I’ve lived in Southern Maine my whole life, in this article you’ll find the 28 best things to do in Portland, Maine that you won’t want to miss out on. I’ve even lived in Portland for a couple of years so I have a lot of first-hand experience in this city.
I made this article actionable, you can find links to each of the things I recommend so you can get the information you need easily. I am not affiliated with anything I recommend in this article, these are completely unbiased recommendations.
Things To Do In Portland, Maine
1. Catch a Portland Sea Dogs Game
The Portland Sea dogs are a Maine minor league baseball team and they start playing in Spring. You can take a look at their schedule here.
2. Visit The Portland Headlight
The Portland Headlight is a must-see headlight because it’s very picturesque, although it’s not technically in Portland it’s not far away. It’s located a little more southeast than Portland in Fort Williams Park in the town of Cape Elizabeth. You can do more than just look at the headlight, there is a museum, seasonal shop, and a 90-acre park where you can picnic, hike, play sports, view historical structures, and observe the spectacular ocean views.
3. The Holy Donut In Portland
The Holy Donut is where you’ll find Maine’s famous potato donut. The ingredient potato was an experiment while trying to find a healthier, fresher donut using local ingredients. Mashed potatoes ended up being the perfect addition to a donut because it gives the donuts a moist and rich texture. Thus, the Holy Donut potato donut was born.
4. Visit Portland’s Eastern Promenade
The Eastern Promenade is the eastern-most road in the East End of Portland. North of this road you will find a lot of public lands. For example, you can check out the community gardens, East End Beach, tennis courts, baseball fields, food trucks, parking with views… and more. Additionally, if you follow this paved road it will eventually turn into a trail (Eastern Promenade Trail) where it will bring you to Portland’s Old Port.
5. Visit Beaches Near Portland Maine
One beach in Portland is East End Beach located in the Eastern Promenade. However, there aren’t many beaches located in Portland but there are a handful of nice beaches near Portland. Some popular options are nearby beaches include Crescent Beach, Higgin’s Beach, Willard Beach, Ferry Beach, Pine Point Beach, Scarborough Beach, and Old Orchard Beach (OOB)
6. Go Whale Watching Out of Portland
There are whale-watching tours that you can go on, and you’ll be guided to the best places to see whales and other ocean wildlife. One of the most popular whale watching tours in Portland, Maine is Odyssey Whale Watch
7. Portland Guided Lobster Boat Tours
Although there is more than one lobster boat tour company in Portland, a popular lobster boat tour is Rockey Bottom Fisheries. On these tours, you get to see how lobstering is done from beginning to end. You’ll go through the process of baiting traps, pulling traps, checking traps for lobsters, and learning about lobster history, rules, and regulations. There is a lot to see when you’re out on the water and you’ll be taken on a tour of the area so you can see landmarks and learn about the history of the area from the water.
8. Eat Wicked Good Lobster Rolls
You can’t come to Maine and not have a lobstah roll! There are many places to go for lobster, but a favorite in the Portland area is The Highroller Lobster Co. This company began selling lobster out of a hot dog cart, their food became such a hit that in a few years they were able to open up a restaurant that is now well-known locally and internationally.
9. Go Sailing – Portland Schooner Co.
Going on a 2-hour sailboat cruise is one of the most unique things to do in Maine. The Portland Schooner Co offers both public and private charters and it’s a great way to view the beauty of the rugged coastline, lighthouses, seals, and seabirds.
10. Spend The Day Traveling To Art Museums
There are 9 noteworthy art museums in Maine. They are:
- Abbe Museum
- Bates College Museum of Art
- Bowdoin College Museum of Art
- Colby College Museum of Art
- Farnsworth Art Museum
- Monhegan Museum of Art & History
- Ogunquit Museum of American Art
- Portland Museum of Art
- Zillman Art Museum
You’ll see that #8 on the list is the Portland Museum of Art. Collectively, these museums form The Maine Art Museum Trail which is a great resource for planning your trips to these museums. They even have a map showing the location of each museum.
11. Island Hopping In Casco Bay
Casco Bay has a lot of unique Islands, you can find ferries out of Portland that will bring you to many of these islands. Casco Bay Lines is a great option because they have many ferries coming and going so you’re not stuck on an island very long when you’re ready to head to the next one.
12. Portland Maine Golfing
Riverside Golf Course is a great golf course and is the only golf course located within Portland. However, there are a number of other golf courses that are just outside of Portland.
13. Bowling & Rooftop Bar
Bayside Bowl is a unique place to bowl. Not only is bowling a great time, but they also have a rooftop bar to hang out at after you’re done bowling. There’s also regular seating on the roof and you can order food and drinks.
14. Arcadia – Drink Beer and Play Arcade Games
Arcadia National Bar is a bar where you can order food, drinks, and also play arcade games. This bar has a fun and relaxed atmosphere where you’ll find arcade, console, pinball, and board games. Drinks consist of mostly beer but with some spirits.
15. Explore Casco Bay In A Kayak
Portland Paddle is a Portland-based company that offers guided kayak trips or watersport rental if you’re looking for a more DIY approach to exploring.
16. Bug Light Park
Bug Light Park is located in South Portland, Maine. The attraction to this park is the Bug Light Lighthouse. It’s a small lighthouse, but a historical lighthouse with good views of the harbor.
17. The Rink At Thompson’s Point
Go ice skating at the Thompson’s Point ice rink, not only do they have 10,000 sq ft of ice to skate on, but they also have an on-site food vendor where you can get food, treats, drinks, and warm beverages. Additionally, they offer student nights and family nights.
18. Snowshoe On Maine’s Public Lands
Basically, all you need to do is look up public lands in Portland, grab some snowshoes, and start snowshoeing.
19. Catch a Maine Mariners Game
If you like hockey, Maine Mariners hockey games are a fun time. The Mariners are an AA hockey league based in Portland, Maine. Watching these games is one of the more fun things to do in Maine with kids and without breaking the bank.
20. Portland Escape Room Games
Escape rooms are a fun thing to do in the winter because they’re a fun indoor activity when it’s cold outside. If you’ve never been to an escape room, basically it’s a 60-minute real-life immersive adventure game where you solve puzzles, uncover clues, and crack codes to progress through the game. The Escape Room is a popular escape room located in Portland, Maine.
Basically, there is a big wooden bullseye and you try to get an ax to stick in the bullseye. There are different types of axes to keep things interesting and there is a bar where you get drinks, snacks, and pizza. The Axe Pit is located just outside of Portland in South Portland, Maine.
22. Back Cove Trail
The Back Cove Trail can be a fun thing to do in Portland, Maine. This trail is circular and runs along the outside edge of Back Cove. This trail is used by bikers, runners, dog walkers, and scenery observers. It’s also a great thing to do in Portland with kids. Here is all the information you need to know about the Back Cove Trail.
23. Go Striper Fishing On The Coast
Striper fishing is a lot of fun and the smaller schoolies are easy to catch. This makes it a fun thing to do in Maine with kids. Additionally, you can hire a guide in Portland who will have all of the striper fishing gear ready to go. It will also greatly increase your chances of catching larger fish and more fish.
24. Go Seal Watching
If you’re looking to see some seals you can go on seal-watching tours, you’ll see some other great ocean wildlife while you’re out there. Odyssey Whale Watch has some great seal-watching opportunities. This seal cruise is perfect for the entire family.
25. Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine
The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is a museum in Portland designed for kids. There are a lot of things to play on, play with, and see. With all of the different activities, it will keep kids engaged for a long time. This museum is brand new in 2021. This is a great YouTube video that shows a lot of the activities.
26. Grab Coffee In Portland’s Old Port
Visiting the Old Port is a fun thing to do in Portland Maine for couples. There are a lot of cafés in close proximity so there’s no lack of choice. Once you get your coffee you can walk around the Old Port and visit the many small shops. You’re also a short walk from the Ocean.
27. Grab A Drink In Portland’s Old Port
Another thing to do in Portland Maine is to get a drink in the Old Port. There are a ton of bars in a small area to choose from, they’re so close that bar hopping is easy. There are also many great restaurants in the area, the Old Port has some of the best nightlife Maine has to offer. The Bar of Chocolate is a favorite.
28. Thompson’s Point Live Music & Drinks
Not only does Thompson’s Point have ice skating, drinks, and food in the winter; they also have live music, food, and drinks in the summer. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Maine for couples, Thompson’s Point usually has you covered.
Hopefully, you’ve found this list of things to do in Portland Maine helpful and actionable. Do you see anything that should be on the list, that isn’t? Let me know in the comments below. If you’re looking for Maine activities you might like 100+ Best Things To Do In Maine.