There are so many hidden gems in the United States, and Portland, Maine’s one of them. If you’re looking to get away for a few days, I highly recommend visiting ME! Whether you’re a foodie or a nature-lover, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this town. Acadia National Park is the epitome of beauty, and Portland’s food scene could rival any major city’s. So, sit back and see why you need to visit ASAP.
What to Do in Portland, Maine
Shop at Freeport Outlets
If you’re looking to score a good deal or five, make sure you stop by Freeport. They have over 80 stores in the area with everything from national outlets to charming local boutiques. Plan to spend at least half a day here! And don’t forget to stop by the L.L. Bean flagship store to take a picture with their giant boot. It’s touristy but fun nonetheless!
Walk Around Downtown Portland
Speaking of shopping, there are so many cute stores in downtown Portland so throw on your walking shoes and get your exploration on. Just know that Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine is an absolute must! It’s a small, family owned business that’s been supporting local for the past 15 years. They feature over 400+ Maine businesses so suffice it to say, there’s a lot to see. Also, make a note to visit Sherman’s. It’s an eclectic bookstore that’s been around since 1886, and they have a fairly large selection with bargain books, unique gifts, and more.
Visit Portland Head Light
When one thinks of Maine, lighthouses immediately come to mind. Portland Head Light’s the most photographed lighthouse in America so it’s definitely worth a visit. Located adjacent to Fort Willams Park, it’s open from sunrise to sunset, and admission’s free. You have to pay for parking though, but it’s really cheap, and they have a huge lot so it’s convenient. There’s a museum on site that’s accessible for a small fee along with 4 food trucks and a gift shop! Their Maine magnets, mini jars of blueberry jam and tiny snow globes make great gifts.
Stop by the Portland Museum of Art
The Portland Museum of Art is the oldest public art institution in the state, and they have over 22,000 masterpieces in their collection. Explore three centuries of work featuring artists from all genres, spanning everything from impressionism to cubism. Tickets are $18 per person, $15 for students and seniors over 65, and free for everyone under 21. If you go on a Friday from 4-8PM, admission’s free so try to go during that time frame to take advantage.
Explore their Local Breweries
Think of Maine as beer heaven. They have over 90 breweries in state so there’s a lot to choose from, but here are top recommendations from beer specialist, Tim Liu. He’s the assistent beer director at NRG so you know you’re getting the best information possible.
“Allagash is seriously one of the best breweries in the country. They do everything the right way, from making beer to taking care of their staff. The vibe’s super comfortable and chill. Oxbow’s also great, but in a different way! They feature local artists on their walls, and their music’s always cranked up high. Think hip hop, Japanese, and Maine all fused into one. They often host hip hop DJs for energetic shows, and they have a really cool frites shop on their patio called Duck Fat. They also do yakitori out there on Fridays!
Bissell Brothers Brewing Company is another fantastic option. They’re modern and industrial, and their beer’s really good. If you’re down to venture outside Portland, Maine Beer Company’s a must. They make some of the best IPAs in the country, and if you go during the fall, the foliage is beautiful. On top of that, they also donate 1% of all their sales to charity AND have a great pizza shop on site.”
What to Eat in Portland, Maine
The Highroller Lobster Co.
Highroller started off as a food cart in 2015, and they’ve been killing the game ever since. They’re known for their lobster rolls, but I’m a big fan of their lobster grilled cheese. Think fresh Maine lobster on english muffin loaf, loaded with jarlsberg and cabot cheese. Need I say more? Get a side of Old Bay fries with curried ketchup for a complete meal that will hit the spot every time.
For killer Japanese food that will undoubtedly impress, head to Mami. Like Highroller, they also started off as a food truck. Their menu’s fairly short, but it’s hard to choose when everything sounds so delish. Must try dishes include their poke don and okonomiyaki. The former’s almost too beautiful to eat! It’s loaded with fresh salmon, avo, cukes, and other goodies, then topped with citrus soy and toasted sesame. The latter’s a savory pancake of sorts, and it contains pork belly, cabbage, veggies, and other nom sauces that will give you all the umami feels. Enjoy your food in this trendy fast casual restaurant before heading to your next adventure!
Everyone raves about The Holy Donut, but I’m team HiFi all the way. I tried both when I visited and thought their potato donuts were subpar. I know, I know, it’s like telling a Californian that In-N-Out sucks, but it is what it is. Their donuts were greasy and they tasted old whereas HiFi was as fresh as can be. I was very impressed with their quality, flavors, and price point.
And not only are their donuts delicious, they make some seriously nom breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Everything’s affordable so your wallet will be just as happy as your stomach! Try their eggplant or their peri peri chicken for serious mouthgasms. You’re welcome in advance.
Suga Suga Macarons
Tara from Suga Suga makes THE most amazing macarons I’ve ever had. She offers unique flavors like cider donut, cosmic brownie batter, and banana bread, and the texture’s unlike anything I’ve ever had. On top of selling scrumptious baked goods, she teaches workshops and collaborates with other local businesses for events and the like. I had the pleasure of attending one at Cellar Door winery, and it was an unforgettable experience. Follow her on instagram to stay in the know and hope that you’re lucky enough to attend one while you’re visiting.
Gross Confection Bar
This bougie dessert bar is perfect for date night! If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth in the classiest way possible, add this to your itinerary. It’s dimly lit, and the ambiance is romantic. Coupled with the incredible smell of sweets, Gross will leave you completely and utterly intoxicated. The staff’s very helpful, and they’re eager to help you choose the dessert of your dreams so don’t be shy and ask all the questions you want.
Go during happy hour to get discounted prices on various plates! I ordered the brown butter carrot cake and the pistachio profiterole, and after trying a bite, I regretted not getting the tasting board so get the tasting board.
In the mood for authentic Sichuan cuisine? If you’re craving solid Chinese food, definitely make sure to stop by Sichuan Kitchen. All their dishes are straight fire – like literally, their food’s quite spicy – and their dumplings are to die for. Go during lunch to take advantage of their $10 special, and get one entree and one side dish to enjoy. Also, most everything can be made vegetarian/vegan so feel free to bring all your friends and fam.
Eventide Oyster Co.
Everyone talks about Eventide, and after trying their food, it’s not hard to understand why. They’re known for their oysters, but their brown butter lobster roll could stop wars. It’s tiny and expensive but worth every penny. The lobster’s succulent and coated in butter, and the bread is as soft as can be. Think 3-4 perfect bites that will leave your stomach happy and satisfied. Also make sure to try their lobster stew and their fried oysters.
Where to Stay in Portland, Maine
Looking for a nice but affordable place to stay? Embassy Suites is a great option for a number of reasons. I’m not sure if you caught my detailed recap a while back, but here’s a quick refresher in case you want a short summary. The rooms are nice and spacious, and their amenities are great. Their fast wifi’s included in the price, and they have a free breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelettes available for guests.
They also have a fun manager’s reception daily with free food and drink so that’s a definite perk. Parking’s free, and it’s a pet-friendly hotel so feel free to bring your furbaby along with you on your trip. They also have complimentary shuttle service to and from downtown Portland so definitely take advantage of that if you don’t feel like renting a car! For more information regarding my stay there, click here.
Alright friends, I hope you enjoyed my latest travel guide to Portland, Maine. Have any of you been? If yes, I want to hear all about your trip. What did you enjoy? Where did you eat? Leave me details below! For those of you looking to go, feel free to reach out with questions! And in the meantime, check out my travel tab to read about other adventures. Until next time, friends.