Historical Manchester, New Hampshire: The Top 5 Places to Know and Go

Manchester, New Hampshire

Native Americans used to call it Namaoskeag in honor of the fish that are so bountiful in the nearby rivers and ocean. Today it’s considered the “business capital” of New Hampshire, home to high-tech companies specializing in aerospace engineering and electronics.

It’s been called “plucky” for its ability to bounce back and move forward after economic downturns–but it has never forgotten its storied past. 

It’s Manchester, New Hampshire, and it’s a great place to live, work and play. 

Manchester’s origins date back to the 1700s, when colonists settled the area and began turning it into a manufacturing powerhouse. Over time, it transformed into a textile mill town, an East Coast epicenter of innovation and an axis of artistic expression.

If you ever find yourself with a few free hours in Manchester, lose yourself in these five fabulous places to know and go.

1) Take a little stroll down memory lane

There was a time in the early 1900s when Manchester was one of the nation’s premiere places for textiles. Today, you can take a look at what it may have looked like thanks to the SEE Science Center’s LEGO Millyard Project

According to the center, the display is the world’s largest permanent LEGO installation. The 55:1-scale, 3-million-brick project pays homage to Manchester’s heritage and gives you a little look at what downtown Manchester used to look like. 

2) Appreciate organic architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most well-respected and controversial architects of all time. His designs introduced Americans to modern, “organic architecture” that helped houses break free from the constricts of Victorian design. 

While his design principles were borne in the Midwest, he did design one house that wound up being built in New England–the Zimmerman House, which is owned and operated by an art gallery and widely considered to be a work of art in itself. 

3) Watch the wild salmon swim

Native Americans called Manchester “Namaoskeag,” which translates to “good fishing place.” Today, the city’s rivers continue to produce bountiful opportunities to enjoy and appreciate wild salmon, carp and shad.

All three species of fish can be found at the Amoskeag Fishways throughout May and June. That’s when they jump upriver on the cement “fish ladder.” Stop by the award-winning environmental education center, which is located in the heart of Manchester on the Merrimack River, and enjoy interactive exhibits as well as the excitement of the wild salmon swimming upstream. 

4) Get in touch with your wild side

It’s rare in the United States to find an outdoor oasis in the heart of an urban area. But that’s exactly what Dorrs Pond offers. 

This 25-acre fresh-water jewel is surrounded by tall trees and well-maintained trails, allowing you to get in touch with your wild side all year long. When the temperature drops and the pond’s water freezes, you can take part in some ice skating–a Manchester tradition that dates back nearly a century. 

5) Catch and up-and-coming comedian

Manchester is a funny place. If it weren’t, how else would you explain the fact that several of today’s top comedians cut their teeth in the city’s comedy clubs. 

Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, Seth Meyers and Mike O’Malley all grew up in New Hampshire and got their start in Manchester’s comedy clubs. That’s a pretty impressive fact for a city with a population of about 110,000 people.

See who else might soon be starring on the big screen by stopping by Headliners Comedy Club, where comedians from across the country–and up and down the New England coast–try to follow in the funny footsteps of those who came before them.  

Elliot Health System is conveniently located in the thriving area of Manchester, New Hampshire. Join us!

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