Things to Do in Portland Maine
Looking for things to do in Portland Maine? Look no further. Art galleries, music, theater, spas, museums, boats, historic homes, shopping, sightseeing—Portland is teeming with activities and attractions. And don't forget the food scene. Browse the details and links below for a sample of everything Portland Maine has to offer.
Lighthouse, Lobsters & More
Ask any Mainer and they’ll tell you there are so many more to things to do in Portland Maine than just lighthouses and lobsters... and that’s very true. But, hey—lighthouses and lobsters are a fun place to start.
- Bike, View & Nibble. Rent a bike from Gorham Bike & Ski (207-773-1700), located close to the inn, and pedal five miles down to glorious Fort Williams Park for panoramic views of Casco Bay and a tour of Portland Head Light—one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. While you’re there, grab the area’s best lobster roll from the Bite Into Maine (207-420-0294) food truck (Original, Picnic, Wasabi, Curry or Chipotle) and nosh while you soak in the view. Classic Maine.
- Be a Lobsterman. Try your hand at hauling in a crustacean. On Lucky Catch Cruises (207-761-0941) you’ll see how these tasty treats get from the bottom of the ocean to your dinner plate and learn about lobster habits, conservation efforts and the difference between hardshells, shedders, shorts, culls, and keepers.
With a premier art college right in center of town, an acclaimed small art museum, and a monthly art walk, Portland is quite the mecca for art enthusiasts.
- Portland Museum of Art (207-775-6148). The PMA’s small but insanely well-curated collection contains fine and decorative works of art from acclaimed American and New England artists, such as Frederic Edwin Church, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Andrew Wyeth, as well as major pieces from European masters Edgar Degas, René Magritte, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others.
- Space Gallery (207-828-5600). Space is a nonprofit contemporary arts venue that fosters true creativity through its mission to present contemporary, emerging and unconventional art, artists and ideas. Formats include visual art exhibits, film screening, music and performance art, and public forums and collaborations.
- First Friday Art Walk. Held all over Portland on the first Friday of every month, the art walk turns the whole city into a gallery. The library, cafes, coffee shops, and stores, as well as local galleries, get into the act and exhibit new artistic works from local artists and from those "from away."
Enjoy The Music
- Portland Symphony Orchestra. (207-773-6128). With critically acclaimed performances and broad community engagement, the PSO is widely regarded as one of the top symphony orchestras of its size in the country.
- State Theatre. The city’s largest non-stadium venue, the State is a beautiful, historic theater that brings in nationally and internationally popular acts, such as Keane, Josh Ritter, Iron & Wine, Silversun Pickups, Goo Goo Dolls, MGMT, and Michael Franti, among many, many others. Seats 1600.
- One Longfellow Square (207-761-1757). A 200-seat venue presenting folk, jazz, Celtic basque, and nationally beloved singer-songwriters. This venue is super-close to our Portland, Maine bed and breakfast.
- Blue (207-774-4111). An intimate venue for-up-and-coming singer-songwriters and local and regional acts offering Celtic middle eastern, blues, old-time jazz, and folk, Blue offers the opportunity to get "up close and personal" with burgeoning talent.
Old Port Walking Tours
Discover many tasty and intriguing ways to experience the Old Port near our Portland, Maine hotel. Sip and savor your way around or learn about the spooky and weird.
- Wine Wise Events. Recently named the top attraction in Portland on Trip Advisor, these wine strolls combine tasting, touring and vino education. Owner/tour guide/wine professional, Erica Archer, is a joy to be around and a font of information. Wine sails and other events also available. Email Wine Wise.
- Wicked Walking Tours (888-718-4253) Funny, irreverent (yet G-rated) and a little creepy, this short (one-hour), but detail-packed tour is fun for all ages. Learn about Portland's ghosts and weird past from Gordon, the terrific—if a bit strange—tour guide.
- Maine Foodie Tours (207-233-7485). Stroll the Old Port, sample delectable, Maine-inspired foods and obtain a behind-the-scenes look at those who craft these culinary delights. This award-winning company also offers culinary trolley and boat tours.
Sample Local Brews
Over the last 5 years, Portland has become a hot bed of brewers and distillers of craft beers, hard cider, mead and even hard liquors, such as gin, rye and rum. Sample them responsibly, and let someone else do the driving!
- The Maine Brew Bus (207-200-9111). You can't miss the bright green bus. Tours vary and are all inclusive, providing transportation to and from Maine’s award-winning breweries as well as smaller, upcoming breweries, pub snacks, a brewery tour, beer trivia, fun and of course BEER.
Get Out on the Water
Whatever your speed, it's always a good idea to enjoy the water in a coastal town like Portland, Maine!
- Come Sail Away. Portland has not one, but two terrific sailing companies offering cruises through Casco Bay. Portland Schooner Company (207-766-2500) sails two, storied wooden schooners built in the early 20th century. Afternoon and all-day sails available, including a “sail and tail” with a lobster bake included. Maine Sailing Adventures (207-749-9169) sails a Maine-built windjammer, Frances. Unwind and absorb as you take in Portland’s working waterfront and the beautifully rugged islands just beyond. Ask about the company’s popular sunset sails.
- Ride the Duck. Tour the Old Port and the bay in one convenient vehicle! The Downeast Duck (800-979-3370) covers both land and sea, including Portland's working waterfront, the Casco Bay Islands and marine wildlife.
- Paddle Yourself. See the bay up close and personal from a kayak. Paddle out to Fort Gorges and explore the deserted Civil War-era fort, weave between ferries and sail boats along the waterfront, challenge yourself with a paddle across to the Bug Light lighthouse in South Portland. Bring your own or rent kayaks from Portland Paddle (207-370-9730).
Fitness Studios & Local Gyms
Whether you're sticking to a routine or try something new, Portland offers a workout for everyone, from spin classes to yoga flows and everything in between.
- Reve Cycling Studio This boutique studio offers 50-minute indoor cycling classes, as well as yoga and full-body toning classes. Whether you're new to cycling or are a seasoned veteran, Reve offers something for everyone (don’t forget to bring sneakers or SPD compatible bikes shoes!).
- Hustle & Flow Located on Bracket Street, take a yoga or dance class at Hustle & Flow and forget you’re even working out! Don’t be surprised to hear loud music and experience high-energy in class.
- Pure Barre & The Bar Method A low impact, isometric workout focusing on using your own bodyweight, there's no shortage of barre classes in the city!
- The Body Architect From circuit training to mobility-focused classes, The Body Architect provides group fitness classes from sun up to sun down.
- Planet Fitness For those looking for a classic, old-school gym (with new, updated equipment!), Planet Fitness offers everything you need for a great workout. We think getting in a good sweat in is the perfect way to start your day!
Enjoy some pampering and self-care during your next getaway.
- Nine Stones Spa Located right downtown, from facials to couples massages, a full nail salon, and locker rooms with infrared saunas to enjoy while you wait for your service of choice, this spa truly it all.
- Akari From a hair care to nails, facials, massages, as well as a variety of “Medispa” services (anti-aging and rejuvenating skin and body treatments), it's almost guaranteed that whatever spa service you‘re looking to get, you'll find it at Akari.
- Beauty Mark Indulge in a customized skin treatment or have some fun at the makeup bar and let Beauty Mark’s makeup artists get you ready for a night out in Portland.
- Float Harder Looking for a unique, out-of-the-box way to get some rest and relaxation during your getaway to Portland? Try out a floating session in one thousand pounds of Epsom salt and experience complete sensory deprivation. You'll leave feeling decompressed, relaxed, energized and re-aligned.
A Historical Perspective
- Maine Historical Society Museum (207-774-1822). The MHS Museum features changing exhibitions and programs spanning more than five centuries of Maine life. Original exhibits feature art, artifacts, and documents that vividly bring Maine history to life.
- Wadsworth-Longfellow House (207-774-1822). This remarkable family made significant contributions to the political, literary, and cultural life of New England and the United States. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow grew up in the house and went on to become one of the most famous men of his time.
- Victoria Mansion (207-772-4841). Located a short walk away from our Portland Maine inn, this magnificent structure is a must-see. Distinguished for its architecture and its extraordinary interiors, Victoria Mansion is among the most important historic homes of the 19th Century anywhere in the nation.
The World's A Stage
- Portland Stage Company (207-774-0465) Portland’s largest theater company offers a diverse range of productions in a large, comfortable theater located quite close to the Blind Tiger. Each production is fully crafted theater, including original set design and construction, costume design and production, lighting and sound design.
- Good Theater (207-885-5883) A truly stellar local company, Good Theater produces consistently wonderful shows—often Broadway and off-Broadway hits and Tony winners, as well as regional and Maine premiers. Productions range from dramas to comedies to musicals.
Shop. Shop. Shop.
The Old Port and Arts Districts offer a variety of shops ranging from high-end clothes boutiques to antique stores and specialty art shops. Too many to list, actually! Some of our favorites:
- Angela Adams (207-774-3523) Well-crafted modern home furnishings inspired by the timeless beauty of nature and the ever-changing landscape of Maine.
- Architectural Salvage (207-780-0634) 12,000 square foot spectacular showroom of architectural elements, antiques and decorative accessories.
- Pinecone + Chickadee (207-772-9280) Curated selection of handmade crafts, unusual gifts, and vintage finds.
- Portland Flea For All (207-370-7570) Each weekend the Flea-for-All showcases a rotating cast of vendors selling the very best in vintage and handmade gifts.
- Portland Dry Goods High-end women and men’s wear and accessories, offering brands such as, Engineered Garments, Gitman Vintage, 316 Denim, Gant Rugger, Redwing, Barbour, Alden, Muttonhead, Southwick, Reigning Champ and Topo.
- Portland Trading Company (207-899-0228) One-of-a-kind, well-curated, modernized, lifestyle-themed general store offering a mix of vintage and new clothes and home goods. Owner Kazeem Lawhal has truly impeccable taste.
- Waterlily (207-775-5459). Hip conscious trade boutique featuring local artisans, vintage collections and an exclusive Waterlily line of clothing.
Check out the Portland Buy Local website for many, many more!