Portland is the largest city in Maine and has been dubbed one of the most livable cities in the United States.
Situated on a peninsula, Portland is a picturesque New England city with a thriving food and arts scene. Visitors can explore the Old Port district, visit the Arts District, or take a stroll along the waterfront.
There are also several parks and green spaces to enjoy, including Deering Oaks Park and Longfellow Square. Portland is also home to a number of museums, including thePortland Museum of Art and theChildren’s Museum of Maine.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, here is our list of the best things to do in Portland, Maine.
1) Stroll Around Old Port
The Old Port is one of the most popular areas to visit in Portland, Maine. Situated on the city’s waterfront, the Old Port is home to a number of shops, restaurants, and businesses.
It is also a popular destination for visitors, who come to enjoy the area’s scenic views and walk along the historic cobblestone streets. The Old Port dates back to the early days of Portland’s history, when it was an important center for maritime trade.
Today, it remains an important part of the city’s economy, as well as a source of pride for residents. Whether you’re looking to do some shopping or simply take in the sights, a visit to the Old Port is sure to be enjoyable.
2) Harbor Fish Market
The Harbor Fish Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portland, Maine. Located on the city’s waterfront, the market features a variety of fresh seafood, including lobster, crab, and fish.
Visitors can watch as the seafood is caught and then cleaned and prepared for sale. The market also sells a variety of other items, such as souvenirs and local crafts. In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the Harbor Fish Market is also an important part of the city’s economy.
The market provides jobs for thousands of residents and brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year.
3) Portland Museum of Art
The Portland Museum of Art is located in Portland, Maine. Founded in 1882, it is the oldest and largest art museum in the state of Maine.
The museum’s collection consists of more than 18,000 works of art, dating from the Renaissance to the present day. The Portland Museum of Art is also home to a library and archives, which contain more than 200,000 books and documents.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions showcase the work of both emerging and established artists from around the world. The Portland Museum of Art is one of the finest museums in the United States and is well worth a visit.
4) Commercial Street
Commercial Street is a historic street located in the Old Port section of Portland, Maine. The street runs along the waterfront and is lined with a variety of shops, restaurants, and businesses.
Commercial Street is also home to several historic buildings, including the Portland Museum of Art and the Custom House Tower. In recent years, the street has undergone a major revitalization, and it is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
Whether you’re looking for a unique shopping experience or a bite to eat, Commercial Street is sure to have something for everyone.
5) Hadlock Field for a Ball Game
The Portland Sea Dogs baseball team plays its home games at Hadlock Field, located in Portland, Maine. The Sea Dogs are a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and they play in the Double-A Northeast League.
Hadlock Field is named after former Portland mayor James K. Hadlock, who was instrumental in bringing minor league baseball to the city. The stadium features a natural grass playing surface and has a unique design that incorporates the city’s waterfront into the ballpark.
In addition to hosting Sea Dogs games, Hadock Field has also been home to concerts, high school graduation ceremonies, and other special events.
6) Victoria Mansion
The Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine is a beautifully preserved example of Victorian architecture. Built in 1860, the Mansion was designed by an architect from New York named Henry Austin.
Austin was known for his work in the Gothic Revival style, and the Mansion reflects this influence with its pointed arches and decorative details. The Mansion is also notable for its use of different kinds of marble and stone, which were sourced from all over the world.
Today, the Victoria Mansion is open to the public for tours, and it is a popular venue for weddings and other events. The Mansion is a beloved landmark in Portland, and it continues to wow visitors with its opulent beauty.
7) Casco Bay Island
Casco Bay is a large bay located in southern Maine, just east of the city of Portland. The bay is home to many small islands, some of which are inhabited while others are used for recreation or conservation purposes.
The largest and most populated island in Casco Bay is Portland itself, but there are also a number of smaller islands that are popular with tourists and locals alike. Some of the most popular islands in the bay include Peaks Island, Great Diamond Island, and Long Island.
Visitors to the area can enjoy views of the bay from one of the many lighthouses, take a ferry ride to one of the islands, or go hiking or camping in one of the many state parks. Whatever your interests, there is sure to be something for you on one of the beautiful islands of Casco Bay.
8) Allagash Brewing Company
Allagash Brewing Company is a brewery located in Portland, Maine. The company has the Main(e) goal of producing Belgian-style beers using traditional brewing methods.
Allagash brews a wide variety of beers, including its flagship beer, Allagash White. The company is best known for its experimental and barrel-aged beers, which have won numerous awards. Allagash Brewing Company is widely considered to be one of the best breweries in the United States, and its beers are distributed nationwide.
Thanks to its commitment to quality and innovation, Allagash has helped to put Portland on the map as a destination for craft beer lovers.
9) Portland Observatory
The Portland Observatory is a historic octagonal structure located in Portland, Maine. It was built in 1807 and is the last standing maritime signal tower in the United States.
The Observatory was used to communicate with ships entering Portland harbor, and it played an important role in the city’s commerce and defense. Today, the Observatory is open to the public and offers stunning views of Portland and its harbor.
Visitors can also learn about the Observatory’s rich history and see artifacts from its days as an active maritime signal tower. The Portland Observatory is a unique and fascinating piece of American history, and it is well worth a visit for anyone interested in learning more about our nation’s maritime heritage.
10) Peaks Island
Portland, Maine is a charming city with plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy and one of the most popular destinations is Peaks Island, which can be reached by ferry from the Old Port district.
The island is home to a variety of businesses, including restaurants, cafes, shops, and galleries. There is also a beautiful sandy beach where visitors can relax and take in the stunning views. In addition, the island is host to several annual events, such as the Lobster Bake and the Fourth of July Parade.
Whether you’re looking for a day of fun in the sun or a festive atmosphere, Peaks Island is sure to please.
11) Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum
The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum is a narrow-gauge heritage railroad located in Portland, Maine. The company operates both steam and diesel locomotives on a 2.5-mile stretch of track between Portland and Falmouth, Maine.
The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of the few remaining narrow-gauge railroads in the country and the only one operating in New England. The railroad’s museum is in Portland’s historic Union Station and houses a collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia relating to the history of narrow-gauge railroading in Maine.
Visitors can take a ride on one of the locomotives or enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad is a unique attraction that offers a glimpse into the past for visitors of all ages.
12) Eastern Promenade
The Eastern Promenade is one of the most popular attractions in Portland, Maine. The Park offers stunning views of the city and Casco Bay and is a great place to take a walk or have a picnic.
The Park also has a playground, basketball courts, and a public pool. In addition, the Eastern Promenade is home to the Portland Observatory, which is the oldest standing structure in Portland.
The Observers offers tours of the city and provides an amazing view of Portland from its top. The Eastern Promenade is a great place to spend a day in Portland and is worth a visit.
13) 5th Maine Regiment Museum
The 5th Maine Regiment Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the 5th Maine Regiment, a unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War.
The museum houses a collection of artifacts belonging to the regiment, including uniforms, weapons, and personal items. The museum also features exhibits on the regiment’s experiences during the war, as well as its post-war history.
In addition, the museum offers a variety of educational programs for school groups and families. The 5th Maine Regiment Museum is open to the public from Monday to Saturday.
14) Check out Cape Elizabeth
Located in Southern Maine, Cape Elizabeth is a town rich in history with a beautiful coastline and not even a 20 minute car ride from Portland. First settled in 1630, Cape Elizabeth was once part of Falmouth, one of the largest and most prosperous towns in Colonial America.
It wasn’t until 1765 that Cape Elizabeth officially became its own town. Today, Cape Elizabeth is known for its picturesque light houses, sandy beaches, and lobster shacks. One of the most popular attractions in Cape Elizabeth is Two Lights State Park, which offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Visitors can also enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking in the park. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore Maine’s rich history, Cape Elizabeth is the perfect destination.
15) Wadsworth-Longfellow House
The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a historic house located in Portland, Maine. The house was later donated to the Maine Historical Society, and it is now open to the public as a museum.
The house is furnished with period furniture and artifacts, and it offers a glimpse into the lives of one of Portland’s most prominent families. Visitors can tour the house on their own or participate in one of the many educational programs offered by the Maine Historical Society.
The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a true Portland landmark, and it is well worth a visit for anyone interested in American history.
16) Portland Headlights and Fort Williams Park
Portland Headlights is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portland, Maine. The striking 75-foot lighthouse sits on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. Today, the lighthouse is open to the public and offers stunning views of the coastline.
Nearby Fort Williams Park is another must-visit spot in Portland. The park is home to a number of historic buildings, including an old military fort, and offers beautiful views of Casco Bay. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, hiking, and fishing in the park.
With its mix of history and natural beauty, Portland Headlights and Fort Williams Park are two of the most popular attractions in Portland, Maine.
P.S. If you go at sunrise or sunset, it truly is a beautiful site.
17) Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine
The Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine is a great place to take your kids in Portland, Maine. The museum has exhibits on everything from nature and science to history and art, and the theater puts on kid-friendly shows throughout the year.
The best part about the Children’s Museum is that it’s always changing – there’s always something new to see and do. And, thanks to the theater, there’s also always something new to laugh at.
If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to spend a day with your kids, the Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine is the perfect choice.
18) Visit The Tate House
The Tate House is a historic house museum in Portland, Maine. Built in 1755, it is one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. The house was home to three generations of the Tate family, who were prominent members of Portland society.
The house was later donated to the city and opened to the public as a museum. Today, the Tate House is open for tours and hosts a variety of educational programs. Visitors can learn about the history of the house and the Tate family, as well as see firsthand some of the family’s belongings.
The Tate House is a beautiful example of Georgian architecture and is well worth a visit for anyone interested in history or architecture.
Recap of the Best Things to Do in Portland, Maine
- Old Port
- Harbor Fish Market
- Portland Museum of Art
- Commercial Street
- Hadlock Field
- Victoria Mansion
- Casco Bay Island
- Allagash Brewing Company
- Portland Observatory
- Peaks Island
- Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum
- Eastern Promenade
- 5th Maine Regiment Museum
- Cape Elizabeth
- Wadsworth-Longfellow House
- Portland Headlights
- Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine
- Tate House
Where to Next?
Providence, Rhode Island is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a mix of history and modernity.
Princeton, New Jersey is a beautiful town located in central New Jersey. It is home to Princeton University, as well as a number of other historical and cultural attractions.