Have you visited Portland, ME? If not let me tell you all about it! With fall right around the corner, it’s a perfect little weekend getaway destination. In August we went to Portland, ME. Officially, as a family, we have now checked off that we have visited all the New England states. Yeah, quite the accomplishment, I know. Just kidding, but really it was something we have been meaning to do and so happy we could do it together.

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From Connecticut the ride should have typically taken about 3 hours when in reality it was close to 4 due to lots of people going on vacation and the beaches. This time however, gave us plenty of opportunity to annoy each other as families do and listen to murder solving podcasts that were totally way more interesting than I ever even knew.
With that said, Portland was as interesting and beautiful as I saw in pictures. We all wanted to go for various reasons: Scott; the craft beer, Gabbie; an authentic lobster dinner/bake experience and me … you guessed it boutique shopping, artisan shops and donuts. Don’t judge … I’m obsessed with good donuts and cool coffee shops. They are my weakness.
We were there for 3 days two of which were dreary with scattered showers and on the 3rd day, the sun shined in all its glory. It was the perfect New England day! Even when it was dreary and rainy, there was this casual, laid back vibe to Portland that still beckoned us to explore its old world back alleys in Old Port and find the perfect spots to check off our must visit lists. With that said, I’m sharing the places we thought are ones you totally should put on your list if you ever find your way to this quaint coastal New England city, the most populated of any city in all of Maine.


HOLY DONUT: I heard The Holy Donut was the must visit doughnut shop, but we certainly didn’t expect to see such a long line. Did the line move fast? Yes, Was the wait worth it? Absolutely!

Holy Donut Portland maine

The bacon and lemon doughnuts where two of my favs, but they were all good. They generally have 16 variety of doughnuts to choose from on a daily bases. Holy Donut Portland maine

VIGNOLA CINQUE TERRE: We happened upon Vignola Cinque Terre the first night when looking for somewhere to have dinner. We were lucky to get a seat as we didn’t have a reservation and they are a hopping spot in the heart of Portland’s historic Old Port. They serve up an Italian inspired wine bar with a beautiful rustic chic dining space. The staff was wonderful and the food (based in farm to table roots) was delicious. The selection of wine was top notch and there was quite the variety to choose from. I sipped on a rose, while Scott and Gabbie enjoyed a full bodied red.

Vignola Cinque Terre

BECKY’S: Over and over again, when we asked “where should we go for breakfast”? Becky’s Diner was always at the top of the list. So guess, what…that’s where we headed. There was a line and yes we waited, and waited. OK let me not exaggerate. The wait was about 20 mins. Which wasn’t to bad considering the line of people waiting when we walked up. The food, honestly, was way better than I was expecting. The coffee was the and everything that could be sourced locally was. An all around great way to start the day.

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This sauce was so good! It’s made locally and was a really yummy balance of hot and sweet. Delish on eggs and they sell them there as well if you want to take a bottle home.

where to go for breakfast portland maine

PORTLAND LOBSTER CO: Gabbie wanted to relish in her lobster bake and we ventured off to one of the best places on the water to do just that. Portland Lobster Co. They came highly recommended. We tried to go on our 2nd day but the wait was to long. So we successfully enjoyed lobster on our last day and everything was as fresh as can be. Gabbie was in lobster heaven. They have dockside seating on a deck and lots of it, so even though no reservations are accepted, you generally should be able to get in at a fair enough wait time and eat while taking in the beautiful view of the harbor. You can also choose to take out if that is what you so desire. When ordering, you place your order and then wait with a buzzer. Once your order is ready, you head over to the pickup window, get your food and then take a seat and enjoy.

Portland Lobster company

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where to get a lobster bake in portland maine

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best place for a lobster bake in portland maine


There are 4 key things you can do in Portland, ME as a tourist:

1. Shop boutiques in Old Port

2. Visit craft breweries (they have so many there)

3. See a play or even a concert

4. Tour around by foot, trolley or bike


PORTLAND HEAD LIGHT HO– USE:  Visit Fort Williams Park and go see the Portland Head Lighthouse on the cliffs of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth (about 15-20 minutes away from downtown Portland.) Built in 1791 and commissioned by George Washington, it is one of the most photographed light houses in the world. There are no less than 6 light houses that line the Portland harbor, but this one is by far the most visited.

things to do in Portland Maine

Feel free to take a trolley tour that will not only take you around the city but will also take you up there to the lighthouse. Click here to learn about taking a trolley tour.

things to do in Portland Maine

things to do in Portland Maine

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Portland, Maine, has 17 microbreweries in operation and a population of just under 67,000 people. That equates to 25.5 breweries per 100,000 people, the highest rate per capita of any city in the country. Scott was very excited to visit some. We hit up the following 4:

BISSELL BROTHERS: Bissell Brothers was by far the biggest and busiest of the breweries we visited. Scott really enjoyed Nothing Gold, it’s a double IPA that’s very much New England style. Be warned that there will be a long line and make sure to get in the correct one depending on if you want cans or pours.

things to do in Portland Maine

GOOD FIRE: The atmosphere at Good Fire was pretty casual and the space not to big at Good Fire, it wasn’t overly crowded but certainly had a steady stream of visitors that day. Parking is in the back and shares the parking with two other breweries in the same building. Prime was the beer of choice and Scott loved this beer so much so that he bought several cans to take home. It’s a citra IPA for those of you that enjoy that.

portland maine breweries

portland maine breweries

LONE PINE: I really liked the fun decor in the tasting room at Lone Pine and the way they merchandised the branded items that they sold.  The beer flights are served up on locally recycled skis which I found fun and darn right pretty cool. His favorite from the tasting was Tessellation.

portland maine breweries

portland maine breweries

FOUNDATION BREWING COMPANY: This brewery was one of the smaller ones we went to. In this particular building where Foundation Brewing Company is located, there are multiple breweries for you to visit. Epiphany is a Maine style IPA served up at Foundation that Scott really enjoyed and clarifies that it has more tropical notes to the flavor. A must try!

portland maine breweries

There is typically a food truck to serve food to visitors to this industrial beer building. That day Farm to Coast was there serving up selections from their chef designed menu. We munched on these Pork Belly Sliders with roasted garlic aioli, tomato, greens. OMG they were so good! If you happen to visit while they are there, please try these, they are beyond good, every bite will be an explosion of flavor.

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Cellardoor Winery: Right next door to Bissell Brothers you will find Cellardoor Winery. This was a pleasant and unexpected find. Inside you will find a gorgeous showroom to enjoy a wine tasting but you can also purchase and snack on pre packaged cracker, cheese and fruit platters, shop for homegoods as well as bring in outside food that can be enjoyed in the back in a beautiful and glamorous eating space. There were several bachelorette parties happening while we were visiting. I guess that’s the thing to do up in that neck of New England.

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Portland was a really special place that we woulnd’t mind visiting again. If you want a laid back, relaxing way to vacation or getaway, put Portland on your list.

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