15 of the Best Things to Do


From mouth-watering eating places to epic lighthouses to a booming craft brew scene, Maine’s foremost coastal metropolis of Portland simply could have all of it. It’s informal, but stylish. It’s spectacular, but doesn’t strive too arduous. It is a metropolis of many layers—it’s a seaport, historic hub and cultural hotspot all rolled into one.

No matter what you come right here for, or once you arrive, the record of issues to do in Portland is pleasantly lengthy. Here is a information to what to see and the very best methods to discover town.

The Best Attractions & Things to Do in Portland, Maine

1. ✦ Eat a Holy Donut

There couldn’t be a greater identify than Holy Donut for this institution because the style of their specialty donuts is solely divine. Created with actual Maine potatoes combined with wheat flour, the donuts are made recent with all-natural substances.

You can go to any of their three places–Park Avenue, Exchange Street and Scarborough–in your dose of donuts. There’s virtually all the time a line out the door, so for the very best picks arrive proper at opening!

Of course, everybody may have their favourite flavors of the 18 totally different ones supplied, however a transparent frontrunner is the Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, adopted by the Maple Bacon, Fresh Lemon and Toasted Coconut. Mmm!

2. ✦ Take the Ferry to Peaks Island

A 20-minute journey from Portland by way of the Casco Bay Lines ferry may have you find yourself on Peaks Island the place the laidback life-style will certainly embody you. The quaint island has a inhabitants of below 1,000, however it’s full of one thing for everybody. Spend your time right here consuming recent seafood at one of many native cafes, stress-free on one of many many lovely beachfronts or renting a golf cart to tour your complete island’s points of interest, just like the World War II historical past museum.

If you might be up for slightly extra exercise, choose to pop right into a kayak to instrument across the bay or take a motorcycle trip alongside the scenic pathways. Whatever you do, don’t miss the quirky Umbrella Cover Museum with its assortment of umbrella covers displayed with varied themes (together with an X-rated part!).

3. ✦ Spend an Afternoon on the Old Port

Cobblestone streets, red-bricked buildings, charming boutiques, stylish eating places and fishing piers—that’s what you’ll discover in Portland’s Old Port. It’s a quaint historic district that overlooks the Fore River. Many of us head there in early June for the Old Port Festival or in December for Merry Madness. But, it’s enjoyable to discover anytime of the 12 months!

If you’re a fashionista, don’t miss a cease by Rough & Tumble to ogle their handmade purses, Aristelle for some luxurious intimate attire and Zane that has a superbly curated assortment of designer labels.

The buying scene can get overwhelming in Portland, however In the Know Shopping can take you on a tour to lots of their favorites.

For all the house cooks on the market, don’t miss a cease at Salt Cellar who carries a full line of connoisseur flavors, or pop into Skordo who makes a speciality of freshly floor spices, herbs, blends and rubs.

For eats, seize some considerate small plates at Central Provisions or indulge within the chef’s tasting menu at Miyake. And in case you are a French fries lover like myself, it’s a must to ebook a seat at Duck Fat. Or simply take a culinary strolling tour in Old Port to get a sampling of native meals. 

4. ✦ Sail the Casco Bay with Calendar Islands Sailing

Can you simply think about basking within the solar onboard a good looking crusing boat with the wind in your hair and a glass of champagne in your hand? You don’t must, as a result of this may be your actuality.  There’s no higher bucket record worthy technique to discover Casco Bay and its islands than on a crusing journey, and I had an unimaginable time doing so with Calendar Islands Sailing Co.

One of the most well-liked excursions is their two-hour coastal sightseeing tour, however in addition they supply island-to-island day cruises or personally custom-made journeys. If you might be up for extra of an expertise than go for one among their in a single day adventures. Either means, you’re going to get an opportunity to find the breath-taking surroundings of the coast, the sights alongside the way in which and the islands.

Secrets of Casco Bay from GLP Films on Vimeo.

5. ✦ See the Lighthouses

If you’re the form who simply can’t resist historic lighthouses there a handful within the Portland space, every with its personal attraction. The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse (aka: Bug Light) is a small lighthouse that sits on the finish of the breaker and is exclusive as a result of it was designed to appear like a 4th century Greek monument.

Built in 1897, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is a caisson-style mild station (the one one within the United States!), however what’s particular about this one is that you’ve got the chance to tour it. But, probably the most spectacular and the one that’s finest identified is the Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park. You can simply spend a few hours strolling alongside the pathways to take a look at Maine’s oldest lighthouse from each angle. For much more data learn our article: 5 Epic Lighthouses in (& Around) Portland Maine

For an additional bucket record worthy expertise strive taking the Lighthouse Bike Tour that can take you to 3 lighthouses, and features a lobster roll! 

6. ✦ Visit the Historic Victoria Mansion

Built round 1860, this ornate summer time mansion turned museum is spectacular with its classic look and charming historical past. Everything about it’s grand together with the outside that has balconies and verandas, and an inside décor of gilded areas, wall work, stained-glass skylight, lovely draperies and splendid furnishings.

Take a tour inside with educated guides who will let you know all concerning the mansion–from its origins as a summer time residence for hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse to being purchased by a resident of Maine who transformed it right into a museum. For its time, the mansion additionally had trendy facilities comparable to cold and hot water and a central heating system.

7. ✧ Explore Maine’s Historic Eastern Cemetery

This will not be your typical exercise for any itinerary, however when a cemetery has an extended and riveting historical past, it makes for an fascinating go to as is the case with Eastern Cemetery. Dating again to 1668, this cemetery with hundreds of graves is a chronicle of the life and instances of a number of individuals together with Portland’s leaders and troopers. It additionally provides a glimpse into the social divisions of the early instances because the graves are divided into totally different places.

You can enterprise there by yourself or go for a guided tour organized by the non-profit group Spirits Alive from June to October.

8. ✦ Go on a Food tour

‘Live to eat’ needs to be your motto whereas in Portland because it has an unlimited number of yummy meals choices and eating places. You can simply got down to discover your individual scrumptious meal (which gained’t be arduous!) or unleash your internal foodie whereas studying about sustainability on a guided Maine Food for Thought tour.

The instructional meals tour will lead you on a strolling path to eat your means via eating places who characteristic domestically sourced substances and a farm-to-table mindset. You will even get an understanding of the native meals tradition and delve even deeper with the tales behind the plate.

Though the stops and dishes can change, there was fairly a tasty sampling on the day of my tour. For occasion, the Union Restaurant dished up a bowl of domestically sourced clam chowder with trout and Evo served a beet salad with a kalamata olive crumble and well-known Maine blueberries. All the opposite stops have been equally as scrumptious.

I can promise you that you’ll not go away this tour disillusioned or hungry!

Take a peek behind-the-scenes:

GLP Films on Vimeo.

9. ✧ Visit the Portland Observatory

An imposing seven-story construction, the Portland Observatory is the one maritime sign tower nonetheless standing in America. Back when it was constructed by Captain Lemuel Moody in 1807, it functioned as a communication tower for ships making their technique to the docks. You can go on guided excursions of this octagonal tower that stays open from late May to October.

Each ground has fascinating shows associated to Portland historical past, maritime traditions and the observatory. You can climb to the highest of the tower’s lantern (cupola) after which arriving on the lantern’s balcony will reward you with great 360-degree views over Portland and the bay.

10. ✦ Enjoy the Craft Beer Scene

For all you beer lovers on the market, Portland’s craft beer scene is booming! There’s nothing fairly like consuming a ‘cold one’ within the open air whereas sitting at a picnic desk along with your pooch or enjoying a sport of corn gap. Right? With a booming craft beer scene there isn’t a scarcity of excellent breweries to select from.

Bunker Brewing Company is ready inside a Nineteen Twenties storage whose doorways slide vast open. Novare Res Bier Café is a well-liked hidden beer backyard that not solely has a fantastic meals menu but additionally a pleasant worldwide draft and bottle record. Of course, you may’t overlook a go to to Allagash Brewery the place you may take a traditional tour then plop on their patio to indulge.

For slightly extra distinctive beer expertise, pop onto a tour with the Maine Brew Bus whose knowledgeable guides (and vivid inexperienced bus) will take you on a visit to find the distilleries, breweries and wineries within the space. If being on a bus will not be your factor, then take a strolling beer tasting tour.

11. ✧ Visit the Portland Museum of Art

If your excellent afternoon consists of ogling well-known artistic endeavors, then the Portland Museum of Art is among the prime issues so that you can do within the metropolis. With a group of over 18,000 items on rotation you might be certain to see some notable names throughout your go to, like Claude Monet and Andy Warhol. But, that’s not all! Ranging from work to pottery and sketches to sculptures, the reveals embody American, European and even native Maine works.

12. ✦ Get Fries at Duckfat Friteshack

Do you’re keen on French fries as a lot as me? Then don’t stroll, run to Duckfat Friteshack for a number of the finest comprised of hand-cut Maine potatoes and fried in—you guessed it— duck fats. The Friteshack is an offshoot of the well-known Duckfat restaurant in Portland, and a preferred one at that.

The shack is an off-the-cuff joint the place you place your order on the walk-up window from the restricted menu. Fries can completely be a meal (particularly if they’re within the type of duck poutine), however in case you want extra add on some doughnut holes or an additional thick milkshake.

Tip: Though I deemed the truffle ketchup the very best home made dipping sauce they serve, you may order a flight of all of the six and choose for your self.

13. ✦ Shop for Sea Bags

If you wish to take house the final word Maine memento then don’t miss a cease at Sea Bags, the place nautically impressed totes are comprised of recycled sails material. No two baggage have the very same markings! The magic occurs within the coronary heart of a working waterfront, the place craftspeople meticulously design, sew and end every bit.

You can store proper there within the entrance storeroom the place tons of are displayed, together with their classic assortment that characteristic mainsail insignia logos. As every bag is exclusive, go away your self a while to select the right one for you.

14. ✦ Drink at a Secret Speakeasy

Before you truly get to drink at Lincoln’s, you’ll have to search out it first, and know the right way to get in—two minor particulars that gained’t be shared right here. But, that’s half the enjoyable! Once you’ve cracked the code to get into this chill underground bar you’ll be greeted with a packed home who’ve come for the low-key vibe and $5 drinks. Yep, all of the drinks are simply 5 bucks, therefore the identify. Get it?

15. ✦ Eat Lots of Lobster

It doesn’t get extra quintessential Maine then consuming recent lobster, and Portland has a number of the finest. You can begin the indulgence with the well-known lobster roll. Typically, the well-known rolls are merely made with recent chunks of lobster meat, melted butter (and/or mayonnaise) served on a top-split New England sizzling canine roll. If you don’t need the carbs, then simply go for an entire lobster tail on a plate. You don’t must complicate issues to make them scrumptious!

There are loads of locations to get your lobster repair. Luke’s is among the favorites amongst the vacationers, however many of the locals additionally swear by Bob’s Clam Hut or Porthole. Warning: you might simply must do numerous analysis (lobster sampling) to search out your favourite.

A peek at the place Maine’s lobster comes from:

Pete the Lobsterman from GLP Films on Vimeo

From lobster to museums to a booming craft beer scene, town of Portland is full of the very best issues to do and points of interest to see. Be it on the water or on land, Maine’s hub is the right mix of the very best actions.

Essential Tips for Visiting Portland, Maine

Getting There: Portland International Jetport is a significant hub and most airways will fly into it. You can simply test for the very best fare offers at Skyscanner, which additionally has the choice to decide on ‘cheapest month’ because the departure to search out the bottom priced dates to fly to your vacation spot. From the airport to town middle, you need to use the subway, personal automotive, limousine, shuttle or take a taxi.

Where to Stay in Portland, Maine: It’s finest to remain close to town middle, public transportation or the realm that you may be spending probably the most time in. AC Hotel by Marriott is a superb alternative within the Portland district. For one thing on the inexpensive facet, strive Inn at St John positioned in Portland. For a lodge with slightly extra extravagance, ebook a room on the Blind Tiger Guest House. Or search some nice offers on inns of your alternative at Booking.com. If you’re in search of extra of a house environment (or are touring with a bunch of individuals), head over to Airbnb that has homes, residences and even only a room for hire in each worth vary. 

Getting Around: Driving in a brand new vacation spot could be a little bit of a problem, however for those who select to hire a automotive, RentalCars.com has nice offers. If you aren’t renting a automotive, there are many different choices. Taxis, Lyft and Uber can be found all around the metropolis. For a extra funds pleasant possibility, you may take the general public bus or metro/subway. The DiriGo Pass Card is an all-in-one transit card providing rides on a number of types of transportation (metro, prepare, bus) for one price.

Best Tours in Portland, Maine: You can discover a number of the prime excursions at Get Your Guide or Viator, and listed below are a number of the prime ones. excursions:

Insurance: It’s all the time a good suggestion to journey totally insured so you might be protected in case of journey cancellations or medical emergencies. You can take a look at pricing at Travelex Insurance.

This submit could include affiliate hyperlinks. If you make a purchase order via my hyperlinks, I earn a fee that helps to maintain this weblog working—at no further price to you. For extra data learn my full disclosure.

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