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Portland Travel Guide


Portland Introduction


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Portland is Maine's largest city: Almost one-quarter of the state population lives within the greater metro area. Set on a peninsula that stretches into Casco Bay, Portland is a sophisticated coastal city with a working waterfront, but it also has its share of nearby beaches and lighthouses.  Click here to see the full Portland travel guide on Travel42 »

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Portland Geography


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The city is centered on a peninsula that protrudes into Casco Bay. From the water, Portland rises onto hillsides that offer views of nearby residential islands to the east and the mountains in neighboring New Hampshire to the west.   Click here to see the full Portland travel guide on Travel42 »

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Portland History


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Several early attempts to create settlements on Portland's site failed, beginning in 1624 with a small Casco Bay colony. Its mastermind, Christopher Levett, returned to England and wrote a book extolling the region—perhaps Portland's first example of real-estate hype. A trading post, dubbed Falmouth, was established in the area in 1632, but by the end of that century the settlement had been destroyed twice by local Native Americans. (The modern town of Falmouth is just north of Portland.)  Click here to see the full Portland travel guide on Travel42 »

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Portland Sightseeing & Things to Do


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The highlight for most visitors is a stroll through the Old Port—a five-block district of cobblestoned streets, brick sidewalks and restored buildings from the 1800s. Bookstores, antiques shops, galleries, specialty shops, cafes and restaurants make the area a pleasant place to spend an entire day. Architecture buffs who look up above street level will be treated to views of slate mansard roofs, Gothic windows and Queen Anne towers.  Click here to see the full Portland travel guide on Travel42 »

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Portland Nightlife


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Portland's nightlife is varied, with a little of everything—dark taverns offering house-brewed ales, swanky martini lounges and even a few throbbing dance halls—but where it really shines is in its wealth of live music. It's hard not to find a new local act or a native long-time favorite setting up the stage on any given night, all year long. And there's no specialty there; you'll hear funk, blues, metal, folk and a blessed mix of each, which is unusual in such a small city. Your best bet is to walk around the Old Port or the Art District areas—chances are you'll stumble across something close to what you're looking for.   Click here to see the full Portland travel guide on Travel42 »

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Portland Restaurants & Dining


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Portland dining has undergone a revolution, making the city one of the best in New England for inventive meals drawn from outstanding local fish, meat, cheese and produce. Chefs have cultivated strong relationships with the state's many organic growers and artisanal food producers—and even professional foragers who gather such foods as wild mushrooms and fiddleheads, an edible fern available in early spring. Whether you opt for an intimate bistro or something more upscale, you'll be encouraged to enjoy a relaxing evening at relatively reasonable prices.   Click here to see the full Portland travel guide on Travel42 »

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