Nashua has evolved from an early 19th century New England manufacturing village to the center of a thriving region of 175,000 with a city population of 89,000. It is the second largest city in Northern New England, and the largest of the 13 communities that make up the Merrimack Valley which extends from the southern border with Massachusetts northward to Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire. The region is centrally located an hour north of Boston, under 30 minutes to the Manchester Boston Regional Airport, about an hour to Atlantic beaches, and 90 minutes to hiking and skiing in the White Mountains.
Today the city offers a quaint, historic downtown district, surrounded by pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhoods and suburban and rural neighborhoods toward the outer perimeter. Our neighborhoods offer great diversity in affordability, housing-type, culture, and character.
Downtown Nashua is a distinctive, charming and walkable city center. The recently spruced up Main Street and side streets are full of unique restaurants, cafes, boutiques and family-owned businesses. In addition, the upper floors over the storefront retail businesses and restaurants are filling up with small but growing innovative start-up companies, and there is a growing availability of housing in or near the downtown for those who prefer to be within walking distance to all that is available there. You can enjoy historic architecture, buy fresh local foods at the Farmer's Market, or take in a performance at Symphony NH, the Court Street Theatre, or in one of the local pubs featuring a variety of live music. A short walk off Main Street along the river brings you to historic mills that have been transformed into artist studios and galleries, housing, retail, manufacturing and high-tech businesses.
The City of Nashua has several parks and open spaces for the enjoyment of the community. There are neighborhood parks with playgrounds and ball fields. In addition, there is Greeley Park featuring tennis courts, a performance stage, picnic areas, and walking trails through the woods; and Mines Falls is a 325-acre park that includes forest, wetlands and open fields.
While New Hampshire continues to be predominantly Caucasian (92.3%), the ethnic diversity in Nashua is steadily growing. The most recent census data shows that 79% of residents identify as white, 6.5% Asian, 9.8% Hispanic, 2.7% African American, and 2.5% identify as two or more races.
The Hispanic and Latino communities in Nashua mostly hail from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central America. We also have significant communities of immigrants from the Asian subcontinent countries of India and Pakistan. The growing ethnic diversity in Nashua is an exciting trend, and one that has had a very positive impact on our city. In recognition that New Hampshire has a rapidly aging population, the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce initiated and supports iUGO (pronounced "you go" and derived from the Latin word meaning "to connect"), a successful initiative for young professionals looking to establish and expand their social and professional networks. This organization exists to provide the support and resources needed to keep New Hampshire-raised young adults and those who have come to New Hampshire for college from leaving the state to find better opportunities elsewhere. As a result, more young people are putting down roots here, which adds another rich dimension to our city's diversity.
The school system in Nashua consists of 12 public elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools. There is a Catholic school system in Nashua as well, which includes two elementary schools, a junior high, and Bishop Guertin High school. World Academy is a private school that includes programs for infants and toddlers and grades from Kindergarten through eighth grade.
Nearby Hollis, NH, has a Montessori School for children age 3 through the ninth grade. There are several academic institutions in the area including Rivier University, St. Joseph School of Nursing, Nashua Community College, and Daniel Webster College in Nashua; University of New Hampshire Manchester campus, Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell campus. All colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area are within 50 miles of Nashua.
Volunteerism and civic participation are both highly valued in Nashua. Schools, the library, hospitals, food pantries, senior centers, and human service organizations meet the varied needs of many through the widespread volunteer efforts of countless individuals in this city. Nashua citizens are active, informed and involved in the affairs of our local, state, and national government. Whether running for office, volunteering for candidates or participating in neighborhood improvement organizations, residents value Nashua as a place where one's voice can be heard, and where active involvement can make a difference. We take the responsibility of our first in the nation presidential primary very seriously, and take full advantage of the unique opportunity we have to meet the presidential candidates up close and personal in small, local gatherings early on before their messages and views are turned into talking points by their handlers.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua is located at the corner of Lowell and Canal Streets in an urban neighborhood about two blocks off the Main Street in the downtown. The property is surrounded on three sides by working class neighborhoods, and faces the Nashua River behind Canal Street which features restaurants, a diner, a pub and a café within a short distance. We enjoy four distinctly different seasons, with lots of activities in each one. In winter, we have several ski slopes within an easy drive and nearby cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The first warm days of spring are utterly delightful as we shed our coats and venture out into the warmth to clean up our yards, take long walks, and once again sit in the outdoor seating at a downtown restaurant enjoying a light meal or a glass of wine with friends. Summer opens up a wealth of opportunities—swimming in nearby lakes, barbecuing with friends, hiking, mountain climbing, gardening, bike riding, kayaking on a nearby river, sightseeing in nearby Boston or Portsmouth—the possibilities are endless. And if you haven't been in Northern New England in the autumn, you will marvel at the foliage that lights up our trees in the fall!