Portland, Maine
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10 Reasons Why Portland Maine Is the Best City in America

Say the city name of Portland, and too many heads head west to the coast of Oregon. We’re here to tell you why you should always think of Portland Maine first and why Portland Maine is the best city to visit.

It’s not just because it’s one of the happiest cities in the country (according to Men’s Health), while the Oregon counterpart deals with “irrational anger” ratings (according to Thrillist).

Portland Maine has won the Best Place to Live on the East Coast award from U.S. News & World Report, and it’s No. 8 on the Best Places to Live list. Here are some strong arguments to move Portland up the “best” list until it reaches the No. 1 spot in America!

Noble Barbecue-Portland
Noble Barbecue | photo via tophernow

1. The Food Scene Is All-American in Portland Maine

You might think of lobster rolls for days when Portland Maine restaurants come to mind, but this foodie city pays tribute to every corner of the country.

Barbecue lovers can’t argue with the accolades of Noble Barbecue. And, y’all can get to the Deep South for comfort food at Hot Suppa, which serves huge breakfast and lunch portions, complete with fried green tomato sandwiches.

Also, you can head to the Hawaiian islands at Big Fin Poke, or immerse all of your senses in a Southern border adventure at Taco Escobarr. Plus, California dreams come true with the avocado toast at UNION Restaurant. Yet there are still plenty of places, like The Highroller, to get the freshest lobster roll you’ll ever taste.

2. America Is Moving to Maine in Record Numbers

In a country where “trending” is everything, Maine is becoming one of the top states to escape to move to (according to an Atlas Van Lines report) in a post-pandemic world where the leash laws of office locations were loosened for hybrid and work-from-home environments.

NOTE: If you visit or move to Maine, you’ll be referred to as “From Away.” This isn’t an insult. It’s just a fact that you aren’t quite a Mainer just yet.

While most states in America leave you longing for something — the beach, the mountains, smaller crowds, more culture, etc. — Portland leaves you wanting nothing.

East End Beach is right there. Feigning for freshwater? Follow the trail of Portlanders to Sebago Lake on hot summer days. Bradbury Mountain State Park is just 30 minutes away. Even the suburbs of Portland could be offshore, like the community of Peaks Island.

L.L. Bean-Portland
L.L. Bean | photo via ian_duggan_maine

3. Portland Takes Pride in Local & National Brands Made in America

It’s no secret that L.L. Bean was founded in nearby Freeport, but the fact that the Bean Boots are still made in America keeps them part of pop culture.

Maine Made brands span from furniture to dog treats to clothing to artwork. Portland takes special pride in its locally made items, touting them as “made with ingenuity and integrity.”

Portland also offers great incentives for entrepreneurs who want to make their own American dream come true. The state offers even more options to create or grow a business too.

Bug Light Kite Festival-Portland
Bug Light Kite Festival | photo via garrickhoffmanphotography

4. Portland Maine Embraces All Seasons

While some Americans hunker down during winter or sweat it out with salty comments during summer, Portlanders welcome all seasons. Even some Maine towns close the shutters once the high tourist season stops, but Portland keeps going.

Mainers and visitors can ski Lost Valley or sail a schooner, while Portland Maine is the best city for scenic drives of autumn’s foliage fireworks.

While Carnaval ME takes over for winter fun, spring brings the Bug Light Kite Festival. Late summer turns up the volume with the Portland Chamber Music Festival, and wine takes center stage at the start of summer with Portland Wine Week.

5. All Furry Family Members Are Welcome

That goes for the pets too. Some of the most popular Portland hotels are pet-friendly, with some bargaining power over the weight restrictions, we’re told. Even the Portland Downtown organization has a website just for pet owners.

Many of the boat tours throughout Casco Bay welcome leashed and well-behaved dogs. If a restaurant has a separate entrance to an outdoor section, you can likely bring your dog.

Even trails, like Sebago to the Sea, are open to two and four-legged family members. Dogs will be wagging their cabooses with a pet-friendly train ride too!

6. American Legends Were Born in Portland Maine

From “The Breakfast Club” to “The Shining,” pop culture and literary icons were born in Portland, including Judd Nelson and Stephen King. Even Anna Kendrick knew how “aca-awesome” it is long before she was “Pitch Perfect.”

Creative Portland still provides celebrity sightings and out-of-this-world star sightings, like “Star Wars” writer and producer J.J. Abrams, who was one of 1.6 million followers and fans cheering on his daughter Gracie Abrams. Steve Carell was spotted at Flatbread Co. eating pizza, and, as it turns out, he’s an awesome tipper.

Portland Fire Tour-Portland
Portland Fire Tour | photo via mamitravels

7. Portland Maine Is a Tenacious and Resilient City

You’d think if an American city burned itself to the ground on the 4th of July, it would bury itself in shame. Instead, it rose from the ashes just two years after the Great Fire of 1866.

Portland hometown poetry guru Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated, “Desolation! Desolation! Desolation! It reminds me of Pompeii…” Stories told in “The Night the Sky Turned Red” will hollow readers and then inspire them.

“…before the smoke from the ruins had fairly cleared away, new stores and dwellings, as if by magic, were rising in every direction.”

Portland Mayor Augustus E. Stevens in 1867

That’s just one of four devastating fires and why the Phoenix “rising from the ashes” icon is seen over city hall to this day. Despite being hit by repeated hurricanes, nor’easters, floods, and blizzards, Portland Maine keeps thriving. You can even relive the historic tales on the vintage fire engine tour of the city.

8. Portland Maine Plans to Be Here for Centuries to Come

Portland Maine’s leaders and locals don’t just preach recycling and eco-consciousness — they’re doing something about it. Their plan to electrify everything is going through its second iteration with incentives for businesses and residents.

And, sustainable hotels and housing provide guests with a sense of helping with the monumental task. While Portland can make a pretty penny off parking and tourism, the bike share program is the plan that’s really riding high and helping the environment.

Additionally, city leaders work with the Maine Land Trust Network to preserve precious natural spaces while offering the public a “forever” opportunity to enjoy outdoor Maine.

Portland Trails Network - Portland, Maine
Portland Trails Network | photo via Portland Trails

9. Portland Maine’s Humble Confidence Is Astounding

It takes a certain amount of confidence to claim that Portland Maine is the best city in America, and Portlanders have that in spades.

They’ll tell you the way to avoid traffic to Kennebunkport before they talk badly about it. Even with the “low-hanging fruit of Bangor” to sophomorically make fun of, locals are proud of every city, shore, and scenic vista in Vacationland.

Sure, there’s some competition with Boston. With a smug smile, people who live here know all too well that Boston residents looking to move eye Portland over any other city (according to Redfin), and 2022 travel statistics show that Bostoners are the top tourists on Maine vacations.

Victoria Mansion-Portland
Victoria Mansion | photo via worldisanegg

10. History Thrives in Daily Lives in Portland Maine

Seven historic districts fill the mainland and islands that encompass Portland Maine. In an eloquent design, it doesn’t feel like you’re in a tourist trap like Philadelphia, but it’s enough that you might look over your shoulder for the British or Confederates, depending on which war you’re imagining.

You don’t even have to do all the Googling and research since dozens of tours are available, from boats to brews to backhanded political deals behind stately buildings. In no other city can you feel so rooted in history yet so poised for the future with screensaver views in every direction.

11. Portland Maine Is Rich With Poetry

When you can’t find the words to describe how amazing Portland Maine is, turn to famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

“Often I think of the beautiful town, That is seated by the sea; Often in thought go up and down, The pleasant streets of that dear old town, And my youth comes back to me.”

The poet’s love for the city is forever sealed in the Wadsworth Longfellow House where he wrote his first poem — no doubt inspired by the stunning views at every turn.

Portland, Maine - Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine | photo via @rouwho_

Discover for Yourself Why Portland Maine Is the Best City in America

An increase in tourism to Maine offers a chance for people to experience the Portland vibe during a time when the city is looking to the future. With Portland’s Plan 2030, the city is ready to keep bringing in tourists and new residents without sacrificing one single lobster claw of authenticity.

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One Comment

  1. We live in downtown Portland, and love it. So nice post. But how do you have an entry on legends born there and not mention John Ford, America’s greatest filmmaker and the only Portlander entertainment legend to be honored with a public statue?

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