Portland Travel Guide

  • Back alley in downtown
    Back alley in downtown
    by BruceDunning
  • Custom House built 1875
    Custom House built 1875
    by BruceDunning
  • View of Nickels home
    View of Nickels home
    by BruceDunning

Portland Highlights

  • Pro
    fernijer profile photo

    fernijer says…

     Fresh sea air, good food, as well as lots of varied and independent artistic venues give Portland a definite personality as opposed to just another city. 

  • Con
    sswagner profile photo

    sswagner says…

     Weather can be very bad. Beware of "Noreasters" 

  • In a nutshell
    BruceDunning profile photo

    BruceDunning says…

     It is a rather mundane city that is promoting tourism 

Portland Things to Do

  • Lighthouses of Portland & the Area

    Situated in Cape Elizabeth, Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. It is a stunning setting and the surrounding Fort Williams Park is also picturesque. There are no parking charges and you can walk around the exterior of the lighthouse for free. There is a small but very interesting museum that harts the history of the lighthouse...

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  • Longfellow House

    The home is open May-Ocotber from 10-5 Mon-sat and 12-5 on Sunday. The home was built in 1785 and restored in 1850's. The Maine Historical Society is attached to the home and part of the tour. Tickets on line provides a 2 for 1 price deal.

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  • Eastern Promenade

    The Eastern Prom is a large grassy park that slopes down to Casco Bay. The views from up here are some of the nicest in the area!! It's a great place for a picnic, to sit with a book, toss a frisbe, of just watch the ferry boats come and go. At the bottom of the hill is a smal city beach. At high tide it's quite small but mid or low tide makes for...

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  • Portland Museum of Art

    Worth spending an hour or two here. There is an eclectic mix of work and the paintings are well displayed. I was advised to start on the fourth flor and work my way down. I did as advised although I did not spend that much time on the fourth floor as this is art work connected with the American Civil War. I was really impressed with the exhibition...

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  • Portland City Hall

    Merrill Auditorium is the historic auditorium at Portland City Hall. It's home to the Portland Symphony Orchestra and PCA Great Performances. The performance schedule is a little light in the summer months - with the exception of the amazing PORTopera company - but there's plenty to choose from the rest of the year.

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  • Portland Observatory

    A really impressive building from the outside. Admission is via a guided tour and costs $9.00. The guide was excellent and as you ascend in small groups it has the feeling of being quite personalised. We climbed a flight of stairs and then stopped on each landing, where we were given some of the history of the building. It is not at all strenuous...

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Portland Hotels

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Portland Restaurants

  • J's Oyster Bar

    I recently took a trip to Portland with some friends who have been raving for months about J's Oysters. They had been several times and were really looking forward to letting me experience some of the best food in Portland, as they claimed. Unfortunately, things at J's have apparently changed drastically since they were last there two years ago....

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  • Street and Company

    Great food and extremely fresh (after all, it's in Portland, right?) One of my top 5 choices in Portland fro a great romantic diner or just a good time with friends (or if you want great seafood and you don't feel like cooking!) The pan seared scallops with a light creamy sauce (be aware: they are gigantic!) They bring you the hole pan to the...

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  • Wonderful ice cream

    I spotted this place as I was wandering along Fore Street and enjoying the sunshine and thought, "Why not." There are a huge range of flavours to choose from and the real difficulty is to choose which to have! In the end I opted for the coffee and the dark chocolate and I was not disappointed. Definitely a place that I would return to.

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Portland Nightlife

  • Best Martinies in Portland

    THIS PLACE IS CLOSED (I don't know how to delete this)Locally called "UNAS", it's well known for their martinies... When I just moved to Portland, I told my friends with horror "there is only ONE martini bar in Portland!" and even after discovering that there are other places in Portland where you can have a nice martini, UNAS is still, according...

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  • Wonderful Venue

    I took my son to Portland to see Cake and The Ultimate Sunshine Festival in Dec 2007 as the concert was sold out in Boston and I had never visited Portland.We saw 5 bands in all and I noted that the sound system was great and the layout of the seating was fine as well.I would highly recommend attending a concert there and I would go again. It was...

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  • Irish Pub on the Waterfront...authentic...

    The nightlife in Portland Maine is bustling. Lots and lots of pubs and bars.....and many mini-brewerys with their own pubs.Ri Ra.......is an authentic Irish Pub.....a good place to start for dinner and an night out in Portland on the Waterfront. casual

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Portland Transportation

  • Parking in Portland

    There are plenty of parking meters that allow you to park in the street in downtown Portland and many allowed three or four hours of parking but you will need lot quarters to put into the machines.Alternatively, there is ample off-street parking. I found it to be very expensive but Portland does run a scheme called Park ans Shop. If you eat in...

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  • by bus

    There is a clean modern terminal for Concord Trailways bus service from Boston, Logan , and to Bangor located just off Congress Street the train service leaves from the same terminal to Boston. There is complementary coffee and juice available in the lobby

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  • Choose YOur parking

    Not all parking is equal. I ofund one htat charged $2.25 the first hour and $1.75 after. In questioning the attendant, he said one about a block away was 1/2 that price. Sincce I already spent some to get in, it did not pay to move then. The City also offers park & shop--but few, if any I found honored that program. It is to give you a free hour...

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Portland Shopping

  • Revisiting my childhood

    By sheer chance, I parked outside this store when I first arrived in Portland. I was attracted by the window display and when I went in it was like travelling back to my childhood. Whether you are looking for jelly beans, fudge, jellies or liquorice, this place has it all in a huge range of flavours. All of the bins are colour coded and the prices...

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  • T-SHIRTS AND A WIDE VARIETY OF GIFTS

    JUST A NICELY STOCKED STORE with an interesting variety of gift items. The store is well named as it faces the harbor. I happen to be a t-shirt collector, and thought their selection was quite good. My wife found some nice New England-style Christmas tree ornaments for our tree back in Nebraska! fair and reasonable lprices

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  • A FUN FOOD MARKET

    A LARGE INDOOR FOOD-AND-DRINK MARKET located in downtown Portland.In the fall of 2009, the market was being remodeled in preparation for a grand re-opening. seafood, sandwiches, beer, flowers, whatever your heart desired. We will have to wait to see about prices when it reopens.

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Portland Local Customs

  • The name of the game is brandy

    Perhaps you're like me, and have a list of the folks back home for whom you shop. I always look for interesting local beverages, which tends to mean wines. But not in Maine -- though perhaps there is some decent viticulture there, and no doubt someone will write to tell us about it! In Maine, the libation of choice by far is (and has been for many...

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  • a rare bird

    Watch for odd birds "from away" lurking about. This particular character was seen attempting to disquise himself as a native. Note the obvious swim glasses a dead give away

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  • parents still take their children to the...

    a few elements of traditional Maine lifestyle remain. Parents and children enjoy an afternoon at the park on the Eastern Promenade overloking historic Casco Bay

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Portland Warnings and Dangers

  • Area to avoid

    Portland is a pretty safe town, just use your basic safety precautions. The one thing that makes Portland a little scary at night is that with the exception of the Old Port, there's no one around. There's one "bad" neighborhood in town, and that's Northwest of Cumberland Avenue. If you're on foot, just stay between Cumberland Avenue and Casco Bay....

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  • Parking on the roadside in winter

    Beware about parking your car at roadside kerb when there is a approaching winter snow storm. Road blowing /plowing machines will pile snow on the roadside. Your car could be covered with high pile of snow. Often salt may be added to the road to make the snow and ice melt more. So good idea to flush your car's bottoms with lots of water to wash the...

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  • Driving in winter

    If you are not familiar with driving in cold winter with snow and icy conditions, here are points to ponder with a pinch of salt.1) You may wake up to find that your car in the car park is covered by snow, so you need to get a spade from the hotel to shovel away the snow as I found out. So get up earlier so that you will not be late for your...

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Portland Tourist Traps

  • Beware of Fleetwood House B & B in...

    My wife and I had a terrible experience at the Fleetwood House Bed and Breakfast in Portland, ME the other night. Before I share it, it is important to know that neither of us have ever complained to hotel management during our extensive travels over the last 25 years; we’re accustomed to a range in quality, and we typically go with the flow. We...

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  • Avoid DiMillo's

    You would think that a restaurant on a boat would have fresh seafood, but no! This is a quaint idea and a business that has been in Portland for generations, but unfortunately the only reason to visit this restaurant is for the novelty of eating on a boat. The food is awful. :( Don't bother unless you don't care about food or service quality. If...

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  • The Portland Observatory Tour

    If you want to climb the the top of the Portland Observatory you will have to go thru a 1/2 hour tour with a guide that takes you to the top. The tour should be replaced with placards posted throughout the Observatory that tell its history. See the views from the top of the tower.

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Portland What to Pack

  • Laid back

    If flying, it is key to pack light. I managed with just a carry on--had no problems. If you plan on buying a lot of souvenirs, you may want to bring a collapsible duffel bag in the bottom of your suitcase. You can always stuff your dirty laundry in the duffel bag and check it, while stowing your souvenirs in your carry on. No need to dress to...

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  • buy supplies in larger towns

    The saying goes : If you don't like Maine weather wait a minute it will change. So bring along various weights of clothing . and a hat for summer downpours have a hat and waterproof foot wear

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  • Packing List

    Portland will surprise you with its picturesque setting. Make sure you have your camera to capture the lobsters and the marina and the pleasant streets and the area lighthouses and shoreline and . . .

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Portland Off The Beaten Path

  • Freeport & Outlets

    I did not take an exit, but the promotion ws surely out there-STOP and shop. The literature for the area featured all the brand names, and the highway exits nearly steered you off toward the exit, so you could buy something. They must have 60 shops, 20 places to stay overnight, and 20 restaurants.

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  • Bath Churches

    Anthony Raymond desgined both churches here in 1843 and 1845. Winter St church is now a activity center for the town. It was renovated in 1971. The Chocolate Church is painted chocolate color with many caotings over the years. It is for touring 12-4 Tuesday-Saturdays. Used as an arts center when needed.

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  • a landmark no longer to be seen

    Saint Lawrence Church is now an arts center on Munjoy Hill. puppet shows were held here. Unfortunately this building has been changed since the photo was taken due to safety concerns

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Portland Favorites

  • Old Port

    Go see the Only dance club in the old port 51 Wharf... The Old Port had so much to do. the shops were new and fun. the food in the area was amazing. but the one thing i was amazed about was this club in the coble stone district. 51 Wharf was much bigger then you would think from the out side. There different rooms with two D.J's Go Go dancers and...

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  • Lighthouses of Portland & the Area

    visit the Observatory 138 Progress Street. It is a former lighthouse converted in sea observatory. Open : 10AM to 5PM. Nearby (Progress Street), there is also Saint Laurent Church which has a curious frontage.

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  • 51 Wharf

    Go see the Only dance club in the old port 51 Wharf... The Old Port had so much to do. the shops were new and fun. the food in the area was amazing. but the one thing i was amazed about was this club in the coble stone district. 51 Wharf was much bigger then you would think from the out side. There different rooms with two D.J's Go Go dancers and...

    more

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Explore Deeper into Portland
Portland Museum of Art
Things to Do
Portland Head Light & Museum
Things to Do
Portland Head Light
Things to Do
See Lighthouses
Things to Do
GO DOWNTOWN
Things to Do
Great Clam Chowder
Restaurants
VISIT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
Things to Do
GREAT ASIAN AND AMERICAN FOOD
Restaurants
Mixed feelings on this one.
Restaurants
Wonderful!
Restaurants
Dirty restaurant and disgusting food
Restaurants
YUCK! YUCK! YUCK!
Restaurants
A waste of time and money!
Restaurants
Good blueberry pancakes.
Restaurants
Ferry with incredible views
Restaurants
Sports Bar
Restaurants
Another good place for lunch
Restaurants
No Ordinary Pizza Place.....Natural!!!!!
Restaurants
My 2nd favorite Ri-Ra!
Nightlife
Cul-cha anyone? (Translation: "Culture anyone?")
Things to Do
Take a stroll along Portland's Western Promenade
Things to Do
Wander Down To The Docks
Things to Do
Victoria Mansion
Things to Do
Bayou Kitchen - amazing cajun in Maine
Restaurants
It's Maine and so it's Lobster!
Restaurants
The Hokey Cokey, part #3
Nightlife
Great Seafood!
Restaurants
DISGUSTING
Restaurants
Stroll up one Side, Down the other
Shopping
Bay Activity
Things to Do
Ft. Prebel-Ft. Gorges At Spring Point
Things to Do
Point Head Lighthouse at Ft. Williams Park
Things to Do
Monument Square-Congress AVe
Things to Do
Buildings of the Downtown
Things to Do
Spring Point Lighthouse
Things to Do
Cape Elizabeth Peninsula-South Portland
Things to Do
Portland Town History Museum
Things to Do
Cruise for a Lobster or Whale
Things to Do
Observatory
Things to Do
Longfellow is the Man
Things to Do
Map of Portland

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