Welcome to Portland

Portland is a major city and economic hub in the US state of Maine, sitting on a peninsula that extends to Casco Bay. Popular for tourists is the Old Port district, with its historic Northeastern-style architecture. The Old Port district is also known for its great food and restaurants. Outside of the old quarter, you'll find beautiful public parks and green spaces as well as a surrounding district known as the West End, with majestic Victorian homes.

This travel guide will go through everything you need to know before traveling to Portland, Maine. Sit back and enjoy.

Map of Portland


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Top attractions

Fort Williams Park

Fort Williams Park is a historic public park in Portland that features the famous Portland Head Light lighthouse and an old fort.

Sunset over Portland Head Light in Maine by Frederick Millett on 500px.com

Casco Bay

The Casco Bay is a bay and important waterway in Portland, along which you will find many delicious seafood restaurants, historic lighthouses, and other treasures.

Portland Head Light by Stuart Grais on 500px.com

Portland Museum of Art

The Portland Museum of Art is the primary museum, cultural center, and exhibition space, in Portland, Maine.

Ronna and Erick Hoffman Gallery Portland Art Museum by ╰☆❤Jossette D❤Hermanni☆╮ on 500px.com

Victoria Mansion

The Victoria Mansion is a beautiful mansion in the heart of Portland, which features a brownstone exterior and intricate New England-style interior design.

Interior shot of Victoria Mansion by Eric Salim on 500px.com

Weather and Climate

Portland, located in the New England state of Maine, has a typical continental climate with warm summers and exceptionally cold winters.

Question: What is the ideal time to visit Portland?

Answer: The best time to visit Portland is between June and August.

PORTLAND WEATHER

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History

The original settlers of the Portland area were the Algonquian Native Americans. In the 1620s, they were visited by an English naval captain who was instructed to set up a new town, but failed after he was unable to get the proper funding. The first permanent settlement in Portland was established as a fishing village in 1633. The village was raided and completely destroyed by the Abenaki Native Americans in 1676, during the King Philip's War. Portland was destroyed again by a combined force of French and Native Americans during the King William's War. After the war, numerous forts were erected in the Portland area to defend against future attacks, and the city had to be completely rebuilt. Portland was destroyed again during the American Revolution and reconstruction efforts started soon thereafter. At the time, the city was part of the State of Massachusetts. Following the war, Portland became an important shipping and trading center, but the economy collapsed after the British imposed sanctions on the city and prohibited trade. By 1820, after Maine left the State of Massachusetts, Portland was selected as the capital of the new state. By 1832, however, the capital was moved to Augusta. In 1851, Maine became the first US state to prohibit alcohol and Portland became the nation’s epicenter for protests against the law, culminating in the Rum Riot of 1855. Following the riots, the prohibition law was repealed in Maine, in 1856. Important railroads and canals connected Portland to Quebec during this time, dramatically increasing American trade with Canada. Notable American authors like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow settled in the city. In the 1860s, a fire which broke out during Independence Day celebrations, completely destroyed the city. After the fire, many wealthy residents moved out of the main Old Port district and into the West End, where many Victorian mansions were constructed.

Influential architects like Francis H. Fassett designed many of the city’s most important buildings during the early 20th century. Electric streetcars and public transit were introduced in Portland during this time, as well. During the Second World War, Portland acted as an important naval base, and new infrastructure for the military was built in the city, to help with the war effort in Europe. After the war, Portland became known for its many malls and shopping centers. The city government also focused on restoring the historic city center and other residential buildings from the 19th century, leading to a tourist boom which helped grow Portland’s economy.

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