There is a predictably crafty element with much of the shopping in New Hampshire. Most towns of size will have a main street or downtown area where independent boutiques sell locally-made art, home décor and other practical but creative goods. There are also the usual shopping malls around the big cities like Concord and Manchester, but it’s highly unlikely they will have anything of interest to an out-of-state visitor.
Portsmouth has one of the best downtown areas to explore with dozens of neat shops featuring the work of regional craftspeople. There isn’t any particular product New Hampshire is known for, but the folks certainly appear to have a talent for artistry. Since there is no sales tax in New Hampshire, you will often find yourself with the itch to buy since the thought of saving a few bucks is appealing.
In North Conway the shopping takes on a more competitive slant. This is where you can find a three-mile stretch of outlet malls, a discount paradise for bargain hunters galore with most of America’s leading retailers like Ralph Lauren, Eddie Bauer and Rockport present. With more than 200 stores to check out, you can easily spend a whole cruising Route 302 and Route 16.
Of the many outlets outside of North Conway, Settlers’ Green Outlet Village is arguably the most charismatic. One great buy here is outdoor gear. There are several well known outfitters around including Eastern Mountain Sports and International Mountain Equipment. You can count on a solid selection of goods at much lower prices than the specialty shops.