Portland Head Light © Paul VanDerWerf
Portland is Maine's biggest city and is the state's
cultural and economic hub, attracting over three and a half million
visitors each year. Originally a fishing and trading settlement,
the town was destroyed three times over a hundred year period, and
finally regained stability as a shipping port.
Unfortunately, overzealous Independence Day
celebrators managed to set fire to most of the city's commercial
buildings, hundreds of houses, and roughly half the city's churches
in 1886, with the city rebuilt once again, this time in a Victorian
Mansions along the famous Western Promenade, as well
as the Victoria Mansion on Danforth Street, feature beautiful
examples of this architecture. Companies and proprietors may offer
tours of their well-preserved interiors.
Despite its tough beginning, Portland remains a
beautiful city, ideally situated on a peninsula that juts out into
Casco Bay and flanked by several small islands. Historic houses
blend with modern amenities and the city is a bustle of activity,
making it one of the country's top cities to live in.
Resplendent in natural beauty, Portland is highly
popular in summer and visitors can enjoy boat rides; sightseeing,
shopping, dining and people-watching at the Old Port historic
waterfront and the East End; and a visit to the Downtown Arts
District or the prominent Portland Head Light Lighthouse.
The city is also home to poet Henry
Wadsworth-Longfellow, as well as the Maine History Gallery. For the
kids, there is the Children's Museum of Maine. Portland has an
abundance of good restaurants, especially those offering renowned
local seafood specialities like Maine lobster, clam chowder, and
scallops, which are cheaper and more plentiful than in any other
As Portland is the most culturally diverse city in
Maine, you'll find a variety of cuisines, including Vietnamese,
Thai, African, Greek, and Indian. The city boasts no fewer than
five microbreweries, and dozens of bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
Portland has plenty of attractions, activities and
sights for the visitor, and it is also a useful base from which to
explore the rest of this beautiful state. Smaller towns in the area
like Freeport, Cape Elizabeth, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and
Kennebunkport offer their own amusements that are worth exploring
on a trip to the city.
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