Portsmouth’s historic district is home to dozens of boutiques offering unique items. The fine contemporary N.W. Barrett Gallery, 53 Market Street (www.nwbarrett.com; [tel] 603/431-4262), features the work of area craftspeople, with a classy selection of ceramic sculptures, glassware, lustrous woodworking, and handmade jewelry. The Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, operated by the New Hampshire Art Association, 136 State Street (www.nhartassociation.org; [tel] 603/431-4230), frequently changes exhibits and is a good destination for some quality fine art produced by New Hampshire artists. Nahcotta, 110 Congress Street ([tel] 603/433-1705), is a gallery purveying high-end paintings and sculptures, many of which are quietly edgy and entertaining.
The women’s consignment shop Wear House, 74 Congress Street (www.wearhouseportsmouth.com; [tel] 603/373-8465) has a notably hip, eclectic mix of apparel, jewelry, and accessories. Also, a whole wall full of designer shoes. Some deals here. Hazel Boutique, 7 Commercial Alley (www.hazelportsmouth.com; [tel] 603/766-1780) has urban-bohemian women’s fashions (great dresses especially), handbags, jewelry, and more from some 30 designers in a neat little exposed-brick alleyway nook off Market Street.
Off Piste, 37 Congress Street ([tel] 603/319-6910), is a gift shop with a sense of humor and an indie ethos. If you need a Top Gun t-shirt or a Versace coloring book or a hardcover collection of Instagrammed cat photos, you’ve come to the right place. Macro Polo, 89 Market Street ([tel] 603/436-8338), is the original novelty shop in town (besides sporting arguably the best name of any shop in New Hampshire). It’s a good place to find Bernie Sanders action figures, mildly lewd magnets, bandages that look like bacon, and the like.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bull Moose Music, 82–86 Congress Street (www.bullmoose.com; [tel] 603/422-9525). It’s a Maine chain, but the Portsmouth location has one of its widest selections. There’s nothing glamorous about the cavelike space, but it is the place in northern New England to pick up vintage vinyl records and surf new and used books, graphic novels, CDs, DVDs, and games (video, tabletop, and other). I can’t count the hours I’ve whiled away here, but I’d never call them wasted.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.