How to spend a weekend in Portland, Maine – NYC getaway

Located on the beautiful coastline of Maine, Portland is the perfect escape for New Yorkers seeking a refreshing weekend or long weekend getaway. The city offers a blend of historic charm, a vibrant arts scene, and stunning natural beauty. From the varied food scene – including, of course, seafood – to the cobblestone streets and waterfront views, this delightful destination is just a short flight or scenic drive from New York City. If you are ready to plan your escape, make sure to check my recs!

How to get to Portland, Maine

If you are coming from New York City, there are a few ways to get to Portland. If you don’t have a lot of time, I highly suggest catching a plane – the flight is super quick, around 1h30 max. Plus, the airport is a 15-min ride from Portland. So there’s not a lot of hassle involved – especially if you are traveling with a carry-on only.

You can also drive – it takes around 5 hours to get to Portland from New York City – and a lot of people actually include the city on their travel plans when exploring New England. I also have some extra content for you in that case.

Last, but not least, you can take a train – but be aware it’s a long trip: around 8 hours!

Where to stay in Portland, Maine

We stayed in the Old Port District – a historic waterfront area known for its 19th-century brick buildings and cobblestone streets. It’s such a charming area. And I highly recommend the Portland Harbor Hotel, which is newly renovated and is also Portland’s only AAA Four Diamond Hotel. The property is beautiful – our room was spacious and cozy, the bed was super comfy, and the bathroom was also spacious. There is nothing to complain about; we loved our stay! Among the amenities is a great fitness room – something I genuinely appreciate today! The staff was super friendly and also gave us some recs on things to do in the area. The hotel also features a restaurant – Harbor Bistro + Terrace, that serves breakfast and dinner.

How to get around in Portland, Maine

Since we stayed in the Old Port area, we basically walked everywhere – at the end of the day, we live in New York City, lol, and we are used to that. But don’t get me wrong – everything we wanted to check was a pretty short walk – except for the Head Light, more on that later. Other than that, you can also call an Uber or a Lyft.

Things to do in Portland, Maine

Do you know my favorite part about this trip to Portland? We didn’t feel rushed to check 1028283 things from a list. Portland is considerably small and what I particularly loved was just walking around and enjoying the beautiful weather and the food scene. We truly relaxed! Here are some suggestions – you can check my map at the bottom of the post for all the addresses and more recs.


The Old Port area has so many cute stores! I just loved to walk around and discover local shops. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do when I travel. I really loved discovering Skordoa store that has a mission to empower the home cook”. Isn’t that perfect? I mean, as someone who loves cooking, it was delightful to explore all the spices – sourced from all around the world. The staff was very knowledgeable, and you will also find cookbooks and cooking accessories. I ended up purchasing four different spices – and I think the prices were pretty reasonable. You can also check their website and shop online.

Another great store is Portland Trading Co. You will find clothing, accessories, home, and apothecary. The owner – also the curator – features brands and designers from all around the world, in addition to a well-curated collection of all things vintage: wares, home goods, books and unique items. Definitely a must-visit if you also love something more exclusive.


Ok, so I knew Portland was famous for the seafood – but I wasn’t expecting such a rich and diverse food scene. A follower had told me that Portland is a city for foodies, and, in fact, it is. Thiago and I were truly impressed – we wish we had more days to eat at all the places that were in our list. Some of the places we’ve been definitely made it to our list of unforgettable experiences. Here are the places we have eaten while in Portland and our thoughts on each experience.

Luke’s Lobster

When in Maine, you need to eat lobster – that’s what they say. To be completely honest here, Thiago and I are not obsessed with lobster. There are other seafood we prefer – but since we were in Maine, we went to Luke’s Lobster to check that from our list. Luke’s is pretty famousthey have some locations in NYC as well. I love the location in Portland, at the pier, with outdoor and indoor seats. We ordered a lobster roll, a crab roll, and a fried seafood plate with fries, fried fish, and whole belly clams.  The rolls were good – but I’ve been realizing more and more that fried food is fried food. So I wouldn’t order that plate again.

Holy Donut

Before traveling to Portland, we watched a couple of travel guides on Youtube to get a sense of the best things to do. Every single video recommended Holy Donut, which got me really curious and excited. So, the whole deal with Holy Donut is that they use potato in the dough, which creates a denser – and heavier – donut. They have different flavors, and some of them are pretty unique (like Maple Bacon, for example). The chocolate coconut was good but not mind-blowing. The donuts were ok. Not mind-blowing.

Central Provisions

This is a place that was recommended by a lot of my followers. One of them said that every dish is a surprise,” and I couldn’t agree more. Central Provisions is an eclectic restaurant focusing on tapas. Make sure to order 4 or 5 tapas for two people. It’s not the cheapest place, but it’s so worth it. We ordered salads, steak, a delicious toast, and a polenta that was not from this world. The flavors were just mind-blowing. You can’t go wrong here. Don’t forget the dessert. We were lucky to get a table at the bar area – which is first come, first serve – cause they were full that night. So, make a reservation.


Another restaurant that was highly recommended by my followers and very famous in Portland. We were lucky to score a reservation for 8:30pm on a Monday night (they open for dinner at 4:30 pm). First of all, the restaurant was huge and packed. The staff is super friendly and nice. There is an open kitchen area that just looked magical to me. It was another unforgettable experience. We had fresh oysters, cod croquettes, scallops, tuna, and one of the best desserts of my life: the Butterscotch Sundae, with caramel popcorn, vanilla frozen custard, and maple whip.

Standard Baking Co

This family-owned bakery offers daily breads & sweets and pastries. Think about sourdough bread, focaccia, croissants, scones and so on. Make sure to go in the morning! We went there by mid-afternoon to have some snack and they were basically sold old. So we got back the next morning and we had a blast. Everything is so delicious. They serve coffee as well.

LB Kitchen

Perfect spot for a healthy lunch. We ordered some vegan bowls here and they were supper yummy. Plus, they also have some pastries that looked delicious.


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The Honey Paw

This is a contemporary spot that serves Asian-inspired noodles & other bites. Thiago had some noodles and I had a plate with rice and tofu REALLY spicy but REALLY delicious. They really know how to add flavor to the food. We loved it!


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Salt Yard Cafe & Bar

Great spot for breakfast! Beautiful and spacious, they feature a variety of coffee plus breakfast/brunch options like avocado toast, yogurt bowl (mine was so refreshing, how could I never thought about putting basil in my yogurt?) and pastries.


Portland Head Light
Located in Cape Elizabeth, it’s just a short drive from Portland – about 10-15 minutes. It is one of the most iconic and photographed lighthouses in the United States. It is also the oldest lighthouse in Maine, commissioned by George Washington and completed in 1791. The lighthouse is on the rugged cliffs of Fort Williams Park, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
I love lighthouses so I was very excited to visit this place. We went there by the end of the day, so the light was beautiful. Besides the lighthouse, you can also explore the surrounding park, which features walking trails, picnic areas, and historic military fortifications. Definitely a must-see!
To get there, we took an Uber. It’s a short drive from the Old Port area – like 10-15 minutes.

Ferry trips

There a couple of companies offering different ferry tours – and you should definitely take advantage of that! Casco Bay is one of the most popular ones. You can also take a ferry to go to some of the islands near Portland – we did that and share more details on this post.

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I hope you liked this post! We truly enjoyed our time in Portland, Maine. Please feel free to recommend more spots on the comments!

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