Share the Square

Save the Dates - Sundays, 9/29 and 10/6

September 29 & October 6!

Share the Square poster.

Enjoy Market Square and adjacent blocks free of cars! Stroll the Square, enjoy the shops and restaurants, and see downtown Portsmouth from a different perspective!

Sparkling days on the Seacoast encourage the spending of extra time outdoors. It's a time to take advantage of everything the downtown offers residents -- with the added incentive of no traffic and some special family activities offered by the Recreation Department and -- on September 29th -- "Singing in the streets" with the FREE Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival (after 20 years, the Festival is taking some time off after 2019).

Come out, enjoy the best of the season -- and the best of Portsmouth -- at Share the Square!

For more information on participating as a business, please contact City Economic Development Manager Nancy Carmer at 603.610.7220.

To volunteer at the event, call the Recreation Department at 603.427.1547.

Share the Square opens the following streets to pedestrian-only travel:

  • Daniel St. from Penhallow to Market Square, Market St. from Bow to Market Square, Congress St. from Market Square to High St., and Pleasant St. from Porter St. to Market Square. 
  • Congress St. will be converted to accept two-way traffic from Fleet St. to High St., and both High St. and Ladd St. will also be two-way.  The portion of Porter from Pleasant St. to Church St. will reverse in direction.  No changes to Bow are recommended.

Here are some highlights:

Streets close for Share the Square at noon on Sept 29th and Oct. 6th. Activities and events run from 1 to  4 p.m. Streets re-open after 5 p.m. (See map below).


Parking at Foundry Place & High-Hanover Garages FREE to residents, all day (proof of residency required).

Handicapped parking spots reserved spots on Congress St. (which will be modified to two-way traffic for the event).

Illegally parked cars will be towed to the lower lot at City Hall.

Public transit into and out of the Square will re-routed between noon and 5 pm to [where?].


Recreation Department and Library games & activities include:

  • Storytelling
  • Face painting
  • Chalk the streets
  • Chess/checkers/Jenga
  • Giant Twister, giant Connect Four
  • Cornhole
  • Mini putt golfing
  • Bubble magic

The Public Works Department offers Touch a Truck for kids.

Businesses within the event boundaries are encouraged to extend into on-street parking spaces in front of their locations. (No music on September 29th that would conflict with Maritime Folk Festival).

ONLY licensed bricks and mortar restaurants within the Share the Square boundaries are allowed to offer food/drink during the event.

Buskers are allowed per City guidelines (except no busker amplification during the Maritime Folk Festival performances).


Any cancellations due to weather will be posted on the City website and Twitter by 9 am on Sep 29th and Oct 6th.

Share the Square grew out of the long tradition of Market Square as a community gathering space and is also an adaptation of ideas from the Open Streets program. This pilot project focuses on two consecutive Sunday afternoons, September 29th and October 6th, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. The dates are off-peak weekend Sundays, when traffic volumes are lower and demand for parking is less. These Sundays also match up with the family-friendly schedule for the Portsmouth Maritime Music Festival and the first Sunday in October to encourage foot traffic instead of cars.

*The above photo was taken by Philip Case Cohen

Area Map