It is difficult to conceive that Portland is the biggest city in Maine with its meager population of perhaps 65,000. Worse yet, its #1 population status does not even merit it being the state capital (that would be Augusta). However, Portland is truly the economic and cultural capital of this beautiful state and it is way too easy to fall in love with this special place, replete with old buildings and history and a continuing reliance upon the sea for much of its productivity.
Doubtless the beauty of the Portland Head Light deserves top billing as the primary destination…but Portland offers so much more! Old Port is an exquisite area, featuring cobblestone streets and stellar shops (this from someone who hates to shop)…I have yet to find another place in the US with such a fantastic collection of art stores! Old Port also features excellent dining opportunities…but even rowdy bars depending on your inclinations.
From the port located downtown you can escape to numerous nearby islands (a really overlooked aspect of Portland), and staying here poises you to experience the other foundations of southern coastal Maine. Freeport is perhaps a half-hour north and Kennebunkport a half-hour south…and there is so much more beyond the wee bit I’ve shared!