Searching for a weekend getaway? Plan a weekend in Portland Maine with this information to the perfect accommodations, eating places, and issues to do in our favourite New England coastal city.
We fell in love with Portland, Maine a few years in the past when our daughter began going to sleep away camp in Maine and we might spend a minimum of two weekends a summer time in Portland. Over time, now we have seen the town increase with new accommodations, eating places, and retailers, and Portland simply retains getting higher.
Not a hidden gem, Portland is a well-liked weekend getaway from Boston and a typical cease on a Maine coast highway journey. The cobblestone streets of the Outdated Port are lined with boutiques and retailers that includes New England manufacturers like Maine Sea Luggage and Simon Pearce glassware.
Recognized for its sturdy meals scene, Portland is usually considered for lobster and New England seafood, however the metropolis has a thriving farm-to-table tradition and quite a lot of worldwide cuisines. Town has been acknowledged as a foodie vacation spot, named “Restaurant Metropolis of the Yr,” in 2018 by Bon Appetit journal, and the seventh greatest foodie vacation spot in america by Yelp in 2020, primarily based on person opinions and scores.
Moreover, lots of the metropolis’s eating places and cooks have been acknowledged by the James Beard Basis, with a number of nominations and awards together with Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley of Eventide Oyster Co., who gained the award for Greatest Chef: Northeast in 2017.
This seaport city can also be in style with beer lovers, as Maine is understood for its craft beer scene with Portland as its hub. Portland has over 20 breweries and taprooms within the metropolis, with many in style breweries close by. When you’ve got gotten the concept a weekend in Portland Maine is all about consuming, ingesting, and purchasing, you aren’t far off. However don’t fear, there are additionally loads of issues for teenagers to get pleasure from if you wish to make it a household weekend (now we have finished each — many occasions over.)
Attending to Portland Maine
Attending to Portland, Maine is comparatively simple, with a number of transportation choices obtainable. Many individuals go to on a Maine highway journey, however you may as well fly or take the prepare. Town’s fundamental airport is the Portland Worldwide Jetport (PWM), which is situated only a few miles from downtown Portland. PWM presents direct flights to many main cities within the US, together with New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and Atlanta, amongst others.
In case you are flying internationally, you’ll be able to join via Boston Logan Worldwide Airport, which is situated about 100 miles south of Portland. Driving to Portland from Boston takes about two hours. Another choice for attending to Portland is to take the Amtrak Downeaster prepare, which runs each day between Boston and Portland and takes about two hours.
When is the Greatest Time to Go to Portland Maine?
For my part, the perfect time to go to Portland is through the summer time, from mid June via early September, when the climate is heat and you’ll extra simply benefit from the open air. Nevertheless, the lodge charges throughout this time could be sky excessive (e.g. $1000 an evening for a sequence lodge!) Belief me, these charges have pressured me to contemplate going to Portsmouth, New Hampshire or heading as much as Boothbay Harbor as an alternative.
Alternatively, fall is a perfect time to go to Portland. The lodge charges will likely be slightly cheaper, the climate continues to be nice, and you might even get to see some stunning fall foliage when you time it proper. In fact, Portland is a vibrant metropolis yr spherical, with annual festivals such because the Harvest on the Harbor in October.
The place to Keep in Portland Maine
Word: This submit could include affiliate hyperlinks. In case you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I’ll obtain a small fee. All opinions are my very own.
Since now we have been to Portland dozens of occasions, now we have stayed in so lots of the accommodations each within the Outdated Port and off the freeway. In case you are wanting to save cash, staying outdoors of the downtown goes to assist, however you’ll have to cope with driving into city and discovering (and often paying for) parking. I positively favor being within the Outdated Port district as a result of every thing is so walkable, when you can swing the worth tag.
We now have stayed within the AC Resort, Courtyard Marriott Downtown/Waterfront, the Hilton Backyard Inn, Hampton Inn, and the Westin Portland Harborview, plus different accommodations outdoors of city. Since lots of the chain accommodations are new, they’ve a contemporary design and are very well finished. The Courtyard has been a stunning favourite and the one one we didn’t actually like was the Westin, as a result of it was farther from the center of the Outdated Port and it felt a bit drained.
Nevertheless, in case you are on the lookout for one thing completely different, particularly for a romantic getaway, then I’d go along with The Press Resort. One of many Autograph Assortment accommodations by Marriott, this has the texture of a boutique metropolis lodge and a historic lodge rolled into one cool house. The constructing as soon as housed the Portland Press Herald, the state’s largest newspaper, which operated there till 2010.
The lodge actually takes on that mantle and carries that design inspiration all through the lodge. Within the foyer, you need to use quaint typewriters to write down a letter and they’re going to even submit it for you. I really like the click-clack sound within the foyer and the frequent chorus of “the place is the exclamation level?” Additionally, you will discover outdated kind writers affixed to the partitions, newsprint lining the lodge hallways, and what seem like scattered kind strewn throughout the carpet design.
Contained in the rooms, you pause and surprise what was once in that house with its odds shapes and angles. Our room had a big vestibule and a brief hallway to a small however properly designed room with a king mattress and nook workplace views. I used to be stunned by the massive rest room and loved the fashionable fixtures, massive bathe and upscale facilities.
The situation of the Press Resort is only a few blocks from the waterfront Business Avenue and proper within the coronary heart of the Outdated Port. However, if you wish to keep in, the foyer bar is a snug hangout and the Union Restaurant deserves excessive marks, even within the aggressive Portland meals scene.
In fact, there are all the time new accommodations popping up and the one which I’m anticipated opening is The Longfellow Resort.
Word: I acquired a media price at The Press Resort and complimentary admission to the Portland Science Museum. All opinions are my very own.
What to do on a Weekend in Portland Maine
Portland Head Gentle
The primary place that I take each one that goes to Maine with me is Portland Head Gentle. Not solely do I believe it is without doubt one of the most scenic lighthouses within the U.S., however I additionally love scrambling across the rocks and strolling alongside the cliffs in Fort Williams Park.
The lighthouse is situated in Cape Elizabeth, simply south of Portland. It was first commissioned by George Washington in 1787 and has performed an essential position in maritime historical past. Standing 80 ft tall, its mild could be seen as much as 24 nautical miles away.
You may tour the keeper’s home and the small museum there, however my favourite factor is to discover the strolling trails alongside the rocky shoreline, climbing down onto the rocks throughout low tide. You may convey a picnic and make the most of the assorted picnic websites within the park, however I favor to get a lobster roll from the Chunk into Maine meals truck that often units up store within the park (attempt the wasabi lobster roll!)
A number of issues to learn about visiting Portland Head Gentle. First, it’s a very fashionable spot so the car parking zone can get very crowded throughout busy occasions and also you do have to pay at a meter to park. There aren’t any restrooms however there are some port-a-potties. Cell service may be very spotty on the park so it helps to have your instructions offline and depend on spending time being current within the second as an alternative of in your cellphone!
In case you do climb down onto the rocks, it may be a bit steep and onerous for younger youngsters. As soon as you’re on the rocks, you want a sturdy, non-slip shoe to stroll throughout the wobbly, uneven rocks. Additionally, don’t go too near the place the tide is coming in since you don’t need to be caught unaware by a wave, falling could possibly be very harmful.
While you’re in Cape Elizabeth, you might need to additionally try Two Lights Lighthouse and State Park, which is just one other quarter-hour to the south. Close by, you may as well discover The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, which is extra of a correct restaurant with restrooms, indoor eating, and picnic tables overlooking their stunning view (which, sadly, are additionally liked by the bees!)
Whereas my favourite pastime in Portland is to eat…we additionally prefer to drink and Maine has a taking place beer scene. You may go to Shipyard in downtown Portland, hop on the Maine Beer Excursions‘ Maine Brew Bus or a brand new Maine Brew Cruise, do some bar hopping, or go to one of many native breweries.
On every journey we attempt one thing new, however one in all my private favorites is Allagash Brewing Firm. Allagash is a Belgian-style beer that you would be able to generally discover all through New England and different elements of the U.S. Prior to now, Allagash supplied free excursions, however now it seems to be like they simply have the tasting room or an immersive 1.5 hour Cellars tasting expertise.
Oxbow Mixing & Bottling Firm additionally has an outpost within the hip and taking place East Finish neighborhood and shares a courtyard with the Duckfat Frites Shack, which has a shorter line than the unique location within the Outdated Port. The house can also be house to Gallery 49 which hosts our rotating artwork exhibitions, and it’s a brief stroll to Fort Sumner Park and the Japanese Promenade for a stroll alongside the water with views of Casco Bay.
Oxbow is generally identified for its pale ales and farmhouse ales, however like most craft breweries, they’ve a big collection of varied beers to attempt. In case you take slightly drive as much as Freeport, you may as well go to one in all my husband’s favorites, Maine Beer Firm. He’s a enjoyable of its IPAs and Pale Ales, similar to Lunch and Peeper.
Procuring in Outdated Port
The primary place individuals head to in Portland itself is the Outdated Port neighborhood, which faces the waterfront with energetic wharfs the place ferry and fishing boats depart. It’s identified for its cobblestone streets, historic structure, and bustling waterfront. This neighborhood can also be house to a few of Portland’s greatest eating places, bars, and retailers, lots of that are housed in superbly preserved brick buildings relationship again to the nineteenth century.
Fore Avenue, Change Avenue, and Business Avenue are a few of the fundamental purchasing streets within the space, the place you will discover quite a lot of boutiques, galleries, and specialty retailers. I really like popping into the Maine Seabags flagship retailer to see the newest kinds, purchasing for energetic put on at Nomads, and window purchasing on the boutiques.
Among the in style retailers embody Maine Potters Market, which options handmade pottery from over 50 artists in Maine, The Portland Buying and selling Co., Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine retailer, which sells domestically made items and souvenirs, and the Stonewall Kitchen flagship retailer, which presents a big selection of connoisseur meals merchandise.
While you’re strolling round Outdated Port, you’ll want to get a snack and I’m so pleased to see that Holy Donut has returned to Outdated Port on Business Avenue. Their potato-flour donuts are the bomb and I drool over the chocolate sea salt. You can too get ice cream at Beal’s or Mount Desert Ice Cream (attempt the blueberry taste in fact!)
Be sure to stroll alongside the wharfs and try the piles of lobster traps, watch the fishing boats are available in and unload, and attempt to spot the chunks of the Berlin Wall when you like quirky sights.
Portland Museum of Artwork
In case you are an artwork lover, or want one thing to do inside, cease into the Portland Museum of Artwork. Portland isn’t an artwork city the best way that Rockland is, however it does have a thriving Arts District. The Portland Museum of Artwork was based in 1882 and has a set of over 18,000 artistic endeavors, starting from up to date items to European masterpieces.
Among the highlights of the gathering embody works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Claude Monet. The museum additionally options quite a lot of particular exhibitions all year long, showcasing works from each native and worldwide artists.
Take a Ferry Round Casco Bay Islands
Portland is situated on Casco Bay, which covers an space of about 200 sq. miles and is house to over 200 islands, lots of that are uninhabited. The islands of Casco Bay have performed an essential position within the historical past of the area, serving as fishing and buying and selling outposts for lots of of years. Among the main islands within the bay embody Peaks Island, Little Diamond Island, and Nice Diamond Island.
When you’re visiting Portland, a enjoyable solution to discover is to get out on the water and perhaps even get to discover a few of the islands and the remnants of outdated navy forts that also exist. A few years in the past I stayed on Nice Diamond Island and a few guests to Portland even got here out to the island by way of boat to have dinner on the island.
There are numerous methods to discover together with narrated cruises, fishing charters, lobster boat excursions (extra on that later), Maine Duck Excursions, and eco-tours that provide an opportunity to see the native wildlife up shut. The Casco Bay Traces ferry service additionally presents a handy solution to go to a few of the islands within the bay, with common service to Peaks Island, Little Diamond Island, and different in style locations, together with the Mail Boat Run that drops off mail and packages on the varied islands.
Day Journey to Freeport
One other in style day journey from Portland is to move 20 minutes to the north to Freeport, Maine, house of L.L. Bean. Along with the L.L. Bean flagship and outlet shops, many different manufacturers, particularly out of doors manufacturers, have shops in Freeport.
I’ve struggled to discover a restaurant that I really like in Freeport (though Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster out on the coast close by is nice – however convey money!), however you’ll be able to simply spend a day purchasing and exploring city, particularly when you make a cease at Maine Beer Firm (see above.)
Issues to do in Portland Maine with Youngsters
As I discussed, Portland isn’t just for grown ups. For a minimum of half of our journeys to Portland, have been with our daughter. Listed below are some enjoyable issues to do in Portland Maine with youngsters.
Lobster Boat Tour
We now have truly by no means finished this in Portland, though now we have in Boston, however my good friend Mary has gone along with her youngsters and he or she liked it. Fortunate Catch Cruises takes you out for a 90-minute cruise to be taught all about lobstering and what it’s prefer to be a lobsterman. You additionally get to cruise previous picturesque lighthouses like Bug Gentle, historic civil conflict forts, and the “Seal Rocks”, the place you might get fortunate to spy some seals.
These excursions are interactive and company are given gear and put to work loading traps and measuring the catch. In case you catch some lobsters, you should purchase them on the wholesale “boat worth” after which convey them to Portland Lobster Firm, who will prepare dinner them for you.
Youngsters’s Museum & Theater of Maine
The Youngsters’s Museum and Theater of Maine, situated in a lovely new constructing on Thompson’s Level, is a superb spot for youthful kids. It’s open 5 days per week, along with scheduled theater performances. It options hands-on, interactive reveals which were designed to create experiential studying and enjoyable on the similar time.
The constructing options over 30,000 sq. ft of reveals spanning three flooring and the Out of doors Journey space. These areas mirror Maine’s distinctive character and encourage exploration throughout a broad vary of topics.
Baseball or Hockey Recreation
For sports activities followers visiting Portland, Maine, there are two minor league groups price trying out – the Portland Sea Canines baseball crew and the Maine Mariners hockey crew. The Portland Sea Canines are a Double-A affiliate of the Boston Pink Sox and play their house video games at Hadlock Area, which is situated only a few miles from downtown Portland.
The Maine Mariners are a minor league hockey crew that performs within the ECHL, which is without doubt one of the prime skilled hockey leagues in North America. The crew performs its house video games on the Cross Insurance coverage Enviornment, which is situated within the coronary heart of downtown Portland. Along with the video games themselves, the Maine Mariners provide quite a lot of particular occasions and promotions all through the season, together with theme nights, giveaways, and post-game autograph classes.
The place to Eat in Portland Maine
I’ve written a complete submit about the place to eat in Portland Maine, however listed below are a couple of of my favorites:
- Eventide Oyster Firm – attempt their model of a lobster roll in a steamed bun
- Duckfat – wonderful french fries, poutine, and milkshakes
- Chunk into Maine – fascinating number of lobster rolls
- Luke’s Lobster – nice views on the wharf
As a lot as I really like Portland, I ought to level out a couple of of its flaws too. There has all the time been a little bit of a homeless inhabitants in Portland, like another metropolis, and this appears to have elevated in recent times.
It isn’t problematic within the Outdated Port space as most people you see are innocent, however whenever you head into another areas, like round Deering Oaks Park, it is a little more prevalent and the realm feels a bit sketchier with quite a few addicts and suspicious characters. So simply use frequent sense and preserve your wits about you, lock your automobile, and don’t depart valuables in plain sight.
There are numerous enjoyable and funky neighborhoods in Portland to discover so don’t really feel like you could stick simply to the Outdated Port. I hope you will have an opportunity to get pleasure from this little metropolis and fall in love with it the best way that I’ve.