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Manchester: Recreation


The remnants of the Amoskeag Millyards along the Merrimack River still attract visitors. Many of the 139 red brick buildings, which once lined the river banks for more than a mile, have been remodeled into office, retail, and manufacturing space, as well as residential townhouses. Manchester's west side still echoes with the French spoken in this predominantly French-Canadian neighborhood. On Elm Street, the home of General John Stark—hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War—has been preserved. The Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center, located on the Merrimack River, is an environmental education center.

Arts and Culture

As the cultural hub of the state, Manchester offers an artistic calendar that incorporates everything from performances and exhibits by famous artists to student shows at coffee houses.

The jewel in Manchester's performing arts crown is the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, which performs a series of classical concerts yearly and features international guest artists. Opera New Hampshire, based in Manchester, stages grand opera throughout the year. The New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, Opera New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Philharmonic, and the Granite State Orchestra perform at the Palace Theatre, a refurbished 1915 vaudeville and opera house. The Manchester Community Music School sponsors the Greater Manchester Youth Symphony Orchestra and offers classes and programs for all ages taught by some of New Hampshire's finest music educators. The Dana Center at Saint Anselm College offers classical theatre performances, contemporary dance concerts, and film showings. Stage One Productions stages dinner theater performances at the Chateau Restaurant. The New Thalian Players, produce professional community theatre productions.

Among New England's finest museums is the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. Its permanent and revolving collections include paintings, glassware, silver, and pewter items dating from the thirteenth through the twentieth centuries. The Currier owns and offers public tours of the Zimmerman House, designed in 1950 by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Franco-American Centre terms itself the leading source of information about French culture, heritage, and history in North America. The Centre boasts a library and a museum, and offers classes, films, and Bastille Day activities. Science Enrichment Encounters (SEE) Science Center, an interactive learning center, provides hands-on exhibits to help children explore all areas of science. The Manchester Historic Association maintains displays of Native American artifacts, furniture from colonial times, and other local memorabilia. Galleries are clustered downtown and in other areas.

Festivals and Holidays

Manchester hosts a variety of ethnic and cultural festivals throughout the year, especially during the summer months. In June, the Talarico Dealerships Jazz and Blues Festival is held at the Palace Theatre, and the Strawberry Shortcake Festival is held in Valley Cemetery. Both the African-Caribbean Celebration and the Latino Festival are held in Veterans Park during the month of August. Also in August is Greekfest, a two-day festival hosted by the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. The Mill City Festival, held in September, celebrates the local ethnicity of Manchester with live music, local food, kayak demonstrations, and a general store featuring items made in New Hampshire. Glendi, an annual celebration of Greek culture and heritage, is held at St. George Orthodox Cathedral in September. Other annual events include the Greater Manchester Horse Show at the Deerfield Fairgrounds in May, and the New Year's Eve First Night Celebration.

Sports for the Spectator

Three professional sports teams call Manchester home. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are the AA baseball affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. They play their home games at the new Riverfront Stadium, located along the banks of the Merrimack River. The Manchester Wolves, an arena football team, play at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Manchester Monarchs play professional ice hockey in the Eastern Conference of the American Hockey League. Saint Anselm College fields 10 men's and 10 women's teams in 13 different sports, including basketball, lacrosse, and football.

Sports for the Participant

Manchester's two noteworthy recreational attractions are its in-town ski area and its boat launches. The 53-acre McIntyre Ski Area, located within the city limits and operated by the city, provides snow skiing, snowboarding, and a tubing park. The facility is equipped with snow-making equipment, two double chairlifts, a tow rope, and lighting. Within the city, boats can be launched onto the Piscatoquog River on the west side and onto the Merrimack River from ramps at three eastside sites. The city's 55 parks, encompassing 900 acres, feature swimming pools, baseball diamonds, ice rinks, tracks, tennis courts, and a beach. Skateboarders gather at the Adam D. Curtis Skateboard Park. The Derryfield Country Club is an 18-hole municipal golf course. Within an hour's drive of Manchester are some of the state's best skiing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, boating, swimming, and fishing.

Shopping and Dining

Manchester's tax-free shopping draws shoppers from throughout the region. Downtown Manchester boasts more than 60 locally owned stores that feature clothing, furniture, books, antiques, and locally made products. The Mall of New Hampshire is anchored by Filene's, Best Buy, JCPenney, and Sears. The mall's offerings include more than 120 retail stores and a food court. The Tanger Outlet Center, in nearby Tilton, has more than 50 brand name and designer outlet stores.

Cuisine in Manchester reflects the city's ethnic diversity. Brazilian, French-Canadian, Irish, Spanish, Korean, Mexican, and Vietnamese cuisine are among the ethnic flavors found in Manchester's restaurants. They coexist with local favorites such as New England-style seafood, steak, and home-style cooking.

Visitor Information: Manchester Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 889 Elm Street, 3rd Floor, Manchester, NH 03101; telephone (603)666-6600