Downtown / Arts District Best Place To Stay For First
Although many of you may know more about this citys twin sister by name , Im sure some of my readers have heard about this popular town in Maine that has so many tourists, even the international ones, fall in love with it!
The Downtown / Arts District is made of cobbled streets, brick-walled buildings, great restaurants, shops, and unique museums. And luckily you will have easy access to Portlands main attractions, the Portland Museum of Art, and South Portland.
Oh, yes, theres nothing like the feeling of visiting a new place for the first time! And this city has it all! Plus some fabulous hotels that I highly recommend booking in advance if you want to get your hand on the best ones!
The modern design and its location in the city center make this place one of the best hotels in Portland. Enjoy a lazy morning and order some room service before you head out to visit the attractions. Most of them are just down the street! Guests will also have access to private parking and the restaurant.
Other options in Downtown / Arts District
- Go shopping in Monument Square
- Take a stroll in Lincoln Park
- Have dinner at Davis
Where To Stay In Portland: A Complete Guide
Wondering where to stay in Portland for a trip youre planning? Youre in the right place! In this guide, were going to take you through the best places to stay in Portland based on our own personal experience of visiting Portland more than five times in the past few years including living there for five weeks.
Obviously, we recognize that you might value something different than us, so were going through Portlands best areas to stay and giving you the pros and cons, the neighborhood highlights and things you shouldnt miss, and the best places to stay in each neighborhood.
This guide to Portlands best places to stay is SUPER detailed, and took us a long time to compile, so we hope it helps you find the perfect place to stay in Portland, whatever your style and budget are.
I grew up in Seattle, and Portland was always just a few hours South on I-5. But I didnt actually make it to Portland for the first time until a summer during high school when my older brother and I took a road trip from Seattle down to the Bay Area. We stopped along the way for a day in Portland, hitting all the Portland hotspots like Voodoo Donuts and Powells Books.
I was intrigued by the mix of Seattle vibes and the grittier undertones that have made Portland special, especially as Ive found that Seattle has started to soften around the edges and lose some of its weirdness.
Short on Time? Skip Right to theCoolest Hotels in Portland to find the perfect place to stay.
Where To Stay In Portland Maine
Portland Harbor Hotel
Right in the heart of Old Port, youll find the Portland Harbor Hotel. This gorgeous, central boutique hotel offers both rooms and suites that are perfect for families. Its one of the best hotels in Portland Maine.
Valet parking is offered for an additional fee, and theres also a car service available to registered guests. During our stay, we just took the car to and from the train station, but were easily able to walk to the restaurants and shops that we wanted to visit in Old Port. The hotel also offers complimentary bike rentals in the warmer months.
Within the hotel, youll find three separate buildings. For our stay, we were in the executive section with suites. In the main section, youll find self-service complimentary beverage stations including Starbucks coffee.
Other amenities at the hotel includes turndown service with complimentary lobster chocolates and water. Theres also a fitness center. If you travel with your dog, the hotel is dog friendly with an additional fee per night. Weve seen so many dogs walking around the city, so its definitely a dog friendly city.
The Press Hotel
For our latest visit to Portland, Maine, we decided to stay at the Press Hotel, part of Marriotts Autograph Collection. This charming hotel was originally the home of the Portland Press Herald. This newspaper-themed hotel offers fabulous service and amenities, right in the middle of Old Port.
See more reviews of the Press Hotel here.
Hyatt House Portland
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Best Hotels In Portland Maine
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In the last decade, Portland, Maine’s hotel scene has blown up. Once a small New England city with some chains in the touristy Old Port, a few more out by the airport, and a handful of quaint B& Bs, this is now a destination where you can find exactly the sort of stay you’re looking for, whether you need to rack up rewards pointsor want something more independent. Boutique hotels have sprouted in the historic West End, while conversions of industrial and commercial buildings provide hip new alternatives downtown, and island resorts in Casco Bay let you escape the city altogether. Check out these favorites and figure out where you want to set your base of operations during your next visit. These are our editor’s picks for the best hotels in Portland, Maine.
Right On The Waterfront
This hotel was built smack dab in the middle of the Old Port, right up the street from the waterfront. The rooms are nautically themed and luxurious. The service is accommodating with staff eagerly pointing out recommendations of their favorite things to do in Portland, like getting a snack at The Gelato Fiasco â specifically their creamy dark chocolate gelato.
The Portland Harbor Hotel ups their game by offering special deals throughout the year to make the most of local events. You can register for the Art Indulgence package, the Ice Bar, and the Bluefin Sunrise. In January, the hotel hosts magnificent outdoor ice bars serving specialty martinis from luges carved into the ice. Come anytime for the BlueFin Sunset where youll watch the sunset over the coastline as you eat fresh seafood.
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Things To Do In Downtown
Museums, parks, sports arenas, shopping, and theaters these attractions in downtown Portland are enough to keep any traveler busy for days. Known as Portlands living room, Pioneer Courthouse Square is a gathering space where most days you can see people enjoying their lunch breaks, or taking a beat. From food carts to art installations and performances The Square is a must-see.Walk along the South Park Blocks, a green strip spanning 12 city blocks ending at the campus of Portland State University, to discover public art, the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society, and seasonally, the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, in the heart of Downtowns cultural hub.
Take in some music -folk, jazz, a hundred flavors of indie rock, soul, singer-songwriter- at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, a historic Portland music hall that remains among the most vital and central venues in the city. It features high ceilings, a balcony, grand chandeliers, wide, arched windows, and floors that bounce. The ballroom complex includes Lolas Room, a much smaller venue and bar, on the second floor beneath the ballroom. Ringlers Pub is on the street level, featuring beer from the Crystal Brewery. And the Crystal Hotel is nearby, with its own restaurant and music venue.
This courtyard-style theater is Portland5 Centers for the Arts most flexible performing space. With 304 seats, the seating and stage can be reconfigured in a variety of ways to allow for innovative staging and set design.
Buckman / The Central Eastside: Best Location To Explore Both Sides Of The River
The Buckman neighborhood is located just across the river from downtown, making it the best centrally-located eastside neighborhood to stay in.
Im a big fan of the Buckman neighborhood and there always seems to be some restaurant/shop/bar on my bucket list that I want to visit here.
Id recommend Portlands Central Eastside as one of the best areas to stay in Portland.
Pros and Cons of Staying in Buckman
- Best of both worlds:If youre torn between wanting to experience both the east and west sides of town, Buckman can make for a great choice since youll be close enough to the westside with an easy walk or ride across the Burnside, Morrison, or Hawthorne Bridge.
- Awesome food:Buckman is also home to plenty of fabulous eating and drinking options and it keeps growing.
- Access to public transport:A few years ago the city expanded the Streetcar line to run along MLK and Grand Ave. on the eastside, making carless-commuting even easier.
- The noise: Running through the central eastside are the busy streets of MLK and Grand. These streets can be loud if your hotel sits right on them and crossing can be a bear sometimes.
- Still growing: Though the area continues to gentrify, there are still parts that are a bit seedier and dirtier. Youll also see evidence of the housing crisis around these parts, and you will see houseless folks on the streets.
Buckman / Central Eastside Highlights
Places to Stay in Buckman
The Jupiter NEXT Hotel
Grand Hotel Stark
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Where To Stay In Downtown
The city center offers easy access to shopping, entertainment, culture and other districts, making downtown Portland a natural jumping-off point for visits to the city. Downtown is home to more than 35 hotels, from independent boutiques to big-name brands. With a direct MAX light rail connection to Portland International Airport, Portland Streetcar service and short, walkable blocks, downtown is great for a car-free stay.
The Alberta Arts District: The Best Food In The City
We love this area, though its not the most convenient place to stay for exploring downtown and the other parts of the city west of the river. After spending almost all of our time staying in Southeast Portland or Downtown, we decided to stay here on a recent trip and it did not disappoint. Far from it its a lovely neighborhood, and its right next door to Mississippi Avenue, another awesome place to explore.
If its your second or third time in Portland consider staying here and exploring this amazing neighborhood.
Pros & Cons of Staying in the Alberta Arts District
Pros: Alberta Street is full of restaurants of all kinds, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques to peruse. Its a good place to stay for a slice of local Portland life.
Cons: Its far away from downtown and the major tourist attractions that Portland has to offer, like the Rose Garden and Powells. Its also worth noting that this is an area that is experiencing massive gentrification, and has changed drastically over the past decade.
Alberta Arts Highlights
The Best Places to Stay in the Alberta Arts District
Theres a variety of places to stay here, from hotels to awesome vacation rentals. Here are some of our picks.
The Alberta Petite Hotel
Its a renovated craftsman home with multiple bedrooms, a shared kitchen, and modern touches like, you know, a big hot water heater so youll never run into a cold shower .
Theres a kitchen, but its for simple breakfasts and meals only no big culinary productions.
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Stay & Play In The Heart Of Downtown Portland
Experience the best of Portland, Maine. The Holiday Inn By the Bay is set along the picturesque shores of Casco Bay. We effortlessly combine convenience, entertainment, and beauty to create the perfect environment for every traveler. Our spacious rooms can offer ocean or city views. Our downtown waterfront location fully captures the beauty and culture of Portland, Maine
The Alberta Arts District: Best For Your 2nd Or 3rd Trip To Portland
This was my neighborhood for eight years before I migrated to the northern lands of St. Johns, and it holds a special place in my heart.
I still think its one of the best neighborhoods in Portland to live in and visit. I love that its kinda far away from downtown and all the easily accessible inner Portland stuff. You have to intentionally make your way out here.
Pros and Cons of Staying in the Alberta Arts District
- Diversity:Its often hailed as one of the most artsy, quirky, weird, and diverse neighborhoods in Portland and rightly so. Its just fun to hang out around here and can feel more authentic than some westside neighborhoods.
- Unique lodging:Unlike other non-downtown neighborhoods, Alberta actually has some really awesome lodging options that arent your typical hotel experience.
- Far away: If its your first time visiting the town and youve read through this entire post and youre totally feeling Alberta, then by all means do it! I support you fully. That said, I find travelers who choose to stay in Alberta have already been to Portland a couple times and have done the whole downtown thing and are ready to experience something a little different. Theres also no MAX or streetcar lines that run up here, so if youre depending on public transportation, the bus is your only option.
Alberta Arts District Highlights
Theres so much to do and eat in the Alberta Arts area.
The Best Places to Stay in the Alberta Arts District
McMenamins Kennedy School
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The Westin Portland Harborview
If youre looking for a one-stop shop kind of hotel, the Westin Portland Harborview was built for you. One of the finest luxury hotels Portland Maine has to offer is conveniently located in the Arts District and places you right downtown within walking distance of a dozen restaurants, Old Port, and the Portland Museum of Art.
But the location isnt the only convenient thing about the Westin Portland Maine: Built into this historic property is the Artne Spa, a full service Portland Maine spa with massages, waxing, facials, and more. Theres also a restaurant and top-floor lounge, where you can enjoy amazing views of the city with a cocktail. If the surrounding neighborhoods werent so tantalizing, youd never have to leave the Harborview Hotel.
| 4-Star Hotel in Portland Maine | Address: 157 High St, Portland, ME 04101
Portland Maines 5 Best Areas
All of the areas that we mention in our article have a specific attraction that theyre known for and that draws tourists in. If youre wondering where to go in Portland, weve outlined the most important spots for you.
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Best Apartment In Downtown: Amazing Waterfront Condo
Yes, you heard right youll be staying directly next to the river. Wake up in the normning to 180° panoramic view of the water while enjoying your free coffee. This top apartment couldnt offer anymore value for the low price. Youll get free access to a fitness centre, a super modern living area, a fully equipped kitchen and so much more. On top of that, youre in the absolute best location in Portland! Definitely an awesome place to stay during your first time in the city.
Best Airbnb In Central Eastside: Trendy Apartment In Province Park
This one bedroom for 2 is in a killer location about 2-minutes to Burnside Street, where some of Portlands most fabulous restaurants reside. Perfect for a weekend getaway located conveniently near the X-Max line. For times you are looking to stay in, this petite kitchen packs a powerful punch, fully stocked with a Keurig and whatever you need to craft a quick meal.
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So Where Should You Stay In Portland Maine
As we mentioned before, Portland is a relatively small city in terms of both the population and the area that the city itself covers. However, there are still plenty of sights to see, and if youre a bit confused about where you should stay, then heres all you really need to know.
Anyone that prefers to spend their trips drinking or partying will definitely want to visit Old Port and check out all of the different bars.
Downtown has many different attractions, and you can choose to visit one of the many entertainment venues like the cinemas and the theaters or just enjoy a drink or a meal in one of the many restaurants and cafes.
South Portland has the most interesting museums in the city, and youll find both historical sites as well as interesting exhibits. But every area is beautiful, so you really cant go wrong with any of the areas on this list. Happy travels!
Things To See And Do In Hawthorne
- Wander through Mt Tabor Park and enjoy exceptional views of Portland.
- Enjoy craft beer and excellent nibbles at the Bagdad Theatre and Pub.
- Sample a variety of street food dishes at the Cartopia Food Cart Pod.
- Eat amazing tacos at Por Que No Taqueria.
- Shop for cool and unique clothes at House of Vintage.
- Savour a delectable doughnut at Blue Star Donuts.
- Kickstart your day with a satisfying breakfast at Jam On Hawthorne.
- Sip sexy cocktails at The Sapphire Hotel.
- Grab a treat at the Waffle Window, a funky eatery that serves Portland-style Liege waffles.
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