The Portsmouth Historical Society converted the former city library into Discover Portsmouth, a “one-stop” central gateway to the historical, cultural and artistic venues of greater Portsmouth and a new exhibition site displaying the art and history of the region.
The building includes seven four-color, 4-by-8-foot information panels on each of Portsmouth’s historic houses, museums, landmarks and performance venues. The side galleries are filled with rotating exhibits, and the center’s theater hosts continuous showings of “Welcome to Historic Portsmouth,” a free 12-minute film on Portsmouth’s 400-year history.
Walking Tours: May through October
“About an hour and a half of walking with an experienced, knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic guide brought to life the history and details of the place that you would otherwise miss. It was fascinating.” — Louis L., via TripAdvisor
Learn why Portsmouth is the hub of the New Hampshire Seacoast! Our downtown is filled with hidden treasures. Our knowledgeable walking tour guides will introduce you to the city’s rich past and lively present – a unique mix of architecture, specialty shops, and bustling streets nestled in a village-like setting. This 90-minute guided walking tour is sure to bring the history of Portsmouth alive!
Portsmouth Historical Society presents 2021 Tour Offerings
Tour space is limited. Reservations strongly encouraged. Walk-ins welcome. Member discounts apply.
All tours depart from Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street. Tour guests invited to arrive 30 minutes prior for a free 12 minute film on the history of Portsmouth NH.
Private tours are available upon request for a fee. Please call (603) 436-8433 for more information. Tours are $12 for members and $20 for non-members. The $20 fee includes admission to the gallery exhibitions and the John Paul Jones Historic House Museum, in season.
John Paul Jones Historic House Museum
Built in 1758, the John Paul Jones Historic House Museum is a registered national historic landmark.
Open Seasonally, Memorial Day Weekend–Columbus Day
Also open on Veterans Day with free admission for all
November 11th, 11:00 am–5:00 pm
Historic Downtown Walking Tour: Daily, 10:30pm, 2nd and 4th Fridays at 2:30pm. 75-90 minutes May 1 – October 31, 2021
This tour covers the streets, stories, buildings and architecture of historic downtown with an engaging, friendly guide.
Portsmouth Women Tour: 3rd Wednesday of every month May 1 – October 31 at 2:30pm.
Learn about the many women who undertook non-traditional roles to become leaders in commerce, the arts, and on the seas.
The Portsmouth Path of President Washington Tour: 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month May 1 – October 31 at 2:30pm.
Many people don’t know that George Washington spent time on the Seacoast in 1789! Learn about President and Martha Washington’s visit to Portsmouth in the fall of 1789. One of the stops is the Tobias Lear House, home of President Washington’s personal secretary.
“Gay Old Times”:Stories of Portsmouth’s LGBTQ+ Community 2nd Sunday of every month May 1- October 31 at 2:30pm.
The hidden history of LGBT clubs, organizations, and people who impacted the seacoast of NH. Tour guide, Tom Kaufhold will take you through Portsmouth for this engaging 75 minute tour. You will pass by many beautiful historic sites and learn some important facts about Portsmouth LGBT people, places and events.
Historic Preservation Tours with Richard M. Candee, author of Building Portsmouth: 2nd Thursday of every month May – August at 2:30pm.
May: Expanding Portsmouth: The Federal West End 1790-1830
June: Creation of the Victorian West End 1840-1910
July: Industrial Portsmouth 1820-1920
August: Urban Renewal and the Lost North End 1950-1966
Guided architectural walking tours showcasing Portsmouth’s famous neighborhoods, led by local historian, and Portsmouth treasure, Richard Candee. Historic Preservation tours provide an excellent opportunity to dive into the details and stories that make Portsmouth and its neighborhoods unique.
To learn about other area attractions, click here.