Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Portland? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Portland, Maine?”
First thing first. The other Portland (Ore.) was named after this one. So, we’re talking about the original-flavor Portland in this guide — the low-key, no pretense, must-see cultural hub of Maine. The city has evolved over the past 25 years, but it still is the central casting equivalent of “quaint, charming New England town.” Its music and, more often, dining scenes have garnered national attention for up-and-coming brilliance, but locals know Portland has consistently punched above its weight class for a long time. In 1986, it became home to New England’s first craft brewery, long before the mini breweries were a thing in every corner of the country. Craft brews are still a reason to visit Maine, as are the iconic lighthouses, lush islands, a burgeoning arts scene and, of course, the amazing dining experiences. We highly recommend a visit to Portland. Here’s how to see it.