maximize your time in town
What to see and do in Under 3 hours
Only have a few hours to spend in the Portland region? Well, whether you are coming in on a cruise ship, here for an event, or are just passing through—there are lots of reasons to come and spend some of your valuable time in Maine. Here are a few options for anyone trying to make the most of their time and get as much out of their experience as possible.—no matter what your time table is.
cruise casco bay
For those eager to find playful seals or maybe even a wild puffin—can explore the Maine’s coast by boat. Hop on Casco Bay Lines’ year-round ferry for a cruise or a trip over to one of Portland’s coastal islands. The Calendar Islands were named due to the fact you could seemingly visit one every day of the year and still not run out of options. There are a lot of ways to get on the water in Portland. You can hop on a lobstering tour—learn how to haul traps and even bring your catch over to a local restaurant and have them cook it for you or hop on a historic windjammer cruise. Most cruises and tours last about 1-3 hours. Learn more.
breweries , wineries, and distilleries
Those interested in craft beer culture can do so by taking one of the city’s popular “brew” buses where knowledgeable guides provide the stops, and local breweries and distilleries provide the tastings and behind-the-scenes activity. Experience Portland’s old world charm while getting a taste of what award-winning chefs and nationally recognized restaurants have to offer – the ultimate culinary adventure for both serious foodies and dabblers in foodie culture. You can find quick brewery and walking tours under an hour or longer more in-depth experiences that typically last 3 hours. Learn more.
One of the most entertaining ways to get the inside scoop on the city’s legends and lore is on one of the city’s popular bus or trolley tours, where passengers wind through the Old Port, view the historic buildings and architectural treasures, and get a close-up view of the working waterfront, all while hearing interesting and fun tales of the city. Tours are generally 1 hour for Portland’s city tours but you can also take an excursion to Freeport, Kennebunkport, and the scenic Maine coast. Learn more.
explore on your own
There is so much to see and do in the Portland region. Just walking around the Old Port—popping into boutique shops and settling in to a nice lunch on the water—would soak up your three hours in no time. Walk the historic cobblestone streets and brick pathways and uncover murals, sculptures, and live music in our squares as you go. Check out one of our local museums and historic sights for touring and ongoing exhibits that have won national acclaim. Learn More.
QUICK TIPS WHEN VISITING PORTLAND
- On street parking at meters and free time limit spaces are free after 6pm, on Sundays and major holidays.
- Bringing your own food, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic beverages for your own consumption is allowed on Casco Bay Lines ferry boats.
- Local dining and drinking establishments may offer late afternoon/early evening as well as late night Happy Hours.
- Open Lighthouse Day, in September, allows access to go into over 2 dozen lighthouses in Maine.
- Walk down and explore Wharf St. named one of “America’s Prettiest Cobblestone Streets” in USA Today.
- The Portland Observatory is the only remaining historic maritime signal station in the United States.
- Visit one of Portland’s fantastic bakeries to try the official Maine state treat, the whoopie pie or the official state dessert, blueberry pie.
- Portland is home to one of the oldest continuously running farmers market in the country, established in 1768. Open late from late April into late autumn on Wednesdays in Monument Square and Saturdays in Deering Oak Park. During winter it moves indoors.
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From family vacations to wedding weekends, and everything in between, we have the travel plan for your picture perfect vacation. Whether you’re interested in our art & culture scene, food + drink, or outdoor adventures—we got your back. Safe travels! Learn more.
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