The foodie reputation of Portland, Maine, is no secret. Its dining scene eclipses any preconceived notion about what such a small city can offer. Portland is consistently ranked as one of the top food cities in America, and it's fun to explore why. What stands out to me is that the city's culinary highpoint stems from its access to farm-fresh produce and world-class wine right on its doorstep.
There isn’t a particular must-try dish or famous plate in Portland, but that just makes it all the more fun to try as many different food experiences as possible, from high-end seafood restaurants to street-style food trucks. Here’s how to do it all in three delicious days.
Make sure to pack your woolies if you go in winter.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a lobster roll.
Day one is for testing the waters of Portland's food scene. Dip your toe in with breakfast at a local favorite. I recommend ALTO Terrace Bar + Kitchen for a meal with a view or Portland Pottery Cafe.
Afterwards, tour the area's famous lighthouses by bike on a tour. Learn about Bug Light, Spring Point Ledge, and Portland Head lighthouses. A delicious lobster roll lunch is provided after stops at the Liberty Ship Memorial, Cape Elizabeth, and Willard Beach. On your return, take a food tour of the town's donut shops for a sweet treat while you explore local landmarks.
On your second day, rise for coffee and pastries at the Speckled Ax or Coffee By Design. Take a stroll around the waterfront, further along the Eastern Promenade Trail and towards Fort Allen Park. Then, take a sailing tour from Maine State Pier. A traditional windjammer cruise on Casco Bay offers a different vantage point on the city and coastline.
Next, learn the history of the working waterfront and prohibition-era trading on a Portland brewery walking tour. Stop at Shipyard Brewing Company, Gritty McDuff’s, and Liquid Riot Bottling Company with a local guide—drinks and snacks included.
Today, meet at the Old Port and board a fire truck sightseeing tour. Pick up souvenirs and keepsakes of your stay at one of the many shops that line cobblestone streets of the area. Pass by landmarks such as the Maine Narrow Gauge Railway Company and Museum, the Portland Observatory and the Portland Museum of Art.
Enjoy seafood fare for lunch—you'll be spoiled for choice. Taste a fresh catch at the Highroller Lobster Co. or Eventide Oyster Co. before you leave town. Afterwards, have some fun and test your Portland knowledge on a scavenger hunt through the city.