Why Portsmouth

Why Portsmouth for #Mozcation? It’s Like Nowhere Else You Can Go.

 

So, what makes Portsmouth so Awesome?

Photo courtesy of Philip Case Cohen.

Without a doubt, there’s something special about this place. People who visit can sense it immediately. There’s the contrast of the rich seaport history and timeless New England architecture with the modern, vibrant culture and creative, artistic community thriving here. One minute you could be gazing upon a centuries-old athenaeum, the next you are getting a Swarm Badge on Foursquare for checking in at Digital Portsmouth at the Music Hall Loft. You could take a twilight horse-and-carriage tour around the city and then catch a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Seacoast Rep or hear world-class authors read from their international best-sellers at The Music Hall, a national historic treasure.

The magic of Portsmouth is hard to explain and harder to define, but one of the reasons that Portsmouth has flourished as a diverse and exciting cultural community might be a result of the increase in technology. Increasing amounts of people are able to work remotely, giving them the freedom to move to places that they want to live, instead of being forced to live where they can find work. This has contributed over the past few decades to a high concentration of energetic and creative people in Portsmouth, many of whom moved here for the outstanding quality of life. This has, in turn, made Portsmouth a hotspot of creativity, increasing the amount of creative and tech businesses, and ultimately increasing jobs and bringing in even more people. It’s like a wonderful reverse-engineered circle of life!

Here are just a few things that make Portsmouth amazing:

Arts

Portsmouth is a very artistic community. Galleries, studios and museums abound, and the community is thriving with artists of all sorts — painters, photographers, woodworkers, sculptors, metalworkers—and the city has a wonderful history of supporting artists. The first Friday of every month is the Art Round Town gallery walk, where downtown galleries open their doors for several evening hours, many offering wine and small appetizers for the public to enjoy while viewing new shows. Most summers bring one or more art installations in downtown Market Square—a large sculpture or installation piece to greet visitors to the town. The Button Factory in the “Creative Corridor” of Portsmouth houses over 70 artists and craftspeople, and the NH Art Association, which is one of the oldest state-wide art associations in the country, is based in Portsmouth as well.

Theater

Portsmouth has a very lively theater community, and is home to many great theaters: The Seacoast Repertory Theater, The Pontine Theater, The Player’s Ring, The Music Hall, and The New Hampshire Theater Project, to name a few. Prescott Park Arts Festival brings theater outdoors to the public throughout the summer months. Any day of the week in Portsmouth, you will have several shows to choose from, be it an evening of improv at the Player’s Ring, a family show in Prescott Park, a recent British romantic comedy at Seacoast Rep, a burlesque show at the Music Hall, or a comedy show at the Music Hall Loft. Prefer screen to stage? Portsmouth also hosts the annual New Hampshire Film Festival, which draws huge crowds and many international filmmakers and stars.

Music

The music scene in Portsmouth has such a vibrant history that filmmaker Marc Dole made a film about it: In Danger of Being Discovered. The Music Hall also hosts world-renowned musicians, such as B.B. King, K.D. Lang, Billy Bragg, Al Green, Michael Buble, Ozomatli, and Chris Issak. Any night of the week you can catch a wide variety of live music at many local restaurants and bars— jazz at The Press Room or Rudi’s, reggae at the Blue Mermaid, or punk at 3sArtspace’s Loading Dock. The Portsmouth Music and Arts Center offers classes for kids and adults in many instruments and hosts several not-to-be-missed yearly showcases of ensembles of PMAC students and teachers.

Creative Tech Hub

They don’t call it the “e-Coast” for nothing! Portsmouth is virtually unparalleled in its local creative and technology talent. It was named the #1 Foursquare Day city in the country in 2010 – over the likes of New York, Singapore, San Francisco and Miami! Portsmouth has city-wide wifi, an abundance of creative firms, and a hyper-connected population.

According to a recent NH Economic Census, the Seacoast is home to 128 Engineering Services; 94 Computer Systems Design; 26 Scientific R&D; 73 Telecommunications; 24 Software Publishers; 27 ISPs, Search Portals & Dataprocessing; 19 Graphic Design; and 116 Computer Programming companies.

More Than Just Downtown

On the eastern flank of Portsmouth is the Pease International Tradeport. In addition to boasting an international airport, a 27-hole golf course and many restaurants, Pease is home to more than 245 companies employing approximately 7,000 people in more than 4 million square feet of office and industrial space. This site used to be an Air Force Base. Once decommissioned, the prime real estate that was formerly military housing and offices was converted into some of the most cutting-edge office buildings and buzz-worthy tech companies. Pease also abuts a wildlife sanctuary & refuge, with running, walking and biking trails, giving you the opportunity to spot lots of local fauna, and, if you’re lucky, a bald eagle!

There are many more elements that make Portsmouth amazing – outdoor recreation opportunities, historic homes and gardens, maritime activities, scores of festivals, and salty sea air—but you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!

Photo courtesy The Music Hall - Digital Portsmouth