Top 5 Things to Do in Portland, ME

Jon Fesmire | June 22, 2021 @ 12:00 AM

Portland, Maine is a city of long, snowy winters and warm, brief summers, but just because the winters are cold, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get out and enjoy the city.

While Portland itself has a population of 66,600, the greater Portland metropolitan area is home to over 500,000. You can think of the Portland Waterfront, also called “Old Port,” as the city center, an old town district with shopping and nightlife housed in renovated 19th-century buildings.

This goes a long way toward showcasing some of Portland’s charm. Now, let’s look at some outstanding things to do in the city.


Visit the Portland Waterfront Historic District

This downtown district is a wonderful place to visit, full of historical charm. Old Port

is a historic district of renovated brick buildings, a reminder of Portland’s origins as a shipping city. You’re bound to see some gorgeous views of boats in Portland’s clear waters here.

The 68-acre Eastern Promenade section stretches from the Fore River to Back Cove. This is a lovely place to hang out on the beaches, hike the trails, or relax and have a picnic in a grassy area. You’ll get some magnificent views and have plenty of opportunities to take photos on the two-mile Eastern Promenade Trail, which starts in Old Port.


Portland Museum of Art

Art lovers, it’s hard to beat the Portland Museum of Art for the sheer number of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and more you’ll find here. Don’t go for just one day. Take several days to check this place out. There are over 18,000 art pieces here.

The museum features a lot of contemporary art from America and Europe, and they often feature local Maine artists. You’ll find the work of incredibly popular artists, too, including Claude Monet, Winslow Homer, Andy Warhol, and Louise Nevelson.


The Portland Observatory

In 1807 local entrepreneur and former sailor Captain Lemuel Moody ordered the construction of

The Portland Observatory. The purpose was to help facilitate ships entering the harbor, and with the powerful telescope he had installed, he could identify incoming ships from 30 miles away. 

In use until 1923, the observatory became redundant when two-way radio transmissions came into use. In 1984, the renovated landmark opened up for tours.

This is a fun place to visit. You’ll find amazing views of the city and harbor. Space is limited, so purchase tickets in advance.


Victoria Mansion

If you enjoy old architecture and seeing how the rich lived in the past, you’ll want to visit Victoria Mansion. This home-turned-museum is also known as Morse-Libby House. Built between 1858 and 1860, it served as the summer home for married couple Ruggles Sylvester Morse and Olive Ring Merrill Morse.

Although he was from Maine, Ruggles Morse made his fortune in New Orleans and had this mansion built in Portland. For the time, it had all the amenities: hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, gas lighting, central heating, and a servant call-bell. 

This opulent home became a museum in 1941. You'll want to check out the fancy rooms with wall-to-wall colorful, patterned rugs, paintings, illustrated ceilings, golden chandeliers.


Casco Bay

Casco Bay is an inlet along the Gulf of Maine with lots to see. For example, you can take a ferry from the Maine State Pier, via the Casco Bay Island Ferry Service, to one of the many local islands

You can go fishing all over Casco Bay for mackerel, striped bass, and bluefish. The area is also full of lobsters, crabs, muscles, and clams. You’re bound to see some harbor seals, seagulls, ducks, cormorants, and you may even spot some whales.

If you’re interested in a sailing trip around the bay, Calendar Islands Sailing Co. has you covered. On the two-hour sightseeing tour you can have a drink and take in the amazing coastal Maine scenery.

Do you live in the Portland area and need somewhere to store your off-season wardrobe, sports equipment, business inventory, or other items? Spaceman Storage in Bath, Maine has you covered. We feature units with climate control, use a state-of-the-art Bluetooth locking system, sell supplies on site, and a lot more.