48 Hours in Portland, Maine: Things to Do and See

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 area to do local things. If you’re planning a trip and need some ideas, here’s how we spent 48 Hours in Portland Maine, and other things to do for two days in Portland, Maine.

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Traveling to Portland from NYC

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, weekends, or around holidays, expect costs to be more since summer is their high travel season.

Where to stay in Portland Maine

The best area is in the Old Port Historic District. This area has the best restaurants, bars, 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 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

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 activities in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, or the Casco Bay area, I suggest renting a car.

How We Spent 48 Hours in Portland Maine

Most of our time in Portland was spent in the Old Port area, but here is a quick guide to spending 48 hours in Portland Maine, and some activities for spending two days in Portland, Maine.

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 to selective local shops in the Old Port District. Before heading home, I stopped by Seabags Maine to buy some home decor and jewelry.

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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.

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Visiting Bug Light Park
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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 which 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. 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.

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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.

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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