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The past few years, over the Christmas holidays, we’ve headed up to Portland, Maine to enjoy a few days of our winter vacation in this seaside city. Although it’s definitely more popular in the summer, Portland Maine has lots of things to do in the winter too – especially if the weather is warm enough to enjoy walking outside. Here are some things that you can do in Portland Maine With Kids in the winter.
Things to Do in Portland Maine With Kids
It’s rare that I include eating out in my top picks of things to do, but it definitely makes sense in Portland, Maine. There are so many restaurants to choose from. I feel that we need to return to Portland soon to try more delicious spots.
If you are traveling with kids, the number one place you have to go is The Holy Donut, which makes donuts made with mashed potatoes. The two stores (one located in the popular Old Port District) stay open until their day’s supply is depleted, so arrive early. We got there a few minutes after they opened, and were able to try a variety of flavors.
The donuts are absolutely delicious, and less sweet than other donuts that we’ve tried. I also saw a limited selection of Holy Donuts for sale in a coffee shop by my hotel, but I’d recommend going to one of the two locations. The TripAdvisor reviews definitely agree!
Annemarie of Real Food Real Deals also recommended that we visit Duckfat, which seems to be an institution in Portland, Maine. This hotspot doesn’t take reservations, and only seats slightly more than a handful of people. We arrived at almost 1pm, and waited for about an hour to be seated at a communal table. The food at Duckfat is definitely worth the wait though – especially the fries and cinnamon sugar donut holes. Arrive early on a weekday for the shortest waits.
For lunch on our second day, we stopped at Otto Pizza, which also has several locations in Boston. They so many great pizza options that we decided to order a bunch of slices rather than one or two specific toppings. They were all great – I’ll definitely return!
I also stopped at the Speckled Ax coffee shop for a cup of pour over coffee. If you like coffee, you’ll definitely want to visit.
On our most recent trip, we decided to visit the Highroller Lobster Company on Exchange Street. This casual restaurant offers delicious lobster rolls – and you can’t leave Portland without one!
Portland, Maine is filled with all sorts of little shops and boutiques with lots of gifts, apparel, and more. We spent one evening in the Old Port District right by the water, and enjoyed popping in to all of the shops. As a bag lover, I was especially happy to see the Sea Bags store, and the Rough and Tumble shop. Even though we shop right after Christmas, I usually pick up a bunch of gifts for birthdays throughout the year.
Portland Museum of Art
One of the hotels we’ve stayed in, the Westin Portland Maine, was located directly across the street from the Portland Museum of Art. This family-friendly museum is free for children, and also offers family tours. We opted to tour the museum on our own, and enjoyed their extensive collection, which includes works from Renoir, Monet, Kandinsky, Homer, and Picasso. The museum also offers a small cafe on the lower level, although there are lots of restaurants located steps away. See their TripAdvisor reviews here.
On our way out of Portland Maine, we stopped at Portland Head Light to take some photos. It’s definitely worth the short drive to check out this beautiful view. In season, you can also check out the museum and gift shop (it closes for the winter in October). Because it’s on the water, it can definitely be colder here than right in Downtown Portland, so go on the warmest day during your vacation.
We didn’t have enough time to take a boat tour, but they are offered year round. I will definitely make sure that we do that on our next trip.
If you are planning a trip to Portland Maine with kids, see our recommendations for where to stay in Portland, Maine.