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Nestled along the mesmerizing shores of the Atlantic, Portland, Maine, beckons with its irresistible blend of history, culture, and breathtaking coastal beauty. This vibrant city, steeped in a rich 400-year history, has blossomed into a modern haven that effortlessly marries its storied past with an exciting present.
Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie seeking culinary delights, an art enthusiast, or simply a lover of stunning waterfront, we have 36 best and fun things to do in Portland, Maine.
Table of Contents
Things to do in Portland Maine
Let’s dive into this treasure trove of activities, attractions, and experiences that make Portland a must-visit destination. From savoring the freshest seafood by the waterfront to exploring historical sites that whisper tales of the past, we’ve curated a guide of things to do in Portland to make the most of your time in this wonderful coastal city.
We love Portland and think you will, too!
Portland Maine Boat Tours
Taking the ferry to the islands in the bay was the highlight of my trip to Portland and one the of best things to do in Portland. So, set your sights on the incredible island gems just off the coast of Portland, Maine. Picture this: a century and a half of ferrying folks between Portland and the enchanting Casco Bay islands. Yep, they’ve been at it for over 150 years!
Whether you’re plotting your daily commute, planning a quick island getaway, or gearing up for an extended vacation, Casco Bay Lines has a ride to suit your needs. They’re not just your ordinary ferry service; this ferry offers plenty of adventure, all while keeping things safe, reliable, and overflowing with fun. Rain or shine, snow or sun, you can catch a ferry 365 days a year.
Prepare to be captivated by the magic of Casco Bay. Beyond the regular runs, they’ve got specialty cruises that let you escape the everyday and immerse yourself in the island life that’s been charming visitors and locals for centuries. It’s like stepping into a storybook.
What’s the point in being in Maine if you don’t love seafood? And what could be better than catching your own? Whether you want to catch your own lobster or go for the thrill of deep-sea fishing, Portland has it all!
Rocky Bottom Fisheries – Lobstering, private charters, and sunset tours
Lucky Catch Cruises– Lobstering tours
Old Port Charters– Boating trips from 1 hr to 6 hrs
Kristin K Charters– Shark fishing, fishing, ocean cruises
Teazer Charters– Sportfishing, deep sea fishing
The Polar Express at the Merrill Auditorium
Address: 20 Myrtle St, Portland, ME 04101
The excitement starts at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Marine Terminal. Passengers board onto nine historic passenger coaches decorated for the holiday season. Once on board, magical chefs serve hot chocolate and cookies. Christmas music fills the cars as the steam locomotive blows its whistle, the wheels start turning, and your roundtrip ride begins to the North Pole.
This is one of the best things to do in Portland during the holiday season.
Crescent Beach State Park
Address: 8 miles south of Portland at 109 Bowery Beach Road.
Hours: Open year around 9:00 a.m. to sunset daily (unless otherwise posted). Fee charged.
Crescent Beach State Park is one of Maine’s best beaches. Enjoy picnic tables, grills, a children’s playground, a snack bar, and a bathhouse with showers. Swimmers, sunbathers, fishermen, and boaters all love this beautiful beach with its dunes and saltwater breezes.
In the off-season, you can walk the beach or cross-country ski on snow-covered paths.
Kettle Cove State Park
Address: Adjacent to Crescent Beach State Park on Kettle Cove Road.
Hours: Open year around 9:00 a.m. to sunset daily (unless otherwise posted). Fee charged.
Kettle Cove State Park is adjacent to Crescent Beach State Park. This lovely park offers incredible views and a walking path around the cove. There are benches to sit and enjoy the views and a decent sized parking lot.
Rockhounds and seashell collectors love this secluded little spot.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Address: 105 Botanical Gardens Drive Boothbay, ME, 04537
Hours: May 1- October 22. Open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Head a few miles north of Portland to roam through 300+ acres of gardens and nature, from the Native Butterfly and Moth House to the charming Alfond Children’s Garden at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
With its stunning landscapes, vibrant gardens, and rich potential for learning, the Gardens offer an ever-changing, awe-inspiring experience that’s one-of-a-kind. Hosting over 200,000 guests annually from across the U.S. and over 63 countries, the Gardens’ allure is as boundless as nature itself.
Address: 138 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Thursday – Monday 10:00 am-3:30 pm & Tuesday & Wednesday 5:00 pm-8:00 pm
Built in 1807 by Captain Lemuel Moody, the Portland Observatory on Munjoy Hill stands as a testament to maritime history. At 86 feet tall, this octagonal tower was a communication hub, alerting ship owners about incoming vessels and dramatically improving the efficiency of Portland Harbor. Moody could spot ships up to 30 miles away using a telescope and hoist signal flags to identify them.
The Observatory operated until 1923, transitioning from a marine signal tower to a tourist attraction in 1939. After restoration efforts by the City of Portland and Greater Portland Landmarks, the tower reopened in 2000. As the last historic maritime signal station in the U.S., it’s a National Historic Landmark, a vital relic of seafaring heritage, and one of the most popular things to do in Portland.
Step into Old Port, a charming historic district adorned with cobblestone lanes and brick facades. A vibrant tapestry of boutiques, gourmet havens, and souvenir treasures awaits here. By night, the district transforms into a hub of youthful energy, with pubs, breweries, and cocktail bars inviting revelers with things to do in Portland.
Culinary delights abound, spanning chic New American eateries to classic waterfront seafood havens. Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a journey to the Casco Bay Islands as ferries set sail from the pier, adding an extra layer of allure to this captivating destination.
Address: Accessible from the Wainwright Athletic Fields, Bug Light Park, and Mill Creek Park
The Greenbelt Walkway, cherished by both residents and visitors, offers a 5.6-mile off-road journey from the Wainwright Athletic Complex to Bug Light Park. Perfect for walkers, runners, and cyclists, the path treats you to Portland waterfront views and abundant wildlife encounters amid wetlands, marshes, and woods. A haven for nature enthusiasts, it’s a scenic delight where history meets the great outdoors.
I found plenty of parking and restrooms at the Wainwright Complex and was pleased that the walkway was paved and well-marked.
Visit a Brewery
What’s a visit to New England without trying some of the best beer in America? Here are some of our favorites:
- Allagash Brewing Co.- Great dog-friendly atmosphere and a vast selection of house beers.
- Bissell Brothers Brewing Company– Great beers and IPAs plus gluten-free options.
- Austin Street Brewery– Awesome beer choices and sweet outdoor seating available.
- Battery Steele Brewing– Tasty beers and IPAs in a relaxed atmosphere.
Visit a Distillery
Not to be outdone by beer, Portland has a great selection of distilleries.
- Urban Farm Fermentory– Delicious drinks with unique flavors.
- Maine Craft Distilling– Top-notch drinks, eats, and the informative staff rounds a visit out nicely.
- Hardshore Distilling Company– The best gin cocktails in town.
- Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery Old Port Tasting Room and Shop– A classy spot with great libations. The staff is knowledgeable, so prepare to learn a fun thing or two.
Visit Mackworth Island
Address: Accessible via Andrews Avenue off Route 1 in Falmouth
Hours: Open all year; 9:00 a.m. to sunset daily unless otherwise posted at the gate. Fee Charged.
Step onto Mackworth Island, a 100-acre haven linked to Falmouth via a causeway at the mouth of the Presumpscot River. This island’s captivating blend of human and natural history unfolds due to its Portland proximity and Presumpscot charm. Although human influence has left its mark, the 1.25-mile trail circling the island reveals stunning Casco Bay and Portland views.
As you stroll, enjoy the Atlantic’s tranquility, watch boats glide by, and observe osprey, seagulls, and shorebirds hunting for their meals. A slice of preserved paradise awaits your leisurely exploration. The most significant negative is scoring a parking space since the lot is relatively small. As always, earlier is better.
Len Libby Candies
Address: 419 US Route 1 Scarborough, ME 04074
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Want to meet a 1700-pound chocolate moose? Yeah, me too! Then, visit Len Libby Candies in Scarborough. Your sweet tooth could be in danger entering this fantastic shop. The house-made chocolates will be a huge hit, as will the nearly life-size chocolate moose Lenny, who is always ready for a selfie. There’s something for everyone, so leave your diet at home.
Portland Maine Victoria Mansion
Address: Victoria Mansion 109 Danforth Street, Portland, Maine
Hours: May 1 – October 31, 10 am – 4 pm
Venture into the opulent past by visiting the Victoria Mansion, a resplendent Italianate villa crafted from brownstone and completed in 1860. This architectural gem envisioned as a summer sanctuary for the esteemed hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse, exudes lavish elegance that transcends the ages. This is one of the most popular things to do in Portland.
Wander through its ornate rooms, adorned with intricate details that showcase the pinnacle of 19th-century craftsmanship. You can book the Victoria Mansion Tour and Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tours through Portland Discovery Land and Sea Tours and save yourself the hassle of driving and parking.
Address: 489 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
Hours: June – October Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday–Monday, Closed
Fee to enter
Indulge your senses in the embrace of literary history at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, a dwelling that once echoed the musings of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Now transformed into a captivating museum, the house not only preserves the legacy of its former occupants but also boasts enchanting gardens that transport you to an era where beauty and inspiration flourished.
Address: 425 Congress St. Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Sundays 10 am
Raise your gaze to the heavens within the hallowed halls of First Parish, and marvel at more than just the grand chandelier that graces its sanctum. This very chandelier holds a hidden secret—a cannonball lodged within its gleaming curves—a poignant reminder of the tumultuous history when the British Royal Navy unleashed its fury upon Portland’s shores in 1775.
Bug Light Park
Address: Located at the eastern terminus of the Greenbelt Walkway
Hours: Daily, 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Embark on a voyage of maritime and military significance as you journey to Bug Light Park, a once-thriving World War II shipyard that birthed a record number of vessels in a single day.
Today, it’s a panoramic haven offering sweeping views of the Portland cityscape. Behold the stately presence of Portland Breakwater Light and the Liberty Ship Memorial, and let the whispers of valorous endeavors resonate through the salt-kissed breeze.
Portland Head Light
Address: 1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Hours: Open year-round from sunrise to sunset
Further along the coast lies the iconic Portland Head Light, a luminous sentinel that is a testament to the nation’s earliest days. Commissioned by President George Washington in 1787, this majestic lighthouse embodies the timeless spirit of a city eternally bound to the sea.
As you delve into Portland’s rich architectural tapestry, you’ll be ensnared by the stories etched into every brick and beam. These historic landmarks, once private abodes and bustling shipyards, now stand as guardians of memory, beckoning you to traverse the corridors of time and immerse yourself in a living, breathing chronicle of Portland’s storied past.
If you’re a big lighthouse fan, visit Virginia and check out the 11 picturesque lighthouses that line the commonwealth’s waterways.
Get Lobster (or other fabulous dishes) in the Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine
As you set foot on Portland’s charming streets, expect to be captivated by a kaleidoscope of experiences. Imagine savoring delectable lobster rolls that have become legendary or embarking on a culinary journey that ranges from quaint local diners to high-end restaurants helmed by celebrated chefs.
- Luke’s Lobster – Located on a downtown pier, Luke’s Lobster delivers in every way. Combine scenic views from just about any seat in the house with fantastic seafood, and you have a winner. With deep roots in the lobstering legacy, Luke Holden, a third-generation lobster enthusiast, embarked on a flavorful journey to bring his genuine love for the ocean’s treasures to the masses. Luke’s offers an authentic, top-tier Maine lobster roll. You will not be disappointed. I can vouch for the 6oz lobster roll, delish! Voted Best Of Portland 2023 for Best Lobster Roll and Best Waterfront Dining.
- Flatbread Company– Oven-fired pizza with an emphasis on the people who will be eating it is what the Flatbread Company is all about. Embracing quality, supporting local farms, and fostering a genuine connection with nature are at their core. Flatbread’s restaurant is an inviting space for all ages to rejuvenate spirits and learn about the food-nature relationship. No matter which flatbread you prefer, the pizza is always excellent!
- DiMillo’s On the Water– In 1954, Tony DiMillo opened his first restaurant, “Anthony’s,” on Fore Street, introducing the iconic slogan: “The clams you eat here today slept last night in Casco Bay.” Tony relocated Anthony’s to Center Street in 1960. In 1965, he established “DiMillo’s on the Waterfront” across from its current location, which swiftly gained fame for its renowned lobster dinners, drawing visitors from across the nation. DiMillo’s offers a fantastic seaside Italian seafood dining experience amid the many boats in the marina.
- Central Provisions– Located in a federal-style building dating back to the mid-1800’s, Central Provisions continues to pay homage to the look and legacy of the building. You will enjoy every aspect of the dining experience, from the unique decor created by local craftsmen to the wonderful lunch and dinner menus and tasty adult beverage options. If you want brunch, Central Provisions also checks that box.
Whale Watching in Portland Maine
Address: Long Wharf off of Commercial Street
Hours: As arranged
As Portland’s only home-based whale-watching cruise, Odyssey Whale Watch brings the fun. Experience endless family entertainment and education as your Captain takes you on a captivating journey to witness majestic marine life in their natural habitat. Immerse yourself in the ocean air and the beauty of Casco Bay while venturing to whale-feeding areas, offering narration and scenic wonders along the way.
It’s more than whale-watching – you’ll track Humpbacks, Finbacks, Dolphins, and more, with a knowledgeable naturalist highlighting the ocean’s treasures and wildlife wonders, creating an unforgettable, thrilling, and enlightening adventure.
Address: In Casco Bay
Hours: It’s an island community, so hours aren’t set other than if you’re coming/leaving by ferry.
Just a 17-minute ferry ride from Portland, Peaks Island, once dubbed the Coney Island of Maine, is now a charming Portland neighborhood. A haven for artists, retirees, commuters, and summer dwellers, Peaks Island offers a tight-knit community vibe with stunning ocean vistas. With 14 daily departures, it’s a family-friendly haven, inviting you to revel in its captivating history, small-town allure, and breathtaking coastal scenery.
Portland Arts District
It isn’t difficult to immerse yourself in the vibrant Portland Maine Arts District, where historic architecture, cozy pocket parks, exceptional dining, galleries, and shops await. The district exudes a laid-back hipster vibe, with attractions ranging from the renowned Portland Art Museum and acclaimed Portland Museum of Art to Longfellow Square’s statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This thriving area also hosts theaters, music venues, and art galleries, as well as an African tribal art museum and a multimedia institute. With its rich cultural offerings and an array of bars, cafés, restaurants, and shops clustered around the Portland Museum of Art, the Arts District promises an enriching experience for all.
Horse-drawn Carriage Rides
Address: 309 Mayall Road Gray, ME 04039
Hours: As arranged
Step into the charm of the past with Still Brook Acres’ horse-drawn carriage and trolley rides through Portland’s Old Port. Experience the magic of a leisurely pace and admire architectural details and blooming flowers as you’re transported through time.
The magnificent Clydesdale horses are sure to make you smile, and the well-maintained carriages guarantee a romantic and fun journey. Winter rides through the Old Port offer a Christmas light spectacle!
Bike Rentals in Portland Maine
Rent a bicycle and cruise through downtown’s vibrant scenes effortlessly. Pedal power is your ticket to covering more ground and uncovering more smiles. We recommend The Portland Encyclopedia and Pedego if you’d like to go the electric bike route.
International Cryptozoology Museum
Address: 32 Resurgam Place, Portland, Maine 04102
Hours: Daily 10 am – 6 pm Admission fee required
Delve into the fascinating realm of hidden creatures and unknown animals at the International Cryptozoology Museum. This unique attraction explores cryptids like Yetis, Bigfoot, sea serpents, and recently discovered animals.
With a mission to educate and inform, the museum showcases evidence, artifacts, and cultural items, all curated by Loren Coleman and dedicated volunteers. Serving as a gateway science, this establishment offers insight into biology, wildlife studies, and more, making it a must-visit for those curious about the natural world’s mysteries.
Walk Commercial Street
Discover the vibrant allure of Commercial Street, offering a wealth of historical and shopping delights. Historic Widgery Wharf and Union Wharf, dating back to the 18th century, tell tales of the past amidst lobster boats and seaside shacks.
Bell Buoy Park offers a picturesque resting spot, while the street is peppered with unique boutiques like Local Color by Kate Nelligan for coastal designs, Shipwreck & Cargo for maritime-themed decor, and Sea Bags Flagship Store for beach-ready bags. Explore high-end brands at Portland Dry Goods or simply enjoy window shopping along this lively street.
Eastern Promenade, a picturesque park in Portland, has evolved into a lively food-truck hub, hosting numerous mobile kitchens that attract crowds with views of Casco Bay. The food-truck scene delights visitors, and you can expect to see up to seven different trucks with a bevy of tasty offerings at the Eastern Promenade most days.
The Maine Mall
Address: 364 Maine Mall Road South Portland, ME 04106
Hours: Daily 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Discover a shopper’s paradise at The Maine Mall in South Portland, boasting a wide array of specialty stores for fashion, housewares, and electronics. Spend your day exploring this vibrant destination–during the festive holiday season or a regular weekday. From various shops to delight in, The Maine Mall promises a unique experience for every visitor.
Hike in Portland Maine
The scenic trails of Portland, where nature’s beauty unfolds at every turn. From waterfront wonders along the Eastern Promenade Trail to the historic charm of Back Cove Trail, this city is a hiker’s paradise and one of the best things to do in Portland.
Lace up your hiking boots and get ready to explore diverse landscapes, from tidal estuaries and tree-lined paths to captivating ocean vistas. Whether seeking a leisurely stroll or an invigorating trek, Portland’s hiking trails promise an unforgettable journey through its natural splendor. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Fore River Sanctuary White Trail– Explore the 3.3-mile Fore River Sanctuary White Trail, offering an easy out-and-back route popular for cross-country skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. Complete with Portland’s only natural waterfall, Jewell Falls, this 85-acre sanctuary features the former Cumberland and Oxford Canal site. With a mix of salt and freshwater marshland, the area offers excellent bird-watching opportunities. Leashed dogs are welcome. The trail connects to Fore River Trail, Stroudwater Trail, and Capisic Brook Trail, making it a diverse and engaging hiking option open year-round from dawn to dusk.
- Back Cove Trail– Discover the scenic beauty of Back Cove Trail, a 3.6-mile loop perfect for walking, running, biking, and dog walking. With easy terrain, the trail skirts a tidal estuary basin, granting stunning views of the Portland skyline. A historic favorite, Back Cove Trail is adorned with benches and two seasonal water fountains and sits along Baxter Boulevard
- Eastern Promenade and Prom Midslope Trail Loop– An exhilarating hike through the Eastern Promenade Trail and Prom Midslope Trail Loop. This waterfront trail, built along an old rail corridor, treats you to stunning harbor and ocean vistas. The route is adorned with benches, picnic spots, and access to East End Beach for swimming, boating, and more. Parallel paved and stone dust trails follow the water’s edge, with the Midslope Trail offering an alternative path through picturesque tree-lined routes connecting East End Beach to Loring Memorial and East End Community School. A mix of scenic overlooks and woodland paths make this loop an enticing adventure for hikers of all levels.
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
Address: 49 Thames Street, Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Departure times hourly, 10 am through 5 pm. Train rides through Oct 29th.
Explore the captivating world of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, where historic two-foot gauge railroad equipment comes to life for public enjoyment and education. With a vision to provide an attractive, sustainable, and educational railroad experience, the museum strives to offer accessible historical insights while prioritizing safety, guest care, and innovative programming, creating an unforgettable visit for all ages. If you should visit on Friday evenings in the summer, you can take the ice cream train, Yum!
Address: Casco Bay Portland, Maine
Hours: Tours as arranged
Experience the enchanting history of Fort Gorges, a 19th-century U.S. military fort on an island just off the shores of Portland. Accessible only by boat, this iconic coastal structure, built from 1858 to 1864, now serves as a unique park. It’s a testament to Portland’s maritime past and was one of three forts guarding the harbor.
Named after Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the fort offers a glimpse into the city’s history and features elements modeled after Fort Sumter. Today, visitors can explore this historic gem, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, while admiring its architecture and significance. You can book your two-hour tour here.
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
Address: 2 Fort Rd, South Portland, ME 04106. On the grounds of Southern Maine Community College. Drive until you reach the parking area on the waterfront. The lighthouse is on the right.
Hours: Guided tours Tuesdays & Thursdays (on occasion Saturdays) from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Head over to the captivating Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, an iconic “sparkplug” style structure built in 1898 to safeguard mariners from the treacherous ledge in Portland Harbor.
Nestled on the breakwater at Southern Maine Community College, this working lighthouse offers tours during most summer weekends, providing a glimpse into its history and maritime significance. Experience the stunning views up close by walking along the granite breakwater or enjoying the beach, making Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse a must-visit attraction in South Portland.
Address: 2 Fort Rd, South Portland, ME 04106, on the grounds of Southern Maine Community College.
Hours: Open campus
Explore the historic charm of Fort Preble, a military stronghold in South Portland, dating back to its establishment in 1808. With expansions continuing until 1906, the fort played a pivotal role in major wars from the War of 1812 to World War II.
Now situated on the Southern Maine Community College campus, this site offers a journey through time. Originally built to enforce President Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act, the fort later became headquarters during the American Civil War and a mobilization site for volunteer regiments. Named after Commodore Edward Preble, it invites visitors to delve into Portland’s military heritage and enjoy a unique exploration opportunity.
Address: 44 Willow St, South Portland
Hours: Open daily, 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Uncover the joy of Willard Beach, a charming 4-acre shoreline gem in South Portland, Maine, renowned for swimming and recreational boating. Nestled between Fisherman’s Point and the Southern Maine Community College campus, it boasts splendid Spring Point Ledge Light vistas and historic island forts like Fort Gorges.
Once a fisherman’s haven in the 1800s, the beach now belongs to the City of South Portland, cherished by locals and visitors alike. Take advantage of the annual neighborhood festival, WillardFest, a celebration of community spirit that adds to the beach’s allure.
Address: 1000 Shore Road Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Hours: Open year-round from sunrise to sunset
Experience history at Battery Keyes, a captivating Cape Elizabeth attraction nestled within Fort Williams State Park, just west of Portland Head Lighthouse.
Constructed between 1903 and 1905 to safeguard Portland Harbor, the battery holds the legacy of Major General Erasmus D. Keyes from the U.S. Civil War. Functioning through World War II as part of the Harbor Defenses of Portland, the battery regulated sea traffic, its well-preserved concrete core, gun emplacement, magazines, and rangefinder station remain, though the original weapons and mounts are gone.
Tee off your golfing adventure in Portland, a haven for golf enthusiasts with diverse courses catering to all skill levels. With not just one but two outstanding municipal golf courses, the city serves as a golfer’s paradise. We love golfing in Maine.
And the excitement doesn’t stop there – the Portland area boasts a staggering 24 additional golf courses within a 20-mile radius, comprising 15 public, three municipal, and six private courses.
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting to swing, Portland’s golfing scene promises an unforgettable experience on the green. Here are the closest courses:
- City of South Portland Municipal Golf Course – 9-hole course on 25 acres, par 33
- Riverside Golf Course – 18-hole course, a 9-hole course, and a 3-hole practice course.
- Nonesuch River Golf Club – 18-hole public championship golf course designed by Tom Walker
- Portland Country Club – 18-hole Donald Ross private golf course
Parking in Portland
As with every decent-sized city or popular destination, parking can be an issue. Portland is no different, but the city offers many options to suit most visitors’ needs regarding where to park the family “truckster.”
Portland, where parking is as effortless as a swipe or a tap, where the urban landscape thrives in harmony with technology, and where accessibility is more than a convenience – it’s a promise. The City of Portland’s visionary step toward solar-powered pay stations isn’t just about parking; it’s about embracing progress while preserving the essence of a cherished city. As the sun powers these beacons of innovation, Portland’s streets evolve into a symphony of ease, one swipe at a time.
Parking closer to the water will be the priciest since those spots put you right in the middle of things. Expect to pay for 12 hours when parking in the open-air kiosk pay spots. This is great if you want to just park and forget it, but it will run around $40.
The parking garages on the waterfront are better with hourly rates, as are the public parking lots a couple of streets off the water. You can expect to pay $8 an hour with these parking options. I used this option twice on my last trip to Portland, and though it wasn’t cheap, it was convenient.
The most affordable and flexible option you’ll find is grabbing a paid spot on the streetside, which runs $2 an hour. This is great if you only expect to be there for a short time, but as you would imagine, these spots go fast but are the best if you can score one.
For more information on where the parking locations are downtown, click here.
How to Explore Portland
Downtown Portland, is your oyster, and here’s how to make the most of it with a dash of fun while navigating downtown like a veteran. Once you’ve parked your car, get moving!
- Stroll Like a Local: Lace up those comfy shoes and let your feet guide you through the charming streets. You won’t have any issues getting all your steps in as you stumble upon hidden gems and local hotspots that only the locals know about.
- Two-Wheeled Wonders: Feeling the breeze in your hair? Easy to park and fun to ride, seeing Portland on two wheels is a lot of fun. We enjoy the convenience of The Portland Encyclopedia, and Pedego if you’d like to do more coasting than working your legs using an electric bike route.
- Scoot to Your Heart’s Content: Embrace the cool factor by hopping onto a scooter! Zip around with ease and a whole lot of style. They’re zippy, zesty, and perfect for those who love a quick and quirky ride. M3 Urban Motorsports offers a variety of scooters to make navigating the streets a breeze.
- Hop-On, Hop-Off Trolley: Get a taste of history and a scenic view aboard a trolley. It’s like a moving time machine that lets you explore downtown’s stories and landmarks without missing a beat. Both the Portland Discovery Land and Sea Tours and Get Your Guide Tours will get you to some of the area highlights without fail.
So, whether you’re channeling your inner cyclist, embracing your inner scooter enthusiast, or simply strolling hand-in-hand with the city, downtown Portland is your playground. Get ready to dive in, uncover the unexpected, and create memories that’ll make you smile for years!
Where to Stay in Portland
Now that you’re all set to explore this picturesque paradise, let’s talk about the perfect havens where you can rest your head and recharge your spirit. From stylish hotels that pamper you with luxurious comforts to cozy bed and breakfasts that embrace you like an old friend, Portland’s has accommodations to suit every taste.
Whether you’re a modern traveler seeking sleek designs and top-notch amenities, or you’re after the warmth of a home away from home, this city has it all.
Hotels in Downtown Portland
You’ll experience the best of downtown Portland when checking into one of the city’s delightful hotels. From luxurious retreats to boutique gems, our list of accommodations promises comfort, style, and a prime location to explore all this charming city offers.
Bed & Breakfasts in Downtown Portland
Several welcoming bed & breakfasts are within the west end of downtown Portland. Each of these inviting havens offers a warm welcome and a cozy retreat, ensuring a truly immersive experience in the heart of this captivating city. With top-notch recommendations backing their allure, you’re in for a treat as you indulge in comfort, hospitality, and the perfect touch of local charm during your stay.
West End Inn– This vibrant B&B is a visual masterpiece in the heart of the architecturally rich Western Promenade. Enjoy gas fireplaces, artistic rooms, private luxurious bathrooms, complimentary vegetarian breakfast, and thoughtful in-room amenities. A serene haven with an artsy twist awaits!
The Chadwick– Originally established in 1891, the timeless elegance of The Chadwick greets you upon arrival. The luxury guest rooms seamlessly blend classic charm with modern comforts, exuding a unique character that’s only enhanced by recent renovations. As Portland’s top B&B, they’re committed to eco-friendliness, proudly minimizing their environmental footprint while pampering guests with premium amenities.
Blind Tiger– Spanning two charming homes in Portland’s renowned West End neighborhood, the Blind Tiger offers a truly unique bed & breakfast experience. With Blind Tiger on Danforth located in a Federal-style mansion on Danforth Street and Blind Tiger on Carleton nestled in a Victorian townhouse on Carleton Street, both guest houses are inspired by the city’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit. Vibrant gathering spaces, rich in texture and color, create the perfect backdrop for connecting with friends or hosting an impromptu event.
Pomegranate Inn– Welcome to a kaleidoscope of creativity and relaxation at this vibrant B&B. With a harmonious blend of sculpture, art, furniture, and fabrics, the Pomegranate Inn will delight and surprise you. They aim to charm you and surpass your expectations with a spirited vibe. The luxurious guest rooms have catered to a diverse range of guests, from business travelers to the renowned. Regardless of who you are, the Pomegranate will roll out the red carpet with celebrity treatment, offering gracious hospitality and exceptional service that will leave you feeling like a star.
From the vibrant farmer’s markets teeming with fresh produce to the soothing rhythm of waves that serenade you at every turn, Portland, Maine, promises a symphony of experiences that will leave you spellbound.
So pack your bags, embark on a journey of discovery, and let the allure of this enchanting coastal city sweep you off your feet. The tales of Portland’s past and the vibrancy of its present await your eager exploration – an invitation you won’t be able to resist. Get ready to fall in love with Portland – a city that’s both a testament to history and a vibrant canvas of modern wonders.
For other great get-aways and vacation spots like this or in Virginia, check out my blog Virginia is for Travelers for great tips and information to make your time away as smooth and fun as possible.