Overview of Portland Maine
Portland, Maine bustles with life in eastern Cumberland County along the Atlantic Ocean. No matter the interest, activity, or neighborhood, Portland boasts a vibrancy that surpasses most other cities in Maine. With a population of 64,000, it's the largest city in the state with a wealth of resources to support its residents. Many eclectic shops, fantastic restaurants, beautifully constructed houses, and buildings with breathtaking views of Casco Bay invite people from all over the world.
The city can roughly be divided up into 8 basic areas (see map). From the center of Portland 4 major roads jut out starting with Congress Street on the West which filters out to the airport, Brighton Avenue which cuts through Deering, Forest Avenue which leads to Westbrook; and Washington Avenue which winds its way West and North and ultimately ends up in Falmouth and/or Westbrook as well. All of these roads are for the most part, 2 lanes and are dotted with traffic lights, stores, homes and businesses.
West End - Offers higher prices and many opportunities for resale. A lot of stately brick homes, nice condos, and condo conversion projects underway.
East End - Perhaps the best location for appreciation as an up-and-coming in-town location. With proximity to the East End Beach and the Eastern Promenade, its a great place to buy a house. Many luxury condo developments are underway.
Old Port - - Has all the nightlife, restaurants, and shopping. Sandwiched between the East and West Ends its a convenient location to browse real estate.
Deering Properties - Classic in town suburb with lots of nice single-family homes. Close to Deering High School and traditionally, the best area for appreciation/resale.
North Deering - There are nice, solid family homes in the area though its a bit further away from the hustle of downtown. Many colonials, with close proximity to Falmouth and the Presumpscot River, make it a desirable place to live.
East Deering - A very nice suburban neighborhood, close to town with easy access to the highway. Just like the East End, it is newer neighborhood, thus values are lower, making a good place to invest.
West Deering - Similar in structure to Deering, just farther out Brighton Avenue, its a solid neighborhood with quality homes.
Outer Forest- Similar to North Deering, there are a lot of larger apartment and condo developments, with quaint little neighborhoods.
Overall Portland is an easygoing city with friendly, hardworking people coming from all different walks of life. The housing is affordable, the schools, and healthcare are solid, and the urban center is just minutes from all sort of recreational activities.
Portland Maine is a wonderful place to live, to work and to do business in.
Portland Historical Housing Statistics
The Portland housing market is currently booming as the recovery has ended and prices are rising in most sectors. High buyer demand coupled with very low inventories has created an extremely strong residential marketplace as of late.
The Portland single family home market has an inventory of about 200 to 250 homes on the market. Entry level fixer uppers can be found in the low $100,000's whilst a mansion on the West End can fetch upwards of a million. A 3 bedroom cape in a comfortable Portland neighborhood can easily be found in the mid $200,000's.
Portland Housing Data
Portland Schools and Education Overview
Portland's public and private school systems are known to be the most diverse of any in the entire state of Maine. Wheather you have a home in Deering, the West End, or Old Port, there are options for you child. The city's public school system is also the largest in the state, making it a great place for children to meet others from all differing backgrounds. www.portlandschools.org
Portland Elementary Schools:
- Marada Adams Community Elementary School (48 Moody St., (207)874-8228)
- Cliff Island Elementary School (P.O. Box 7, (207) 766-2885)
- Nathan Clifford Elementary School (180 Falmouth St., (207)874-8180)
- Fred P. Hall Elementary School (23 Orono Rd., (207)874-8205)
- East End Community School (195 North St. (207) 874-8228
- Longfellow Elementary School(432 Stevens Ave., (207)874-8195)
- Harrison Lyseth Elementary School (175 Auburn St., (207)874-8215)
- Peak's Island Elementary School (4 Church St., (207)766-2528)
- Presumpscot Elementary (69 Presumpscot Rd., (207)874-8220)
- Howard C. Reiche Elementary School (166 Brackett St., (207)874-8175)
- Riverton Elementary School (1600 Forest Ave., (207)874-8210)
Portland Middle Schools:
- King Middle School (92 Deering Ave., (207)874-8140)
- Lincoln Middle School (522 Stevens Ave., (207)874-8145)
- Lyman Moore Middle School (171 Auburn St., (207)874-8150)
Portland High Schools:
- Deering High School (370 Stevens Ave., (207)874-8260)
- Portland High School (284 Cumberland Ave., (207)874-8250)
- Casco Bay High School (196 Allen Ave., (207)874-8160)
- Portland Arts and Technology High School (196 Allen Ave., (207)874-8165)
With so many public schools to choose from, Portland is ideal for public education. In addition to public, there are several private schools that are highly acclaimed that call Portland home. Waynflete School, at 360 Spring Street, is specifically designed for children to be brought up knowing their own ideas, being able to eloquently express them in an accepting, loving environment. With grades running from pre-kindergarten to 12th, Waynflete strikes a perfect balance between quality, standardized education, and a love for one's personal ideals. Another private school is Cheverus High School; at 267 Ocean Ave. it is a Catholic prep school for grades 9 through 12. Known for their sports teams, Cheverus is a perfect place for religious parents who would like their children to be brought up with a balanced education and a religious backing.
No matter what type of schooling your child may need, Portland has an endless array of schools to choose from.
Recreation in Portland, ME
Portland's proximity to the ocean, mountains, and forest provide the perfect setting for any outdoor excursion. Portland has several beautiful parks in the area that are great places to spend an afternoon reading a book, or taking a stroll.
- Deering Oaks Park (between Deering Ave. and Forest Ave.) is the largest park in the Portland area, complete with trails, a large pond where ducks and birds congregate, as well as vast sprawling green lawns.
- The Eastern Promenade Park (directly off of Casco Bay) provides gorgeous vistas of the Bay and a 1.5 mile walking path for ocean lovers to enjoy.
Portland is also only a half an hour drive from the midcoast area, known for its breathtaking views of the expansive ocean among towering pine forests.
Places such as the Josephine Newman Wildlife Sanctuary and the Robert P. T. Coffin Wildflower Reservation in Woolwich, offer lovely walking paths and thriving wildlife. Bradley Pond Farm Preserve in Topsham, also provides spectacular views of the beautiful Maine landscape.
All are no more than 40 minutes away from the Portland area, making them perfect for a weekend hike or a special trip with loved ones. If you're looking for Maine's world famous ocean views, a 50 minute drive to Phippsburg via Bath will take you to the beautiful areas. Residents and visitors alike take advantage of the following recreation areas:
- Sebasco Harbor Resort, Rte 217, Phippsburg - (207) 389-1161
- Popham State Beach Park, Rte 217, Phippsburg (207) 389-912
- Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area, Phippsburg (207)786-6255
Shopping: From the Old Port to the Mall, Portland Provides the Tools to 'Shop Till you Drop':
Shopping while in Portland allows the buyer to have access to hundreds of major retail locations in addition to small, quaint boutiques that provide one-of-a-kind gifting and other items.Two major points of interest when examining the wide array of shopping venues available in Portland include the Old Port area and the Maine Mall.
The Old Port housing area, whose streets are lined with traditional cobblestones, allows the shopper to travel to a more sentimental time where simplistic, beautiful store fronts are lined with interesting items and unique gifts. A walk down any street in the Old Port can make one truly appreciate not only the goods they buy, but also the incredible shopping experience itself through the picturesque environment. The Old Port provides stores of every kind, no matter what one may feel in the mood to buy, taste, or experience. If clothing is your passion, the Old Port retains boutiques of every style to meet the needs of a diverse population.
Bertini (455 Fore St., (207)828-5373), sells high-end Italian clothing and accessories, while Betsy's (79 Exchange St., (207)772-0027, www.betsys.com ), supplies all of the trendy clothing any girl "in the know" would need.Another very popular store for young women is Bliss (58 Exchange St., (207) 879-7125,, which carries everything from 7 for All Mankind to Joe's Jeans to BCBG and Velvet. If a green planet is your idea of the perfect world, Awear (19 Exchange St., (207) 253-1655, Website) is perfect for all-natural clothing derived from hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, and other natural fabrics. If home and garden decor is on your shopping list, the Old Port has an endless amount of stores to meet all of your interior and exterior needs. Asia West (219 Commercial St., (207) 775-4244, supplies exotic Asian-inspired home and garden accessories. If your home styling is modern and clean, Addo Novo (490 Congress St., (207) 221-2780), specializes in cool, current fashions for homes. If you're looking to revamp your kitchen, LeRoux Kitchen (161 Commercial St., (207) 553-7665) supplies the best kitchenware, wines, chocolates, and gadgets for the perfect eating space.
The Old Port also has several excellent book stores, where one can find anything from an antique classic to a current bestseller. Books, Etc. (38 Exchange St., (207) 774-0626, Website), has been the foundation for Portland book buyers for over 30 years, specializing in independent authors and topics. The Old Port also has a number of specialty gift stores for every occasion, from baby showers to weddings to birthdays and more. If one is looking for a specialized Maine gift that is edible, K Horton Specialty Foods (542 Monument Sq., (207) 228-2059, specializes in local and international fare, specifically cheeses, meats, and Maine seafood and produce. The Mind Gift Shop (37 Wharf St., (207) 253-5050) provides an eclectic gathering of handmade jewelry and glass items.
In addition to the countless shopping opportunities in the downtown Old Port area of Portland, the Maine Mall (364 Maine Mall Rd., (207) 774-03030 in South Portland is an exceptional spot for shopping major retail locations. The mall has several major chain stores to provide you with the necessary goods. Shopping venues in the mall include: Abercrombie and Fitch (207)773-3287, official Website), Best Buy (207) 791-8806), Coach (207)771-7990), Macy's (207)761-7304), and The Sports Authority (207)773-7400).
No matter what you may be looking for, the Old Port and the Maine Mall in Portland will provide you with all of the necessary stores for your purchasing needs.
Dining: Lobster and Seafood Galore, Plus a Multitude of Other Exceptional Cuisine:
Portland is widely acclaimed as having some of the best seafood in the United States, specifically referring to Maine lobster, shellfish, and cod. However, although this reputation is absolutely true, Portland has a much wider array of exceptional cuisines that tempt the palate and soothe the stomach.
Portland's downtown and Old Port areas in particular harbor many of these unique and top-quality restaurants which incorporate all differing genres of food. Portland has so many restaurants to choose from, it can be difficult even deciding on a place to eat when you know the type of food you'd like to consume. If you're in the mood for excellent American cuisine, Five Fifty-Five(555 Congress St., (207)761-0555, Website) makes great dishes using seasonal ingredients and mostly local produce. The Dogfish Bar and Grill (128 Free St., (207)772-5483, Website) also serves great grille food in a relaxing environment where patrons can choose to eat inside or out on a beautiful deck. If you're up for a hardy plate of linguine with clam sauce and an entertaining evening, Anthony's Italian Kitchen (151 Middle St., (207)774-8668) serves big portions combined with live performances of Broadway show tunes.
If wraps and burritos are more your style, Granny's Burritos (420 Fore St., (207)761-0751) has excellent, healthy fare for those who love everything wrapped in a tortilla. Another popular wrap joint is Federal Spice (225 Federal St., (207) 774-6404), which describes its fare as "good and groovy".
If environment and ambiance is your main point of interest when deciding where to eat, The Top of the East (157 High St., (207)775-5144, Website) is only rooftop restaurant in Portland. Located in the historic Eastland Park hotel, this cool spot is a perfect first date eatery.
Portland also has a number of good Chinese food locations, with the most noted being Panda Garden (1041 Brighton St., (207)874-6935). Indian food lovers can rejoice in knowing that Portland has extremely tasty and traditional Indian fare. Hi Bombay (1 Pleasant St., (207)772-8767) will provide you with all of the samosa, naan, and curries you can eat. If you're looking for Portland's world renowned seafood, there are countless sushi bars that have the freshest and most select fish choices in the New England area. Fuji Sushi Bar (29 Exchange St., (207)773-2900, Website) serves excellent sushi at a reasonable price, combined with a private party and bar area in the basement. Yosaku Sushi Restaurant (1 Danforth St., (207)780-0880) has been voted "Portland's Best Sushi" several years in a row, but you may pay more because of this. Benkay Japanese Restaurant (2 India St., (207)773-5555, Website) offers sushi at a low price, especially with their "Flying Tuna Sushi Mile" deal where patrons earn 1 sushi mile for every $10 they spend at Benkay. Patrons can then use their sushi miles for free sushi in the future. Another great sushi bar is Sapporo Restaurant (230 Commercial St., (207)772-1233), whose location adjacent to the docks in the Old Port gives it a great sense of ambiance and overall appeal.
If succulent, Maine lobster is what you're hungering for, the best place to enjoy this delicacy is The Portland Lobster Company (180 Commercial St., (207)775-2112, Website). At the Portland Lobster Company, patrons can "go where the locals" go to eat great seafood, choosing from lobster dinners, lobster rolls, steamers, and other amazing seafood. Patrons serve themselves their own food, making their marginally inflated prices offset by cutting down on cost through no tipping.
Portland also has several bakeries and coffee shops that serve comforting pastries and brew up hot cups of espresso to enjoy on colder days. The Big Sky Bread Company (28 Monument Sq., (207) 228-2040, Website) serves home-made whole wheat breads, pastries, cookies, as well as salads and great sandwiches. Another coffee venue that is unique to the Portland area is Breaking New Grounds (13 Exchange St., (207)761-5637), which has a huge selection of decadent desserts and pastries, exotic coffee blends, and an atmosphere that is perfect to either catch up with old friends in or browse the daily newspaper.
Portland's wealth of restaurants makes it a perfect place for anyone with a love for food.
Portland Maine Arts: Galleries, Theaters, and Much More:
Portland is a town filled with creativity. This creative nature flows into many different realms of the city, creating beautiful works of art, song, and entertainment. There are plenty of forms of artistic expression in Portland that one can view, enjoy, and even participate in.
In terms of art galleries, the downtown and Old Port areas of Portland are flush with exquisite galleries of Maine and other New England artists. The Abacus American Craft Gallery (44 Exchange St., (207)772-4880, Website) has been producing Maine-made abacuses since 1971, along with other finely made wooden crafts. Aucocisco Galleries (613 Congress St., (207)775-2222, Website) specializes in modern art displays for sale. The Du'e Gallery (81 Market St., (207)879-1869) serves to provide critically acclaimed abstract artwork done by New England artists.
If one is looking to view art more than purchase it, the Maine College of Art (97 Spring St., (207)775-5098, Website) has two galleries, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA and the Joanne Waxman Library which are open for public viewing. The Portland Museum of Art (7 Congress Sq., (207)775-6148, Website) offers works done by Winslow Homer, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet.
In addition to art galleries, there are several museums open to the public that are the perfect activity for families and couples alike to participate in. The Children's Museum of Maine (142 Free St., (207)828-1234) offers a place for children to interact with the exhibits, all the while learning important information about our world.
If entertainment on the stage is more of your idea of a great afternoon, the Portland Stage Company (25 Forest Ave., (207)774-0465, Website) performs professional renditions of classic and contemporary works alike. If comedy is something that puts you in the mood, the Comedy Connection (16 Custom House Wharf, (207)774-5554, Website) offers live-stand comedy shows as well as great food to go along with it. Portland also has an abundance of movie theaters, including Nickelodeon Cinema (1 Temple St., (207)772-9751), which offers movies at a discount price. A great place to see large scale concerts and shows is the Cumberland County Civic Center (1 Civic Center Sq., (207)775-3481), which hosts headlining tours and Broadway shows.
Portland is ideal for all things artistic and entertaining, based upon the huge selection of things to do and see.