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Walking is the best method of getting around Portsmouth. It is a relatively small town which makes it easy to get from place to place on foot very easily. It is also a town which is rich with architectural sites and interesting people so it is enjoyable to walk around purely for the joy of exploring the area. Downtown Portsmouth is definitely best explored via walking as driving and parking can be a hassle there.
Driving throughout the rest of Portsmouth is a viable option so travelers may want to rent a vehicle upon arrival in the area. (See getting to Portsmouth.) It is not necessary though, so visitors who wish to get around without a car should do fine.
Walking and driving can be supplemented with use of Portsmouth’s taxi services and public transportation options. The public transportation in Portsmouth is a combination of a bus system called the COAST and a trolley system. The latter is generally used primarily for tour guide purposes. The former is the better option for actually navigating the city. There are no discounted multi-ride passes other than a monthly pass (good for use on both the bus and the trolley) but visitors will find the transportation fares cheap enough that this shouldn’t be a problem.
Free downtown shuttlePortsmouth is trying a free shuttle service for four months. There is FREE parking and the free shuttle takes you right downtown. It is a wonderful convience and saving. The bus driver is very pleasant and does not accept tips ! The parking lot is well marked and it is on the road that takes you to downtown Portsmouth. The city is providing this new service that just recently started. It is a lot better than trying to find a parking space and then having to keep feeding the meter. Thank you, Portsmouth.