Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, is a favorite on countdown lists of the country’s most affordable and tax-friendly cities. It was voted second most tax friendly city by Kiplinger after Anchorage, Alaska; ranked 13th on CNNMoney’s list of best cities to live and launch a business, and ranked 7th best metropolitan area for upward mobility by the Equality of Opportunity project. But all that wouldn’t be so appealing unless Manchester was also a fun, lively and artistic city with great art venues, creative entertainment options and lots of history.
Here are seven fun things to do in Manchester:
Admire the masterpieces at Currier Museum of Art
The internationally renowned Currier Museum of Art features European and American paintings, decorative arts and works of photography and sculpture, including works by Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe, Wyeth, and Calder. With exhibitions, tours, and programs year-round, the museum is a favorite for the city’s art lovers. The variety of events includes children’s story time, art classes and workshops and even a summer block party!
Walk through a legend at Zimmerman House
Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Zimmerman House is nothing if not a work of art. Wright designed the house in its entirety, including the exterior, the interior, the furniture and even the mailbox! It may not be as high profile as some of the homes from your favorite TV shows, but it is a purely artistic and very moving experience to walk around this rare piece of American art history. Zimmerman House is owned and operated by Currier Museum, whose organized tours to the house must be reserved well in advance.
Catch a show at the Palace Theatre
Built in 1914, The Palace Theatre is a performance venue listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. In its earlier days, the theatre’s stage welcomed such performers as Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, Harry Houdini and much more. The decline of vaudeville led to its transformation into a movie theatre, but later the theatre fell into disuse. In the 1970’s it was renovated and reopened as a performing arts venue, hosting plays, ballets, musicals, and performances by musicians and comedians.
Taste Heaven (i.e. chocolate) at the Dancing Lion
At Dancing Lion Chocolate Shop, chocolate is taken to a whole new level. From edible artworks to inventive flavoring, this place is all about creativity and inspiration. Pick up a chocolate bar or box of truffles and bonbons (fresh peaches and local rhubarb filling anyone?), enjoy a delicious Mayan cacao drink and sweet or savory snack in the café or join a class to learn the art of chocolate from a masterful chocolatier.
Satisfy your Curiosity at See Science Center
The SEE Science Center is an interactive learning center celebrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a wide array of fun, hands-on exhibits and activities for every age. The fascinating, interactive exhibits educate on such topics as forces, light, sound, electricity and simple machines among others. One noteworthy exhibit is the Lego Millyard Project, the world’s largest permanent Lego installation at mini-figure scale, portraying Manchester’s Amoskeag Millyard at the turn of the 19th century.
Take an Artsy Trolley Ride
Organized every summer to celebrate Manchester’s extraordinary diversity of creative expression, the popular Trolley Nights are an exciting way to experience the city and get a taste of its local art scene. Trolley Nights comprise of two trolleys circulating the same route, stopping at such venues as museums, galleries, a library and a photography studio, among others. Just hop on and off wherever you please and enjoy an exciting, inspiring and free evening adventure.
Have a Kid’s Fun Fest
Storyland is an amusement park where nursery rhymes and fairy tales come to life in a wide array of rides and attractions. Kids will absolutely adore riding in Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, spinning in Alice’s teacups and flying in a colorful Dutch clog. No scary monsters and rollercoasters here- this place was built with young ones in mind and is one of the best and most underrated theme parks in the country.
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