What's it like to live in Manchester, NH?

Steve Larese

Profile written by local expert:

Steve Larese

Surrounded by rolling mountain ranges and verdant forests, Manchester is the largest metropolitan area in New Hampshire and home to a number of college and university campuses, including the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University and Manchester Community College. Unsurprisingly, the community feels young and vibrant thanks to the large number of college students living here, and more than a quarter of the area's population over 25 years old holds a bachelor's degree or higher.

Manchester may not stack up to other East Coast metro areas in terms of size, but it sure does get a lot of attention. After all, it is in a fierce swing state. Residents have grown accustomed to presidential candidates parading through town every few years on the road to the White House.  

If you live in Manchester, you're going to need a sturdy winter wardrobe. The region sees more than 60 inches of snowfall per year on average, and, in the dead of winter, only around five hours of sunlight a day. Those who live here often grumble about the climate, but they're quick to spend every spare moment on the slopes at the McIntyre Ski Area. And although winter may seem to last forever, the region's other seasons bring with them their own winning attributes, from summer days at Hampton Beach (less than an hour from downtown) to stunning fall foliage in nearby White Mountain National Forest.


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Manchester, New Hampshire is ranked:

#37 in Best Places to Live




  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Manchester, NH Quick Stats

  • 404,948

    Metro Population

  • $51,920

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 40.3

    Median Age

  • $236,174

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 2.7%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,099

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 27.5 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Manchester, NH?

Manchester residents tend to pay more in living expenses than the average American, which is in line with state trends. Manchester has become a bedroom community of Boston, which is only 53 miles south, and as a result of increased demand, home prices have risen. However, New Hampshire does not have a general sales tax, and personal income is not taxed at state or local levels.

Value Index

Index Score: 6.7 /10

How we calculate this.

Manchester offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Manchester, NH.


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What's the weather like in Manchester, NH?

Manchester sees four distinct seasons. Winter sees an average of more than 60 inches of snow, prompting residents to head to the nearby ski resorts or into the White Mountains for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Fall is by far the region's most impressive season, with the trees displaying vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves.

What's the best way to get around Manchester, NH?

The Manchester Transit Authority provides many bus routes throughout the city proper and to nearby Nashua. For commutes to Boston, the Boston Express bus service is popular. Still, most residents choose to rely on their own cars to get around.

Getting around downtown Manchester on foot or by bike is not a problem (except when there's several feet of snow on the ground). Manchester has an active bicycling community and bike lanes and paths crisscross the metro area.

The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is serviced by United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, which offer direct flights to major destinations around the country, including Philadelphia, New Orleans, Orlando and Washington, D.C. The area is also serviced by Greyhound.

Commuting in Manchester, NH

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

27.5 minutes

1.4 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Manchester, NH?

The largest portion of Manchester's population is between the ages of 45 and 64, while the under-20 crowd is a close second. The community has a youthful vibe thanks to the large number of college students who are drawn to Manchester by its numerous higher education institutions.

A significant portion of the community does not identify as religious; those who do tend to affiliate with the Catholic Church.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Manchester as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Manchester, NH?

Popular attractions in Manchester include the Currier Museum of Art, which offers tours of the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House; the Scouting Museum and Library that's dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America; and the SEE Science Center, a hands-on learning museum that parents enjoy as much as kids.

Manchester prides itself on the quality and diversity of its restaurants. The Manchester Farmers Market, which takes place on Concord Street every Thursday between June and October, is a great way to see and buy local produce that many of the restaurants use.

Sports fans enjoy rooting for the Manchester Monarchs, the professional hockey team that's an affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball team that plays home games at the riverfront Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Residents who enjoy the outdoors have plenty of opportunities to experience it. The Heritage Trail is a walking path along the Merrimack River that flows south through town, past boutique shops housed in former industrial-era textile mills. The 2,560-acre Lake Massabesic in the heart of Manchester is a popular spot for picnicking, boating and hiking. Serious hikers will find more challenging hikes within a two-hour drive from downtown; popular spots include Purgatory Falls and White Mountain National Forest. Meanwhile, Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands State Beach on the Atlantic Coast are less than an hour away.