Portland is Maine’s biggest city and is called “The Phoenix,” an apt symbol for a city devastated by fire and rebuilt several times since its founding by English colonists in 1632. A city cast in red brick and stone, it abounds with cobbled streets and squares. The redevelopment of Portland’s harbor, known for its fishing industry, has revitalized Maine’s largest metropolitan center.

Downtown Portland, Maine

Top Student Attractions in Portland

McLellan House, Portland Museum of Art

McLellan House, Portland Museum of Art

The largest and oldest art museum in Maine is the Portland Museum of Art. The museum’s collection of more than 17,000 objects is housed in three historic buildings. Students will see paintings by artists such as Winslow Homer.

The Maine Historical Society Museum features changing exhibitions and programs spanning more than five centuries of Maine life. The collections feature art, artifacts and documents that bring Maine history to life.

Southworth Planetarium, located on the Southworth University of Maine campus, lets students discover the wonders of the universe. Students can explore the magic of science through such exhibits as the Illusion Table and Spectroscope.

Funtown Splashtown USA is the largest family-themed water and amusement park in New England. The park is home to such attractions as Excalibur, the largest wooden roller coaster in Northern New England, and Dragon’s Descent, the tallest thrill ride in Northern New England.

Popular Student Sightseeing Tours in Portland

Students will go on a one-hour land/sea adventure of Portland on the Downeast Duck Adventure cruise. The land portion covers historic and scenic landmarks of the city. The sea tour navigates Casco Bay with its lighthouses, historic forts and the Calendar Islands.

Casco Bay

Casco Bay

Odyssey Whale Watch cruise is great fun for student travel groups, who enjoy the ocean air, narration and sights of Casco Bay on a journey 20 miles out to whale feeding grounds. On the Lucky Catch Cruise, students will witness a lobster haul and may participate in setting lobster traps. Students will learn all about lobsters, such as ways to cook them.

Portland Freedom Walking Tour, run by Maine Freedom Trails Inc., comprises 16 marked sites and honors people associated with the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movement.

The Discovery Trolley Tour, run by Portland Discovery, is a 90-minute narrated tour spotlighting Portland’s diverse history and architecture. The childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Victoria Mansion, and the bustling Old Port are just a few of the landmarks students will see as they travel from city streets to the rocky coast. Students will also get to view Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse.

Student Performance Venues in Portland

Maine Mall is interested in supporting local youth and their talents and is open to different kinds of performances by students.

The Portland Museum of Art has an extensive program of events for visitors. Any kind of student performance must be related to art, be educational and be scheduled in advance through the education department.

Student Accommodations in Portland

Portland has 2,000 hotel rooms, there are 6,000 in Greater Portland.

Holiday Inn by the Bay is within walking distance of the Portland Art Museum, Victoria Mansion and the Civic Center. The Hilton Garden Inn is perfectly situated in the city’s Old Port District and offers fantastic views of Casco Bay and Portland’s working waterfront.

The Eastland Park is conveniently located in the heart of downtown. The hotel is surrounded by outstanding restaurants and museums, including the Portland Museum of Art, and just minutes away from the Old Port waterfront.

Portland Food and Dining for Students

IHOP is a great place for students to go to eat breakfast, being that Maine is famous for and is a top exporter of blueberries and maple syrup.

Ricetta’s Pizza is a popular gourmet pizza place that cooks its pizza in a wood-fired brick oven and has a lunchtime buffet that is sure to fill you up and satisfy your appetite.

DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood, beef and Italian food. If you like to eat outdoors, this restaurant located on the water, will give you the chance to see and hear the sounds of Portland Harbor.

Student-Friendly Festivals and Events in Portland

Old Port Festival, held annually in June, is Maine’s largest one-day festival. It features multiple music stages, Maine-made arts and crafts, and great food.

In Portland, student travel groups will get to taste Maine’s famous seafood, cruise along the state’s rocky coast and learn about its treasured maritime traditions. They’ll no doubt come home with loads of pictures capturing memories of this city by the sea.