Indoor Ideas for Kids, Adults or Families

The skies darken, lightning flashes, and buckets of rain pour down, but don’t panic - your vacation has just taken a turn for the better! Not far from those storm clouds is the silver lining of our delightful cultural oasis, Portland! Rain-soaked families, muddy campers, and outdoor enthusiasts looking to salvage their visits turn to our visitor center specialists for ways to keep active when unexpected weather arrives, and find enough ideas to put the smiles back on beneath their umbrellas.

Portland’s Captivating Museums & Galleries

Portland’s many museums and cultural centers are warm refuges, presenting art, history, science, heritage, engaging activities, or just warm comfort in engaging venues. At the center of Congress Street, the Portland Museum of Art anchors the Arts District, offering the spectrum of artistic styles in its galleries, classical sculptures, the period-restored McLellan House, and a jazz brunch on Sundays. The Victoria Mansion is a unique time capsule, built by Maine native Sylvester Ruggles Morse who made his fortune as a New Orleans hotelier and built this opulent summer brownstone to escape the Louisiana heat. The landmark has been restored to its original grandeur, with over 90 percent of the original furnishings still intact, each created specifically for the rooms they embellish! The Portland Observatory and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow home also offer interesting views into Portland’s colonial period as a territory of Massachusetts. The Maine Irish Heritage Center, in the West End, is located not far from the immigrant enclave where the great film producer John Ford spent his youth.

Activities for Kids & Families

As a city which looks towards its next generation, children’s activities abound in Portland. The drama at Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, next door to the Portland Museum of Art, goes beyond the stage; three levels of interactivity has infants levitating beach balls, toddlers fixing race cars, preschoolers catching lobsters, grade school children fighting fires, middle school students travelling the world, and children of all ages flying a space shuttle. Families can also enjoy a sweeping harbor view as they journey in the dry comfort of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad's train and explore the luxurious state cars in the museum. Think outside the box and get creative with your rainy day ideas. Visit The Honey Exchange. Kids get an opportunity to learn about honeybees and safely see the workings of the bees in their observation hive.  There are plenty of hands on activities for kids and parents to do together, explore your interests and have fun.

What do you do if it's raining and you need an inside activity... go bowling. Whether it's a family function, rallying to show support for your favorite team, or just an average night out that becomes a epic evening for the books - great food and an inviting atmosphere can always bring people together! Bayside Bowl is located in Portland's downtown and was voted Best New Restaurant in 2011 - Portland Phoenix Annual Readers' Poll; they offer a unique dining experience directly connected to 12 bowling lanes and big stage with weekly live music performances. Easy Day is located in South Portland with a full service family style restaurant and late night fun! Facility includes panoramic city views with 10 lanes of bowling. Featuring live entertainment, DJs & special events - all with incredible service! 

Activities for the Adults

Trolley tours of the city provide an amusing and educational way to stay dry and still see the sites. For those who prefer walking, Shipyard Brewing Co. has free indoor tours of its brewing facility with samples to warm your insides before venturing out again. If it's wine and food you love, join Wine Wise Sommelier Erica Archer on a wine and food pairing walking tour visiting four great restaurants all within a short walking distance from each other. Maine Foodie Tours has some wonderful short walks for you too, their lobster luncheon and happy hour tours are both very short walks so easily done in the rain. If you want to see and taste Maine's breweries with the ease of your own tour bus, The Maine Brew Bus tours are ALL INCLUSIVE and provide 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! Maine is a haven for craft beer, and what better way to enjoy the Maine beer experience than to have Maine Beer Tours bring you to where the magic happens!

See the Sights – or Just Relax

Day spas such as Nine Stones on Commercial Street in the Old Port helps ladies chip off the mud and feel human again. The Mensroom Salon & Lounge, just up Union Street in Monument Square, offers similar amenities for men, along with a game of pool and big-screen sports.

Visit Maine Lighthouses – Rain or Shine

But if you are not completely daunted by sunless weather, there is no better way to experience any of the harbor’s six lighthouses than to see them in action for exactly the weather they were built for. There is something beautifully haunting about a foghorn calling through the mist, and magic in a beam of light slicing through the fog at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park.

No matter how one chooses to weather the storm, it’s a comfort to know that Portland has welcoming shelters that are no less inviting than when the sun is shining.

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Portland, Maine
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