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Portland
Travel Guide

Portland Head Light showing a lighthouse, general coastal views and rugged coastline

The largest city in Maine is a gateway for island hopping in summer, skiing in winter and a thriving cultural center year-round.

Renowned for the many outdoor adventures that are nearby, Portland, Maine, also offers visitors a large downtown arts district and a vibrant food culture.

Kick off your exploration in the Old Port. This historic district with cobblestone streets and converted Victorian warehouses contains many boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Visit the late 18th-century Portland Head Light lighthouse. Although the tower isn’t open to the public, you can still explore the small museum in the former Keepers’ Quarters, which is open seasonally.

Portland’s creative side is seen in its many downtown museums and galleries. Discover three centuries of American and European fine and decorative art at the Portland Museum of Art. For music, dance and drama, visit the Merrill Auditorium and the Portland Stage theater.

After a tour of the town and its museums, go kayaking or take a boat cruise to explore coastal and inland waterways. On a warm day, swim in a clear lake, relax on the beach or go whitewater rafting down the Kennebec River. Take a short ferry ride out to the Casco Bay Islands, an archipelago off Portland’s coast. Visit the islands’ beaches, woods and villages. Peaks Island is the bay’s most populated island and has an artistic community. Walk its 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) Peaks Island Loop. In winter, go skiing in Sunday River and Sugarloaf, two skiing resorts within driving distance of the city.

Compact Portland is easy to navigate by car and public transport and on foot. There is a fee for parking in the downtown area, except on Sundays. In winter, check the nightly parking ban to avoid blocking snow plows.

The city is 310 miles (499 kilometers) from New York City and daily flights from there and Washington D.C. go into Portland International Jetport. As the city has a working port and cruise terminals, you can also get there and away by ship.

Portland Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Portland

The Westin Portland Harborview
The Westin Portland Harborview
4 out of 5
157 High St, Portland, ME
The price is £127 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Located in Downtown Portland, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Portland Museum of Art and Cross Insurance Arena. University of Southern Maine and ...
4.3/5Excellent! (972 reviews)
"After traipsing all over Main, Vermont and New Hampshire, staying at various locations, we were SO glad to get back to Portland where the Westin was the highlight of our 10 day New England experience. We booked the suite and it was well worth the extra money! So spacious, huge TV screens in bedroom ..."

Reviewed on 15 May 2021

The Westin Portland Harborview
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland
3.5 out of 5
363 Maine Mall Rd, South Portland, ME
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £72 per night from 23 May to 23 May
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sable Oaks Golf Course and Maine Mall. Maine Military Museum and Scarborough Downs are also within ...
4.1/5Very Good! (966 reviews)
"I would recommend anyone to go here."

Reviewed on 10 May 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland
Inn at St John Portland In-Town
Inn at St John Portland In-Town
2.5 out of 5
939 Congress St, Portland, ME
The price is £70 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Located in Valley Street, this bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of University of Southern Maine, Portland Museum of Art and Thompson's Point. Cross Insurance ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (753 reviews)
"Step back in time imaging this hotel full of Victorian ladies and gentlemen. All the character of years past with modern amenities. Beautiful breakfast in the morning which we didn’t partake in. We were there in off season so parking not a problem."

Reviewed on 13 May 2021

Inn at St John Portland In-Town
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
The Cottages at Cabot Cove
The Cottages at Cabot Cove
3.5 out of 5
7 South Main Street, Kennebunkport, ME
Located in the heart of Kennebunkport, this cottage is within a 15-minute walk of Kennebunkport Village Green, Mast Cove Galleries and W. Robert Paine Gallery. ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (19 reviews)
"great location; very private and quiet; cottage amenities very quaint and comfortable"

Reviewed on 30 May 2019

The Cottages at Cabot Cove
84 Main by Capital Vacations
84 Main by Capital Vacations
4 out of 5
84 Main Street, Kennebunk, ME
Situated by the ocean, this condo is within a 5-minute walk of Brick Store Museum and Kennebunk Free Library. Gardens at Historic Wallingford Hall and Kennebunk ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (35 reviews)
Lovely apartment
"Beautiful big second floor windows lit this two bedroom space. The kitchen had everything we needed and the laundry in the unit was very helpful. Beds were super comfy."

Reviewed on 28 Mar 2021

84 Main by Capital Vacations
The Sands Townhouses
The Sands Townhouses
3 out of 5
64 W Grand Ave, Old Orchard Beach, ME
The price is £100 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Located in the heart of Old Orchard Beach, this condo is within a 10-minute walk of Old Orchard Beach and Old Orchard Beach Pier. Dunegrass Golf Club and Ferry ...
3.7/5Good! (25 reviews)
"Location is convenient because of the parking and beach being across the street. As far as cleanliness and noise it was horrible. Beds had hair and dirt in them. The train goes by twice a night that shakes the whole complex and is extremely loud. You can here everything through the walls. The neighbors ..."

Reviewed on 4 Aug 2020

The Sands Townhouses
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Portland

Top things to do in Portland

Reviews of Portland

4.2

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
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5 - Excellent 35.294117647058826%
4 - Good
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4 - Good 52.94117647058823%
3 - Okay
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3 - Okay 11.764705882352942%
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5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

6 Dec 2019

Portland it’s a beautiful place historical place because I personally love history so for me that place it’s great and not just for history overall it’s nice quiet full of nature

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

19 Nov 2019

Great wee city. Excellent craft breweries, bars and restaurants!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

8 Aug 2019

Lovely town. Lobster fishing experience was fantastic / recommend Lucky Catch Cruises. Dimillo restaurant fantastic / food great and staff lovely. Only downside was expensive parking.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

2 Aug 2019

Lovely seaside town with easy access to everything. We took a trip to Portland head lighthouse which was only a short drive away and that was beautiful. Also went to designer outlets in Freeport which were great too.

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