downhill ski at Bradford Ski Area and Nashoba Valley Ski Area—or go on a cross country ski tour at Great Brook Ski Touring Center. If you want to branch out from skiing, try outdoor ice skating or snowy hiking around the 25-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 and private rink rentals.
Take a Trip to Manchester Museums
Manchester museums and attractions draw in visitors from all over the New England area! Tour the Zimmerman House, the only house in New England designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Visit The Millyard Museum in the historic Amoskeag Millyard to walk through an 11,000-year history of the Amoskeag Falls area and Manchester. See fine art exhibitions and take part in Art & Wellness Programs at the Currier Museum of Art. Check out interactive exhibits on light, electricity, forces, and more at the SEE Science Center. Explore the northeast’s largest display of Boy Scout and Girl Scout memorabilia, where you can take a Merit Badge Class at the Lee Scouting Museum. Trace the history of the Derry area from settlement to present with historical artifacts at the Derry History Museum. Learn about French culture and heritage or take a French class at the Franco-American Center. Marvel at the art-deco 1937 Terminal and take in 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.
Discover Elm Street in Downtown Manchester
Downtown Manchester is full of great attractions, from trendy Elm Street to the converted manufacturing mills that house unique businesses in the Millyard right on the Merrimack River. Start your day with a coffee, Beet It juice, or a Banana Rama smoothie at The Bridge Cafe on Elm. Spend the morning browsing for books or check out the book-themed merchandise at Manchester’s independent bookstore, The Bookery. Support local sustainable transportation and find an easy way to get around in Downtown Manchester with the bike share program from Bike Manchester. Get crafty with a DIY workshop, to-go DIY kits, and workshop events or parties at AR Workshop. Stop by to make a Bonbon box of artisan chocolates or grab a savory bakery item at the Cafe and Bakery in Dancing Lion Chocolate. Stop by the farmers market or attend family events held by the Manchester Library in Victory Park. Check out the antiques, candles, pottery, and seasonal decorations at With Heart & Hand. Support Granite State business when you shop at Pop of Color, which features locally-made home decor and color-coordinated gifts. Catch a show from a local musician or theatre company at Jupiter Hall. Or play your favorite board games and sipping on signature cocktails like the Lando Mezcalrissian at Boards and Brews.
Appreciate Local Art, 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 Theater. Let your kids or teens audition or volunteer at Palace Youth Theatre shows, Palace Teen Apprentice Co., and other Palace Youth Theater camps at Forever Emma Studios. Laugh the night away at Friday Night Comedy, listen to live music from major artists, and watch Movies for a Cause at the Rex Theatre. Attend a play or take music lessons at Majestic Theatre Studios. Catch an opera, jazz orchestra, or Shakespeare on the Green performance at Dana Center for the Humanities. Walk through beautiful landscape paintings by local artist Diane Crespo or watch her paint during the day at the Diane Crespo Fine Art Gallery. Enroll in a Young Dancer Camp or see the annual performance of The Nutcracker at the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater. Experience traditional West African dance and drumming by Theo Martey at a show from the Akwaaba Ensemble. Or attend the annual NH Open Doors shopping and touring event that showcases amazing art, design, and other attractions.
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 to get out of a Granite State Escape Room. Find the perfect pieces for your kids’ dream dollhouse and visit the candy shop at Little Red Doll House. Paint your own pottery, sign up for Vacation Clay Camps, or take the whole family to Family Pottery Workshops at Studio 550 Art Center. Sign your kids up for a LEGO League Team or a Tech Challenge Team at the robotics club at FIRST. Gaze at the stars during a planetarium show or visit the observatory at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Explore the collection of vintage toys and action figures with your kids at the Granite State Toy Museum. Play laser tag, climb on the indoor ropes course, and get your fill of classic arcade games at Space Entertainment Center. Enjoy Family Play Time or plan a birthday party at Cowabungas Fun Center. Visit the animals at the Dairy Discovery Barn petting area or go on wagon rides 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. Or fly over the Granite State and take in the view of forests and lakes from a hot air balloon with High 5 Ballooning.
Manchester Has a Unique Sports Scene
Sports fans will love living in the Queen City! Catch a Fisher Cats ball game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Bundle up and show up for a Manchester Monarchs hockey game at SNHU Arena. Cheer for your favorite local team at the Amoskeag Rugby Club. Watch local roller derby teams live up to their motto “Skate Free or Die” at an NH Roller Derby match. Sign up for the veteran-owned and operated recreational sports league NH Urban Sport or attend one of the local games. See the ladies of the New England Crush Women’s Football Team play tackle football. Watch the Penmen play baseball, basketball, and soccer at SNHU. Catch the Wildcat field hockey, football, and hockey teams at UNH. Or get your NASCAR fix at “The Magic Mile,” the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Dine Out in the Queen City
No matter what you’re craving, there are tons of restaurants in Manchester to choose from! Start your day with Dinah’s 2x2x2, Moe’s Steak & Cheese Omelette, or the Arrow’s Breakfast Sandwich at the Red Arrow Diner. Try Nepalese dishes like Dum Biryani, Bhakka, or Goat Bhutan at Cafe Momo. Taste the cooking of chef, author, and owner Jeffrey Paige with Cotton’s Bistro Steak, Almond-Crusted Turkey Schnitzel, and Creole Jambalaya at Cotton. Get hooked on the New England Lobster Roll, Aegean Haddock Piccata, and Lobster Mac and Cheese at Hooked Seafood Restaurant. Enjoy live music on the weekends and gastropub meals like Foundry Mac and Cheese, Pan Seared Statler Chicken, and Stout Braised Short Ribs at The Foundry Restaurant. Savor Mexican classics like Molcajete and Chile Relleno at El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria. Chow down on Pulled Pork Pladda, Brisket Chinese Pie, or The Cardiac Sam Sandwich at KC’s Rib Shack. Or order the Kurobuta Pork Chop, Grilled Swordfish, or Seared Scallops at fine dining restaurant Hanover Street Chophouse.
Get Down with the Nightlife
Want something fun to do during the week or on the weekends? Check out Manchester nightlife! Relax in the bar area or on the patio with a craft beer at Strange Brew Tavern. Buy tickets to a show or hire a comedian for your next party at Headliner’s Comedy Club. Try year-round brews on tap like Milly’s Oatmeal Stout and Tasha’s Red Ale at Stark Brewing Company. Sip on a Secret Wizard Handshake Cherry Berry and play your own records at To Share Brewing. Sample incredible cocktails like the Gangster Squad, Not That Princess, and Thyme After Thyme at 815. Enjoy live music from local and national acts at Jewel Music Venue. Or sample all kinds of local brews at the annual Manchester Brewfest.
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