48 hours in portland, maine + 2 days in portland, maine + Best things to do in Portland Maine + Weekend in Portland, Maine
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Right before the holidays, my cousin and I spent two nights at the Portland Harbor Hotel for some much-needed rest. It was our first time in Maine and we were excited to eat the food, see the sights and enjoy some girl time. Although it was a press trip to cover the hotel, we took advantage of spending time in the Portland area to do local things.

Located on the east coast of Maine, Portland is known for it’s rich history, culture, beautiful scenery, delicious food, and vibrant arts scene. There are many things to see and do in Portland, making it a great destination for a day trip or long weekend getaway.

If you’re planning a trip and need some ideas, here’s how we spent 48 Hours in Portland Maine, sharing a 48-hour itinerary, and how to make the most of your time in this gem of New England.

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Traveling to Portland from NYC

Portland is easily accessible by car, train, or plane. The Portland International Jetport is located just a few miles from the downtown area, and there are several train stations in the city.

Portland is about a 5 1/2 drive or a little over an hour flight from NYC so it is perfect for a New England road trip from NYC or an extended weekend trip. I booked a one-way flight from LaGuardia airport for under $60 about a month before leaving and a separate flight from Boston to go back home.

If you’re traveling to Portland in the summer, on weekends, or around holidays, expect costs to be more since summer is their high travel season.

Where to stay in Portland Maine

There are a number of great hotels in Portland, so you should be able to find one that fits your budget. The best area is in the Old Port Historic District. This area has the best restaurants, bars, and local boutiques, and is near the ferries to the outer islands.

We stayed at the Portland Harbor Hotel using the Portland Shopping State of Mind package which included daily breakfast at BlueFin. The Portland Harbor Hotel is walking distance from Commercial street and a 4 Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel about 15 minutes from the airport, Amtrak, and bus stations.

Read: 5 Reasons to Stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel

Getting around Portland, Maine

Once you are in Portland, getting around is easy. The city has a good public transportation system, and it is also easy to walk or bike around.

With an exception of traveling from the airport, visiting one of the lighthouses, and heading to the bus station, we walked everywhere during our two days in Portland, Maine.

If you plan on doing more than a few outdoor activities in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, or the Casco Bay area, I suggest renting a car.

Things to do in Portland Maine

Most of our time in Portland was spent in the Old Port area, but here is how we spent our 48 hours in Portland and a quick guide of the best things to do in Portland Maine.

Explore the Old Port

Explore the Old Port, Portland’s historic downtown district. Here you will find cobblestone streets, art galleries, shops, and trendy restaurants. Be sure to check out the Portland Museum of Art, which is housed in a former armory building.

Shop Local Boutiques

Portland Maine has many boutiques and shops owned by locals that offer handcrafted goods, local delicacies, fine estate jewelry, and more.

The Shopping State of Mind package with the Portland Harbor Hotel included a 10% discount at select local shops in the Old Port District. Before heading home, I stopped by Seabags Maine to buy some home decor and jewelry.

Things to do in Portland Maine + 48 hours in Portland, Maine + weekend in Portland + two days in Portland Maine
Shopping in Sea Bags Maine

Wine Tasting at Sweetgrass

When walking around the neighborhood, we stumbled on Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery Old Port Tasting Room and Shop. For only $5 we tasted some of their wines and spirits and kept the tasting glass which made a nice souvenir.

See the Lighthouses

You can’t visit Maine without visiting the lighthouses. We visited Bug Light Park to see Portland Breakwater Lighthouse aka Bug Light which is the closest lighthouse to downtown Portland. If you have more than two days in Portland, Maine, you can see more lighthouses including Ram Island Light, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, and Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth.

Bug Light Park + Bug Light Maine + Portland Breakwater Lighthouse
Visiting Bug Light Park
Things to do in Portland Maine + Bug Light Park + Bug Light Maine + Portland Breakwater Lighthouse
Visiting Bug Light in Portland, Maine

Visit Peaks Island

Peaks Island is a 740-acre island located 3 miles from Portland, Maine. The ferry ride to Peaks Island is about 15 minutes and visitors can go bike riding or walk around the island. Notable sites on Peaks Island include The Fifth Maine Regiment Museum and Battery Steele military fort.

Places to Eat in Portland, Maine

We had breakfast daily at the BlueFin restaurant which is located in the Portland Harbor Hotel and had some of the freshest blueberries and maple syrup that I’ve ever had. The lobster roll for dinner was also tasty. I highly recommend making reservations if you’re looking for fine dining in Portland, Maine. Some other popular restaurant options include Fore Street Restaurant, Eventide Oyster Company, and Davia’s Italian Cafe.

If you’re staying for two days or planning an extended weekend, here are some must-visit restaurants to eat in Portland, Maine.

Jay’s Oyster

One of the cashier’s at SeaBags recommended Jay’s Oyster for lunch and the lobster stew was EVERYTHING. The variety of fresh oysters available was also good.

where to eat in Portland, Maine + Things to do in Portland, Maine + Places to Eat in Portland, Maine +
Having Lunch at Jay’s Oyster

The Holy Donut

If you’re looking for something unique and sweet, check out The Holy Donut for their famous potato donuts. They offer a good variety of vegan and gluten-free options if you have a restricted diet.

Gilbert’s Chowder House

After visiting Peak’s island, we went to Gilbert’s Chowder House for their famous bread bowls.

Other Things to Do in and Around Portland, Maine

In addition to the activities listed above, there are many other things to see and do in Portland. Here are a few suggestions of the best places to visit in Portland, Maine an surrounding areas.

  • Visit the Portland Children’s Museum
  • Take a whale watching tour
  • Go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding
  • Hike to the top of Munjoy Hill
  • Visit the Eastern Promenade for a scenic walk along the waterfront
  • Have fresh Maine Lobster
  • Hike in one of Portland’s many parks or forests. Some popular options include Back Cove Park, Fort Williams Park, and Baxter State Park. Acadia National Park is about a 3-hour drive from Portland.

Tips for planning a trip to Portland:

  • The best time to visit Portland is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild. Visiting in the winter months can be extremely cold.
  • If you are planning on visiting any museums, be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
  • Portland is a very walkable city, so you can easily get around without a car.

I hope this quick guide sharing how we spent 48 hours in Portland, Maine was helpful for your trip planning. These activities can also be added to any two or three-day weekend in Portland, Maine itinerary. Pin this post for future reference or share it with your social community.

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Things to do in Portland, Maine + Weekend in Portland Maine + 2 Days in Portland Maine + 48 Hours in Portland Maine

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