Spending a day in Portland Maine
This charming city is a popular port of call for New England cruises particularly in the fall along with cruises visiting Canada’s Maritime Provinces and Old Quebec.
Called Machigonne by the original Native Americans the Portland peninsula was settled by the British in 1632 as a trading port. Development quickly followed and the area became a center for shipping and trading. The town was named Portland in 1786, and when in 1820 Maine became a state, Portland was its first capital.
Portland is a great city to explore and right on the waterfront the Old Port offers a glimpse into the cities history. Old Port is also noted for its microbreweries and remarkable restaurants, so sign up for a free brewery tour or head to the waterfront piers and enjoy some of Maine’s freshest lobster and seafood.
Where Your Ship Docks
Your ship will dock at the cruise ship piers right in the center of Old Port. Your first stop should be at the Portland Visitor Center only a block or two from your pier. They’re eager to offer suggestions on what to visit and they have a great free map.
There’s more than enough to keep you busy within easy walking distance of the dock. Taxis are readily available but a better choice would be to book with the Uber app. The Portland METRO provides bus service throughout the Greater Portland region and makes convenient stops within walking distance of museums, shops, restaurants and historic landmarks. See the Metro website HERE.
Portland is a U.S. port and the currency accepted is the U.S. Dollar. Some places will also accept Canadian money but you’re probably better off converting to US Dollars. Most credit cards are welcome and ATMs are easy to find.
There’s much to explore in Maine’s maritime history with lighthouses and forts nearby on the coast. Stroll Portland’s neighborhoods preserved 19th and 20th century warehouses, homes and mansions near the heart of the city’s downtown. Spend time browsing through shops and galleries lining the cobblestone streets of the Old Port or find a microbrewery for a pint and maybe lunch.
Eastern Promenade – a neighborhood with incredible views of Casco Bay. Its large lawns are a great place to watch the boats on the water. It features a small beach open to the public.
Portland Museum of Art – Charles Shipman Payson wing built 1979-83. Henry N. Cobb of I.M. Pei, architect. Contemporary Post- Modern, reflects a traditional architectural vocabulary. Built of locally-made brick with granite string courses.
Portland Observatory Museum – National Historic Landmark in Portland’s East End. Only remaining signal tower in America. Views of cruise ships, lighthouses, and Western Mountains.
Victoria Mansion – This National Historic Landmark was originally built in the mid-1800s as a summer house for hotelier Ruggles Morse. After the mansion was damaged during a hurricane in 1938, the house was scheduled for demolition. To save a local resident bought the home and turned it into a museum.
Take the opportunity to head out to Freeport, it’s only 18 miles away featuring world-famous outlets and L.L.Bean’s original store that’s open every day 24 hours.