Guest Blog: The Ultimate Guide to Manchester, NH

As part of our ongoing guest blog series, below is a guide if Manchester written by Red Oak Apartment Homes, LLC! Enjoy the post below! Interested in writing a guest blog? Email us at jwhitney@intownmanchester.com!


The Ultimate Guide to Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH is known as the Queen City because it is the largest city in the state and home to a thriving metropolitan area of diverse experiences, tastes and cultural events.  We have the pleasure of meeting people every day who are visiting the city and asking for insider info about the best places to eat, shop and have fun in Manchester.  Many of these folks choose to live in the city too.  We’ve picked out the best places for you to know about in this great city.  Let’s get started!

Best Place for Morning Coffee:  If you need Java to start your day, Café La Reine at 915 Elm Street is the place to go.  Robust coffee, delicious pastries and sandwiches, comfy chairs and free Wi-Fi are just what you need.  Set just a few yards from City Hall, this location is convenient to all that is happening downtown.

Best Boozy Brunch:  From 10 to 3 on Sundays, Firefly regulars converge to take advantage of one of the most expansive specialty brunch menus around.  Located at 22 Amherst Street in Manchester, Firefly has an eclectic and appealing menu.  Omelets and (lobster) benedicts, soups and salads, sandwiches and steaks–everyone in your party is sure to be satisfied.  But if you ask us, the real highlight of Firefly’s Brunch is the “Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar.”  The possibilities are truly endless.  We’re talking dozens of fixings including: roasted garlic, green beans, jalapeños, horseradish, raw egg, wasabi, slim jims, and every hot sauce you can think of!  Oh and by the way, for $1 each you can toss on some shrimp, bleu cheese stuffed olives, bacon, and our personal favorite… a whole crawfish!

Best Quick and Affordable Lunch:  El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria is found at 10 Lake Ave in Manchester.  Its location near the Verizon Arena is convenient and easy to walk to from downtown.  The neat and colorful interior has lots of fun ethnic decorations.  Service is prompt and friendly.  The guacamole was fantastic and the shrimp tacos were flavored perfectly with fresh shrimp and a side of rice.  The place is small and cozy and it is BYOB!  This restaurant is reasonably priced and open Tues-Sat from 11am to 9pm and Sun from 11am to 6pm.

Best Leisurely Lunch:  Have some time on your hands or just want to enjoy a long relaxing noon time meal with a good friend?  Then Cotton is the place to have lunch.  This restaurant has been in its present location for over 15 years and offers a relaxed and peaceful interior.  If the weather is nice, opt for a table on the patio.  It is a trellised haven that makes you feel far from the maddening crowds.  Fresh and creative lunches are delicious.  We cannot make a trip here and not have the crab cakes.  They are a meal all by themselves.  A glass of wine or a cocktail with lunch?  No problem, the wine list is lengthy.

Best Deck Dining with a View:  The winters are long and cold in New Hampshire so when the weather turns warm we all love to be outside.  Dining on a deck is the way to accomplish this.  It’s even better if there is a great view.  We recommend the Foundry Restaurant at 50 Commercial St in Manchester.  Set along the Merrimack River in a historic mill building the deck has a view of the waters just south of the falls.  Sandwiches and meals are portioned to please even the heartiest of appetites.  After dinner take a walk along the Riverfront walkway and enjoy more scenic views.

Best High End Dining:  The Hanover Street Chop House is Manchester’s best elegant and upscale steakhouse with a rich and romantic supper club feel.  Service is over the top good and attentive.  The steaks are the show stoppers here and they are juicy and delicious.  The chef offers a complimentary chocolate truffle to you at the end of the meal.  It’s a great place for a special occasion or celebration so make your reservations early for a booth.

Best Place for Sweets:  Finesse Pastries is a gourmet French patisserie located at 968 Elm Street in downtown Manchester.  The chef prepares all treats from scratch daily.  Cakes, breads and sandwiches are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.  Monthly baking classes are offered so that you can learn the secrets of cooking French pastry for yourself.

Best Place for Pizza:  There are many great options for pizza in Manchester, NH and one of our favorites is the Portland Pie Company on Elm Street in downtown Manchester.  This Maine based pizzeria is much more than dough and sauce. The menu carries a wide variety of classic sandwiches, wraps, salads and pastas too.  The interior at the 786 Elm St location is remarkable. The transformation from an old family style restaurant to a sleek modern bar and eatery is truly amazing!

Best Place for a First Date:  815 is a speakeasy at, you guessed it- 815 Elm Street.  You must know the secret password to enter and once you do, get ready for classic cocktails and bar food.  The atmosphere is fun and flirty and something to get the conversation started on a first date.  Locally crafted beers are a highlight at this establishment.  Don’t be shy to talk to the bartender.  He knows his booze and how to make interesting drinks.  Ask him for something that is not on the menu and you will get a drink with a story.

Best Place for Happy Hour:  Downtown Manchester, particularly Elm Street, is a bargain boozer’s paradise.  One of our favorite spots to get our liquor on the low is at the recently opened Thirsty Moose Taphouse.  Located on the corner of Elm and Merrimack at the former home of JW Hills, Thirsty Moose is quickly becoming the place to go for unique beers and yummy food to match.  Happy Hour specials are offered almost every day!

Best Dog Friendly Hang out:  Take a stroll down Elm Street and visit your favorite dog-friendly restaurants and their outdoor patios. You and your pup can enjoy the sunshine with some delicious downtown cuisine.  It’s hard to pick just one so here are our top 10 favorites!

Best Neighborhood Hangout:  Mint Bistro at 1105 Elm Street, Manchester, NH.  Enjoy a warm and friendly atmosphere at this restaurant where Sushi is king.  The selections and freshness of their Sushi is just simply amazing.  Try a few maki rolls before enjoying your dinner.  Their bar runs almost the entire length of the restaurant and friendly bartenders are ready to mix up just what you want.  The owner, Tim Baines is always greeting patrons and is ready to suggest a great menu choice.  Mint Bistro is a great place to hang out and meet your friends.

Best Art Gallery:  The Currier Museum of Art.  This north end oasis on Ash Street opened in 1929 and has remained a vital part of the city for all these years. The quality of art is amazing here.  You can view works by Picasso, Monet, Turner and Matisse.  Sculpture, furniture, paintings and glass are just a few of the media forms that art takes here.  As you walk to the Museum from their parking lot you are greeted by a massive red and black sculpture called “Origins” by Mark Suvero.  It is impressive.  The Museum has a revolving menu of exhibits that change throughout the year.  One of my favorite pieces in the museum is the Zimmerman House.  It is a Frank Lloyd Wright house and is open for tours in the warmer months.  It is a treat to see.

Best Kid’s Museum:  The SEE Science Center at 200 Bedford Street in Manchester is a kid’s dream.  Children love the many interactive displays, the replica of the Manchester Millyard built with Lego blocks, exhibits on light and electricity and rotating science displays.  All are designed with a curious mind as the main audience.  Kids of all ages will love it here.  The Center is open 7 days a week and prices are reasonable.

Best Place to Live for History Lovers:  Do you like an apartment with a historic setting and all the modern conveniences you crave?  Then an apartment at the Opera Block or the St. George School are for you.  Enjoy beautiful architecture, high ceilings, large windows, wood plank flooring and free parking. Close to downtown’s restaurants, bars and shops for a convenient lifestyle. Red Oak Apartment Homes offers the best locations and variety of apartment homes in the area.

About the Author:

Ron Dupont is the Owner of Red Oak Apartment Homes, 289 Pine Street, Manchester, NH. He loves the state of New Hampshire and the Queen City in particular. He loves your pets and offers pet friendly apartment living in Manchester, Milford, Derry, Hooksett, Merrimack, Boscawen & Laconia New Hampshire.

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