32 Best & Fun Things To Do In Portland (Maine) (2023)

You’ve probably seen Portland even if you’ve never been there.

With its jagged cliffs, crashing waves and historic white-towered lighthouses, it’s the kind of picturesque place that makes it onto all kinds of postcards.

But what if you’re looking for something a little more exciting than a photograph?

What if you’re taking a real-life vacation or honeymoon to Portland?

Here are just a few cool things to do in Portland.

They range from the outstanding to the outlandish, but they’ll all leave you with great memories of your time in Maine!

Things To Do In Portland, Maine

1. Portland Head Light

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Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

One of the most iconic sights in Portland is the Portland Head Light.

Originally built in 1791, it’s a fully-functioning lighthouse that overlooks the Gulf of Maine, and it’s been helping sailors, soldiers and settlers reach New England since the days of yore.

You can’t miss the Portland Head Light.

It looms over the whole coastline, and it uses both a beacon and a foghorn to guide travelers through the dark.

The only difference between its past and present is that the tower has exchanged whale oil lamps for electric lights.

Today, visitors to the lighthouse can climb the stairs, see the sights, take a tour, explore the on-site museum or just lounge around the grass.

It’s a great place to suck in a deep breath and enjoy the salt and spray of the ocean.

Drop by the Portland Head Light if you’re looking for awesome stuff to do in Portland.

You’ll find it listed in just about every travel guide, and it’s worth the praise!

Address:12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA

2. Peaks Island

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Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

Peaks Island is one of the best vacation spots in Maine.

Located a few miles west of Portland, it’s only accessible by a ferry ride, and it offers all kinds of fun activities for people who want to escape the crowds of the city.

Outdoor enthusiasts can rent bikes and kayaks to explore the natural scenery of the island.

History buffs can check out the lighthouses and old military bunkers that dot the shore.

Shopaholics can empty their wallets at charming little cafes, bistros and boutiques.

Peaks Island is one of those rare tourist attractions that doesn’t feel like a tourist attraction.

While it offers plenty of things to see and do, it’s still remote enough to have a quiet, peaceful atmosphere as a semi-private isle.

You should definitely check out Peaks Island if you’re looking for the best destinations in and near Portland!

3. Portland Arts District

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Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

If you’re a patron of the arts, the Portland Arts District is an absolute “must-see” while you’re in Maine.

For starters, it gathers a large number of museums, theaters, galleries and art colleges in a few square blocks.

You could spend all day exploring its performance venues, and you wouldn’t even need a car for your travels.

The Portland Arts District is also home to a tradition known as the “First Friday Art Walk.”

On the first Friday of every month, all of the art institutions open their doors to the public from 5PM – 8PM.

Many of them offer free admission or serve food and drink to guests.

It’s a great social gathering for creatives of all types, and it’s one of the best things to do in Portland on a weekend.

If you sigh every time that you see the brush strokes of “Wheatfield With Crows,” check out the Portland Arts District.

You’ll meet like-minded souls there.

Address: Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA

4. Rockin’ Horse Stables

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Rockin’ Horse Stables

Woo the love of your life with a trip to the Rockin’ Horse Stables.

They offer a variety of horse-drawn rides, including carriage rides and sleigh rides, so they’re easily one of the most romantic things to do in Portland.

Winter is the best time to visit the Rockin’ Horse Stables.

With fresh snow blanketing the ground, you can cuddle close under a cozy blanket while enjoying a sleigh ride for two.

You’ll also be treated to complimentary hot chocolate when you return to the stables!

Romance can bloom in spring and summer, too.

A horse-drawn carriage ride can seem like something out of a storybook as you explore the lush green countryside.

For an extra-magical experience, you can arrange the driver to take you to a quaint little bed-and-breakfast at the end of your trip.

Visit the Rockin’ Horse Stables if you’re hoping to have a fanciful time in Portland.

They might be just what you need to get heart eyes from your boo!

Address:245 Arundel Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, USA

5. International Cryptozoology Museum

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International Cryptozoology Museum

One of the highlights of downtown Portland is the International Cryptozoology Museum.

It’s the only museum in the world dedicated to rare, elusive and possibly-mythical creatures like Bigfoot and Sasquatch, and it’ll provide hours of entertainment for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in mystery.

Do you like looking at skeletons that could be yetis or mammoths?

Are you intrigued by shadowy pictures of dragons, mermaids and sea serpents?

Would you like to marvel at real-life “living fossils” of extinct species?

The International Cryptozoology Museum has it all.

Meant for both serious scholars and roadside gawkers, it’s one of the most fun things to do in Portland.

It’s also the only cryptozoology museum in the world, so it’s quite literally a one-of-a-kind attraction.

You’ll regret not checking it out!

Address:4 Thompsons Point #106, Portland, ME 04101, USA

6. Lucky Catch Cruises

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Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

Have you ever wondered about the journey of a lobster from the bottom of the ocean to the top of a plate?

With Lucky Catch Cruises, you can watch every step of the process and eat the lobster when you’re done.

Lucky Catch Cruises will take you on a boat ride with real fishermen to bait, catch, trap and haul sea critters from the deep.

Under their careful instruction, you can get your hands dirty like you’re part of the crew.

Once you’ve caught some good lobster, you can purchase them for a wholesale price and take them across the docks to a special seafood restaurant that will cook your prize for you right then and there.

You can’t visit Maine without indulging in some fresh-caught lobster, and nothing is fresher than a lobster that you catch yourself.

Book a tour with Lucky Catch Cruises to learn the true meaning of working for your dinner.

Address:170 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

7. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

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JR P / flickr

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The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are about an hour north of Portland, so you’ll need to be willing to make a road trip to see them, but they’re definitely worth the fuel.

They’re so gorgeous that they’ve attracted visitors from more than 63 countries, and they’re considered one of the top attractions in the whole of New England.

Why are the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens so special?

It starts with a huge, sweeping landscape that goes on for miles.

You can find everything from hushed forests to noisy ponds filled with fish that literally leap through the air.

They also offer a lot of fun attractions for visitors.

Take a boat tour; walk through the butterfly house; visit the cafe and souvenir shop.

There are always neat things to do in the gardens.

Maine is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S., and when you’re watching the sunlight play off the rustling leaves of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, you’ll understand why it gets this distinction.

Put it on your list of Portland attractions if you want to be awed by the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Address:132 Botanical Gardens Dr, Boothbay, ME 04537, USA

8. Commercial Street

There’s nothing like the smell of the sea as you stroll near the water’s edge.

Throw in all kinds of shops, bars, pubs, boutiques and restaurants, and you’ve got the greatest tourist destination in Portland!

Running right along the bay, Commercial Street is one of the liveliest places to visit in the city.

There are always people weaving around each other, especially near the wharves and docks.

Not only do these locations offer great views of boats docking and fishermen calling out their hauls, but they’re also lined with everything from seafood restaurants to customized t-shirt shops.

There’s always something new to experience!

If you prefer not to mist yourself with sea spray, wander towards the historic side of Commercial Street and enjoy the old-world charm of colonial buildings and cobblestone streets.

It’s a great taste of vintage New England, and you can take in lots of landmarks during your stay.

Stop by Commercial Street if you’re looking for fun things to do in Portland.

It’s one of the quintessential destinations in the city, so you won’t want to miss it!

9. Maine Foodie Tours

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Maine Foodie Tours

When your stomach is rumbling after a long day of travel, you’ll need some tasty treats to help you refuel.

Maine Foodie Tours can help.

While not the only company of its kind, Maine Foodie Tours has made a name for itself as one of the best.

It offers award-winning tours that are centered around specific foods, themes, locations and events.

For example, the “Old Port Lunchtime Lobster Crawl” will leave your fingers permanently covered in butter after you’ve cracked open the most delicious lobster tails in the area.

Also, the “India Street Food Artisans” will keep your taste buds ablaze from the spices of the east.

Give a call to Maine Foodie Tours if you’re wondering what to do in Portland.

Everyone has to eat, but you don’t have to sustain yourself on fast food scarfed down in a hotel room.

You can take your culinary experiences to the next level with a proper food tour.

Address: 227 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

10. Eastern Promenade

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GraciePizzo / Shutterstock

If you’re traveling on a budget, you could probably use some free things to do in Portland.

Fortunately, Eastern Promenade is so much fun that you’ll marvel at the fact that it doesn’t cost a dime!

The Eastern Promenade has lots to offer to visitors.

If you like working up a sweat, you can play a game on the baseball, basketball or tennis courts.

If you enjoy sightseeing, you can visit on-site landmarks like the old railway or the mass grave of American soldiers lost in the War of 1812.

Being on the waterfront, the Eastern Promenade is also a popular spot for picnics, so there are always blankets spread on the grass and kids playing in the distance.

There are plenty of free things to do around Portland. You just have to find them.

The Eastern Promenade can be the first thing on your list, but leave some room for others as well!

Address:510 Eastern Promenade, Portland, ME 04101, USA

Exploring other parts of Maine? Why not check out some of the things to do in Bar Harbor?

11. The Maine Mall

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George Rudy / Shutterstock

The Maine Mall lives up to its name by being the largest shopping complex in the state.

In fact, it’s so gargantuan that it’s the second-largest in the whole of New England.

It boasts more than 100 stores while covering 1.1 million square feet of retail space.

You’ll definitely be able to stop until you drop at the Maine Mall.

From luxury stores to cheap kiosks, it has a little bit of everything.

A food court will keep you from going hungry as you burn off the calories by power-walking through the corridors.

Another great thing about the Maine Mall is that it hosts special events throughout the year.

Depending on the timing of your vacation, you might be able to catch a musical performance, book signing, holiday festival or food truck battle.

The Maine Mall is one of the best things to do in Portland when you have a little money to spare.

How often do you get the chance to buy shoes and eat bonbons at the biggest shopping complex in Maine?

Take advantage of the opportunity while you can!

Address:364 Maine Mall Rd, South Portland, ME 04106, USA

12. Palace Playland

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Palace Playland Amusement Park

Located a few miles south of Portland in a place called Old Orchard Beach, Palace Playland is known as “Maine’s only beachfront amusement park.”

Its rides directly overlook the water, so when you’re screaming on the roller coaster or relaxing on the Ferris wheel, you’ll be doing it with incredible ocean views!

There are other things to enjoy at Palace Playland as well.

It offers games, slides, carousels, bumper cars, kiddie pools and fun houses.

An arcade is filled with photobooths and skeeball lanes.

Your favorite concessions are sold at dozens of snack stalls.

If you’re looking for the best Portland attractions, consider Palace Playland.

You could whittle away entire weekends with all of its games and amusements, and you’ll never get another view like the one atop its gigantic rides!

Address:1 Old Orchard St, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064, USA

13. Standard Baking

To enjoy Portland like a local, you’ll need to know all of the local points of interest.

One of them is Standard Baking.

Found behind an unassuming shopfront, Standard Baking is one of the best bakeries in the city.

It offers everything from chewy fudge squares to soft cinnamon rolls dripping with icing.

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Everything is made fresh with the sunrise, and you can often smell the bakery from outside long before it opens its doors.

The only bad thing about Standard Bakery is that it’s considered a hot spot in Portland, so the lines can get long.

This is especially true in wintertime when its warm desserts and cocoas are in high demand.

Once you bite into the flaky layers of a bichon au citron, however, you’ll understand that Standard Baking is worth the wait.

It’s so good that we consider it one of our top 10 places to visit in Portland.

No other bakery gets this honor, but Standard Baking is just too delicious!

Address:75 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

14. Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Did you collect trains as a kid?

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum will be a little like your childhood dreams coming to life.

Located on a functioning narrow-gauge railway, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum offers an experience that’s both interesting and educationally engaging.

You’ll learn about the history of the railway, but you’ll have fun while you’re doing it.

You’ll be able to take a tour, climb aboard the cars, press controls in the caboose and even ride on the tracks for a three-mile journey down the waterfront.

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is a must-do in the Portland area.

Not only is it a fascinating attraction, but it’s specific to the railways of the city, so you can’t find anything like it anywhere else in Maine.

Address:58 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

15. Fort Gorges

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Rob Pauley / Shutterstock

Fort Gorges is an abandoned military fortress off the shores of Casco Bay.

It doesn’t offer tours, and it’s only accessible if you boat, canoe, kayak or hire a water taxi to get yourself there.

It’s recommended that you bring a flashlight if you want to explore the darker parts of the ruins.

There are no guarantees of safety if you reach a crumbling deck or overgrown bunker wall.

If this sounds like the perfect adventure for thrill seekers, you’re absolutely right!

Despite its fearsome reputation, Fort Gorges is a popular tourist attraction in Portland.

It’s such a cool and unique thing to do that it draws visitors like a moth to a flame.

It isn’t that scary, either.

On sunny days, it can even become a family-friendly place if the kids want to play or picnic on the grass outside of the fort.

Just make sure that you bring that flashlight if you really want to excavate something from the ruins.

Fort Gorges is an entirely self-guided attraction, and this can mean both good and bad things for Portland vacationers.

Address:Portland, ME 04101, USA

16. Munjoy Hill

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Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

Known to locals as “the Hill,” Munjoy Hill is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Portland.

It used to be a rougher, more working-class place, but it gentrified in the ’70s and ’80s, and today’s residents are young hipsters who bring vibrant energy to its bustling streets.

You’ll find all of the latest trends in Munjoy Hill.

If everyone is going crazy over a bubble tea, it originated from a Munjoy Hill cafe.

If everyone is eager to get a job at a new start-up, it’s housed in a Munjoy Hill loft.

Despite its reputation as an expensive place, there are free things to do in the neighborhood.

It runs along the waterfront, so you can enjoy great views from its parks and observation points.

It’s packed with businesses, so there are always special deals, events and giveaways.

You might not want to live around Munjoy Hill, but in terms of fun places to visit, it deserves to be on your vacation itinerary.

You should experience Munjoy Hill at least once while you’re in the city.

Address: Portland, ME 04101, USA

17. Crescent Beach State Park

Despite its proximity to the water, Portland isn’t really considered a “tropical” location.

Its beaches are usually too cold or too rocky to attract the bikini crowd.

That said, there are still a few places where you can go to enjoy sand and sun, and one of them is Crescent Beach State Park.

Crescent Beach State Park stretches for almost 250 acres across southern Maine.

It offers beaches, playgrounds, fields, groves and nature trails.

There are places to lay down a towel and work on your tan; there are places to swim, hike, fish, kayak, picnic or wade into tide pools and pick up starfish.

If you’re traveling there in the wintertime, there are even slopes where you can go skiing!

Crescent Beach State Park has a little something for everyone, so it’s definitely one of the best Portland attractions on the map.

If you’re looking for the most tropical vacation that you can have in Maine, Crescent Beach is the place to be.

Address:109 Bowery Beach Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA

18. Merrill Auditorium

If you like a show, you’ll love Merrill Auditorium.

It’s one of the most popular venues in Portland, and it hosts everything from concerts to theater productions within a vintage, turn-of-the-century building with a gigantic pipe organ as its centerpiece.

One of the most anticipated acts of the Merrill Auditorium is the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

There’s also the Portland Ballet and the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ.

During the holidays, the city’s famous Polar Express is co-organized by the auditorium.

You can even rent Merrill Auditorium for your own events.

For example, if you’re marrying or honeymooning in Portland, you might like the classically romantic architecture as a backdrop for your wedding portraits.

One thing is for sure: The Merrill Auditorium is the beating heart of the arts and culture scene in Portland.

If you want to enjoy any kind of show in the city, you’ll probably wind up here.

Address:20 Myrtle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

19. Deering Oaks

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edella / Shutterstock

Deering Oaks is a nice park in Portland.

There are fields, ponds, playgrounds and ball fields for visitors of all ages, and seasonal activities like ice-skating will keep you occupied at any time of year.

The best thing about Deering Oaks, however, is the fact that it’s a bustling venue for all kinds of Portland events.

Every time that you venture into the park, there’s something new going on.

There might be a farmer’s market on Thursday and a movie festival on Friday.

There might be guided nature walks at sunrise and bachata dance classes lighting up the lamp posts at night.

If you’re wondering what to see and do in Portland, you might appreciate the fun roster of activities at Deering Oaks.

The sheer range of them transforms Deering Oaks from a regular public park into one of the major points of interest of Portland.

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Address:Park Ave, Portland, ME 04101, USA

20. Portland Observatory

The Portland Observatory is a rare sight.

Not only is it a unique structure in Maine, but it’s also the last surviving tower of its kind in the entire United States.

Everything about it has become a relic of the past.

What is the Portland Observatory?

Simply put, it’s an old-fashioned signal tower.

It used both telescopes and flags to help ships reach the local wharf throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Today, the Portland Observatory has been converted into a maritime museum where visitors can learn about its history and heritage.

You can even climb to the top of its 86-foot tower and enjoy scenic views of the land, water and sky.

On clear days, you can see all of the way to Mount Washington!

Now that’s a sightseeing opportunity that you don’t want to miss!

Address:138 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

21. Bedrock Gardens

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Bedrock Gardens

If you love nature but get tired of the same dirt-and-rock nature trails that wind through every state park, you might like Bedrock Gardens.

It’s a horticultural sanctuary that emphasizes art just as much as nature, so it’s a fun destination for people who enjoy new experiences.

The landscape of the garden is beautiful.

There are flowers, trees and streams as far as the eye can see, and there are plenty of pavilions and pagodas if you want to take a break in the shade.

The best part of Bedrock, however, is its art.

In addition to the usual fountains and statues, there are also gates, groves, birdhouses and all kinds of homemade sculptures made from metal and fabric.

Everything is uniquely crafted and displayed, so you’ll feel like you’re looking at real art made by real people.

If you’re wondering what to do in Portland on a dull afternoon, you can add some serious interest to your day with a trip to Bedrock Gardens.

It offers a lot of cool things to see, catalogue and photograph, so it’s perfect for people who aren’t afraid to wander off the beaten path.

Address:19 High Rd, Lee, NH 03861, USA

22. Portland Museum of Art

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Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

This museum is part of the Portland Arts District, so if you’ve already marked off a weekend for exploring the bounds of West End, you can skip this part of the list.

If you’re pressed for time, however, or if you’re looking for the absolute best things to do in the arts district, the Portland Museum of Art should be your number one stop.

As the oldest art institution in Maine, the Portland Art Museum has been serving art and culture to the locals since 1882.

Rather than being housed in a single building, it’s actually comprised of three buildings that are joined together with a common purpose, and they boast more than 17,000 paintings and artifacts all together.

Art lovers, you won’t want to miss the Portland Museum of Art.

It’s the central hub of the whole Portland Arts District, and it’s one of the best things to do in all of Maine.

Don’t vacation in the state without stopping by its top attraction!

Address:7 Congress Square, Portland, ME 04101, USA

23. Old Port

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Albert Pego / Shutterstock

If you like the thought of strolling near the waterfront with a cold drink in hand and your flip-flops slapping against the cobblestones, check out the Old Port.

It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in Portland, and it’ll offer an entertaining day trip for visitors of all ages.

Activities at the Old Port range from exciting ferry rides to leisurely food tours.

You can eat, drink, shop or just people-watch along the harbor.

It’s the kind of place where street musicians always have their hats on the ground and crowds line up for hours at their favorite crab joints.

Maybe you’re looking for a nice hotel during your romantic honeymoon.

Maybe you just want something to do on a sunny day in Portland.

Whatever your reasons for checking out the Old Port, it can provide a good time that you’re looking for, so pack up your swimsuit and get moving!

Address: Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

24. Greenbelt Walkway

The Greenbelt Walkway is a five-mile trail that will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of Portland.

You can walk, jog, skate or bike it, and best of all, it won’t cost you a cent.

One of the coolest things about the Greenbelt Walkway is the fact that the landscape changes as you venture further and further down the trail.

You’ll be transported from grassy fields to swampy wetlands to sandy beaches, so your eyes will always be able to feast on new and breathtaking sights.

Another nice thing about the Greenbelt Walkway is that it offers different things to do along the way.

You can take a side trip to one of the parks or landmarks for further sightseeing, or you can venture into one of the many local shops, cafes and restaurants if you need a blast of air conditioning on a hot day.

The Greenbelt Walkway is one of the best free things to do in the city of Portland, so it’s worth a marker on your map.

Maine has lots of beautiful, natural destinations, and a place like the Greenbelt Walkway will let you see them all along a single trail.

Address: Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME, USA

25. Odyssey Whale Watch

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idreamphoto / Shutterstock

Maine has some of the best shores in the world for whale-watching, and Odyssey Whale Watch will let you get up close and personal with these majestic mammals.

The adventure starts when you board a small vessel known as the Odyssey.

It isn’t a luxury liner, but it’s comfortable, and its petite size will let its captain maneuver you closer to the whales.

While you’re waiting for them to appear, you can enjoy snacks, soft drinks or alcoholic cocktails.

You can gaze at the water as a romantic tryst or snap some commemorative photos with amazing waves as the background.

When the whales appear, the wait will be worth it.

You’ll be so close to them that you can count the water droplets on their backs!

Getting to observe these amazing animals in the wild is one of the top things to do in Portland, so don’t be afraid to call Odyssey Whale Watch and book a tour today.

Address:170 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA


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SPACE is an art and performance venue in Portland that delights in the unique.

Its specialty is experimental, contemporary art, so it’s always on the lookout for fun, fresh, colorful and offbeat things.

Do you like supporting local artists?

SPACE holds plenty of fundraisers, and they often intersect with films, lectures and gallery showings.

Do you enjoy going to classes and workshops where you can learn new things?

SPACE has plenty of events on its weekly calendar.

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Whether it’s a film festival for silent movies or a poetry slam in a hallway filled with hand-painted watercolors, there’s always something different going on at SPACE.

You should give it a try if you’re the kind of person who’s willing to live outside of the box.

Address:538 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

27. Bubba’s Sulky Lounge

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Bubba’s Sulky Lounge

Dust off your collar dresses and low-heel flats!

Bubba’s Sulky Lounge is here to take you back to the ’60s with its retro architecture and eclectic playlists.

There are many nightclubs in downtown Portland, but Bubba’s Sulky Lounge uses its vintage theme to stand apart from the rest.

Buzzing lights will flash in neon colors over your head, and a tiled rainbow floor will look like something straight out of the disco movies of yesteryear.

There are regular costume parties and other old-school throwbacks.

As for its drinks, you’ll be able to enjoy all kinds of special cocktails from both the past and the present.

There are also double dance floors, so when you get too sweaty on the first one, head to the second and keep the party going.

Bubba’s Sulky Lounge is one of the best destinations in downtown Portland, so if you’re looking for ways to cut loose on a lively evening, don’t hesitate to hit it up.

The tights are optional. The only requirement is to have a blast.

Address:92 Portland St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

28. Bug Light Park

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Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Despite the name, you won’t be disturbed by any bites or stings at Bug Light Park.

It gets the moniker from the short, squat lighthouse that overlooks its waterfront.

Maine is no stranger to lighthouses, so it takes something special for them to stand out, and that’s exactly what the quaint little “bug light” does.

Of course, the lighthouse isn’t the only attraction at Bug Light Park.

There are many places to see and explore.

The windy, grassy fields are great for kiting, and the piers are a local hot spot for saltwater fishing.

There’s also a liberty ship memorial on the far end of the park that houses the remnants of a WWII vessel.

You’ll enjoy Bug Light Park if you’re looking for a peaceful place to spend an easygoing afternoon.

Portland vacations don’t have to be jam-packed with tourist attractions to be exciting.

Sometimes, a little R&R is the most enjoyable part of a getaway.

Address:South Portland, ME 04106, USA

29. The Allagash Brewery

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Allagash Brewing Company

Famous for its Belgian-style beers, the Allagash Brewery can be considered one of the top tourist attractions in Portland.

You don’t even have to be a big drinker to enjoy it.

It has enough history to offer an engrossing look into the general brewing customs of New England.

For example, did you know that many of Portland’s beers were aged in oak barrels until modern machines came along?

The Allagash Brewery still uses wooden barrels for some of its specialty beers.

This is just one of the fascinating facts that you can learn with a tour of the brewery.

Of course, drinkers will probably enjoy the tour more than non-drinkers.

There’s nothing like free samples to give you a nice buzz!

No matter where your alcohol tolerance lies, however, you’re guaranteed to have a good time at the Allagash Brewery.

It’s a chance to see how your favorite craft beers are made while you sip on the fruits of the labor that you’re witnessing before you.

Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?

Address:50 Industrial Way, Portland, ME 04103, USA

30. Fore River Sanctuary

Home to Jewell Falls, the only natural waterfall in Portland, the Fore River Sanctuary is a great place to get away from it all.

Its most stunning feature is its rugged natural beauty.

The Fore River Sanctuary offers gorgeous landscapes that haven’t been touched or tempered by man.

You can really breathe there in a way that you might not be able to when you’re jostling elbows with every Tom, Dick and Harry in the city.

It’s so quiet at the sanctuary that you can hear every rush of water over the rocks and every note of the birds in the trees.

Another great thing about the Fore River Sanctuary is that it’s still accessible to visitors despite its natural landscapes.

It has modern conveniences like benches and bathrooms, and you can follow signs along the trails to keep yourself from getting lost.

You won’t have to act like a complete caveman while you’re there!

All things considered, however, the Fore River Sanctuary is one of the more rugged parks in Portland, so it should definitely top your list if you’re looking for authentic things to do in Maine.

Address:157-169 Rowe Ave, Portland, ME 04102, USA

31. Mackworth Island

32 Best & Fun Things To Do In Portland (Maine) (31)

A World of Beauty30 / Shutterstock

Mackworth Island is one of the many islands in the waters of Casco Bay.

However, it distinguishes itself from the rest by offering cool things to do that you can’t find on the other isles.

For example, there are a lot of legends about fairies on Mackworth Island.

It’s a heavily wooded area, so it’s easy to imagine tiny winged creatures darting among the trees and ravines.

There’s even a “Fairy Village” that lets you construct your own wood-and-metal fairy house and leave it for future visitors to find.

If you’re planning a trip to the city, Mackworth Island is worth the quick trip across the bridge.

It’s only a few miles from downtown Portland, so it isn’t like you have to go on a long voyage to get there, and you’ll get to partake in some fun and unusual hobbies while you’re visiting.

There are definitely worse ways to spend a weekend in Maine!

32. Len Libby Chocolates

32 Best & Fun Things To Do In Portland (Maine) (32)

Len Libby Chocolates

Have you ever seen a 1,700-pound chocolate moose?

Is that something that you’d like to cross off your bucket list?

Is that something that you’d like to add to your bucket list?

Len Libby Chocolates is a candy shop located a short drive from Portland.

Despite the name, it offers all kinds of sweet treats that aren’t derived from cacao beans; you can find taffy, truffles, twinkies, gummies, nuts and many other snacks.

There’s even an ice cream parlor if you’d like to add your sweets to the top of a hot fudge sundae.

The biggest attraction of the shop, however, is its life-sized chocolate moose.

His name is Lenny, and he’s one of those roadside attractions that you just have to see to believe.

Stop by Len Libby Chocolates if you’re ready to take some pictures that your friends and family will boggle at for years to come!

Address:419 US-1, Scarborough, ME 04074, USA

Start Planning Your Trip To Portland

These are just a few of the best things to do in the city of Portland.

It isn’t a coincidence that it’s one of the most highly-traveled and highly-regarded parts of Maine!

(Video) Hidden Camera Shows How Strangers Can Get Close To Unaccompanied Minors on Planes

If you’re ready to experience the magic for yourself, let these suggestions be your guide for a great trip to Portland.


What is Portland Maine most known for? ›

Situated on Maine's southern coast along Casco Bay, Portland is recognized as the center of economy, tourism, and growth in the region. The city has a rich history in industry, fishing, agriculture, and Americana - and you probably don't know the half of it!

How many days should I spend in Portland Maine? ›

3 days in Portland, Maine is the perfect amount of time. With lovely lighthouses, a booming food scene, and romantic streets to wander, you'll wonder why you haven't visited sooner…and you'll start to plan your next visit immediately!

Is Portland Maine worth visiting? ›

Portland has plenty of beaches and parks. In fact, walking through the historic downtown district and exploring the coast are some of the best ways to see the city. We saw a lot of people posing by cliffsides and collecting pebbles that washed ashore, undeterred by the frigid temperatures.

Where should I stop between Bar Harbor and Portland? ›

The top stops along the way from Bar Harbor to Portland (with short detours) are Mt Desert Island, Portland Head Light, and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Other popular stops include Old Port, Freeport Outlets, and Paul Bunyan Statue.

What is the best time of year to visit Portland Maine? ›

The best time to visit Portland is from June to August. Although summer is peak tourist season, the season's cool temperatures – with highs seldom climbing above 80 degrees – are hard to beat.

What is the best month to go to Maine? ›

In the first half of the season, September to early October, Maine still has many characteristics from the summer before the weather transitions. It's a popular alternative time to visit with fewer crowds, yet still, have the ideal weather to do many of the same activities.

Is Portland Maine a walkable city? ›

Portland has minimal public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. The most walkable Portland neighborhoods are East Bayside - India Street, West Bayside and Downtown.
Portland Neighborhoods.
Walk Score93
Transit Score-
Bike Score84
16 more columns

Can you do a day trip to Acadia National Park from Portland Maine? ›

The drive from Portland, Maine to Acadia National Park is a little over three hours if you drive straight through on the highway—but you'll cruise right past some of Maine's best art, culture, and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Why do people visit Portland Maine? ›

Explore Maine's maritime history, lighthouses and forts on the coast. Portland's beauty is encapsulated by the mingling of preserved 19th and 20th architecture and modern marvels keeping our culture cutting-edge. The blending of past and present make up the heart of our unique downtown.

Do you need a car in Portland ME? ›

Portland is a very walkable city, with a compact downtown that is 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. You can get here by air, train, or bus.

Is Bar Harbor Maine worth visiting? ›

Bar Harbor is a beautiful town located on Maine's Mount Desert Island next to Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor is one of the favorite tourist destinations on the East Coast, offering historic charm, a beautiful coastline, great restaurants, and a range of activities.

Is there a ferry from Portland to Bar Harbor? ›

Ferry Transportation Service in Maine

International ferries provide service to Canada from ports in Bar Harbor, Eastport and Portland.

What town is closest to Acadia National Park? ›

Bar Harbor, Maine, is the closest town to Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island.

Can you get around Bar Harbor without a car? ›

By Car: You don't necessarily need a car once you're on the island, as the main area of Bar Harbor is walkable and there is a free shuttle that circles through Acadia. But driving to Bar Harbor is an easy way to get there.

What is off season Portland Maine? ›

The spring (March through May) is the cheapest season to visit Portland, and you'll be rewarded with moderately cool temperatures (highs in the mid to upper 60s and lows in the high 20s). Expect a lot of rain, though, as this is one of the rainiest seasons, behind fall.

How cold does it get in Portland Maine? ›

The cold season lasts for 3.3 months, from December 4 to March 14, with an average daily high temperature below 41°F. The coldest month of the year in Portland is January, with an average low of 17°F and high of 32°F.

Where does Southwest fly into Maine? ›

Southwest Airlines flies to Portland, Maine, often, which makes it easy to plan your next New England visit. Of course, having a memorable trip is about more than finding a cheap flight to your final destination. Learn more about the Southwest® Experience and book your upcoming flight to Portland International Jetport.

Is lobster cheaper in Maine? ›

Lobsters are generally inexpensive in Maine. Lobsters over two pounds, while admittedly tempting, can sometimes be tough and less tasty.

What dessert is Maine known for? ›

In 2011, the Maine State Legislature designated the whoopie pie as Maine's official state treat. This confection traditionally consists of two chocolate cake-like rounds surrounding a white cream filling. The popular treat is reported to have been baked in Maine since 1925.

What snack is Maine known for? ›

To this day Humpty Dumpty Chips are considered a Maine staple and childhood favorite to so many scattered abroad. Humpty Dumpty BBQ Chips are easily considered the best choice as they pack a bold HD flavor and are a go-to salty snack found in nearly every convenience and grocery store in Maine.

What time of year can you see the northern lights in Maine? ›

The long period from December to February is the best time to see the northern lights in Maine. Longer days and shorter nights in the spring make viewing aurora borealis more challenging but still possible.

How can I spend 5 days in Maine? ›

Your Ultimate 5-Day Maine Coast Itinerary
  1. Day 1: Craft Cocktails and Authentic Maine Cuisine. ...
  2. Day 2: Get to Know Midcoast Maine's Most Magnificent Residents. ...
  3. Day 3: Indulge in an Authentic Clambake. ...
  4. Day 4: Soak up the Maine Sunshine on an Outdoor Adventure. ...
  5. Stay Near It All at Grey Havens Inn.

When can you see whales in Maine? ›

The best time for Maine whale watching begins in mid to late May when hungry whales arrive to feast in local waters rich in sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish. In October, they'll head south toward warmer seas.

Where should I stay in Portland? ›

For most visitors, the best areas to stay in Portland radiate from the downtown core, west of the Willamette River.
The best areas to stay in Portland include:
  • Downtown Portland.
  • Old Town/Chinatown.
  • Pearl District.
  • Central Eastside.
  • Nob Hill & Northwest Portland.
  • Lloyd District.
23 Oct 2022

How expensive is Portland Maine? ›

Portland's housing expenses are 37% higher than the national average and the utility prices are 2% higher than the national average. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 4% higher than the national average. Portland has grocery prices that are 2% higher than the national average.

How long does it take to drive the Acadia loop? ›

To drive through Acadia National Park on the 27 mile Park Loop Road, we recommend allowing yourself a minimum of about 3 hours. Depending on how much you want to stop and look around, that time may vary.

What should I do first in Acadia? ›

10 Things Not To Miss on Your First Visit to Acadia National Park
  1. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. ...
  2. Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. ...
  3. Beehive Trail. ...
  4. Afternoon at Sand Beach (& a Drive Around Park Loop Road) ...
  5. Eat Lobster! ...
  6. Jordan Pond House Popovers and 3-mile Loop. ...
  7. Beech Cliffs Trail. ...
  8. Explore Downtown Bar Harbor.

Is there a train from Portland to Bar Harbor? ›

From Portland, you can take either the bus or train options, listed below, to get to Bar Harbor.

What is unique about Portland Maine? ›

One of the most iconic sights in Portland is the Portland Head Light. Originally built in 1791, it's a fully-functioning lighthouse that overlooks the Gulf of Maine, and it's been helping sailors, soldiers and settlers reach New England since the days of yore. You can't miss the Portland Head Light.

Is Portland Maine a walkable city? ›

Portland has minimal public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. The most walkable Portland neighborhoods are East Bayside - India Street, West Bayside and Downtown.
Portland Neighborhoods.
Walk Score93
Transit Score-
Bike Score84
16 more columns

Is Portland Maine a good place to live? ›

A: Portland, Maine, is one of the top 10 places to live in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2021 ranking. Brimming with coastal scenery, city living, and small-town charm, the northeastern port has something for everyone.

How many times has Portland burned down? ›

It was a speedy outcome few could have imagined as the sun rose on July 5, revealing a city in ruins. “The city has been destroyed four times in its history,” said Shettleworth – twice during the French and Indian War and once by a bombardment by fleet of British Naval vessels in 1775.

How long is the ferry from Portland to Peaks island? ›

Fourteen daily departures (17 minutes one way) from Portland make Peaks an ideal, family friendly destination.

Where should I stay in Portland? ›

For most visitors, the best areas to stay in Portland radiate from the downtown core, west of the Willamette River.
The best areas to stay in Portland include:
  • Downtown Portland.
  • Old Town/Chinatown.
  • Pearl District.
  • Central Eastside.
  • Nob Hill & Northwest Portland.
  • Lloyd District.
23 Oct 2022

Can you do a day trip to Acadia National Park from Portland Maine? ›

The drive from Portland, Maine to Acadia National Park is a little over three hours if you drive straight through on the highway—but you'll cruise right past some of Maine's best art, culture, and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Can you get around Portland me without a car? ›

Portland is easily accessible from I-295, and offers various modes of transportation including bus, taxi, train and ferry services. It is also a 10-minute ride from the Portland Jetport (PWM). The city is perfect for walking to enjoy the historic buildings, water views and working waterfront.

How expensive is Portland Maine? ›

Portland's housing expenses are 37% higher than the national average and the utility prices are 2% higher than the national average. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 4% higher than the national average. Portland has grocery prices that are 2% higher than the national average.

Why are so many people moving to Portland Maine? ›

Families in the market for a place to live in Portland are particularly looking for safety, education, single-family homes, and outdoor life — and West End is one neighborhood that delivers all of that. It has lots of open space, parks, public schools, and beautiful homes.

What are people in Maine like? ›

Maine's residents might be called “Maineiacs,” but there's nothing maniacal about them. Maine is home to some of the friendliest people in the US. They are kind neighbors, hard-working longshoremen, humble shopkeepers, and talented chefs.

What are winters like in Portland Maine? ›

Portland's winter weather typically makes a grand entrance around mid-November and lingers until mid-March (sometimes early April). The temperatures tend to range between 40 – 60 degrees, chilly enough for a cozy fall sweater and good insulated jacket.

Why did Portland Maine burn down? ›

Portland's Great Fire of 1866

The fire began on the afternoon of July 4th, 1866 as Portlanders celebrated Independence Day. Accidentally ignited, the fire was likely started by a firecracker or a cigar.

Why is Portland Maine called Portland? ›

Portland was named for the English Isle of Portland, and the city of Portland, Oregon, was in turn named for Portland, Maine. The first European settler was Capt. Christopher Levett, an English naval captain granted 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) in 1623 to found a settlement in Casco Bay.

When was the big fire in Portland Maine? ›

In 1866, the Great Fire of Portland was the most devastating blaze ever to strike an American city. Andrew Vietze revisits the harrowing night that left half of Portland in ashes.


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