I’ve visited Portland a few times – both on press trips (at no/limited cost) and at full cost to me. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
Portland, Maine is an eclectic, artsy, and quaint seaside town that is great for families to visit. The Old Port district within Portland, located right by the waterfront, is one of the several historic districts in the town. While I also love exploring the Arts District, the Old Port area of Downtown Portland is where I usually spend most of my time.
This completely walkable district features a number of restaurants, shops, and attractions that appeal to kids and adults. Thinking about visiting Old Port in Portland, Maine? Here’s what you can expect to see.
Visiting Old Port in Portland, Maine
Shops in Old Port, Portland, Maine
Among the independent boutiques and shops lining the cobblestone streets of Old Port, you’ll also find some popular small local chains, like The Salt Cellar, Life is Good, Cool as a Moose, Mexicali Blues, Cabot Cheese, and the Black Dog. There are also several great gourmet spice shops, and well as shops selling pottery, handbags, clothing, and accessories.
I find myself shopping during much of my Portland trips – there are just so many unique products. A few years ago, we went the day after Christmas and I started stocking up on gifts for the next year. There were just so many fun things to buy.
Old Port Portland Maine Restaurants and Cafes
You can’t talk about the Portland without mentioning the food. For a small seaside town, there are dozens of delicious restaurants. Many of these popular restaurants are located in Old Port. We’ve only been to a few, but our favorite is the incredibly popular DuckFat, which offers sandwiches, duck-fat fries, milkshakes, and donuts. This tiny restaurant has limited seating, so arrive early or late for the shortest wait time.
On my most recent trip, my son and I enjoyed Paciarino, a quaint, authentic Italian restaurant. This delicious restaurant does accept reservations, and they are generally needed, because it’s very popular. We’ve also enjoyed Piccolo, which is a tiny restaurant tucked among the shops.
Prefer to have pizza? Portland has some fabulous pizza spots, including the Flatbread Company, Slab, and Otto. All three are delicious, but they are very different, so look at them online before choosing which one you want to dine at.
There are loads of other popular restaurants that we haven’t been to yet – mostly because they aren’t something my kids would love. These include Eventide Oyster and Central Provisions. You can’t leave Maine without their signature dish – lobster rolls. There are loads of seafood restaurants with lobster on the menu. Our favorite is HighRoller Lobster.
If you are looking for a snack or a drink, Portland has so much to offer. Don’t miss a trip to the Holy Donut, a Portland institution offering potato donuts. They close when they sell out, so go early, and definitely get a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt donut.
On our recent trip with the Amtrak Downeaster, we discovered Vena’s Fizz House, a shop/bar offering craft sodas and cocktails. It’s a family-friendly spot, so you can feel comfortable stopping in with your kids.
Attractions in Old Port Portland
While I could easily spend my whole vacation shopping and eating, you definitely won’t have to. Old Port is home to several family-friendly attractions. In the summer, you can enjoy taking a boat tour or cruise right from Casco Bay. These include a mailboat run, sunrise/sunset runs, and whale watches.
Unfortunately, the Portland Science Center, which used to feature traveling science exhibits recently closed.
Hotels in Old Port
There are several hotels in Old Port, ranging from popular chain hotels to luxurious boutique hotels. We’ve stayed at the Hyatt Place Old Port, as well as the Portland Harbor Hotel. Both are conveniently located, and you can easily stay in one of these hotels and walk to all of the Old Port attractions.