Like the English city for which it is named, Manchester is a bustling industrial city that has been through various periods of boom and bust over its 150-year history. The city is young by New England standards, incorporated in 1846 to take advantage of the rushing Amoskeag Falls. They served as the powerhouse driving the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, a collection of three cotton mills that were once the largest in the world.
Manchester’s downtown is still lined with the huge brick structures of former mill buildings, some of which have been converted into condominiums or headquarters for high-tech companies—but many of which sadly lie vacant.
Called the “Queen City” (for its status as the largest city in New Hampshire  without being the capital), Manchester has its posh neighborhoods, but mostly exudes a working-class quality with a downtown of diners and cafés. Every four years, it gets its place in the sun when Presidential candidates swoop down on the city to chat up the common man in advance of the first-in-the-nation primary. (Though that practice is now in doubt given rumblings in Nevada.)
More recently, the city has begun to latch onto the art boom that has revitalized other second cities in the region, playing off its strong collection of museums and instituting gallery walks and a popular annual art festival in its gorgeous Victorian-era park.