29 Best Places and Things To Do in Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine, often referred to as the “foodie paradise” or the “city of lobster,” is a vibrant coastal city that offers a unique blend of historical charm, stunning natural beauty, and a thriving culinary scene. From picturesque waterfront views to bustling local markets.

1. Old Port District

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Begin your exploration in the heart of Portland at the Old Port District. This historic area is renowned for its cobblestone streets, brick buildings, and charming boutiques. Stroll along Commercial Street, browse the local shops, and enjoy the eclectic mix of art galleries, craft breweries, and quaint coffee shops.

2. Portland Museum of Art

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Art enthusiasts should not miss the Portland Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of American, European, and contemporary art. From classic masterpieces to thought-provoking contemporary exhibits, the museum offers a diverse range of artistic experiences. Be sure to check out the Winslow Homer Studio, located on the museum’s campus, showcasing the works of the renowned American artist.

3. Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

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Located on the waterfront, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Maine’s railroad history. Take a ride on one of their vintage narrow-gauge trains and admire the scenic views along the waterfront. Explore the museum’s exhibits, which showcase historic locomotives, artifacts, and interactive displays.

4. Portland Observatory Museum

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Delve deeper into Portland’s maritime history at the Portland Observatory Museum. This National Historic Landmark is the only remaining historic maritime signal tower in the United States. Climb to the top for panoramic views and learn about its significance in guiding ships into the harbor. The museum offers exhibits that provide insights into the lives of the tower’s operators and the city’s maritime heritage.

5. Wadsworth-Longfellow House

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Visit the childhood home of renowned poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which has been preserved as a museum. Explore the beautifully restored Georgian mansion, filled with period furnishings and personal artifacts. Gain a deeper understanding of Longfellow’s life and his contributions to American literature.

6. Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine

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If you’re traveling with children, the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is a must-visit destination. This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits and educational programs designed to spark creativity, curiosity, and learning in young minds. From the pretend cityscape of “Our Town” to the interactive science exhibits, there’s something for children of all ages to enjoy.

7. Eastern Promenade Trail

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The Eastern Promenade Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Portland, Maine. This scenic trail offers a picturesque route along the Eastern Promenade Park, providing stunning views of Casco Bay, the Portland skyline, and the surrounding natural landscapes. The trail stretches approximately 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers) along the waterfront, offering a mix of paved paths and well-maintained gravel trails. It begins near the Old Port District and extends to the East End Beach, providing plenty of opportunities to take in the beauty of the coast.

8. Victoria Mansion

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The Victoria Mansion, also known as the Morse-Libby House, is a magnificent historic landmark located in Portland, Maine. This meticulously preserved Italianate mansion offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the 19th century and showcases the architectural and design aesthetics of the period. Step through the doors of the Victoria Mansion and prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of its architecture.

9. DiMillo’s Old Port Marina

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DiMillo’s Old Port Marina is a renowned marina and dining destination located in the heart of Portland, Maine’s Old Port district. Situated on a floating barge in Portland Harbor, DiMillo’s offers a unique and memorable experience for boaters, locals, and visitors alike. Here’s what you can expect when you visit DiMillo’s Old Port Marina. The marina’s prime location on the waterfront provides stunning views of Portland Harbor and the surrounding islands. Whether you arrive by boat or on foot, you’ll be greeted by picturesque scenes of sailboats, working fishing vessels, and the bustling waterfront activity.

10. Tate House Museum

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The Tate House Museum is a historic house museum located in Portland, Maine. Built in 1755, it is one of the finest examples of pre-Revolutionary War architecture in New England. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the Tate House Museum: The Tate House Museum holds great historical significance as it was the residence of Captain George Tate and his family. Captain Tate was a British naval officer and a wealthy merchant who played a prominent role in colonial Maine.

11. Maine Jewish Museum

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The Maine Jewish Museum is a cultural institution located in Portland, Maine, dedicated to preserving and promoting Jewish art, history, and culture. Housed in a historic former synagogue, the museum offers a unique and insightful experience for visitors. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the Maine Jewish Museum: The museum is situated in the former Etz Chaim Synagogue, which was built in 1921. The building itself is an architectural gem, featuring stunning stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and a beautiful sanctuary.

12. Back Cove Trail

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The Back Cove Trail is a scenic recreational trail located in Portland, Maine, offering a picturesque escape from the urban landscape. Encircling Back Cove, a tidal basin, the trail provides stunning views of the water, skyline, and surrounding natural beauty. Here’s what you can expect when exploring the Back Cove Trail. The trail takes you through a beautiful natural environment, offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling city. As you walk, run, or bike along the trail, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the cove, salt marshes, and the changing tides.

13. Eastern Cemetery

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The Eastern Cemetery is a historic burial ground located in Portland, Maine. Established in 1668, it is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city and holds great historical and cultural significance. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the Eastern Cemetery: The Eastern Cemetery is a fascinating place to explore for those interested in local history. Many notable figures from Portland’s past are buried here, including prominent citizens, veterans, and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

14. Fort Gorges

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Fort Gorges was constructed between 1858 and 1864 as part of a network of forts designed to protect the city of Portland and its harbor during the Civil War. However, the fort never saw combat and remained largely inactive after its completion. Today, it stands as a testament to the military strategies and challenges of the era.

15. International Cryptozoology Museum

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The International Cryptozoology Museum is a unique and captivating museum located in Portland, Maine. Founded by Loren Coleman in 2003, it is dedicated to the exploration and study of cryptids, which are creatures that have not been proven to exist by mainstream science. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the International Cryptozoology Museum: The museum houses a diverse collection of exhibits related to various cryptids from around the world. From famous creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster to lesser-known beings like the Mongolian Death Worm and the Chupacabra, you’ll find displays featuring information, artifacts, and artwork related to these

16. Bissell Brothers

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Bissell Brothers is a renowned craft brewery located in Portland, Maine, known for producing exceptional and innovative beers. Founded by brothers Peter and Noah Bissell in 2013, the brewery has quickly gained a reputation for its quality brews and dedication to pushing the boundaries of flavor. Here’s what you can expect when visiting Bissell Brothers: Bissell Brothers offers a wide range of craft beers that cater to different tastes and preferences. From hop-forward India Pale Ales (IPAs) to refreshing pale ales and stouts, their beer selection is diverse and consistently well-crafted.

17. Deering Oaks Park

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Deering Oaks Park is a picturesque urban park located in the heart of Portland, Maine. Spanning over 50 acres, the park offers a beautiful natural escape from the bustling city streets. Deering Oaks Park is characterized by its lush green spaces, large open fields, and towering trees. It’s an ideal spot for picnicking, playing frisbee, or simply relaxing on the grass. The park’s serene atmosphere and scenic views create a peaceful oasis in the midst of the city.

18. Diamond Cove

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Diamond Cove is a charming island community located just off the coast of Portland, Maine, in Casco Bay. Accessible by ferry, Diamond Cove offers a tranquil and scenic getaway from the mainland. Diamond Cove is known for its serene and picturesque surroundings. The island features beautiful sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, and lush greenery, providing a peaceful and idyllic atmosphere. The absence of cars on the island adds to its tranquility, making it a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

19. Ram Island Ledge Light

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Ram Island Ledge Light has a rich history that dates back to 1905 when it was first commissioned. The lighthouse was constructed to help mariners navigate the treacherous waters around the rocky ledge, which posed a significant hazard to ships. Over the years, it has served as a critical aid to navigation, ensuring the safety of vessels traveling along the Maine coastline.

20. United States Custom House

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The United States Custom House in Portland, Maine is a historic building that has played a significant role in the city’s history and commerce. Here’s what you should know about the United States Custom House: The United States Custom House is an architectural gem that showcases the grandeur and elegance of the Beaux-Arts style. Designed by architect Ammi B. Young and completed in 1872, the building features a symmetrical facade, elaborate ornamentation, and a prominent clock tower. Its impressive exterior is made of granite, while the interior boasts high ceilings, ornate moldings, and beautiful detailing.

21. John Ford Statue

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The John Ford Statue is a notable landmark located in Portland, Maine. It is a tribute to the renowned American film director, John Ford, who was born in Cape Elizabeth, a suburb of Portland. Here’s what you should know about the John Ford Statue: The statue serves as a memorial to John Ford’s significant contributions to the film industry. John Ford, born John Martin Feeney in 1894, directed over 140 films during his career and is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors in the history of American cinema. He received numerous accolades, including four Academy Awards for Best Director.

22. Western Promenade Park

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Western Promenade Park is a beautiful public park located in Portland, Maine. Situated on a hill overlooking the city and the Fore River, it offers stunning panoramic views, recreational activities, and a peaceful atmosphere. Western Promenade Park is known for its breathtaking views of the city skyline, Casco Bay, and the surrounding landscapes. From the park’s elevated position, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas and picturesque sunsets. It’s an ideal spot to capture memorable photographs or simply appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

23. Portland Fire Museum

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The Portland Fire Museum, located in Portland, Maine, is a fascinating museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of firefighting in the city. Here’s what you should know about the Portland Fire Museum: The Portland Fire Museum is housed in a historic fire station building, originally constructed in 1869. The building itself is an important part of the city’s firefighting heritage and adds to the overall charm and authenticity of the museum.

24. Post Office Park

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Post Office Park is a charming urban park located in the heart of downtown Portland, Maine. Situated adjacent to the historic Portland Post Office building, the park offers a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city center. Here’s what you can expect when visiting Post Office Park: Post Office Park is centrally located on Middle Street, making it easily accessible to both residents and visitors. Its proximity to other downtown attractions, shops, and restaurants makes it a convenient spot to relax and take a break from exploring the city.

25. McLellan-Sweat House

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The McLellan-Sweat House, also known as the McLellan-Sweat Mansion, is a historic house located in Portland, Maine. The McLellan-Sweat House was constructed in 1801 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Portland. It was built for Major Hugh McLellan, a prominent shipbuilder and merchant, and later purchased by Reverend John Sweat. The house has witnessed over two centuries of history and has undergone various renovations and restorations to preserve its architectural integrity.

26. UNE Art Gallery

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The State Street Church, also known as the First Parish Church, is a historic church located in Portland, Maine. The State Street Church has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1825. It was originally organized as the Third Parish of Portland and later became known as the State Street Church. Over the years, it has played a prominent role in the religious and cultural life of the city.

27. Charles Q. Clapp House

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The Charles Q. Clapp House, also known as the Clapp-Loring House, was built in 1852 for Charles Q. Clapp, a prominent businessman and politician in Portland. The house was designed in the Italianate style, which was popular during the mid-19th century.

28. Mayor Baxter Woods Park

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Mayor Baxter Woods Park is a scenic public park located in Portland, Maine. Mayor Baxter Woods Park is named in honor of James Phinney Baxter, who served as the mayor of Portland in the late 19th century. The park was established in 1904 and has since been a beloved outdoor destination for residents and visitors alike.

29. St. Paul’s Anglican Church

St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Congress Street in Portland, Maine - Encircle Photos

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St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Portland is a historic church located in Portland, Ontario, Canada. The church is part of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario and has been serving the community for many years. It is known for its beautiful architecture and spiritual significance to the local residents.

These are just a few highlights of what Portland, Maine, has to offer. The city’s vibrant arts scene, outdoor activities, and culinary delights make it a fantastic destination for visitors. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets, enjoying the coastal landscapes, or savoring the local cuisine, Portland offers a memorable experience.