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Top 10 Christmas Markets in New Hampshire: Discover Holiday Magic

New Hampshire transforms into a winter wonderland each holiday season, with its charming towns and festive markets. These Christmas markets are filled with twinkling lights, unique gifts, and seasonal treats.

Colorful stalls line the snowy streets, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Visitors browse unique crafts and sample seasonal treats, creating a joyful atmosphere

From traditional German-style markets to cozy local fairs, you’ll find a mix of cultural celebrations and holiday cheer.

Discover where to soak in the festive atmosphere and make the most out of the holiday season in New Hampshire.

These markets are fantastic places to gather with family and friends, shop for one-of-a-kind gifts, and enjoy the beauty of the season.

1) Portsmouth Christmas Market

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When you think of holiday magic, the Portsmouth Christmas Market is a must-see. Nestled in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this market has been charming visitors since 2005. The blend of historic charm and festive lights creates an enchanting winter wonderland.

Main streets are adorned with twinkling lights and decorated stalls. You can find unique gifts from local artisans, savor warm treats, and enjoy live music.

Kids will love the holiday-themed activities and the chance to meet Santa Claus.

The market has become a beloved tradition for many. Families come from all over to experience the holiday cheer. The sense of community and joy is palpable.

It’s a place where you can create lasting memories with loved ones.

The market’s setting in Portsmouth, known for its scenic beauty and rich history, enhances the experience.

As you wander through the market, you can also explore the town’s historic sites and cozy cafes. It’s an all-around festive experience.

Here’s the essential info:

Dec 1 – Dec 24Downtown Portsmouth, NH10 AM – 8 PMFree to attend; items vary

Get ready to immerse yourself in the delights of the Portsmouth Christmas Market.

2) Exeter Holiday Parade

A bustling holiday parade winds through Exeter, with festive market stalls lining the streets. Twinkling lights, merry music, and the scent of spiced cider fill the air

The Exeter Holiday Parade is a beloved tradition in Exeter, New Hampshire. This annual event takes place on the first Saturday in December. You can see various floats, marching bands, and festive characters parading through downtown Exeter. It’s an event that brings joy and excitement to both locals and visitors.

If you plan to attend, be sure to arrive early to get a good spot. The streets fill up quickly with eager spectators.

You can line up on Portsmouth Avenue or find a spot in Downtown Exeter to watch the parade.

The theme for this year is “Toys, Trains, and Traditions.” This theme is sure to delight the young and young at heart.

Despite the winter weather, the parade goes on rain or shine. It’s a testament to the community spirit of Exeter.

Local businesses and community members come together to sponsor this festive event. With a cost of around $10,000, donations help make the parade possible.

Don’t miss this chance to experience holiday magic in New Hampshire.

December 7, 2024Downtown Exeter, NH5:30 PM – 8:00 PMFree

3) Dover Christmas Festival

A festive scene at Dover Christmas Festival with colorful market stalls, twinkling lights, and joyful carolers. Snow gently falls, creating a magical winter wonderland

The Dover Christmas Festival is a highlight of the holiday season in New Hampshire. Known for its festive atmosphere, this event draws visitors from all over the region.

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You’ll find charming stalls with unique gifts, delicious food, and holiday decorations.

Walking through the market, you’ll see local artisans showcasing their handmade crafts and goods.

It’s a great opportunity to support local businesses while finding special gifts for loved ones.

Kids will enjoy family-friendly activities such as ornament-making and visits with Santa Claus.

The festival also features live music and performances, adding to the lively and cheerful ambiance.

Don’t miss the beautiful holiday lights that adorn the streets and market area. They create a magical setting, perfect for taking memorable photos.

There are plenty of food vendors offering everything from warm beverages to tasty treats.

It’s the perfect spot to indulge in seasonal favorites like hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.

If you’re planning to attend, be sure to dress warmly as the festival is held outdoors. Comfortable shoes are also recommended, as you’ll likely spend hours exploring all that the festival has to offer.

December 2, 2024 – December 8, 2024Downtown Dover, NH4 PM – 9 PMFree Admission

4) Concord Winter Wonderland

Snow-covered market stalls, twinkling lights, and festive decorations create a magical winter scene at Concord Winter Wonderland

Concord Winter Wonderland is a highlight of the season. Located in the heart of Concord, this festive event offers a magical experience.

As you stroll through the market, you can marvel at the beautifully lit ice sculptures.

You’ll find food vendors selling delicious seasonal treats. The hot cocoa here is a must-try.

Live performances are a big attraction. Local artists provide entertainment with music and dance. It adds a lively charm to the atmosphere.

The market is family-friendly, with activities for kids. You can enjoy a ride on the holiday carousel. Don’t miss the chance to meet Santa Claus.

December 1-31, 2024New Hampshire State House9:00 AM-7:00 PMFree Admission

For more details about this event, check out Concord NH Winter Festival.

5) North Conway Village Holiday Celebration

North Conway Village adorned with festive lights, bustling with holiday shoppers, and filled with the aroma of hot cocoa and roasted chestnuts

You don’t want to miss the North Conway Village Holiday Celebration. This festive event enchants visitors with its charming streets lined with twinkling lights and holiday decorations.

North Conway, known for its picturesque scenery, transforms into a winter wonderland. Local shops offer unique holiday gifts, from handcrafted ornaments to delicious treats.

The celebration often features live performances, adding to the festive mood. Carolers and musicians fill the air with joyous sounds, making your visit unforgettable.

Children can enjoy visits with Santa Claus. There’s also an ice skating rink for some family-friendly fun.

Homes and businesses participate in a holiday lights competition, creating an even more magical atmosphere.

For those who love trains, the Conway Scenic Railroad offers special holiday-themed train rides.

These rides allow you to experience the beautiful snowy landscape while snuggled up in a cozy train car.

Look out for seasonal food and drink specials at local restaurants. Warm up with hot cocoa or enjoy a festive meal at one of the many eateries in the village.

Event Details

December 1-31North Conway VillageVaries by EventFree (some activities may have a fee)

6) Littleton’s Holly Days

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In Littleton, the festive season really shines during Holly Days. You’re greeted with twinkling lights lining Main Street, transforming the town into a sparkling wonderland. The air is filled with the scent of roasted chestnuts and sounds of cheerful carolers.

You’ll find local vendors selling handmade crafts, perfect for unique holiday gifts. Food stalls offer a range of seasonal treats, from hot cocoa to gingerbread cookies.

There are also activities for all ages, like ice skating and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Kids love visiting Santa’s workshop, where they can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Meanwhile, parents can enjoy live music performances held throughout the day. It’s a fun-filled experience the whole family can enjoy.

For those looking to extend their festive experience, nearby Schilling Beer Co. offers a cozy outdoor beer garden with blankets and heat lamps.

It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy some local brews after exploring the market.

7) Keene Holiday Stroll

You’re in for a treat when you visit the Keene Holiday Stroll. This beloved event takes place in downtown Keene and transforms the area into a winter wonderland.

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Lights twinkle along the streets, and festive decorations draw you into the holiday spirit.

As you stroll through the market, you’ll find a variety of local vendors offering handmade crafts, unique gifts, and delicious treats.

It’s a perfect opportunity to pick up some one-of-a-kind Christmas presents.

One of the highlights is the live entertainment, featuring local musicians and performers. You’ll also enjoy carolers singing your favorite holiday tunes.

Make sure to stop by the food stalls for some warm, comforting snacks. From hot cocoa to freshly baked cookies, there’s something to delight every palate.

Kids will love the family-friendly activities, including meeting Santa and participating in festive games.

This stroll not only offers shopping and entertainment, but it also supports local businesses and artisans.

December 1, 2024Downtown Keene, NH5 PM – 9 PMFree Admission; items and food available for purchase

8) Hanover’s Winter Carnival

Hanover’s Winter Carnival is a cherished event in New Hampshire, celebrating its 114th year. As an annual tradition at Dartmouth College, this event invites locals and visitors to enjoy winter in a lively and festive atmosphere.

You’ll find snow sculptures that showcase incredible artistry. Ice-carving demonstrations add an exciting flair, lighting up the cold nights with colorful LED displays. This makes for perfect winter photos.

There are also many winter sports to participate in or watch, including snow golf and special races. Engage with the community and enjoy various winter-themed activities that are sure to entertain.

Plan your visit to this magical event and experience the tradition that residents and visitors look forward to every year.

February 8-11, 2024Dartmouth College, Hanover, NHVariesFree

9) Milford’s Festival of Trees

Milford’s Festival of Trees is a magical event that transforms the quaint town into a winter wonderland. This celebration takes place at The Colonel Shepard House and features beautifully decorated trees, each adorned with unique ornaments and lights. The festive atmosphere makes it a must-visit for all ages.

You’ll find a variety of activities to enjoy. There are Christmas carols, delicious treats, and plenty of photo opportunities with the dazzling trees. It’s a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with family and friends.

If you’re lucky, you might win a tree or gift basket in one of the many raffles. The event is designed to spread cheer and provide a cozy, festive experience. Bring your loved ones and dive into the heartwarming holiday magic of Milford.

November 24-26, 202329 Mont Vernon Street, Milford, NH 03055Fri-Sat: 10am-7pm, Sun: 10am-2pm$5 per person, $20 per family

10) Meredith’s Lakeside Holiday Market

Meredith’s Lakeside Holiday Market is a must-visit for anyone seeking festive cheer. Nestled by the serene lakeside, this market offers a winter wonderland backdrop.

You can explore countless stalls featuring handmade crafts, unique gifts, and delicious holiday treats.

This market is known for its vibrant atmosphere. With twinkling lights and holiday music in the background, you’ll feel the holiday spirit in full force. Local artisans showcase their best work, from intricate ornaments to cozy knitwear.

Don’t miss out on the food stalls. They offer a variety of seasonal delights, like hot cocoa and warm, spiced pastries. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a bite while browsing. You might even find that special gift you’ve been searching for.

Kids will love the activities available. There are festive games and even a chance to meet Santa Claus. It’s a delightful experience for families, making holiday memories together.

Make sure to plan your visit. The market is only open for a limited time during the holiday season. Here’s what you need to know:

Dec 1-24, 2024Meredith, NH10 AM – 8 PMFree entrance

Understanding New Hampshire Christmas Markets

New Hampshire Christmas markets are filled with joy and tradition. These events celebrate the festive season with a unique blend of history and curated holiday merchandise.

History And Traditions

New Hampshire has a rich history of Christmas markets that date back many years. These markets often feature quaint stalls that recreate old-world European holiday traditions.

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You’ll find events like the Amherst German Christmas Market, which showcases German holiday customs with live entertainment and traditional foods.

These markets are not just about shopping; they also celebrate community, often taking place in historic towns like Portsmouth.

Here, you can wander through candlelit streets, reminiscent of vintage Christmas celebrations, making it a memorable experience for all ages.

Seasonal music and theatrical performances add to the charm, bringing history to life.

Typical Merchandise And Gifts

At these markets, you can find a wide range of holiday gifts and decorations. Many vendors sell handcrafted items, including artisan jewelry, unique ornaments, and warm woolen garments.

Events like the Great New England Holiday Artisan & Craft Show in Hampton offer an array of locally made products.

Food is also a big highlight. Treat yourself to freshly baked goods, gourmet chocolates, and spiced hot beverages. Some markets feature specialized stalls selling imported items, ensuring you have a variety of choices for festive gift-giving.

These markets are perfect for finding thoughtful and unique presents while immersing yourself in the holiday spirit. You can enjoy both the shopping experience and the festive ambiance that defines New Hampshire’s Christmas markets.

Tips For Visiting Christmas Markets

When visiting Christmas markets in New Hampshire, timing, attire, and crowd navigation are essential for a successful experience. Below, you’ll find detailed advice to help enhance your visit.

Best Times To Visit

The best time to visit Christmas markets is usually during weekdays in the early evening. This timing helps you avoid the peak weekend crowds and ensures you get to see the lights as it gets dark.

Aim for mid-December, when most markets are in full swing, but before the final rush right before Christmas.

Check individual event schedules online as some markets have special events or performances at specific times. Arriving early can also give you a better choice of unique handmade gifts and treats.

What To Wear

New Hampshire winters can be quite chilly, so dressing warmly is crucial.

Layering is key for comfort. Start with a thermal base layer, add a wool sweater, and finish with a heavy coat. Don’t forget a warm hat, gloves, and scarf to protect yourself from the cold wind.

Comfortable, waterproof boots are a must, especially if there is snow on the ground. You might also consider wearing thermal socks for added warmth.

Bring a small backpack for any purchases, as it frees up your hands for browsing.

Navigating Crowds

Navigating crowds at Christmas markets can be daunting, but planning helps.

Arriving early or late in the evening can help you avoid the busiest times. Walk along the outer edges of the market first, then move inward to avoid bottlenecks.

Be patient and move steadily. If traveling in a group, designate a meeting spot in case you get separated. Use mobile payments where possible to minimize time spent in line.

Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure to avoid pickpocketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

When planning to visit Christmas markets in New Hampshire, it’s important to know the top festivals, market features, and unique dates. The answers below cover some of the most common questions to help make your holiday trip memorable.

Which New England Christmas festivals are considered must-visit?

Some must-visit Christmas festivals in New England include Portsmouth Christmas Market and the Exeter Holiday Parade. These events are known for their vibrant atmosphere, unique vendors, and family-friendly activities.

What are the features of the best-rated Christmas market in the United States?

The best-rated Christmas markets in the United States often have beautifully decorated stalls, a variety of local and international vendors, festive lights, and live entertainment.

They usually offer unique holiday gifts, traditional food, and joyous music to create a magical holiday experience.

Can you list the prominent Christmas markets found in the New Hampshire area?

Prominent Christmas markets in the New Hampshire area include Portsmouth Christmas Market, Dover Christmas Festival, Concord Winter Wonderland, and North Conway Village Holiday Celebration.

Each of these markets offers something unique, from historic settings to enchanting decorations and local crafts.

What dates are the Amherst German Christmas Market typically held on?

The Amherst German Christmas Market is typically held in December. Expect live entertainment, German music, and appearances by Santa, making it a festive and fun event for all ages.

How does the New England Christmas Festival stand out among regional holiday events?

The New England Christmas Festival stands out for its large-scale setting and variety of vendors. This event showcases a broad range of seasonal crafts, foods, and holiday decorations, making it a one-stop destination for all your Christmas shopping and entertainment needs.

Are there any Christmas markets in New Hampshire that are inspired by European traditions?

Yes, the Amherst German Christmas Market is inspired by European traditions. It features traditional German food, crafts, and holiday music.

This brings a taste of Europe to New Hampshire during the holiday season.

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