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Best Places to Live in New Hampshire

Thinking about packing your bags and moving to the New England area? Assuming you don’t mind snowy winters and pricey housing, New Hampshire may be the right destination for you. After all, New Hampshire does have some great perks—like no state sales or income tax, and beautiful foliage during the fall.

If you’re considering setting up shop in the Granite State, you probably have a big question on your mind: Where are the best places to live in New Hampshire?

So, let’s answer that question by looking at a list of the seven best places to live in New Hampshire. Keep this in mind though: The best place for you to live in New Hampshire (or anywhere else, for that matter) will depend on your individual situation and preferences. You may be looking for somewhere to retire, start a family, or launch your career.

As you go through this list, think about which places are the best fit for you.

Where Are the Best Places to Live in New Hampshire?

Here’s the list! In no particular order, the seven best places to live in New Hampshire are . . .

Let’s break them all down.

Portsmouth  

Up first is Portsmouth, a city in southeast New Hampshire situated on the Piscataqua River. Because Portsmouth is a riverfront city, it’s got great opportunities for fishing and several restaurants along the river (River House and Lobster Cove are two local favorites) that offer lovely views in the evening.

Worried about finding a job in Portsmouth? You shouldn’t be. The city is home to Pease Tradeport, a former U.S. Air Force base that now serves as a huge industrial complex. Over 200 companies have offices there, and those businesses employ more than 10,500 people collectively.1

Portsmouth is also home to a super cool annual summer arts festival, which features tons of music, art, theater and dance performances in local Prescott Park. Plus, the city has a great school system.

Population*

22,1382

Median Household Income

$100,1693

Median Home Listing Price

$860,0004

Median Rent

$2,6005

Unemployment Rate

2.3%6

*Data in all tables collected in February 2024.

Hanover

Next on our list is New Hampshire’s biggest college town: Hanover. Home to the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College and its more than 5,000 students, Hanover has all the traditional college town staples, like great coffee shops and bookstores (Still North Books & Bar on Allen Street actually checks both of those boxes).

But having a major university in your city means a lot more than books and coffee. It also means you’ve got access to visual art, theater, sports, and the occasional guest lecture—if you happen to be into that sort of thing, or just want to channel your inner Sheldon Cooper.

Even with all the youthful energy that swarms Hanover when school is in session, it still offers a more rural and laid-back feel than many of the other cities on this list. People in Hanover enjoy a tight-knit community, and they spend a lot of time in the city’s downtown area. They also get to experience all four seasons, though the winters can be tough sledding (pun intended) with super cold temperatures and lots of snow.

Just beware of Hanover’s housing prices. It’s one of the most expensive cities on our list.

Population

8,2347

Median Household Income

$111,9588

Median Home Listing Price

$600,0009

Median Rent

$2,80010

Unemployment Rate

2.2%11

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Manchester

New Hampshire doesn’t really have any “big cities,” but Manchester is the closest thing. It’s certainly the city on our list with the most options for entertainment. Folks living in Manchester can watch the New Hampshire Fisher Cats play a Minor League Baseball game, enjoy a concert at the Palace Theatre, take a hike around the Merrimack River, or get in the car and drive an hour to the beach (weather permitting, of course).

See how much house you can afford with our free mortgage calculator!

Entertainment isn’t the only thing in Manchester that’s not too difficult to come by—the city has plenty of job opportunities too. In fact, several Fortune 500 companies have corporate offices in Manchester, including Comcast and Texas Instruments (you know, the people who made that $100 calculator you had to buy for high school precalculus).

And if you ever do get bored of Manchester, travel is a breeze. The city is well connected to major highways, and the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (located in Manchester, not Boston) offers direct flights to Orlando, Tampa, Chicago, Philadelphia, and several other metro areas.

Best of all, Manchester’s housing costs are the lowest on our list.

Population

115,14112

Median Household Income

$74,76913

Median Home Listing Price

$520,00014

Median Rent

$1,81515

Unemployment Rate

2.7%16

Dover

Want access to all that Portsmouth has to offer, but don’t want to pay its steep housing prices? Check out Dover, a suburb of Portsmouth that’s more affordable and great for families. Dover has great schools, a thriving economy with quality job opportunities, and plenty of fun things for kids to do—including the super cool Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

Like Portsmouth, Dover is a riverfront city—which means scenic views of the Cochecho River and plenty of opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and strolls along the riverwalk. Dover also has several great parks if you want to enjoy the outdoors while staying dry.

Dover has a lot of history too. Several colonial-era homes and churches are scattered around the city, and the Woodman Museum displays local artifacts dating back to the 17th century. And, of course, Portsmouth is just 20 minutes away.

Population

32,84917

Median Household Income

$90,84418

Median Home Listing Price

$550,00019

Median Rent

$2,20020

Unemployment Rate

2.3%21

Concord

Up next is Concord, New Hampshire’s capital city. Located about an hour west of New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region, Concord is full of incredible architecture and plenty of natural beauty.

More so than anywhere else on this list, Concord feels like Main Street U.S.A. In fact, Concord’s downtown has a literal “Main Street” that runs for about half a mile through the area—it’s where most of the restaurants, bars and shops are located.

Like Manchester, Concord makes traveling easy by offering quick access to major highways. However, you definitely don’t need to leave Concord to have a good time. That’s because the city has a variety of ways to stay busy during the day (like museums and art galleries) and at night (like concert venues, bars and theaters).

Just be sure to take a flashlight with you if you walk close to New Hampshire Hospital at night—rumor has it the grounds are haunted.

Population

44,04922

Median Household Income

$77,87423

Median Home Listing Price

$556,17524

Median Rent

$1,90025

Unemployment Rate

2.2%26

Durham

Alright, we’re about to sound like a broken record here. That’s because Durham is very similar to a lot of the other areas on our list.

It’s home to a major college (University of New Hampshire). It’s close to other, bigger cities (Portsmouth and Manchester). It’s a riverfront city (the Lamprey River). It has four distinct seasons with cold, snowy winters. It’s got plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and biking. It has a historic and walkable downtown area. And it’s a small town with a tight-knit community.

Sound like any other cities on our list? Yep, pretty much all of them. So, if you’re looking for a happy medium with a little bit of everything we’ve talked about so far, Durham would definitely fit the bill.

Population

291,84427

Median Household Income

$78,10528

Median Home Listing Price

$675,00029

Median Rent

$2,90030

Unemployment Rate

1.8%31

Nashua

Rounding out our list is Nashua, which is about 45 minutes northwest of Boston (and just 25 minutes from the Manchester Airport). It’s home to a wide variety of public and private schools and colleges, including Nashua Community College and Rivier University.

Nashua’s economy used to be heavily tied to the manufacturing industry, but things are a lot more diverse these days. The city now has plenty of job opportunities in sectors like technology, health care and retail. But if you do work in manufacturing, there’s still plenty of that going on too.

Looking for something to do in Nashua? The Nashua River Trail is a popular spot for walking, running and biking. And the brand-new Nashua Center for the Arts is a beautiful performance venue that hosts several plays and concerts each month.

Nashua also has two great hospitals, and its downtown area has been recently revitalized with a handful of new restaurants and shops.

Population

91,16232

Median Household Income

$96,91133

Median Home Listing Price

$565,00034

Median Rent

$2,00035

Unemployment Rate

3.2%36

Ready to Move to New Hampshire?

If one of the areas we’ve looked at seems like a good fit, make sure you can afford the housing costs before you hit the road—especially since a lot of the areas we looked at have expensive rent and home prices. So, how do you figure out whether you can afford the housing in any of these New Hampshire cities or neighborhoods? It’s simple!

Just make sure your rent or mortgage payment is no more than 25% of your take-home pay. If you’re planning to buy a home, that number includes private mortgage insurance (PMI), HOA fees, and homeowners insurance.

You can use our free Mortgage Calculator to get a look at how much you can expect.

Keep that rule in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to thriving in New Hampshire. You’ve got this!

 

Next Steps

1. Learn more about how much it costs to move, then crunch the numbers and see if it makes sense for you.

2. If you are ready for a move to New Hampshire, connect with a RamseyTrusted real estate agent. The agents we recommend will serve you with excellence and make sure you wind up in a home that’s a good fit for you and your family. We trust them, and you can too.

Connect With a Pro

Frequently Asked Questions

New Hampshire can be an expensive place to live, thanks to high housing prices. You should be okay if you have a good job, but you’ll want to make sure your monthly housing payment is no more than 25% of your take-home pay.

New Hampshire has lots of good options for families, but Dover is one of the best. There’s a lot of fun things to do for all ages, and it’s very close to Portsmouth—a bigger city with more job opportunities.

Some of New Hampshire’s pros include a laid-back atmosphere, a thriving economy with tons of job opportunities, and easy access to travel thanks to the Manchester Airport and multiple interstate highways. Its cons include expensive housing and cold, snowy winters.

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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