Where to Shop this Holiday Season

Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. That, of course, means it’s time to go shopping! Sure, you can hop online or hit the local mall, but how about exploring some of the more unique places to shop in New Hampshire this holiday season?

For One-of-a-Kind Gifts

Antique Alley, Route 4, Chichester to Lee
If you’re the type who likes to go off-list for the holidays, head to Antique Alley and pick up one-of-a-kind goods your friends and family won’t be expecting. New England’s oldest antiques shopping district stretches from Chichester to Lee along New Hampshire’s Route 4 and houses more than 500 dealers.

Search through piles of both high-end pieces and affordable goods for that perfect gift, like sports memorabilia for your football-obsessed father or an antique necklace for that fashionista friend. You’ll also find mid-century furniture, architectural salvage, early textiles, vintage records, antique home goods, taxidermy, folk art and more. It’s the best way to avoid showing up with a gift someone else has already given.

For Thoughtful Stocking Stuffers

Country & General Stores
Experience classic, quintessential New England charm when you step inside New Hampshire country stores. They’re chock-full of unique gifts, and the festive atmosphere is something you won’t find anywhere else. Stock up on goods like handmade soaps, classic candy, travel books, painted signs, maple treats, locally made crafts and so much more.

Check our list of stores throughout the state, including Calef’s Country Store in Barrington, featuring a full deli so you can enjoy a specialty sandwich while you shop, and Zeb’s General Store in North Conway boasts counters full of candy and nearly endless New Hampshire-made souvenirs. All of New Hampshire’s country stores are bursting with stocking stuffers that celebrate the state, so next time you spot one, be sure to pull over.

For Boutique and New Hampshire-Made Gifts

Downtown Shops
If you like to spend a little time window shopping with a venti latte before you buy, head to a bustling New Hampshire downtown. Take time to stroll the streets and pop into locally-owned boutiques for special gifts and handmade goods.
  • Keene: with one of the widest Main Streets in the country, Keene’s downtown is also one of the most beautiful. Take in the historical homes and tree-lined sidewalks as you shop and be sure to hit up stores like Hannah Grimes Marketplace with crafts from over 250 local makers and Urban Exchange, a high-end consignment boutique.

  • Concord: New Hampshire’s capital has a bustling downtown with a historic Main Street that recently underwent a $14 million makeover. Spend a leisurely afternoon strolling by beautiful old buildings, public art and lots of options for food and drinks. Look for gifts in Concord’s dozens of specialty shops, like Fifty Home, which sells distinct home goods from all 50 states. Or make the trip to Giftopolis, an indoor holiday shopping event during the annual Midnight Merriment festival.

  • Portsmouth: All New Hampshire-ites know how fun it is to spend an afternoon in Portsmouth. Cobblestone streets, cozy coffee shops and truly unique stores make it a must-hit for the holiday gifting season. Browse through the Book & Bar, a used bookstore and café/bar that also hosts live music and community events. Shopping for kids? G. Willikers! Books & Toys has been in the make-kids-happy business since 1978.

  • North Conway: Set in the White Mountains, North Conway Village has a healthy mix of quaint country stores, gift shops, and locally-owned boutiques. Stop by the League of NH Craftsmen, established in 1932, where you’ll find some of the state’s finest locally-made pottery, jewelry, blown glass and other hand-hewn goods. For other unique finds, head to The Penguin Gallery where you’ll find truly distinct gifts, decor and more.

  • Exeter: Settled in 1638, Exeter’s downtown has a quintessential New England vibe with its brick buildings and historic atmosphere. Shop for the literary lovers on your list at the Water Street Bookstore, above which Dan Brown — the author of “The Da Vinci Code” — famously once had an office. Stock up on classic toys at Whirleygigs Toy Shop, an old-fashioned mom-and-pop toy store. Once you’ve piled all your packages into the car, take a relaxing walk along the Phillips Exeter Trail.

  • Hanover: Home to the Ivy League Dartmouth College, Hanover is so much more than a “college town.” The downtown district is beautiful, with wide sidewalks and old buildings. Take advantage of the academic ambiance at Dartmouth Co-Op and pick up some gifts full of school spirit. For the sweet tooth, My Brigadeiro offers handcrafted chocolate and cupcakes made from local ingredients.

  • Littleton: The northernmost downtown on our list, Littleton is worth the trip. This adorable downtown set on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River boasts beautiful mountain vistas. It was also a Huffington Post pick for America’s Best Main Streets in 2014. The can’t-miss in Littleton is Chutters, home to the world’s longest candy counter. For a festive feel, pick up New Hampshire ornaments, gifts and maple products or harvest your own Christmas tree at The Rocks Estate just down the road in Bethlehem.

For Style and Gadgets

If you have a lot to check off your list and not a whole lot of time to do it, head to the outlet malls. You’ll find all the brand name stores filled with clothes, accessories, electronics, kitchenware and more in one walkable location. The outlets are always great for sales, and the holidays are no exception. Plus, each outlet village has plenty of food options so you can shop all day without missing a beat.