Guide to the Old Port | Eat, Stay & Play in Portland, Maine

Cobblestone streets, salty ocean air, and boutiques and eateries aplenty characterize Portland’s historic Old Port district.

By Cathryn McCann

Jun 29 2022

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Guide to Old Port | Harbor

Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann
Wandering the Old Port district in Portland, Maine, you may feel as though you’ve stepped onto a movie set. With its cobblestone streets, 19th-century brick buildings, fishing piers, and location overlooking the Fore River, the southeastern side of Portland has a historical feel (and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places), while its boutiques, restaurants, bars, and nightlife make it a popular destination for modern-day tourists. Here are some of our favorite things to do, places to stay, and places to eat in the Old Port.

Old Port in Portland, Maine | Things to Do

Portland Schooner Co.

Given Portland’s prime oceanside location, it’s hard for visitors to resist the urge to get out and explore on the water. Fortunately, you can hop aboard an early-1900s windjammer with the Portland Schooner Co. to enjoy some of Maine’s most beautiful sights.


While wandering the Old Port, be sure to stop in to some of the many boutiques lining the streets. Cool as a Moose on Fore Street is the place for fun Maine apparel and souvenirs, and you can find beautiful, locally made (and often handcrafted) goods at Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine on Exchange Street. Old Port Candy Co. on Fore Street will satisfy your sweet tooth with a dozen flavors of fudge and an array of chocolates ranging from peanut butter to sea salt and bacon. And though you’ve probably heard of the Vermont creamery Cabot, its Farmers’ Annex on Commercial Street is an ideal spot for sampling its “World’s Best Cheddar,” among other fine cheeses.
Guide to Old Port | Portland, Maine
A Commercial Street view | Guide to the Old Port
Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann

Harbor Fish Market

If sniffing the salty ocean air puts you in the mood for some seafood, your go-to destination in the Old Port is the Harbor Fish Market, Here, you’ll find a wealth of fresh seafood, ranging from lobster and haddock to rarer finds like dorado and soft-shell crab.

Lucky Catch Cruises

Experience what it’s like to be a Maine fisherman aboard one of the Lucky Catch Cruises. Take in the sights of Casco Bay while hauling up lobster traps from the bottom of the ocean and learning about one of Maine’s favorite crustaceans.

Old Port in Portland, Maine | Restaurants

Guide to Old Port | Portland, Maine
Central Provisions | Guide to the Old Port
Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann

Central Provisions

Located in a Federal-style brick building on the corner of Fore and Dana streets, this rustic-chic restaurant can likely deliver whatever you’re in the mood for. There’s a raw bar, cold and hot plates, sweets, bar snacks, cocktails and punches, plus a full brunch and lunch menu.


This small, bustling restaurant is famous for its hand-cut Maine potatoes fried Belgian-style in duck fat (hence the name), tossed in seasoning and served in a paper cone with five homemade dipping sauces. Among the other casual-dining treats here are poutine and milkshakes.

The Holy Donut

This cult-favorite shop serves up fresh, handmade Maine potato doughnuts in flavors such as maple, coffee brandy, sea salt, and toasted coconut. There’s a doughnut for everyone here — even gluten-free and vegan options!
Guide to Old Port | Portland, Maine
The Holy Donut | Guide to the Old Port
Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann

Eventide Oyster Co.

Especially beloved for its brown-butter lobster roll, Eventide is an upscale, modern-day oyster bar that offers tasty seafood of every kind, a New England clam bake, and a menu that changes daily.


This trendy eatery puts a Mediterranean spin on classic Maine dishes. Floor-to-ceiling windows make it great for people-watching, and you can also see the chefs working their magic in the open kitchen.

The Honey Paw

For a superlative bowl of noodles — and much more — head to the Honey Paw on Middle Street. The house-made noodle dishes range from ramen and yaki soba to lobster curry, while the rest of the menu is filled with things such as fried chicken, sandwiches, and appetizers like wok-charred bok choy.

Old Port in Portland, Maine | Hotels

Black Elephant Hostel

Portland’s first and only hostel features vibrant outdoor murals, funky decor (think geometric wallpaper and recycled wood furniture), a full shared kitchen, 13 bathrooms, and large hall sinks. The family-run establishment has women-only and men-only rooms, as well as co-ed rooms and several private rooms.

The Inn at Park Spring

Close to the Old Port and just around the corner from the Portland Art Museum, the Inn at Park Spring is a bed-and-breakfast-style inn housed in an 1835 brick townhouse. Each classically decorated room has a private bath, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi; a gourmet breakfast is included.
Guide to Old Port | Portland, Maine
The Press Hotel | Guide to the Old Port
Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann

The Press Hotel

This award-winning boutique hotel is recognizable from afar, thanks to its iconic “Press” sign on the side of the historic building that once housed the Portland Press Herald. Each of the 110 guest rooms has newsroom references and all the modern amenities; elsewhere in the hotel you’ll find an on-site restaurant, an art gallery, and a fitness center.

Portland Harbor Hotel

The decor at this waterfront hotel — which offers 101 rooms and suites— has a charming coastal/nautical vibe, while amenities include complimentary bicycle use, free coffee, a fitness center, outdoor dining, and an outdoor fire pit. Plus, it accommodates pets for a small fee. Have you ever been to the Old Port? Tell us about it! This post was first published in 2018 and has been updated. 

SEE MORE: Portland, Maine | Restaurants & Eateries GuideBest Things to Do in Portland, MainePortland, Maine | Hotels & Inns Guide