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Three Days in Portland, Maine: Ellie Yahn

Today we start a series called Three Days in Portland, Maine that will provide suggestions from our staff members sharing with you what they personally like to do for fun in Maine’s largest city. 

First up is Ellie Yahn, our Administrative Coordinator.


I’ve been living in town for a little over a year now, but I have been visiting Portland since I started college at the University of Maine Orono in 2011.

Not only am I lucky enough to now live in one of the top food and beer cities in the world, but Maine also has some of the most incredible coastlines, mountains, and forests in the United States.  

Many of our guests at The Maine Brew Bus only visit Portland for just a few days. Whatever direction you might be coming from, a few days in a new city might not seem long enough to really ‘see the sights’. If you are here just for the weekend and have no idea where to start, we’ve got you covered.

Here is what a typical trip for me would look like if all I had were three days in Portland, Maine:

Day 1:

After getting settled in a place to stay, I think I would head straight for the Old Port to find myself some beer. Even if you are not staying right on the peninsula, getting to this exciting part of the city is an easy Uber ride away.

Trust me, there is so much to enjoy here it won’t be safe to drive back from a night in the Old Port.

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Old Port Street. Portland, Maine. July 2016. Photo: Bd2media

Beer bars are my favorite places to start in a new city because of their wide selection and knowledge of what’s good and local. Novare Res Bier Cafe (4 Canal Plaza, enter through alley marked with sign on Exchange St. | 207-761-2437)  is known for their variety of styles and is the perfect place to try something you’ve never had before. Check out their spacious outside patio, but check the sign on the stairs to see if there is table service or not.

Right across Exchange Street, The Thirsty Pig (37 Exchange St | 207-773-2469) has one of the best selections of local draft beers in town. They also have a wide variety of house-made sausages which can make for a perfect snack. 

With both of these places being right in the heart of the Old Port, finding your next stop is super easy! You can go in any direction and find something fun within a short walk.

To finish my night off, I would definitely find some good live music. Portland House of Music (25 Temple St | 207-805-0134) is one of my favorites because they showcase a lot of talented local artists. Especially if you are into funk or blues, the local music scene in Portland is simply incredible.

Beware of that late night hunger after a long night dancing and tasting the town. I know it hits me hard, and the Blue Rooster (5 Dana St | 207-747-4157) is always there to save me. Open until 2am, this gourmet tater tot place is a little slice of heaven at night just when you need it the most!

Day 2:

I think I would like to spend my next day on the beach…or at least out in the sun!

Casco Bay Lines Ferry approaches Peaks Island. Photo: CBITD

Peaks Island right off the coast of Portland is the first thing that comes to mind. Not only are the ferry tickets inexpensive, but the cliffs on the back side of the island and the beaches looking over a distant Portland are exactly what I would need to recover from a long night.

For some picnic materials, I would run to the Public Market House (28 Monument Square | 207 720-0332) near Monument Square on my way to the ferry. Or, if that’s too out of the way, right across from the ferry terminal check out the amazing baked goods, bread and rolls, and personal pizzas from Standard Baking Co. (75 Commercial St | 207-773-2112)

After such a beautiful day on the water, all I would be able to think about for dinner is seafood. Portland is one of the top cities to find the freshest varieties of fish right from the boat to your plate. Eventide Oyster Co. (86 Middle St | 207-774-8538) just had the honor of their chefs selected for a James Beard award. This may change the wait times at the already popular restaurant, but their lobster rolls and oyster-laden raw bar are worth the wait.

J’s Oyster (5 Portland Pier | 207-772-4828) is another great place that comes to mind. Tucked away on the docks of the harbor off Commercial St., their location and atmosphere feels just like your classic Maine fishermen’s joint. It clearly reminds you of why you decided to visit Portland in the first place.

If seafood is not your thing but still want to stay by the water, just walk down Commercial St away from the ferry terminal. You will find Irish pubs, pizza, sushi, Mediterranean, and much more!

Haven’t had enough fun yet? Here is a list of all my favorite spots (all within a couple Old Port blocks) for a great night of bar hopping:

Day 3:

Finally, as your time in Portland comes to an end, there is clearly only one thing left to do. Brunch! You can’t go to a new city without trying at least one plate of eggs benedict….

Portland takes brunch very seriously. There is no shortage of amazing places to enjoy creative breakfast food, freshly brewed coffee, and maybe even a mimosa to start the day off right.

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Eastern Promenade Park. Photo: Bd2Media

My favorite place to brunch in town is The Front Room (73 Congress St | 207-773-3366). Not only do they have incredible poached egg and veggie dishes, but they are just a few blocks up from one of Portland’s most iconic parks, the Eastern Promenade. Take in the sweeping views as you wait for a table or while you digest.

Either way, the views of the islands off the coast mixed with the seemingly endless amount of sailboats taking wind, are the perfect way to end my trip to Portland Maine.

-Ellie Yahn

Three Days in Portland, Maine is presented by our team members as an honest itinerary of things to do in Portland based on their individual opinions and personal interests. No sponsorship or consideration was provided in exchange for these business recommendations.