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Things to see/do in/around Portland

Mount Laurel, New...
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Things to see/do in/around Portland

Myself and two of my friends will be in Portland for either three or four nights in early August (811- 8/14 or 8/15) but probably won't get to Portland until later afternoon/early evening on the day of arrival and leaving early the day of departure to spend a day in Boston so we will really only have either 2 or 3 full days in Portland. We are staying at the top of Mujoy Hill in Portland. None of us have ever been to Maine so we need some suggestions on things to see and do in Portland, as well as, day trip ideas of places we should visit while there. We are three women in our early 30s who want to do relaxing things and enjoy the nature of the area. We do also enjoy visiting wineries and breweries. Any ideas suggestions of places to eat, places to visit, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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1. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Some things to do in Portland area -

* Walk around the Old Port/ Waterfront district and enjoy the shops & cafes

* Walk along the Eastern Promenade & enjoy the beach.

* Definitely take a trip to Portland Headlight house in Cape Elizabeth

* If interested in museums there is an arts district with museums.

Some other things to consider -

* Mail boat tour to the nearby island communities

* Check out Brewery Tours - http://www.themainebrewbus.com/ --> I have not taken it, so not sure how it will be.

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2. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Let me offer some of the things outside Portland.

North of the city:

- Ex 17 off I-295, just north of Yarmouth, is the Delorme Map Store. It contains what must be the largest rotating globe in the world, a truly fascinating sight to behold.

- Freeport, between Ex. 17 and Ex. 22, is a cutesy little town with many outlet stores, the largest of which is the L.L. Bean flagship store.

- If you take Ex. 28, you'll start eastward on US-1. Although named the Ocean Highway, this route does not follow the coast. (The Maine coast is too deeply indented.) You can, though, take spur roads down to some delightful and evocative little towns.

- Just east of Wiscasset, turn south off Route 1 for Route 27. It leads to Boothbay Harbor, a picture perfect seaside town of quaint shops, inns, and photogenic scenery. Pick a sunny day to come. It loses something in Atlantic coastal fog.

- Farther east, Damariscotta is another white clapboard New England town where you can park and explore on foot.

- You'll find numerous spur roads that don't make the headlines, but on which you might make adventures of your own. We drove south from Bath on Route 209 to find Popham Beach, located in a maze of islands where the Kennebec River empties into the Atlantic. You've probably never heard of it but in 1607, English settlers founded a boat-building settlement here, the same time as Jamestown. It's all gone now except for the plaques and the State Park. There's also a Civil War era fort.

South from Portland:

- The lighthouses at Cape Elizabeth, a headland facing the Atlantic

- Old Orchard Beach, a long strand with amusements out over a long pier.

- Kennebunk, a charming little town, the opposite of Old Orchard Beach. President Bush has his summer place near Kennebunkport, and there's even a spot where you can stop to view it from a safe distance

- Ogunquit, a moneyed ocean-front town with a splendid Cliffside sea walk.


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3. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

This might be helpful


Portland, Maine
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4. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

A walk along the Eastern Promenade trail is a must, and since you’ll be staying up on Munjoy Hill you’ll be right next to it. The East End beach is on this path as well, so be sure to check it out. Take the trail all the way down to Commercial Street, and explore the Old Port from there. There are fantastic views of Portland Harbor the entire way.



The Portland Observatory will be right nearby where you’re staying as well, and it offers a fantastic 360 degree view of the city. You may decide that you don’t want to pay the $9 per person to go to the top though.


Take a nice peaceful walk around Mackworth Island, through the old trees, while being surrounded by the ocean. Check out the fairy houses while you’re there too.


Be sure to Check out Fort Williams State Park and the Portland Headlight lighthouse while you’re there.


You can catch a great view of the city skyline at night (or during the day) by walking along the Back Cove.


Allagash Brewing Company makes fantastic beer, and they offer tours.


If you don’t mind driving a half hour south, my friends have recently opened a brewery in Biddeford, Maine, called Banded Horn Brewing Company, and they have a tap room right in the brewery. Their beer is spectacular!


If you make it down to Biddeford, be sure to check out the bird sanctuary and it’s rocky shores in Biddeford Pool.


Take a nice stroll through Scarborough Saltwater Marsh on the walking/bike path, or rent a canoe and paddle your way through the curving calm waters. There are lots of beautiful birds to see.


Visit Ferry Beach in Scarborough. Every time I’ve been there it seems like it’s much less crowded than other beaches in the area, and it’s beautiful. The water seems to be warmer there than many other Maine beaches too; I suspect that might be because it’s located at the mouth of the Nonesuch River.


Visit Sebago Lake State Park, the home of Maine’s second largest lake. The Songo Beach area has a sandbar that goes across the entire cove on this part of the lake.


Restaurants - Breakfast:

Bintliff’s American Cafe (must go here)


Becky’s Diner


Restaurants - Dinner and Lunch:

Fore Street (expensive)


David’s Restaurant




Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe


Nosh Kitchen Bar


Kushiya Benkay


Congress Bar and Grill


Gilbert’s Chowder House (authentic Maine atmosphere)


Coffee (and tea):

Coffee by Design (I prefer the Congress Street location for the atmosphere)


Bard Coffee


Dobra Tea House


Bars and Pubs:

Novare Res Bier Cafe




Bull Feeney’s


Dock Fore


Downtown Lounge


Music, Art, and Film:

Portland Museum of Art


The State Theater




One Longfellow Square


SPACE Gallery


Maine College of Art


Port City Music Hall


Bubba’s Sulky Lounge (Dance Club/Dive Bar)


Nickelodeon Cinema


Nottingham, United...
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5. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Wow, great post Mike. We're heading to Portland in a couple of weeks and will use your post as a reference!


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6. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Yes. Fantastic post. Thanks. It's looking more like we should get a car for two or three days.

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7. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Love your ideas. If we use Portland as our jumping off point, how long do you recommend to cover most of these suggestions including going to Ogunquit and Kennebunkport? Or...Are we better off staying at one of those locations and then visiting and staying in Portland a few days later?

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8. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Many great suggestions! Lots to see and do, as always,, great breweries,, beautiful areas!

Edited: 09 June 2014, 18:44
Peaks Island, Maine
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9. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

If you are interested in craft distilleries, a very cool new place to check out is Maine Craft Distilling:


They are located just outside of the Old Port, near Whole Foods. They produce some unique spirits right there on the premises, including a gin that is mainly distilled from carrots. They have a very nice tasting room area. Well worth a trip.

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10. Re: Things to see/do in/around Portland

Gilbert's Chowder House on Commercial Street has the most excellent seafood you can imagine. No frills, just consistently excellent food.