15 Best Things to Do in Keene, NH

Keene, NH
Albert Pego / shutterstock.com

Keene is a New Hampshire gem, offering some of the best views in the area and an abundance of activities and entertainment for tourists.

Located near the Connecticut River Valley, Keene offers plenty of exciting venues for music and art lovers.

Some museums feature hundreds of hand-picked pieces of artwork, exciting stage productions, and so much more for tourists and locals to enjoy!

Keene is a quintessential New Hampshire town with popular tourist amenities.

It springs to life with all kinds of artistic and cultural events, such as the "Keene Pumpkin Festival," holding the world record for the most giant pumpkin.

And if you love camping or outdoor adventure, you can visit one of its many campsites or civic parks specifically designed for hiking, canoeing, and fishing.

So if you visit Keene, make sure to attend all the city has to offer!

Here are the 15 best things to do in Keene, NH.

Go Hiking at Mount Monadnock

Aerial view of Mount Monadnock
Kurankou at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Monadnock, sitting at 3,165 feet above sea level, is most certainly a sight to see!

Sitting in between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, this beautiful mountainous scenery serves as a huge reason why people in that area love it so dearly.

Mount Monadnock is a geological titan.

Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire
EdwardEMeyer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Upon reaching its top, you will see New England’s breath-taking panoramic view that you'll never forget!

Hiking trails, including portions of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, are accessible from the summit.

As Mount Monadnock's name suggests (meaning, "mountain by itself"), its peak stands alone and makes for a great tour!

Visit Keene's Farmer's Market

If you visit Keene, the local Farmer's Market is worth checking out!

Keene's Farmer's Market hosts local vendors selling fresh items, such as baked goods and meats, while also offering a free taste to customers.

It's a place teeming with the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods.

Selling some of the best produce in New Hampshire, Keene's Farmer's Market guarantees that every bite provides an experience you won't soon forget.

Whether it's April or October, you can find fresh ingredients at the market because, during the appropriate months (excluding November), the market is open on Saturdays from nine to one or on Tuesdays from three to six.

And if you're ever in search of a place to mingle with locals and get a little cooking inspiration, this classic farm-to-table market has all the necessities!

Pay the Horatio Colony House Museum a Visit

If you want to embark on an enriching journey into Keene's history, take a trip to the Horatio Colony House Museum and Nature Preserve.

The preserved Federal House from 1806 pays homage to the town's earliest days and its connection with the Colony family whose descendants guided landscape protection.

There are also opportunities to connect with nature as you find yourself amidst 645 acres of the beautiful natural landscape.

Here, you'll find historic cabins and signposts that offer both historical details and interpretive information.

Antioch University New England-affiliated students or faculty usually visit this place for educational purposes.

To reach the Horatio Colony House Museum, you have several parking options.

If you wish to walk from your car to the museum, enter the parking lot on Daniels Hill Road (from Route 9 West) and park on the lower area of the lot (nearest to Route 9).

For those who prefer to park onsite at the Horatio Colony House Museum, please follow the dirt path leading from Route 9 and park in front of the Museum building.

Go Bowling at Yankee Lanes

At this bowling alley, there are no disruptions during your game because there is a silent all-you-can-eat and drink bar.

There are lanes you can rent out for an hour or the whole night depending on what you're looking for – it's up to you!

They have good drinks, a great atmosphere, and 45” flatscreen TVs if that's what floats your boat.

For their arcade games, here's a great tip when you visit the newly opened 80N1 Arcade — while playing your favorite games, you can get another game for free!

The autoscoring system tracks your gaming progress and records the scores while you play.

There are over ten arcade games to choose from.

It's also possible to book the venue in advance for parties and events.

Take Selfies With Swanzey's Covered Bridges

Swanzey's Covered Bridges in Keene
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

South of Keene, NH, lies the charming town of Swanzey with its natural landscape and building structures that will take your breath away.

With landmarks like Carleton Covered Bridge and West Swanzey Covered Bridge, you have options to enjoy your time sightseeing around the area.

You don't just have to visit one bridge - why not try visiting all four?

Spend the day touring different bridges while also getting to know how amazing Swanzey is!

This region has more than just stunning views and masterful architecture, though— it also offers some of the best natural beauty found anywhere!

With access to great scenic North Country hiking trails awaiting you, including several spots for camping or picnic areas, it isn't a place you can forget.

There's no place in Keene that better offers a romantic getaway or family trip with all kinds of awe-inspiring scenery scattered throughout the area than Swanzey.

Play Golf at Bretwood Golf Course

How about a place to play golf?

Bretwood Golf Course is an oasis just minutes away from the town, where you can spend quality time with your loved ones.

Two nicely maintained courses play with the desires of the natural environment.

They don't just take care of golfers but also enable them to spend time with nature at its finest.

The Ashuelot River winds its way through the facility, only adding to the impressive scenery that surrounds each hole.

Generous fairways, beautiful holes, lush green grasses, perfect greens, strategically built bunkers, and mounds, along with the calm, soothing sounds of nature, help bring out the golfer in you.

Whether you're a small or large group, playing golf here guarantees that there are challenges specifically for your game!

Buy Souvenir in Hannah Grimes Marketplace

Hannah Grimes Marketplace’s origin began 245 years ago in Keene.

The Marketplace got its name from Hannah Grimes, an entrepreneur who began her own business and lived a relatively uneventful life.

Though her legacy is not what one would call 'famous' or 'influential,' she became Keene's undying catalyst for change.

Her legacy almost died ultimately until the City of Keene unearthed and revived it to revitalize downtown and create the Downtown Hannah Grimes Marketplace we all love today!

Here you can find plenty of small locally owned and operated businesses making tasty treats for your belly!

Hannah Grimes Marketplace is full of handmade goods conceived of and handmade by talented local artisans.

There are currently over 240 vendors, with a wide array of goods to browse through, including one-of-a-kind artwork, crafts like soap making, glass blowing, knitting, florals, jewelry making, and so much more!

Grab a Beer at William Marconi Italian Club

The social nights at the Italian club in Keene are a fantastic opportunity to party with strangers.

The thing that makes it such a popular spot is that it features so many different kinds of beers, wines, and liquors that you don’t usually get anywhere else in the city.

This haven for beer lovers features an exciting range of spirits, beers, rum, vodka, gin, wines, and other high-end drinks.

The venue also has an exquisite modern design with a rustic retro touch that makes you feel at home.

The William Marconi Italian Club is a casual, fun restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere for grabbing a bite to eat and having some cocktails with friends.

The restaurant also offers live entertainment regularly, well into the night, so be prepared to sway to the tunes' bass while meeting and mingling with other patrons!

Finally, their food is consistently exceptional - you won't leave this place disappointed.

Watch a Show at Colonial Theatre

Outside of Colonial Theatre.
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

It'll be impossible to forget the time you went to see your favorite action flick at the Colonial Theater in Keene, New Hampshire.

The theater came into being in 1924, and over its ninety-three years, it's gone from showing silent films to vaudeville shows and has become a vibrant part of the Keene community.

The theater offers the right balance between community events and independent films while offering audiences high-quality entertainment at an affordable price.

In its early days, stage shows were popular draws at The Colonial, but over time this changed to become host to films and, more recently, live performances.

With its striking Baroque Revival facade, it is one of the most beautiful theaters in New England's historic Route 101.

And it continues to draw crowds today with a wide array of theatrical productions and other notable community events.

You're going to find yourself in awe watching lectures by Amelia Earhart and Metropolitan Opera star Rosa Ponselle giving four encores of "O Sole Mio" when she performed in 1931.

Visit the Cathedral of the Pines

This astonishing monument presides over 236 acres of lush countryside.

As visitors gaze out over a stunning hilly patch of woods, with majestic Grand Mounts Monadnock towering above their heads, it's impossible not to be humbled by the breathtaking grounds on which this monument sits.

A quick visit will make you feel much better, if not astoundingly invigorated, and it's open year-round due to its magnificent surroundings.

Founded in 1945, The Cathedral was a monument built to honor the lives and memories lost during World War II.

Expect to see many hiking trails for every level of hiker, stunning natural beauty throughout its mirage-filled landscape, and quiet corners offering solitude as well as reflection for moments of personal time when you visit the place.

This open-air cathedral has become a much-beloved vacation destination and a famous tourist attraction.

Explore Pisgah State Park

Why spend your hard-earned vacation time in some tourist hotspot when Pisgah State Park is no extra detour.

It takes up 13,300 acres of land and is just minutes away from Keene.

If you are into state parks, then you won't get enough of this place!

It doesn't hold back on providing ample opportunities for outdoor adventure activities.

You get to hike through miles of forest lands, climb mountain ridges, spend time on serene bodies of water, or even venture out to fishing tournaments.

So many trails criss-cross the park, and if you're planning on spending the whole day outside, there's more than enough to do.

You're free to jog or take your dog for a walk around the lake - we'd love to have you explore all that this place has to offer!

Create Art at the Redfern Arts Center

If you're searching for a savvy cultural experience in Keene, then look no further than The Redfern Arts Center!

It offers fantastic interior decor and the ultimate level of elegance in an artistic environment.

Best of all, it has a compilation of series of festivals and events for college students that will help you spend a fun night with your friends doing something creative and meaningful.

The Redfern Arts Center is a large theater with multiple stage productions, from performing arts events to carefully chosen classic film screenings.

There's always something for everyone here, be it live music, classic films and plays, calligraphy workshops, exotic dance and fitness courses, and more!

Serious art isn't for everyone, but the arts center is a must-visit place for those who are crazy about it.

It's the perfect place for any reprobate with an appreciation for music and Shakespeare.

Don't miss it!

Go Snowshoeing at Stonewall Farm

Outside view of Stonewall
Micha Weber / Shutterstock.com

If you’re seeking an escape that feels like it’s hidden away from society yet is still conveniently located near the State Capital, Stonewall Farm might be the best place for you.

The farm offers various activities from snowshoeing, biking, hiking to sleigh rides.

They also hold weddings on site!

In addition to these outdoor activities, there are products sold in their store at affordable prices.

Greenhouse in Stonewall Farm
Micha Weber / Shutterstock.com

Everything they make from sweet cream butter to award-winning cheeses is responsible for helping keep Stonewall Farm running and thriving year after year and effortless!

The expansive scenic valley this farm sits in has forest and mountains on all sides surrounding it and borders a quaint neighborhood on one side.

Stonewall is a great place to take a day trip or weekend getaway to surround yourself with beautiful outdoors while staying close to home.

RV Stay at Otter Brook Lake

Have you ever been intrigued by the thought of traveling without actually having to go anywhere?

With a visit to Otter Brook Lake, that's possible.

Erected in 1958 as a flood control place, this artificial body of water sits smack dab between the two New England locations of Roxbury, Connecticut, and Keene, New Hampshire.

Whether a camper or an RVer, Otter Brook Lake is the perfect place for spending time with your family while taking in natural surroundings without being too far from home.

Otter Brook Lake is also the perfect spot for all sorts of water sport activities, including swimming and sailing.

You'll want to keep coming back again and again as soon as you try it out.

There's a lot to do at this beach property, including windsurfing, canoeing, swimming, and so much more!

Cycle Through Cheshire Rail Trail

If you're up for an adventure in Keene, you've got to at least fit the 42-mile long Cheshire Rail Trail in your schedule!

This Keene attraction spreads through the lovely state of New Hampshire.

It is breathtakingly picturesque!

Its most notable feature is its arch bridge built out of stone that connects the trail from Fitswilliam to Troy.

The trail ends at Island Street in Westmoreland – with nothing but beautiful adventures around every corner!

Two old railroad trails back in Keene now cater to joggers, bicyclists, runners, and horse riders alike, to escape the city without hitting any pavement.

You may even decide you would like to take your snowmobile out for an adventure one day because these trails become ideal snowshoeing paths as well!

The trails are open year-round, so you can always head out to enjoy a spontaneous ride no matter what the season.

Final Thoughts

Keene offers a unique experience that can add color to anyone's life.

The city sits in an area where history and nature coexist and thrive for those wanting to understand their surroundings and culture.

This picturesque city is bursting with things to be seen and enjoyed.

You have an array of breath-taking sceneries that will captivate visitors.

From a mountain known as the most frequently climbed to an old-fashioned small-town tavern in which visitors can pretend the past is still alive to an enthusiastic theatre audience, Keene has something for those who care to visit.

I hope these descriptions promote you traveling down on your business trip or vacation, and if not, maybe my recommendations will inspire future planning.

Have fun visiting Keene!