We invite you to delight in the magic of the holiday season here in Portsmouth.

Here’s what’s happening this year

The Ogunquit Playhouse production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the Broadway musical


The Music Hall’s Historic Theater
November 30 – December 18
Tickets & Information

The Music Hall has once again partnered with the Ogunquit Playhouse to bring a magical holiday show to the historic theater. This year, audiences will be treated to the Broadway production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, on stage November 30–December 18. Don’t miss this classic story with unforgettable characters, stunning sets and costumes, dazzling production numbers, and Broadway actors – all with a touch of holiday magic.


The 37th Annual Candlelight Stroll


Strawbery Banke Museum
December 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18
Saturdays, 5-9 pm. Sundays, 4-8 pm. Friday Dec 16, 5-9 pm
Tickets & Information

In the spirit of a truly Vintage Christmas, Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through 300+ years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. This year’s rendition of the beloved Candlelight Stroll will be “Gift from the Sea.” Along candlelit dirt lanes, visitors will walk through a historic portrayal of winter –and, where historically appropriate, the holidays of Christmas and Hannukah – among the glowing historic homes and costumed role players. The magical experience will be accompanied by a full program of musical performances and theatricals.

The Vintage Christmas 2016 Kickoff Party


Portsmouth Historic Society at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street
Friday, December 2, 5–8pm
More information

Help celebrate the official start of Vintage Christmas cheer and get the first look at the results of the popular 26th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Exhibition. Created by local business, artists, families, and children, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery. 


26th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Exhibition

Portsmouth Historical Society at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street
All month long
More information

The free exhibition is open from 10a.m.–5p.m. until December 23rd (with extended hours until 8p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery surrounded by large format photographs: David J. Murray’s images of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and photographs of trains in New Hampshire winters by Andy Dolph. The exhibition can be seen every day through December 23 from 10am – 5pm with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 8pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public at PHS @Discover Portsmouth, located at 10 Middle Street. We’ll announce our juror's selections at the Kickoff Party; the public can continue to vote throughout the month. On Friday, December 16 the People’s Choice Award will be announced. Come see these magical creations and find holiday gifts in the Museum Shop!

The Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke, 14 Hancock Street

Every day in December, 9am - 9pm
Tickets & Information

Enjoy the delight of a winter skate at Strawbery Banke’s professionally-maintained outdoor ice-skating rink. In the spirit of Portsmouth’s rich performing arts culture, the rink hosts a Currier & Ives-inspired show during each of the December weekends of the Candlelight Stroll. Skate rentals and sharpening services are available.

A Wonderful Life

The Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow Street
Tickets & Information

Frank Capra’s film classic has been brought to vibrant theatrical life through the remarkable collaboration of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner Sheldon Harnick and Grammy and Emmy Award-winner Joe Raposo. The story of George Bailey and his wonderful life in Bedford Falls remains a timeless fable of dreams, disillusionment and the power of love. An uplifting chronicle of the extraordinary lives of ordinary folk, A Wonderful Life exhilarates the mind and heart as it celebrates the innate goodness in us all.



Portsmouth Christmas Tree Lighting & Illuminated Holiday Parade and Food Drive

Portsmouth Illuminated Holiday Parand and Tree Lighting Ceremony, Portsmouth, December 7, 2013
Market Square
Saturday, December 3

(Rain date: December 4th)

Tree lighting, 5:30pm
Parade, 6:00pm

Experience this magical event in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. Excitement builds as the community counts down to the lighting of the Portsmouth Christmas tree and the festive fun continues with a dazzling illuminated holiday parade down Islington Street and through Market Square.


Kent Stephens’ The Ragpicker’s Dream

The Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress Street
Saturday, December 17th & Tuesday, December 20th
Tickets & Information

This funny, poignant holiday play reading (no sets or costumes) will contain a collection of tales, interspersed with the work of Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows, the poetry of Robert Frost and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the comedy of David Sedaris. 

Family Holiday Pops presented by the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra

The Music Hall’s Historic Theater • 28 Chestnut Street
Tuesday, December 20th & Wednesday, December 21st • 7:30pm
Tickets & Information

Celebrate the seasons with holiday favorites old and new in this classic production. Special guest artists include Taylor O’Donnell and Chris Klaxton.

Juston McKinney’s Last Laugh 2016

The Music Hall’s Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street
Thursday, December 29th • 8pm
Tickets & Information

End the year with laughter at this always-a-hit comedy show, where Juston will be dishing on New England life and looking back at the year. Juston has been a guest on The Tonight Show and has performed in two Comedy Central specials, including his own one-hour show. He was recently named Best (Comedian) of NH by New Hampshire Magazine.



Pickwick’s Holiday Dinners

Strawbery Banke’s William Pitt Tavern, Court and Atkinson Streets
December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, and 18th

Step in from the cold and back in time at Pickwick’s acclaimed Holiday Dinners. Experience the historic William Pitt Tavern in all its holiday splendor for a festive colonial four-course meal prepared by acclaimed Chef Evan Mallett of the Black Trumpet. There will also be locally-crafted libations and live music to evoke holiday cheer.

Tickets and more information here

Holiday Magic Trolley Tours

Nickleby the Vintage Pickwick’s Trolley
Forthcoming information can be found here

Enjoy the sights and stories of the Seacoast from the comfort of the Nickleby Trolley, which hosts 14 passengers for a Holiday Magic Tour in partnership with New England Curiosities.

We hope to see you in Portsmouth!