So, you’re in Portland for a weekend…YAY!! With so much to offer and not a lot of time, we put together this Portland Maine City Guide of our top recommendations for you to ensure you soak up the best of what Greater Portland has to offer. Other than visiting our campus, of course!
We’ve also created a handy printable map and guide for our downtown recommendations to make it easier for you to navigate our beautiful city. And, we suggest making restaurant reservations in advance where available, as Portland’s restaurant scene is HAPPENING.
We also asked our team for their MUST DO/SEE/EAT/DRINK recommendations, and we’ve listed them below. Maybe you’ll need to extend your stay after reading!
Check out our team page! Maybe you’ll spot a team member who helped you on your academic journey. Be sure you say hi when you see them at graduation!
Must Do and See:
Take a walk from the Eastern Promenade, along the water to the Old Port. – Shannon Morris, Marketing
Get take out and have a picnic on the Eastern Prom! – Kat Blessis, Enrollment
Casco Bay Lines Mail Boat (or Sunset) Cruise down the bay (3 hrs round trip). I would recommend stopping at Standard Baking Co. for pastries for the trip. Also, you can drink on the boat, so bring beverages. If you want to get off and enjoy an island, it is free to get on and off each island and wait for the boat to come back – just know the schedule! If you only have time to visit one island, go to Peaks Island – it’s a 20-minute ride out and a free ride back, with boats every hour from the mainland. There are a few restaurants to enjoy, or you can rent a bike for the afternoon. – Allie Donovan Legere, Enrollment
Portland Head Light – Corey Butler, Instructional Design
Get out on the water, weather permitting. Pop over to Casco Bay Line and either stay on the boat to enjoy the view (bring a snack as there isn’t food served on these commuter boats) or get off on one of the islands to hike around. Peaks Island is only 17 minutes off shore and has several places to grab a bite to eat or a drink. You can even rent bikes out there. – Susan Graham-Rent, Instructional Design
Take a ferry ride to Peaks Island! Once known as the “Coney Island of Maine,” Peaks Island is one of the most populous islands in Casco Bay, Maine. The ferry departs from the Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal. Ferry ticket is $7.70 for an adult and $3.85 for a child (aged 5-13), senior (aged 65 or over) or for people with transportation disability. It is about a twenty-minute ferry ride from the Portland Harbor. Check the schedule online, but Casco Bay Lines makes regular trips throughout the day, rain or shine. While on the island, be sure to stop by Brad’s Island Bike Rentals and Repairs to grab a rental bike to tour the island. There are also two golf cart rental companies right off the ferry too, Peaks Island Golf Carts and Mike’s Carts, if you choose to explore the island that way. If you’re looking to have lunch on the island, there are three fabulous restaurants for you to choose from: Peaks Island House, Cockeyed Gull Restaurant, and the Inn on Peaks Island. Before you board the ferry back to the mainland, be sure to stop in at Down Front to grab an ice cream or grab a souvenir! Your ticket is good for a round trip so no tickets needed when you leave Peaks Island. – Nhi Mulkern, Student Support
Take the ferry to Peaks Island and walk around the island. The walk is flat, with about 3 miles of spectacular water views. – Al Sheehy, Assistant Program Manager, Health Informatics
Go to Fort Williams to stroll the cliff walk, take a selfie in front of the most photographed lighthouse in the world, and get a lobster roll. It’s also a great place for kids to run around and play outside. – Monique Gaudet, Marketing
If it is a nice weekend, rent a SUP or kayak at Portland Paddles – found at East End beach! Take the ferry to Peaks, rent bikes, eat ice cream (pack some beers in your backpack). – Meredith Milnes, Research and Strategy
Portland Head Light – Lori Boland, Enrollment
You’ll definitely want to visit Fort Williams Park, Two Light State Park (a meal at the Two Lights Lobster Shack is a must), and the Old Port for some shopping. Catch the Casco Bay Ferry for a ride around the islands if you have time. The three-hour Mailboat Run is fun! If it’s windy, or if you want a very relaxing ride, hop on board one of the schooners that offer rides from Old Port. Most allow you to bring along a picnic with celebratory beverages, too! My favorite spot is actually Bug Light Park in South Portland. This park on the harbor features the best skyline view of Portland and the harbor, complete with a lighthouse. If you want to catch a little history and a great view of the city, the Portland Observatory is fun. If high art is more your speed, the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is worth a visit. – Elizabeth Benz, Student Support
Thompson’s Point has a lot going on. I haven’t been yet. Bissell Brothers has a tap room there and there are food trucks there. There’s a new fried chicken truck that has been getting rave reviews. The Portland Museum of Art, The Victoria Mansion. Fort Williams Park to see the fort and the Portland Head Light (in Cape Elizabeth)… Two Lights State Park since you’re over there anyway…. Pine Point Beach is pretty year round. There are some tours in and around Portland…. There’s the Maine Brew Bus. There’s a Maine Foodie tour. – Susan Graham-Rent, Instructional Design
The International Cryptozoology Museum at 4 Thompson’s Point Road. – Richard Parent, Instructional Design
Make sure you swing by Holy Donut on Exchange Street for a delicious dark chocolate sea salt donut made with Maine potatoes! – Shannon Morris, Marketing
Local 188 is a friendly, unfussy spot for dinner. Something for everyone, big plates and small plates. Takes reservations on OpenTable. Also, for art lovers, the Portland Museum of Art has a surprisingly diverse collection. It has anchored the community of artists in Portland for decades and is always worth a visit. (Children’s Museum is right next door!) – Erin Connor, Program Manager, Education
Liquid Riot is a great place to get a bite downtown. Affordable and delicious! – Lucas Good, Enrollment
The Honey Paw and Eventide (These are next to each other with a shared kitchen but different menus— on the same street as Duckfat). The Honey Paw is probably my favorite restaurant in Portland these days. They always have flavors and bites that are interesting and yummy. All three of the restaurants from this owner have been James Beard nominated or finalists. Central Provisions (the chef is a Mainer who used to be a chef in Boston. Has been James Beard nominated. Even if you don’t go there to eat, check out the bar downstairs. Great craft cocktails.) Bao Bao Dumpling House is really good for food. The chef has been nominated for James Beard awards a few years in a row. If you go to the Portland Museum of Art then you should get a meal (lunch or dinner) at Bao Bao. – Susan Graham-Rent, Instructional Designer
Restaurants with kids: Easy Day, Willows Pizza, Silly’s. For cheap eats: Tu Casa (El Salvadoran), Chicago Dogs (across the street from Best Western in South Portland – clean rooms and HEATED outdoor pool!), King of the Roll (sushi), Wild Burrito. – Susan Rooker, Program Assistant, Health Informatics
In town: if you are looking for ‘in the city and on the water’ I recommend Portland Lobster Company. They have a nice patio and live music. Portland Flatbread and RiRa Irish Pub are also dependable choices. These are pretty casual. In town: if you are looking for something a bit more upscale – the choices are endless. Restaurants include Grace, Grill Room, Corner Room, Fore Street, Vignola, and David’s. Can’t go wrong! If you are looking for something completely “Maine” and scenic – the Cape Elizabeth Lobster Shack is the place to go. It’s a bit out of town – six miles or so… but it’s a tried and true lobster shack on the cliffs. If the weather is nice it’s spectacular. Want high-end, scenic, and out of the city? Sea Glass Restaurant at the Inn by the Sea. Probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. They have a spectacular patio with an ocean view. Reservations required. If you want an adventure – go to Diamond’s Edge via the Casco Bay Ferry. Reservations (or at least a call-ahead) highly recommended! If you have a car and don’t mind a quick drive over the Casco Bay Bridge – Saltwater Grill in South Portland. This little jewel has a marina-side deck facing the city of Portland. Near the mall area and airport: I recommend Sebago Brewing. It’s local, has a wide variety on the menu, and is very affordable. Another recommendation is Sea Dog Brewing. Again, local, good and affordable. – Elizabeth Benz, Student Support
Tandem Bakery has the best breakfast sandwiches, Taco Escobarr is a great Mexican spot, Hot Suppa is great for brunch, Pai Men Miyake has delicious Ramen and Central Provisions is awesome for shared plates. Micucci’s is an amazing Italian specialty grocery market and they make a delicious pizza! – Leah Igo, Marketing
Do a free beer tasting and tour at Allagash Brewing on Industrial Way to celebrate (and enjoy the outdoor patio if it’s a nice day!)–and then check out some of the other breweries within walking distance (Austin St, Foundation, etc.). It’s both kid- and dog-friendly. – Hannah Young, Research and Strategy
If you want beer, there are a TON of brewpubs around… Foulmouthed is in SoPo and is popular with my coworkers. Also in SoPo is Foundation Brewery. The East Bayside neighborhood (Fox Street and Anderson Street) have some distilleries and such. I’m a fan of Urban Farm Fermentory’s tasting room. They do hard cider, kombucha and such. No food, though. Maine Craft Distilling is there as well as Rising Tide Brewery. There are usually food trucks at Rising Tide. Other places to drink that are fun or interesting or innovative: Alpine Hunt Club (craft cocktails), Vena’s Fizz House (craft cocktails), The North Point (wine, beer, cocktails… cute brickwork). – Susan Graham-Rent, Instructional Design
And lastly, here are a few taxi companies for your reference:
We can’t wait to see you in Portland for our 2017 Graduation!