Your Guide to Holiday Magic

There’s nothing like Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth to brighten the spirits and usher in holiday cheer. Not only does our picturesque and historic Seacoast city reflect a picture-postcard New England scene, but it also offers a diverse calendar of holiday happenings throughout the month of December. We can’t wait to partake in a dazzling array of fun activities, from ice skating to candlelight strolls, viewing intricate gingerbread house creations to seeing Elf The Musical—all while exploring the fabulous shops and top-rated restaurants in this eminently walkable town.  Tip for holiday visitors: A second parking garage just opened in town, the Foundry Place Garage

Use the following listing of Vintage Christmas happenings to help you plan the fun times ahead. For further details and updates, go to

Nov. 28 – Dec. 16: The Ogunquit Playhouse at The Music Hall transforms the historic stage on Chestnut Street in a holiday wonderland with Elf The Musical, specifically designed and cast for this performance run. Tip: Tickets are going fast, but still available at great prices for the preview performances on Nov. 28 and 29, and Opening Night Nov. 30.

Nov. 30 – Dec. 23: The 28th Annual Gingerbread House Exhibit at the Portsmouth Historical Society on Middle Street showcases many fanciful, juried creations nestled in the first-floor gallery of large-format winter photographs by David J. Murray and Andy Dolph. Tip: Until Dec. 14, you can vote for the Gingerbread House People’s Choice Award.

Dec. 1: Portsmouth Christmas Tree Lighting at Market Square, followed by an Illuminated Holiday Parade. Tip: Contribute to the spirit of the season by giving to the accompanying food drive.

Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22: The 39th Annual Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum takes a deep dive into local history with its illuminated showcase of more than 300 years of daily life and holiday festivities reflecting the theme “A Place to Gather.” Tip: You’ll enjoy a full program of theatrical performances as you stroll through the candlelit lanes and historic houses of this living history museum.

Dec. 1 – Dec. 31: Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Bank offers skating in a professionally maintained outdoor rink every day in December from 9am to 9pm, with skates available to rent. Tip: There’s a Currier & Ives-inspired show during each of the Candlelight Stroll weekends.

December Weekends: Hop on the free Vintage Christmas Trolley every weekend in December to shuttle around town and give your feet a rest.

Dec. 18 & 19: The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s Family Holiday Pops at The Music Hall’s Historic Theater will enchant all ages. Tip: There will be new twists on holiday favorites and a special performance from artist-in-residence Billy Butler.

Dec 28 & 29: Juston McKinney: A Year in Review 2018 ends the year with an evening of hilarity at The Music Hall Historic Theater. Tip: McKinney, known for his Comedy Central performances, is a Seacoast local.