Visitors to the Greater Portland region will find more than
enough to explore without even leaving the peninsula. Though smaller than some
of its east coast rivals, this little city has a world-class dining scene, a
truly magnificent art museum, and plenty of places to enjoy the scenic rocky
coast. The city maintains much of its 19th century architecture and flavor and
the character of the trading and fishing settlement it once was when it was
established in 1632.
& Cultural Center
Today, visitors will find a working waterfront where fishing
boats arrive and depart, mingling with a sophisticated urban center. The
cobblestone streets of the Old Port lead strollers to local boutiques and pubs
or to the local fish market for lobster and seafood. Portland is well known as
a foodie mecca, and it earns its raves with its award-winning chefs and innovative
dishes made with fresh local ingredients found in the bounty of area
restaurants. In the heart of the downtown, the Arts District provides
impressive cultural opportunities as well, from independent galleries to the lauded
collection at the Portland Museum of Art.
Ferry rides to Portland’s neighboring islands are popular
day trips, rivalled only by the spectacular opportunities for hikes on the
Portland Trails. Visitors can also take in the West End’s historic buildings or
the Eastern Promenade’s rolling hills, or stop at an outdoor concert at
Monument Square. They may even end up joining the locals at the Saturday
morning farmers’ market in Deering Oaks Park, where the people watching is
excellent and the fountains truly lovely.
Harbor, at the western end of Casco Bay borders the city’s downtown and is one
of the busiest ports on the Maine coast. Those visiting will observe the
comings and goings of its commercial fishing fleet, cargo ships, and ferries carrying
passengers to nearby islands. One of the most exciting things about a visit to
Portland is taking in this authentic working waterfront. From a nearby
restaurant or hotel, onlookers can watch the fisherman unloading their catch on
the dock, and even dine beside them for breakfast on the waterfront before they
start their workday on the water.