Portland is a city with a rich nightlife, shopping, and tourism. But it’s also a city that easily maintains a small-town feel.

Portlanders can watch the area bloom with tourism in the summer, when the waterfront comes alive with sailing, outdoor events, and lobster bun munching. And in winter, when the snow melts on the cobblestone streets of the Old Port, you can enjoy the beauty of the area that usually only Mainlanders have the opportunity to experience year-round.

Given its location by the sea, Portland offers unrivaled access to several hot weather destinations. Watch the popular beaches and historic Old Port fill up with day-trippers during the summer months, and when the winter winds blow, gather and enjoy the tranquil nature of these places when tourism dies down.

  • Eastern Promenade: Yes, the views are as majestic as the name suggests. The two-mile walk along this stretch of coastline consists of two parallel paths paved with stone dust, so you can tailor your walk to suit your footwear.
  • East End Beach: Follow the boardwalk long enough and you’ll come to East End Beach, Portland’s only public beach.
  • Higgins Beach: A 20-minute drive south of the city, this Scarborough gem boasts soft sand to stretch out on – if you time the tide right. In the water, expect to see surfers in wetsuits making the most of the waves.
  • Old Orchard Beach: Join the masses in Old Orchard, a town whose modest population grows exponentially during the summer months when out-of-towners flock to the beach.
  • Willard Beach: A small but gorgeous beach in South Portland offers free parking, outdoor showers, and a snack stand to make the most of a sunny day.
  • Scarborough Beach: Ten miles outside of Portland, this state park fills up quickly in the summer, so be sure to arrive bright and early. (Or take advantage of the free street parking and uncrowded beach in the off-season.)

As the most populous city in Maine, Portland is made up of 21 rich and distinctive neighborhoods, each of which deserves to be explored. To start your discovery, here’s a quick snapshot of a few of the most popular communities.

  • West End: Those who love Victorian architecture will swoon over this enclave. Brick houses covered in green ivy and luxurious private gardens make for a scenic stroll through the neighborhood. (Note: historic beauty comes at a price – West End real estate is more expensive than most other parts of Portland.)
  • Downtown: If you want to be in the center of the action, head downtown. Stroll down Congress Street to enjoy breakfast at a chic hotel, delicious vegetarian cuisine, art galleries filled with local talent, and much more.
  • East End: This area occupies the northeastern part of the peninsula. It is home to Manjoy Hill, East End Beach, Portland’s