I've been going to Portland, ME, every summer for most of my life. The trips are never long, but I can always fit in a lot of stuff—Portland's good like that.
If you've got an upcoming trip there, consider working in a few of the suggestions below.
Local friends - let me know if I missed anything up and coming. As always this is hardly a definitive list, but what I've found in my time around Casco Bay.
- Tandem (https://www.instagram.com/tandemcoffeeroasters/): There's always a line out the door of this place for a reason. Built into an old service station, they roast top-notch coffee and have some of the best baked goods and breakfast sammies at any coffee shop. Note that this isn't a place to post up with a laptop. There's no wifi or plugs in sight.
- Bard (https://www.instagram.com/bardcoffee/): Another spot for exceptional coffee - they do it right. This is where to post up with a laptop and crush some work.
- Holy Donut (https://www.instagram.com/holydonutmaine/): Potato donuts are amazing and worth a try.
- Rose Foods (https://www.rosefoods.me/): Amazing cafe and coffee shop. Many of these suggestions are right downtown, but this is a bit further out—worth the trek, however, for the salmon caviar or Nova lox.
- Hot Suppa (https://hotsuppa.com/): More of a sit-down place with excellent southern comfort food.
- The Front Room (https://thefrontroomrestaurant.com/): Locals spot for brunch offering new American classics.
- Pai Men Miyake (https://www.miyakerestaurants.com/paimen): My Mainer friend's favorite dinner spot in Portland. Small Japanese inspired plates and unique sushi rolls. The Ceviche Roll with truffle oil and Onigiri were standouts for me.
- Izakaya Minato (https://www.izakayaminato.com/): Great sushi counter for Japanese classics.
- Boda (https://www.bodamaine.com/): Another local fav - Thai street food.
- Leeward (ttps://leewardmaine.com/about): Incredible environment to eat fresh pasta and other Italian-ish foods.
- O Oyster (https://www.ooysters.com/): Cart and mobile oyster service that's often out and about in downtown Portland/
- High Roller (https://highrollerlobster.com/: Trendy spot for delicious lobster rolls.
- Island Creek (https://portland.islandcreekoysters.com/): I haven't been here yet, but friends say it's excellent - looks up your alley for sure.
- Street & Co (http://www.streetandcompany.net/): Fancier and intimate seafood spot in the old town off a cobbled street/alley./
- Millys Skillet (https://www.facebook.com/MillysSkillet/): Small food cart slinging Maine classics. Gotta take a ferry to get to this one as it's on Peaks Island - but it's a good roll and a fun experience.
- Scales (https://www.scalesrestaurant.com/): Upscale seafood restaurant that offers a great meal in a nice environment.
- Mr. Tuna(https://www.mrtunamaine.com/at-the-market): Food truck set up at the Eastern Promenade… lots of other great food trucks here, too!.
- Luke's Lobster (https://lukeslobster.com/pages/portland-pier): Not much to say here other than they do a good job. They're franchised around the country so you might have tried them already. Hit's different in Maine though!
Bars and breweries 🍻
- Novare Res Bier Cafe (https://www.instagram.com/novareresbiercafe/): my favorite place to drink beer in Portland - please go!
- Batson River (https://batsonriver.com/portland-maine/): On my' check out next time I'm in Portland' list.
- Bissell Bros (https://bissellbrothers.com/): One of the heavy hitters in the local beer game.
- Austin Street Brewing (https://www.austinstreetbrewery.com/): Great beer in a modern brewery. Plenty of space to hang out with friends. You can also check out Rising Tide Brewing if you go to this spot. They're close.
- Maine Beer Co (https://mainebeercompany.com/): Not in Portland, but I want this on your radar - they make some of my favorite beers on the planet, and the brewing is super cool/cute.
See / Do 😎
- Harbor Fish Market (https://harborfish.com/): Fishmonger/fish market on the docs - wild and worth a look.
- State Theatre (https://statetheatreportland.com/): I saw the best show of my life here - Neutral Milk Hotel in Summer '15.
- Portland Dry Goods (curated men's wear down by the water) - https://www.instagram.com/portlanddrygoods/
Day Trips 🏝️
- Great Diamond Island Drinks and or Dinner: (https://www.crownjewelportland.com/ and https://www.diamondsedgerestaurantandmarina.com/): Beautiful island that you can quickly get to by public ferry from the docs in downtown Portland. It's a less popular tourist destination than neighboring Peaks Island which gives it a slightly slower vibe. The ferry drops you off in a lovely cove where you can wander around the island, hang out on the pier, walk to two great restaurants, or visit the old military barracks that have been turned into an inn. I highly suggest you check out the Crown Jewel Restaurant linked above!
- Long Island Sandy Beach Trip (https://goo.gl/maps/x6jwdEoHfzT7qAxg6): Long Island is a sleepy island that you can get to by public ferry. I think the only business on the island is an old convince store. The island boasts the best sandy beaches in the area, and they're a pretty well-kept secret! Take the ferry, grab a bottle of chilled wine and some chips from the convenience store, and walk the twenty minutes from where the ferry lets you off to the beach.