Difference between revisions of "Portland (Maine)"

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Portland (Maine)

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*[[U.S. Highway 1]]. Be sure to drive up this scenic coast-hugging road whether on a clear or foggy day.
*[[U.S. Highway 1]]. Be sure to drive up this scenic coast-hugging road whether on a clear or foggy day.
* '''Lucky Catch Lobster Cruise''', 170 Commercial Street, Phone: ''+1 207'' 761-0941, [http://www.luckycatch.com/]. Go on a lobster boat for a 2 hour cruise.  You can help bait the traps, throw the traps overboard and more.  Great for kids.
* '''Lucky Catch Lobster Cruise''', 170 Commercial Street, Phone: ''+1 207'' 761-0941, [http://www.luckycatch.com/]. Go on a lobster boat for a 2 hour cruise.  You can help bait the traps, throw the traps overboard and more.  Great for kids.
* '''Maine Day Trip''', Phone: ''+1 207'' 838-5275, [http://www.mainedaytrip.com/]. Private tours of Southern Maine originating in Portland for small groups of up to 5. This is your opportunity to explore and photograph many of Maine's unique views up close and personal.

Revision as of 12:00, 22 March 2008

Casco Bay Ferry in the Old Port.

Portland is located on a peninsula in Casco Bay on the Southern Maine coast approximately 100 miles (161 km) north of Boston, Massachusetts. It has more than 65,000 inhabitants making it the largest city in Maine. Portland is a small seaside city with a high concentration of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, tours and many things to see and do. Many people commute to Portland to work, and the city's population significantly increases in the summertime.


  • Convention and Visitors Center, 245 Commercial St., Phone: +1 207 772-5800 or Phone: +1 207 772-4994, [1]. Guided walking tours available July-September at 10:30AM.
  • Greater Portland Landmarks, 165 State Street, Phone: +1 207 774-5561 Fax: +1 207 774-2509, [2]. A resource for tours.

Get in

By plane


  • Portland International Jetport (IATA: PWM) (ICAO: KPWM), [3]. Located in Portland. Taxis and shuttle bus transfer downtown (5 miles).
  • Pease International Tradeport, PSM. Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 55 miles away.
  • Manchester Airport, MHT. Located in Manchester, New Hampshire, 100 miles away.


By bus

  • Concord Trailways, Thompson's Point Rd., Toll free: 800-639-3317.
  • Greyhound, [4].
  • Vermont Transit Lines, 950 Congress St., Phone: +1 207 772-6587.

By train

  • Amtrak, Thompson's Point Rd., [5]. The Downeaster operates between Portland and Boston North Station. Trains run both ways five times each day. The train ride is about 2.5 hours, and a round trip ticket costs only $44. Kids 15 and under ride for $11. If you want to make a day trip to Boston, you can leave at 8:00am and be back in Portland by 8:55pm, and still have from about 10:30am-6:00pm to sightsee in Boston.

By car

  • Interstate 95. Access from the North and South on the Maine Turnpike I-95 take Exit 44 to I-295 into downtown Portland.
  • U.S. Highway 1. The more scenic route.
  • U.S. Highway 302. Access from West.

Car Rentals
  • Avis (at Jetport) +1 207 874-7500
  • Enterprise +1 207 772-0030
  • ABC Taxi, +1 207 772-8685.
  • Old Port Taxi, +1 207 772-8294.
  • Jetport Taxi, +1 207 775-6990.
  • Elite Taxi, Valley St.
  • Family Taxi, +1 207 615-9353.

By boat

  • Harbormaster, Phone +1 207 772-8121, VHF channels 9,16. City facilities: Public float at State Pier (30 minute tie-up), Ramp & float at East End beach with showers, water.
  • Bay Ferries Portland (The Cat), 468 Commercial Street, Phone: +1 207 761-4228, [6]. Service to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor for passengers or vehicles on fast catamaran.

Get around

Renting a car is the best option. Portland, and Maine in general, does not have the biggest public transportation system. Most of the locals drive their own cars from town to town. While 5 o'clock traffic can get a little congested, driving in Portland is not a daunting task.

Metro, 114 Valley St, Phone: 207-774-0351, [7]. Bus line has a regular schedule, and provides a high level of service for a city of its size. Metro is not the best option for late night socializing. There are numerous taxicab companies. Downtown, especially in the Old Port or by the waterfront, walking is probably the best option.

The Old Port and Downtown Arts District areas are very walkable and pedestrian friendly. The pedestrian always has the right of way, and when driving you should be on the watch for pedestrians.

Casco Bay Lines, 56 Commercial St, Phone: 207-774-7871 [8]. Year-round scheduled ferry service from the Portland waterfront to Peaks, Great Diamond, Little Diamond, Long, Chebeague, and Cliff Islands in Casco Bay, as well as a summer-only daily tourism cruise to Bailey Island. Leashed dogs and bicycles are carried for an additional fee.


Portland Head Light
  • Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Phone: +1 207 775-6148, Fax: +1 207 773-7324, Email: [email protected], [9]. Tu,W,Th,Sa,Su 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-9PM. Memorial Day-Columbus Day: also M 10AM-5PM. Housing a diverse collection of Impressionists, included Monet and Renoir, and is great for an afternoon stroll.
  • Childrens Museum of Maine, 142 Free St., Phone: +1 207 828-1234, [10]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM (also M in summer); Su Noon-5PM. Great fun for the kids.
  • Portland Observatory, 138 Congress St., Phone: +1 207 774-5561 ext. 104. Memorial Day to Columbus Day, Daily 10-5PM. This has nothing to do with astronomy. Built in 1807, it is the only extant maritime signal station in the United States.
  • Portland Head Light and Museum, 1000 Shore Rd. Cape Elizabeth, Phone: +1 207 799-2661, [11]. Museum open 10AM-4PM daily June-Oct; weekends in shoulder seasons. Grounds open daily year round and free. One of the most scenic lighthouses in the country. Adjacent to Fort Williams, a WWII artillery emplacement. $2/$1.
  • Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth Street, Phone: +1 207 772-4841, [12]. May-Oct. $10/$3.
  • Bug Light Lighthouse across the Fore River in South Portland offers unparalleled views of the Portland skyline and Casco Bay.
  • Stroudwater Village, just west of the Portland peninsula is one of Maine's oldest.
  • Old Port, next to the downtown area along Commercial St. next to Casco Bay. The Old Port is filled with neat shops, restaurants, and cafes, and has something of a European feel to it.
  • Eastern Promenade. Providing amazing views of the Casco Bay and the islands
  • Western Promenade. See examples of mansions built by wealthy sea captains long ago.
  • Deering Oaks. A 51 acre area in Portland with a tennis court, baseball diamond, playground and pond. You can ice skate on the pond in the winter.
  • Willard Beach in South Portland right across the bridge.
  • USM a very large university


  • Back Cove. This large inlet connected to the sea by a small canal, has a recreation path over 3 mi (5 km) long and was designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted and lined with linden trees to memorialize World War One dead.
  • Portland Schooner Company, 40 Commercial St., Phone: +1 207 766-2500, Toll free: 1-87-SCHOONER, [13]. During the summer months you can purchase tickets on the Maine State Pier, right next to the ferry. From 2-hour sails to overnight charters.
  • Casco Bay Lines, 56 Commercial Street, Phone: +1 207 774-7871, [14]. Taking a tour of Casco Bay on the ferry is a great way to enjoy Portland from a different perspective. In addition to fishing vessels and cargo and tanker ships, during the Spring and Summer months many sailboats, yachts, and cruise ships provide enjoyment.
  • Center for Cultural Exchange , 1 Longfellow Sq. Congress and State Sts., Phone: +1 207 761-1545, [15]. A community center for the expression of traditional folkways and contemporary performance which hosts over 200 events per year.
  • Portland Pirates Hockey, Cumberland County Civic Center, Phone: +1 207 828-4665 ext. 350, [16]. AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. $8-$21 (2007-8).
  • Portland Sea Dogs Baseball, Hadlock Field, Phone: +1 207 879-9500, [17]. A Boston Red Sox AA affiliate with a Fenway Park replica field. $3-$8 (2006).
  • U.S. Highway 1. Be sure to drive up this scenic coast-hugging road whether on a clear or foggy day.
  • Lucky Catch Lobster Cruise, 170 Commercial Street, Phone: +1 207 761-0941, [18]. Go on a lobster boat for a 2 hour cruise. You can help bait the traps, throw the traps overboard and more. Great for kids.
  • Maine Day Trip, Phone: +1 207 838-5275, [19]. Private tours of Southern Maine originating in Portland for small groups of up to 5. This is your opportunity to explore and photograph many of Maine's unique views up close and personal.


The Old Port is nestled against the busy port and home to 19th century streets filled with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The district sells everything from one-of-a-kind jewelry and designer jeans to best-selling books and surf boards. The Movies is a small independent movie theater on Exchange Street and The Nickelodeon is a larger theater on Temple Street. Fore Street and Wharf Street offer a number of bars and the area fills with partiers on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer. The Casco Bay Ferry to the islands and The Cat high speed ferry to Nova Scotia leave from Commercial Street. The Narrow Gauge Railway and Museum is located off Commerical Street.

  • Books, Etc. on Exchange St. is a small independent bookstore with a diverse selection of new books.
  • Simply Scandinavian, Market St. and Exchange St. Two stores that sell only Scandinavian food, clothing, toys, books, art, decorations, etc.
  • Videoport on Middle Street, just east of Post Office Park in the Old Port, has a great selection of new and used movies for sale and for rent. Bull Moose Music next door specializes in new and used records and CDs.

The Arts District centers around Congress Street, which runs through the center of the city. The Portland Museum of Art sits in Congress Square across from the Eastland Park Hotel and next to the Children's Museum of Maine. Galleries abound in the Arts District, as do restaurants and watering holes. The Maine College of Art, which houses the Institute of Contemporary Art, and SPACE Gallery are both located on Congress Street. The music venue One Longfellow is located on Congress where it enters the West End and the Portland Stage Company is housed among a cluster of galleries at the top of Forest Avenue, near Congress. Congress street is home to an L.L. Bean outlet store and in Monument Square you can find a permanent farmers' market called the Public Market House. On Wednesdays between May and November other local farmers sell local produce and flowers and in the square.

The Arts District includes more businesses that cater to local residents, but there are also several great used books and music shops:

  • Yes Books on Congress St. near Congress Square is overflowing with used books, including a behind-the-shelf collection of rare and valuable volumes.
  • Enterprise Records [20] sells used vinyl records in the State Theater building on Congress Street just west of Congress Square.
  • Cunningham Books is a slightly-more-organized and spacious used bookstore on State Street in Longfellow Square.

The East End District includes India Street, Middle Street, Washington Avenue and Congress Street as it heads up Munjoy Hill. This neighborhood contains many restaurants, galleries and small shops. At the top of Munjoy Hill is the Portland Observatory and the St. Lawrence Arts & Community Center.

  • Angela Adams is the world headquarters for this designers internationally renowned rugs and home accessories. It is located on Congress Street.
  • Homegrown Herb & Teais a tea house on Congress Street offering medicinal tea and custom herbal blends. The owner mixes them according to Ayurvedic medicinal traditions.
  • Rabelais Books is a bookstore on Middle Street that exclusively sells new, used and rare food-related books.


Portland offers a sophisticated restaurant scene, with chefs focused on locally-sourced food. The city offers white tablecloth restaurants serving tasting menus to cheap eats selling burritos. The abundance of lobster, haddock, clams, scallops and other seafood allows restaurants to sell these usually expensive items at reasonable prices. In the Old Port and especially on Commercial Street, there are many seafood restaurants. Portland is the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Maine. This means the city offers up Vietnamese, Thai, Polish, African, Middle Eastern, Greek, Japanese and Indian restaurants. Most of these places are inexpensive and delicious. Being home to many eco-conscious people, Portland offers a number of dining options from vegetarians and vegans.

  • Walter's, 5 Exchange Street, Phone: +1 207 871-9258, [21]. Located in the Old Port since the summer of 1989, Walter's has an eclectic selection of international fare that features bright menu ideas and creative dishes that fuse Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and local influences with an emphasis on pasta and fresh fish. Whenever possible, Walter's uses local purveyors for produce, meats and seafood. Walter's has a nice wine list, spanning the world from Napa, South America, France and Italy to the Land Down Under. They also have spectacularly unique martini offerings, including the Pear, made with fresh pear puree."
  • 51 Wharf Restaurant & Ultra Lounge, 51 Wharf Street, Phone: +1 207 774-1151, [22]. Right on Wharf Street, this restaurant and ultra lounge is the newest high end place in the Old Port. 51 is a modern restaurant with a contemporary, yet uncomplicated approach to food. With a cozy fireplace for the winter and a open air bar and deck in the summer, this place is the new place to be. 51 Wharf describes their bar as "51's sleek and sexy first floor bar is perfect for wine, cocktails, a bite from the Bar Menu and to people watch! The cozy lounge area with leather furniture is inviting to all. 51 is perfect to enjoy dinner, a quick snack at bar, or share a romantic bottle of wine in the lounge."
  • Becky's Diner, 390 Commercial Street, a fixture of the working waterfront. Becky's is a well loved greasy spoon that starts serving breakfast a 4AM. Fisherman and other waterfront workers start their early days here. On the weekends you can also find many people ending their nights with pancakes and famous homefries. Bumper stickers can be seen all over town reading, "Becky's Diner -- Nothing Finah".
  • Flatbread Co., 72 Commercial Street, Phone: +1 207 772-8777, [23]. Right on the water with one of the best views of Portland Harbor and Casco Bay in town, a fun and funky staff that toss your pie in a wood-fired clay oven. Flatbread is a great place to go for a fun night out in the old port and also family friendly. It offers organic food and many vegetarian and vegan offerings.
  • Fore Street Restaurant, 288 Fore St., Phone: +1 207 775-2717, [24]. This place is reserved weeks and sometimes months in advance. But, you can get in just about any night if you arrive at opening about 5;00 PM and get on the list for their open seating. It is worth it. Start looking for it early, some people drive past this place three or four times before finding it and ask where it is when they are right in front of it. Very small sign. It's located on the south side of Fore Street between Franklin and Pearl streets, and is to the right of the Bangor Savings Bank / Baker Newman Noyes building. If you see the private garage on the first floor of the bank building, you'll notice a staircase to the right, and then a one-story building that doesn't remind you of a restaurant.
  • Ribollita, 41 Middle Street, Phone: +1 207 774-2972, Excellent Italian food. Fresh pasta, creative specials and the best mussels in Portland!
  • Sebago Brewing Company, 164 Middle St., Phone: +1 207 775-2337, [25]. This brew pub offers 7 unique brews on tap and a wide variety of entrees. There is an upstairs for a more social dining atmosphere and a downstairs for a quieter environment.
  • Susan's Fish and Chips, 1135 Forest Av., Phone: +1 207 878-3240. Known for its large portions, freshness, and those reasonable prices.
  • Granny's Burritos, 420 Fore St., Phone: +1 207 761-0751. Affordable and delicious Mexican food in a casual funky atmosphere. It is open for both lunch and dinner, and has many vegetarian/vegan options.
  • O'Naturals, 83 Exchange St., Phone: +1 207 321-2046. A four-store restaurant chain local to Maine and Massachusetts that has cafeteria-style natural foods. Great for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Gilbert's Chowder House, 92 Commercial St., Phone: +1 207 871-5636. Old Port District. Taste great New England Clam Chowder here.
  • Binga's Winga's, 795 Congress St., Phone: +1 207 772-7333. The place to go for chicken wings or just a good, informal meal.
  • Fuji, 29 Exchange St., +1 207 773-2900, [26]. Offering a sushi bar, and Hibachi tables, the Japanese cuisine here is delicious. The hibachi tables are a great dining experience, but only open for dinner hours, and the wait can become long.
  • The Front Room Restaurant & Bar, 73 Congress St., +1 207 773-3366, [27]. A neighborhood restaurant started in the first floor of an apartment building on Munjoy Hill near the Eastern Prom, chef Harding Lee Smith's restaurant is getting an excellent reputation off the Hill as well. Excellent food for a good price, with a small bar available. The kitchen is in plain view from the seating area, and that's just the way the owner likes it. Weekend evenings will involve a wait, and the waiting area is rather limited.
  • Stir Crazy, Congress Street. A Chinese restaurant.
  • Caiola's, located on Pine Street. Small rustic restaurant with an ever changing rural european style menu. Fantastic wine and food, a favorite for local foodies.
  • Arabica, located on Free street. Chess can be played here. Coffee biscottis.
  • Bill's Pizza, located in the old port.
  • Benkay, 2 India St, (207) 773-5555 [28]. Classic sushi bar on the Waterfront.
  • Local 188, 188 State Street, Long Fellow Square [29]. Upscale Spanish menu in a funky atmosphere.
  • Oh-No Cafe, 87 Brackett Street. Specializing in boutique breakfast sandwiches.


Portland, and especially the Old Port, has a reputation for many bars and pubs of varying caliber. From bars for longshoremen and lobster men, to pub serving micro-brews brewed on-site, to night clubs, there's something for everyone.

  • The Great Lost Bear, [30] Located outside of Old Port, this is a must for the discerning beer drinker. With over fifty beers on tap, "The Bear" has gained national renown for the variety, quality, and depth of its local and imported brews. Extensive pub menu with everything from burgers to vegan chili.
  • The Top of the East. Located in the Eastland Hotel, it offers impressive views of the city and top-shelf libations.
  • Comedy Connection, Custom House Wharf, Portland Old Port, Phone: +1 207 774-5554 [31] Occasionally Maine Comedian Bob Marley will have a show.
  • The Big Easy Blues Club, Market Street, Live music in many styles from local, regional and national acts.
  • Brian Boru, 57 Center Street, Phone: +1 207 780-1506 Irish Pub.
  • Gritty McDuffs, 386 Fore Street, Phone: +1 207 772-2739, [32]. Brew pub and good micro brews.
  • Ri Ra's Irish Pub, 72 Commercial Street, Phone: +1 207 761-4446, [33]. Irish pub with Irish food and live entertainment.
  • Three Dollar Deweys 241 Commercial Street.[34] German beer hall atmosphere in the Old Port
  • The White Heart 551 Congress Street, Phone: +1 207 828-5600, [35]. Outdoor dining and original White Heart cocktails!
  • Geno's, 625 Congress St., Phone: +1 207 772-7891, Rock club featuring original local and regional rock acts in the Punk, Metal, Hardcore, etc, genres.
  • Liquid Blue, 440 Fore St., Phone: +1 207 774-9595. Busy dance club.
  • The Oasis, 42 Wharf St., Phone: +1 207 756-8787.
  • The Asylum, 121 Center St., Phone: +1 207 772-8274
  • Amigo's, 9 Dana St. Inexpensive drinks and Mexican food with a nice fenced-in outdoor patio and bands on weekends in the summer.
  • Blue, 650A Congress St., +1 207 774-4111, [36] live music in a casual beer and wine bar setting.
  • Una, 505 Fore St. [37] Small wine bar with creative cocktails and tapas

In addition there are numerous bars and clubs along Wharf Street a cobblestoned alley in the Old Port.


  • Gritty McDuff's Brewing Co., 396 Fore St, Phone: +1 207 865-4321. [38].
  • Allagash Brewing Co., 100 Industrial Way, Phone: +1 207 878-5385, 1-800-330-5385. [39].
  • Casco Bay Brewing Co., 57 Industrial Way, Phone: +1 207 797-2020. [40].
  • DL Geary Brewing Co., 38 Evergreen Drive, Phone: +1 207 878-2337. [41].
  • StoneCoast Brewing Co., +1 207 838-3985, [42].



  • Portland Regency Hotel and Spa, 20 Milk Street, Toll Free: 1-800-727-3436, Phone: 207-774-4200, Fax: 207-775-2150, [43]. In the Old Port waterfront district. The building dates back to 1895 and includes exquisite turret rooms, working fireplaces and ornate brickwork. All hotel guests get complimentary saunas, therapeutic steam rooms and waterfall Jacuzzi in The Spa. Beautiful chandeliers, towering windows and a working brick fireplace set the mood of the Portland Regency's premier steakhouse, Twenty Milk Street. The Armory Lounge is a cozy hideaway with cocktails, extensive wine list, and hearty pub fare.
  • Portland Harbor Hotel, 468 Fore St., Toll Free: 888-798-9090, Phone: 207.775-9090, Fax: 207.775-9990, [44]. Experience old world charm, distinctive design, and impeccable service at one of the newest downtown luxury hotels. A unique collection of on-premise services and amenities will enhance your stay be it for business, pleasure or a milestone celebration. The "Eve's At The Garden" restaurant located in the hotel is home to chef Jeff Landry. Named Maine Restaurant Association’s Chef of the year, Chef Landry will compliment your stay with a sumptuous meal.
  • Eastland Park Hotel, 157 High St., Toll Free: 888-671-8008, Phone: 207.775-5411, Fax: 207.775-2872, [45]. Combining American history, modern convenience and euro-style service to give visitors a prime lodging and dining experience downtown. The "Top of the East" restaurant at the top of the hotel offers a stunning panoramic view of the city, while occasionally offering low-key live performers.
  • Fairfield Inn Portland Airport, 340 Park Avenue, Phone: +1 207 871-0611, Fax: +1 207 871-8243, [46].
  • Holiday Inn, 88 Spring St, Phone: +1 207 775-2311, [47].
  • Holiday Inn, 81 Riverside St, Phone: +1 207 774-5601, [48].
  • Motel 6, One Riverside Street, Phone: +1 207 775-0111, Fax: +1 207 775-0449, [49].

Bed and breakfast

  • Wild Iris Inn, 273 State Street, Toll-free: +1 800-600-1557 or Phone: +1 207 775-0224, [50]. 7 rooms.
  • Inn on Carleton Bed and Breakfast, 46 Carleton Street, Phone: +1 207 775-1910, Fax: +1 207 761-0956, Toll Free: 800-639-1779, [51].
  • Celtic Cottage Maine, 1433 Westbrook St., Phone: +1 207 773-6072, [52]. 3 rooms. $100-$120.
  • The Chadwick, 140 Chadwick Street, Phone: +1 207 774-5141, Toll Free: 800-774-2137, Fax: 207-774-5140, [53]. 4 rooms
  • The Percy Inn, 15 Pine Street, Phone: +1 207 871-7638, Toll Free: +1 888-417-3729, Fax: +1 207 775-2599, [54].
  • The Inn at St. John, 939 Congress Street, Phone: +1 207 773-6481, Toll free: 800-636-9127, [55].

Staying Safe

In keeping with Maine's reputation as a relatively crime-free U.S. State, there is no place in Portland a visitor should feel like they shouldn't visit during the day. As in any city, be alert in areas that are not well lit at night or deserted. Act with common sense and you should have no trouble.

Maine state liquor laws require all bars to close promptly at 1 am and the Old Port's numerous bars empty into the street at this time. On Wharf St. a pedestrian street in the Old Port lined with many bars and restaurants, at precisely 1am the police clear the street with a high pressure water truck that sends bar patrons scurrying to avoid getting soaked - sometimes quite a spectacle. Some rowdyness is to be expected but there is always an increased police presence at this time.

Get out

Bug Light
  • Falmouth. A northern suburb of Portland, offering Mackworth Island, an island with a pleasant hiking trail.
  • Bailey Island/Orrs Island Home of the world's only cribstone bridge, allowing water to flow through uninterrupted.
  • Old Orchard Beach, a beach resort town reminiscent of the Jersey Shore. 19 miles south of Portland.
  • Kennebunkport 30 miles south, charming fishing village offers beaches, antiques and a sneak peak at George H.W. Bush's summer estate.
  • Cape Elizabeth for beaches and lighthouses.
  • Saco on Route 1 south of the city has an amusement park (FunTown USA), waterpark (Aquaboggin) and a variety of tourist shops and restaurants.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!