There are endless things to do in Portland, Maine whether you’re visiting for a day or a long weekend. From breweries to some of the best restaurants on the East Coast and all the activities in between here are some of my favorite things to do in Portland, Maine for an amazing trip.
10+ Best Things to Do in Portland, Maine
Check out my list below for all the places to eat, where to drink, what to do and the best sights to see.
Eat Good Food!
Things to do in Portland: Eat at Great Restaurants
Eventide Oyster Co. – an oyster bar + small plates
The Honey Paw – a noodle bar with other small plates (a nice place to mix things up after all the seafood fare!)
Duckfat – They have both a restaurant and a smaller location at a brewery. They serve Belgian-style fries fried in (you guessed it) duck fat for an indulgent savory dish along with some unique dips like truffle ketchup. We enjoyed Duckfat’s location at Oxbow Brewing.
Central Provisions – small plates with a menu that rotates daily. You’ll find plenty of seafood on the menu that’s categorized as raw, cold, or hot. Central is often noted as one of the best restaurants in the city.
Hot Suppa – a must-have breakfast option that’s worth the wait
Mr. Tuna – a sushi stand that specializes in hand-rolls. One of my favorite bites in Maine.
OTTO – Pizza! They offer pizza by the slice. Makes a perfect stop for a quick bite with unique options as well as the traditional pepperoni slice.
Must-Visit Bakeries in Portland
Standard Baking Co. – pastries galore and freshly baked cookies
Two Fat Cats Bakery – an amazing name, plus amazing desserts and sweets. Get a whoopie pie to go!
Holy Donut – potato donuts that are dense and filling with loads of flavors to choose from. Order at least half a dozen. I still DREAM about these donuts!
Eat Lobster! Where is the best lobster in Portland, Maine!?
I recommend Portland Lobster Co. for your quintessential lobster dining experience. It’s a casual, seaside lobster shack with live music and fast service considering the crowds that are there.
When you arrive you’ll place your order for food and then if you want to dine-in you’ll put your name in for a table. They time it well so that you’re seated shortly before your food is ready. The lobster is fresh and you get a hearty portion for the price. I thought the sides were pretty great as well and the live music made it an entertaining spot. It’d be fun for a group too.
Things to do in Portland: Drink Good Beer & Spirits
It’s so easy to brewery & distillery hop in Portland. They offer brew bus tours if you’re really committed. But you could also just choose one neighborhood or area and hop around the breweries in that area.
Here’s the breweries & distilleries we enjoyed:
Oxbow Brewing – This brewery had a massive space for drinkers and was home to a Duckfat window so you can enjoy some awesome fries while drinking.
Shipyard Brewing Co. – This one had some board games and video games so you can stay entertained while imbibing. It would also make a good spot for the colder months.
Root Wild Kombucha – Not a traditional brewery, but you can get fresh ‘booch on tap and take a break from the alcohol.
Maine Craft Distilling – This is such a cute spot with something for everyone. They have an indoor and outdoor space plus a kitchen serving up more than your usual bar fare. We actually stopped here because they make their own rum which Ryan loves. They also can their own cocktails, so kind of like a White Claw, but a million times better, tbh.
Sweetgrass Distillery – We visited their cozy tasting room in Old Port. For $5 you can choose 4 samples! No better deal in the city.
Get On the Water
Go sailing, kayaking or paddle boarding. There are endless ways to enjoy the ocean in Portland. If you’re visiting during the summer I think it’s a non-negotiable to get in or on the water in some way.
Portland Schooner Co. is the top choice for sailing.
Portland Paddle is the #1 choice for kayaking and SUP offering tons of options, including a sunset excursion.
It does get a little cooler on the water, so plan to wear an extra layer the what you have on land to stay warm.
Visit East End Beach
East End Beach is Portland’s only public beach so there’s usually a good crowd during the summer months. It’s a pebble and sand beach so make sure you’ve got some sandals for walking. You can sunbathe and play in the water. The water isn’t going to be super warm because you’re still in New England but it’s refreshing on a hot summer day. You can also launch your kayaks and paddle boards here.
Walk the Eastern Promenade
Before or after enjoying the beach and the brews, walk along the Eastern Promenade. The Eastern Promenade Trail runs 2 miles long and takes you on a route alongside the harbor. From the beach you can take this trail back to downtown or use that as your starting point.
Things to do in Portland: Admire Lighthouses both Big and Small
Actually located in Cape Elizabeth, is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. After taking in the view, explore the surrounding Fort Williams area.
Portland Breakwater Light
Often referred to as the Bug Light Lighthouse given its smaller size. It’s only 26-feet tall.
Explore Casco Bay Islands
If you’re in Portland longer than a day or two then I highly recommend checking out the Bay’s Islands. You can take the Casco Bay Lines shuttle for a quick ride across the bay to the small islands. There is something for everyone on the islands with shopping, restaurants, kayaking and lots of relaxing. The islands include Bailey Island, Peaks Island, Cliff Island, Chebeague, Great Diamond, Little Diamond, Diamond Cove and Long Island. You could spend an entire day island hopping. Visit Portland has a guide to the vibe of each island.
Discover Old Port
Hop over to Old Port and wander up and down the streets. The architecture alone is worth admiring and there are plenty of shops and more to enjoy.
Enjoy the Nightlife
While Portland is a smaller city, there’s a pretty bustling nightlife, especially in the warmer months. We had fun at Arcadia National Bar which served good craft beer and had pinball, arcade games and board games. Plus, there was a TV live streaming a kitten rescue room so you could watch little kitties playing. Too cute!
We also enjoyed the views at Top of the East which was more upscale with great views of the city. It’s actually located in the Westin Portland which is where we stayed during our trip.
Have you ever visited Portland, Maine? If you have any additional recommendations let me know below!
Want to see more of Maine? Read this 10 – Day New England Road Trip Travel Guide next.
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Casey is the founder of Casey La Vie & has been running this travel and lifestyle blog since 2016. She’s on a mission to balance her career as a social media manager with exploring her home of New York City and seeing more of the world.