Nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire is the quaint and funky town of Littleton. Sitting along the Ammonoosuc River, this little place feels very cozy and charming, but also has lots of character, things to do, culture and great shops and restaurants. If you’re considering a stay here, allow me to convince you to click on the “book now” button with this post, and just keep reading to learn all about the very best things to do in Littleton, NH.
Is Littleton, NH Worth Visiting?
Most definitely! I think Littleton is one of the top towns to stay in when visiting the White Mountains region because it offers the perfect balance of things to do, small-town charm, unique attractions and natural beauty. Between visiting a scenic brewery on the river, the beautiful covered bridge, cool street art, great shops and lots of hiking and parks nearby, it really offers something for everyone.
Littleton has also been voted as having one of the best Main Streets in the U.S. multiple times by outlets like Travel + Leisure and Fodors. And once you step foot on this classic New England street that’s bookended by two white-steepled churches and filled with cool shops, you’ll see why.
Best Things To Do In Littleton, NH
I’ve broken down my list of all the best activities in Littleton, NH by things to do in the actual town, and also nearby attractions that you definitely need to add to your itinerary. And, of course, keep reading to hear about all the best places to eat and hotels to stay in during your visit!
1. See The World’s Longest Candy Counter At Chutters
Want to feel like a kid again? Then you’ll definitely want to add a trip to Chutters to your itinerary, which is home to the longest candy counter in the world (confirmed by the Guiness Book of World Records!). I honestly didn’t think I would be super impressed with it, but once I stepped inside, it was hard to not smile while filling a bag of treats to bring home, and ended up being a trip highlight for sure.
You’ll find all kinds of candies in jars along the famous candy counter, but they also sell fudge, chocolates, truffles, maple syrup, baking mixes and gifts. I think everyone I saw while walking around town had a bag from Chutters, so it’s almost like a rite of passage during your first visit to pop in and get in touch with your inner child.
2. Stroll Through Downtown
My personal favorite thing to do in Littleton, NH is to just walk around quaint downtown and Main Street. I’m always impressed with the really beautiful and fun shops here, and if you make your way down toward the river, you’ll be rewarded with scenic views, and be reminded that you’re in one of the cutest little places in New England.
Best Shopping In Littleton, NH
Here are some of my favorite shops to scope out in Littleton:
- Little Village Book Shop – Cute little bookstore that’s also a toy shop.
- Chutters – Best candy store!
- Maison Boheme – This little gem can be found on Mill Street along the river, and is an inspiring home goods boutique that’s beautifully merchandised.
- Bella Funk Boutique – Really fun clothing and accessories shop that also had a few home goods to choose from.
- The Little Herb Shoppe – A gorgeous boutique that sells teas, body care products and herbal extracts, and is really fun and relaxing to visit.
3. Visit The Riverwalk Covered Bridge
One of the most scenic places to visit in Littleton, NH that should be on everyone’s itinerary the beautiful Riverwalk Covered Bridge. Compared to most covered bridges in New England, this one was relatively new, as it was only built in 2004. But this little bridge gives the town so much character, and also connects Main and Mill Streets with the walking path along the river.
Be sure to take in views of the Ammonoosuc River while walking across, and stop to admire the Grist Mill from the bridge, too.
4. Go Beer Tasting
Next to the covered bridge, you’ll find the awesome Schilling Beer Co., which is the perfect place to sit and enjoy a pint or a flight of the local brews. Schilling Beer has a premier location right on the river, and has done an amazing job designing their buildings to allow guests to really take in the best views in Littleton.
There are two buildings at Schilling – one is their restaurant and tap room, and the other is their tasting room and retail store. Both sit along the river, so it really just depends on which atmosphere you’re looking for. In the evenings, it’s a great place to linger under their twinkle lights, and during the day, it’s a relaxing place to enjoy great food and a pint. I actually think their pizzas here are one of the best things on their menu, so definitely consider ordering a pizza during your visit.
5. Hike The Kilburn Crags Trail
If you’re looking to head out on a hike, one of the best activities in Littleton, NH is the Kilburn Crags trails. “The Crags,” as the locals will call it, offers some of the best bird’s eye views of Littleton, and since it’s actually a pretty short trail, the payoff for the effort is well worth it.
Even though it’s short, I would say it could be considered more moderate for those who don’t hike often or have mobility issues, since the incline is a little steep toward the end, but most people will be able to do this hike without any issues.
The trail is just under 2-miles, and is an out-and-back trail. Keep in mind that the parking area is pretty small, so plan to arrive early if visiting on weekend. This one is especially amazing in the fall during foliage season, too!
6. Take A Relaxing Stroll Along The River Walk
Once you cross the Riverwalk Covered Bridge from Mill Street, you’ll have great views of town from the other side of the river. One of the best things to do in Littleton, NH is to enjoy the relaxing paved walking path along the river, and take in views of the Grist Mill, bridge and town from a different perspective.
And here’s a little secret tip: If you turn right on the path after exiting the bridge (coming from Mill Street in town), keep walking, and you’ll run into a fun little suspension bridge that’s also very scenic. I’m kicking myself for not snapping a photo of it, but it’s only a short walk along the path, and will bring you back to town via Saranac Street.
7. Snap Photos Of The Cool Street Art
One of the coolest things to to add to your Littleton itinerary is to hunt down all the very cheerful and fun street art that’s sprinkled throughout town. While walking around, it’s impossible to miss the umbrella installation, cool paintings, and of course, you’ll want to snap a photo with the Littleton Mural.
I’m going to keep the locations of all these places a surprise because it’s way more fun to stumble upon them, but one thing I can tell you is, they’re all easily found on the side streets between Main and Mill Streets. You seriously can’t miss them.
8. Hike To The Highest Peak In Littleton
Only about 2 miles from Main Street, and you’ll find the trailhead that takes you up to the highest peak in Littleton – Parker Mountain. One of the best things to do in town is to make the hike up this peak and enjoy the views from the top.
This hike is longer and a bit more challenging the Kilburn Crags, and is a 4-mile, out-and-back hike that includes some steeper inclines. This trail is also used by mountain bikers, so keep that in mind. I personally think the Kilburn Crags trail has better views (since you’ll get that cool viewpoint of town from above), but this one is more about the hike itself, and the walk through the woods. The view at the top is still really nice, though.
Tip: This trail is part of the PRKR MTN Trails system, and from here, you can veer off onto other trails to make it a day hike.
9. Take An Art Class At The Little Studio School
If you’ve been thinking of tapping into your inner artist, or have been wanting to learn a new skill, one of the best activities in Littleton, NH is an art class at the Little Studio School. They offer classes in jewelry making, pottery, mixed mediums, and also have classes tailored toward kids.
Keep an eye on their website, too, because they also have open clay studio hours, where you can pay by the hour to use their pottery facilities, and it’s incredibly affordable.
10. See The Pollyanna Statue
If you remember being swept away by Pollyanna’s spirited outlook on life, and her inspiring “Glad Game” as a child (or maybe even as an adult!), you’ll want to stop at the Littleton Library to see the Pollyanna Statue. As someone who was always comforted when watching this movie as a kid when I was sick, it was really cool to see how much pride the town has for Pollyanna.
The writer of this endearing story, Eleanor Hodgman Porter, was born in Littleton and lived there for over 20 years, and was honored with this statue in 2002. On the second Saturday in June of year, the town also celebrates the beloved story with the Official Pollyanna Glad Day, which includes a parade and special events throughout town.
It’s also said that if you rub her foot when visiting the statue, it will bring you good luck!
Tip: The crosswalks throughout town feature the silhouette of a waving Pollyanna, too, so keep an eye out for those.
11. Take In A Show At The Littleton Opera House
This historic building doubles as both the town’s opera house and official town building, and while it’s used for both, it often features some really cool shows you can attend during your stay.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and built in the late 1890s, the opera house puts on events and concerts throughout the year, so be sure to check their schedule to see what’s happening during your visit. And it doesn’t just host shows and concerts – it’s also home to crafts fairs throughout the season, with some really fun ones during the holidays.
12. Go For A Swim At Moore Reservoir
If you’re visiting in the summer season, you’ll want to add a visit to Moore Reservoir and go for a swim. Not only can you go for a swim here, it’s also a scenic little area where you can pick a picnic for a relaxing afternoon lunch amongst nature.
For those who enjoy fishing, this is also a well-regarded place to catch bass and trout.
13. Make Some Music At Harmony Park
One of the coolest things to stop and check out in Littleton is Harmony Park, which is a small grouping of instrument installations along the riverfront. The story of how this park came about is also really heart-warming, and is a true example of the sense of community that Littleton has.
After seeing a similar installation in Arizona, a local art gallery owner decided he wanted something like it in Littleton because he loved how much it brought people together. Within 2 days of making the budget and plan for the installation, he received all the funding needed from local businesses and donations to make it a reality.
In the park, you’ll find giant xylophones, chimes and drums, and the entire thing is free for all to enjoy. It’s also only a quick stroll from Main Street, and very close to the covered bridge.
14. Eat At The Littleton Diner
Originally built in Massachusetts and then loved to Littleton in 1930, this famous diner is definitely a must when visiting! Not only do they whip up some pretty awesome pancakes, all the food here is really yummy.
And, some pretty famous people have also raved about Littleton Diner during their visits, including John Kerry, John McCain and Steve Forbes. This unassuming but charming little diner can be found right on Main Street, making it easy to swing by!
15. Shop At America’s Oldest Ski Shop
If you’re a skier, you’ll definitely want to add Lahout’s to your Littleton itinerary – it is, afterall, the oldest ski shop in the country! Since the 1920’s, Lahout’s has been outfitting outdoor adventurers throughout New Hampshire.
While there are now 8 locations around the state, the original can be found in Littleton. And, you don’t really need to be a skier to shop here. If you’re looking for outdoor or Lahout’s branded apparel, you’ll find it here (which also makes for a great souvenir from your trip!).
But where they really shine is with their customer service. If you have any questions at all about your ski gear or equipment, pretty much everyone will tell you to take it to Lahout’s. This is a 4th generation family-owned business, and they know everything there is to know about ski gear. And, they’ll help you in the friendliest way possible.
Best Things To Do Near Littleton, NH
One of the best things about Littleton is that it’s so close to tons of amazing things to do nearby, some of which are the top attractions and must-see things in the White Mountains region. Here are all my recommendations on things that are worth your time during your visit that are only a short drive from downtown Littleton.
16. Spend The Day In Franconia Notch State Park
If you only have time for one of these things, I would make it Franconia Notch State Park. Continually regarded as one of the best things to do in the White Mountains, this park offers some of the most exciting views, and iconic activities that are worth the hype.
Some of the best things to do in Franconia Notch State Park are:
- Hike the Artist’s Bluff Trail
- Visit Echo Lake
- Explore Flume Gorge (I have a detailed post on if Flume Gorge is worth visiting, plus tips for your visit!)
- Ride the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
- See The Basin
17. Visit The White Mountain Apiary & Bee Farm
A short 15-minute drive to Whitefield will bring you to the White Mountain Apiary & Bee Farm, and this is one of the best things to do near Littleton, NH if you’ve ever wanted to get up close to a working bee hive.
Tours at the aviary will provide you with protective clothing, show you the inner-workings of two of their hives, and also allow you to taste fresh honey right from the hive.
Tip: Tours are typically only held seasonally May-October, and are weather dependent.
18. Explore Forest Lake State Park
Close to the White Mountain Apiary & Bee Farm is Forest Lake State Park, which is also one of the original 10 state parks in the U.S. (reason enough to visit, right?). During the summers, their sandy beach is perfect for swimming, and they also have some really nice areas for picnicking.
19. Spend The Morning In Sugar Hill
Only a few minutes from downtown Littleton is the cute town of Sugar Hill. While Sugar Hill doesn’t have a Main Street destination, it’s definitely worth a few hours of your morning for a scenic drive and a few really cool things to see here. I suggested you spend the morning here so you can incorporate a stack of pancakes from Polly’s Pancake Parlor into your time here, but you can, of course, swing by any time of day.
Sugar Hill is mostly beautiful countryside, but be sure to swing by the cutest little chapel to have ever existed, St. Matthews, and then take a short drive to Harman’s Cheese & Country Store for awesome cheeses and other locally-made goods.
20. Get A Table At Polly’s Pancake Parlor
Okay, so I mentioned above that Polly’s was absolutely worth a visit in Sugar Hill, but I wanted to give it its own mention on the list because it’s honestly really fun. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the pancakes are perfection.
Everything on their menu is awesome, but you obviously have to get the pancakes when you visit! I don’t even hesitate to say that they’re probably the best I’ve ever had. And the cool thing is, you can actually watch them make the flip the pancakes in the kitchen!
21. Explore Lost River Gorge
Located in Lincoln, Lost River Gorge is a really fun experience when you’re in the area! While Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch has more epic mountain views and a more dramatic gorge, Lost River makes up for that with really cool boulder caves you can squeeze into, and tons of Instagram-worthy moments on their suspension bridge, covered bridge and giant bird’s nest (yep, you just have to see it for yourself!).
I think doing both Flume Gorge and Lost River are absolutely worth it during your visit to Littleton!
22. Take A Day Trip To North Conway
Part of the drive from Littleton to North Conway includes time on the scenic and famous Kancamagus Highway, so it’s a win-win to plan a day that includes the scenic drive, as well as time to stroll through the very adorable North Conway.
Plan to spend 2-3 hours to drive the Kancamagus Highway and take in all the scenic overlooks and other options to stop and admire waterfalls and trails. The drive ends in Conway, and from there, you’re just a short 10-15 minute drive (depending on traffic) from North Conway.
The charming streets of North Conway are filled with fun shops and eateries, and are backdropped by the mountains at every turn. It’s a really great little town to spend a few hours in the afternoon, and then I suggest you drive through Crawford Notch State Park on your way back to Littleton to admire different views on your journey back.
Things To Do In Littleton, NH In The Winter
There are so many fun things to do in the White Mountains in the winter, but if you’re staying in Littleton during your winter vacation, here are some fun things to do nearby!
23. Go Ice Skating At Remich Park
A short 10-minute walk from downtown Littleton will bring you to Remich Park, where you can go ice skating at the outdoor rink for free. Don’t have your own skates? No problem! There’s a collection of used skates at the rink that anyone is able to use during their visit.
Tip: There’s also a sledding hill at the park next to the ice skating rink for the perfect fun-filled wintery day outside.
24. Ski At Cannon Mountain
For those who ski, one of the best winter activities in Littleton, NH is to head to Cannon Mountain and hit the slopes. While technically located in Franconia, it’s only a 15-minute drive from Littleton, and there’s a great mix of green, blue and black runs for all ages and levels.
Lessons and equipment rentals are also available.
25. Go Snowshoeing
At the same PRKR MTN Trails system mentioned above for hiking, in the winter, it becomes a magical place for snowshoeing. The trails are groomed for snowshoeing and even cross-country skiing and fat biking, making this a wonderful way to get outside in the snow if downhill skiing isn’t your thing.
Best Places To Stay In Littleton, NH
One thing to note is that while Littleton is an amazing town to stay in if you’re adventuring through the White Mountains, it oddly enough doesn’t have a lot of hotel options right in town. Check out my suggestions below, which also includes an awesome hotel option just outside of town.
The Chandler at White Mountains is technically located in Bethlehem, but is only 10 minutes from downtown Littleton. This is the best option or those who are looking for a boutique hotel experience. Rooms here are recently updated and include complimentary continental breakfast, a fitness center and indoor pool.
The Thayers Inn is the best option for those who want to stay in the heart of Main Street in downtown Littleton. Located right on Main Street and just steps from the covered bridge, Schilling Beer Co. and all the shops and restaurants, making the location the best.
A great budget option in Littleton is the Hampton Inn, which is located just two miles outside of the historic Main Street area, and in the center of the commercial side of town. Nearby, you’ll have easy access to stores like Walmart and Shaws, and also just a minute or two from the interstate to make it easy to get around.
Best Restaurants In Littleton, NH
Here are some of the best restaurants in Littleton, NH you’ll want to check out during your stay:
- Littleton Diner – A legend in town that’s had famous guests like Steve Forbes and John Kerry, this is a must during your visit. The outside is the picture-perfect vintage New England diner, and the food is excellent. They’re most known for their pancakes and corned beef hash.
- Schilling Brewing Co. – I know I already mentioned them, but their food is actually wonderful. I highly recommend coming here for lunch or dinner.
- Littleton Freehouse and Taproom – Another great brewery option in Littleton with awesome food.
- Timbir Alley – A cozy little farm-to-table spot for dinner that’s absolutely delicious.
- Salt Bistro – Inside the Thayers Inn is one of the best restaurants in town! Salt Bistro serves up a mix of seafood, American and Italian fare, has an awesome wine list and mixes a great martini.
Best Breakfast In Littleton, NH
The best breakfast in Littleton, NH is the Littleton Diner, Crumb Bum for pastries and breakfast sandwiches, or Polly’s Pancake Parlor in nearby Sugar Hill.
Best Time To Visit Littleton, NH
Littleton, NH is a great town to visit year-round, but especially comes alive in the fall and winter seasons. In the fall, the foliage surrounds the town creating stunning shows of color, and in the winter, all the nearby mountains provide excellent skiing options.
But spring and summer are also great times to visit because of the hiking opportunities, and the local state parks with nice swimming areas.
You May Also Enjoy:
- Best Places For Apple Picking in New Hampshire
- Gorgeous New Hampshire Covered Bridges You Should See
- Best Christmas Towns in New England
- New England Bucket List Things You Must See & Do
- Best Things To Do in New England in the Fall
- Best New England Winter Getaways
- Christmas in New Hampshire: Where To Go & Festive Things To Do
- Best Things To Do in New Hampshire in the Winter
- 7-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Day Trips In New England
- Fall In New Hampshire: The Best Things To Do
- Vermont vs. New Hampshire In The Fall
- Where To Stay In New Hampshire In The Fall
How To Get To Littleton, NH
The best way to get to Littleton is to drive. If you plan to arrive in this region by plane, the best airport for the cheapest and most convenient flights is Boston Logan International Airport, which is about 2 hour and 30 minutes from Littleton.
The closest regional airport is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH, which is about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Littleton.
How To Get Around Littleton, NH
The best way to get around Littleton, and the entire White Mountains area, is to drive, as there really aren’t any convenient buses or trains to get you to the top sites. Plus, this will allow you the most freedom to explore all the incredible parks nearby.
What Is Littleton, NH Known For?
Littleton, NH is known for being the home of one of the best Main Streets in the U.S. It has won awards for best Main Street, and has been continually recognized as one of the best Main Streets in the country by several notable outlets.
Littleton is also known for its Pollyanna legacy. The writer of the book was born in Littleton, and the town has since been nicknamed “Glad Town” in homage to the uplifting and classic novel.
That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do In Littleton, NH
And there you have it! Now that you know all about one of the most charming towns in New England, and all the very best activities to do in Littleton, NH, you’ll be planning your perfect trip in no time. Between relaxing strolls along the river, scenic views while sipping a craft brew, shopping on one of the best Main Streets in the country or exploring all the incredible nearby parks, this really is such a perfect place to settle into during your trip to the White Mountains.