VisitingNewEngland Header Travel Site
  Book a Hotel Room      Discover the Best Diners in New England      Explore Beautiful Massachusetts Town Commons   

This is your place for travel planning...    Check out these feature stories on special small businesses in New England -- great reads for locals and travelers!

Why You Should be Keen on Downtown Keene, N.H.

Downtown Keene NH with gazeboDowntown Keene, New Hampshire.

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/16/16.
Share this New England travel article with your friends
Somebody forgot to tell Keene, N.H., that a thriving small town downtown is a thing of the past.

In this world of solely focusing on bringing in superstores and other big box retail attractions, Keene ignored all myopic trends and also focused on improving its already impressive downtown.  Sure, Keene has its share of much-needed chain stores on the outskirts, but the vibrant nature of its downtown shines through with every step of the way -- it's not only for locals but a destination for travelers.  And with a mix of in town Keene State College students and a residential population ranging from young families to conservative old-timers, downtown Keene has something for everyone. Add one of the widest Main Streets in the United States, historical homes and municipal buildings, a lovely town common with gazebo, landscaped, tree-lined walkways and stores with colorful signs competing with each other for your attention and you have the presence of one of New England's best downtowns, period.  What's especially remarkable is that you'll see very few vacant storefronts -- a real testimony to how a downtown can succeed, even during a down economy.  It's also proof that with a little bit of visionary planning, retail chains and locally-owned downtown stores can co-exist in the same community.

You could literally do all your Christmas shopping in downtown Keene. How many small towns or cities can boast that?  During the summer, downtown Keene is perfect for an evening stroll and in the fall a perfect location to rustle through the leaves in this Currier and Ives-like downtown, and grab some hot chocolate and a muffin at Brewbakers (97 Main Street). On a cold winter night, you can warm up by catching a movie or play at the Colonial Theater (95 Main Street, at any time of the year, for that matter!).

Keene is the the type of downtown we grew up with, so it's heartwarming to see a town like Keene show such community pride. It's also amazing that a town of about 23,000 people can offer a downtown that rivals communities with much higher populations.

As the main commercial center of southwestern New Hampshire, Keene represents this beautiful region quite well. An added benefit is that you're just minutes away from the scenic Mt. Monadnock and border Vermont towns areas filled with scenic vistas, pristine lakes and ponds and classic small New England towns like Harrisville, Peterborough and Walpole. It's really the best of both worlds -- a fantastic downtown and rural New England, at its best.

Find a hotel in Keene

Downtown Keene NH
Keene offers a beautiful, walkable downtown.

If you enjoyed this article, please share through any of the social media buttons below -- thanks!

Get to know the real New England through diners and destinations...

Best Diners In New England Kindle bookMassachusetts Town Greens Book

Stay connected with VisitingNewEngland at  Facebook Social Media Button Facebook  Twitter Social Media Button Twitter Social Media Pinterest Button Pinterest  Social Media Google+ Button Google+


Featuring our latest New England travel insider's news updates and stories, discounts and coupons!

Relax and stay for a while: Start with our navigation links and also our articles on the best New England towns and cities, hidden travel destinations, scenic drives, seafood restaurants and lobster shacks, lobster rolls, ice cream stands, and country stores, as well as our New England summer, fall, winter and spring sections. Then take a fun online journey on VisitingNewEngland to read the rest of our articles for your trip planning needs!

VisitingNewEngland's small business commitment to excellence: is a proud, small business based in New England. We love it when one of our articles helps you with your New England vacation and travel trip planning! That's what we are here for: to serve you in the most genuine, helpful way possible.

Old-fashioned New England work ethic: All articles, photos by Eric Hurwitz unless otherwise noted. Eric also manages the site's layout and design, social media, and public affairs.

All this, and blogs too! Also, please check out our authentic, informative and entertaining New England travel blogs with original content: The Thrifty New England Traveler (New England travel ideas on a budget), The New England Travel and Vacation Gazette (more original New England travel articles), and Old School Boston (warm memories of Boston and New England from back in the day).

Home | Connecticut | Maine | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | Rhode Island | Vermont | Attractions | Dining Out | About Us | Press Room | Privacy | Contact Us