14 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Portland, Maine - Updated 2024

non touristy things to do in portland maine
| 5 min read

This Old Port city in Maine offers more than award-winning restaurants’ exotic cuisines, farmer’s markets, lighthouses, museums, and Victorian houses. We know that frequent travellers might be tired of those ‘touristy’ things. But get ready to be surprised by a number of exciting activities we found in this buzzing peninsula! Explore Portland like never before through a Forest Park hike, scavenger hunt, and helicopter tour as you savour the delicious dishes along the way. You will also find a multitude of accommodation options in this famous destination. Book one of the bed and breakfasts to start the day energized. You can also choose from any of the lavish hotels and resorts in the city. There are also hotels with smoking rooms near Portland for convenience.

If you want to find attractions and activities in Portland, Maine that are off-the-beaten-path, scroll down to get inspired on your next trip to the enchanting waterfront city. Be sure to check out these best non-touristy things to do in Portland, Maine, for a fun time.

1. Visit the International Cryptozoology Museum

Inside the International Cryptozoology Museum
Source: Photo by Flickr user sporst used under CC BY 2.0

Whether you’re a true believer of what’s possibly out there or a stickler for undeniable facts, don’t miss out on this museum in Downtown Portland, Maine. This gem of a museum provides both grown-ups and kids with a day of fanciful learning. Learn about cryptids from all over the world, such as the Yeti of the Himalayas, the Fiji Mermaid and Indonesia’s Orang Pendek, many of which have purported evidence exhibited in the museum.

International Cryptozoology Museum also teaches about actual animals that have become part of cryptozoology lore, such as the coelacanth and the thylacine. Additionally, guests who’d like to take home a piece of cryptid knowledge with them can check out the souvenir store.

International Cryptozoology Museum

Address: 32 Resurgam Pl, Portland, ME 04102, United States

Website: International Cryptozoology Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD for Adults; 5 USD for teens 13+; free for 12 below

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2. Explore Battery Steele

Source: Photo by Flickr user Hiker333 used under CC BY 2.0

The name Battery Steele might sound like it’s a place from an epic action movie, and probably in another timeline, it probably was. It was originally built as part of a series of coastal defence fortifications during World War II. However, this battery now stands preserved as one of the historical locations in Portland, Maine. This site of interest will thrill not only military history buffs but also the usual tourists.

Battery Steele is part of the Peak Island Land Preserve, along with many other similar military installations. While you’re exploring Peak Island, you can use this opportunity to do some wildlife watching as well. You’ll find a variety of species, including eagles, shorebirds and even hawks.

Battery Steele

Address: Peaks Island Land Preserve, P.O. Box 99, Peaks Island, ME

Opening hours: open 24 hours (daily)

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3. Tour the local breweries and sample craft beer (from USD 59.0)

This laidback and off-the-beaten-path tour will take you to Portland’s eastern end, where you’ll visit some local breweries and sample their craft beers. Although you’ll be walking quite a bit, you should be fine if you wear a comfortable pair of shoes. This activity will have you sampling a number of good brews, so remember to drink responsibly.

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Walk Portland & Try Maine’s Best Beers · ★5.0

Duration: 3 hours

88 reviews

4. Check out the food trucks at Portland Mercado

Portland Mercado
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Burn used under CC BY-SA 2.0

There is no better way to taste authentic local food and embrace the Latin American culture than in Portland Mercado. They hold a mission to bring awareness and celebrate the Hispanic culture through food, art, and entertainment. It’s not a market. It’s a community where more than 16 permanent businesses are brought together to support cultural diversity.

Portland Mercado

Address: 7238 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206, USA

Website: Portland Mercado

Opening hours: 10am - 9pm (daily)

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5. Watch a soccer game at Providence Park

Entrance to Providence Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kingofthedead used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Home to the MLS Portland Timbers, NWSL Portland Thorns, and Portland State University Vikings football, the venue has existed as a complete stadium since 1926. You can drive to the site or take public transport to avoid parking problems. During the Timbers match, they will provide free face painting to all fans. Be sure that you don’t miss this rare chance!

Providence Park

Address: 1844 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205, USA

Website: Providence Park

Duration: 2 - 3 hours

Price: 25 - 250 USD

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6. Savour dollar oysters during happy hour at Trifecta Tavern

Editor’s Note: Establishment is permanently closed..

Being pen seven days a week and having a slot for happy hours on both weekdays and weekends make the tavern popular among locals. The owner Ken Forkish opened Trifecta following its successful predecessors: Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Pizza. Led by Executive Chef Chris DiMinno, you won’t be disappointed by the food at all. Mark the happy hours to savour the fresh dollar oysters at a special price!

Trifecta Tavern

Address: 726 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA

Website: Trifecta Tavern

Opening hours: Mon & Tue: 5pm - 9pm; Wed & Thu: 5pm - 10pm; Fri & Sat: 4pm - 10pm; Sun: 4pm - 9pm

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7. Admire magnificent artworks at First Thursday

Art gallery
Source: Pexels

Join the monthly gallery-walk to experience a full day of art, wine, and music. Held on the first Thursdays of each month, it will take you to see different exhibitions from one gallery to another. It is a district-wide celebration that started in 1986 and continues today. Don’t miss the chance to follow the local culture and update your vocabulary of art!

First Thursday

Address: 1111 SW Alder St. Portland, OR 97205

Website: First Thursday

Opening hours: 12pm - 8pm (daily)

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8. Sample a glass of wine at Teutonic Wine Company

This production winery might be small but noted as one of the finest German and Alsatian-style wine producers in Oregon. Their secret is working with dry-farmed vineyards and locating the fruits in cooler areas at higher elevations to pull up complex flavours from the soil. Do you think that the wine tastes like German varieties or more of Oregonian? Come and try it yourself! This is a great option if you’re looking for unique places to see and visit in Portland, Maine.

Teutonic Wine Company

Address: 3303 SE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97202, USA

Website: Teutonic Wine Company

Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 12pm - 9pm; Sun: 1pm - 7pm

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9. Catch a live show at Alberta Street Pub

This 2013 reinvention of the old ‘divey’ pub has served the community as a gathering place since the 1920s. The pub might be tiny, but the atmosphere is great. Not only they serve excellent foods and drinks, but you can also watch live performances from local bands. It has a “nouveau Portland” feel with the most friendly staff around.

Alberta Street Pub

Address: 1036 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, USA

Website: Alberta Street Pub

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 12am; Fri - Sat: 11am - 2am

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10. Hike in the lush Forest Park (from USD 85.0)

Join this guided tour to rumble into the only urban wilderness park in the US. As you walk along the immense Forest Park, the guide will share valuable information about the plants, animals, and history of the park. It is a moderate hike of 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 kilometres), but you can back out anytime you want, or ask for adjustments following your needs. Catch the natural beauty and take as many pictures as you want.

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Guided Hike in Portland's Forest Park! (Largest Urban Wilderness in the USA)

Duration: 3 hours

3 reviews

11. Take a helicopter tour from Chinatown (from USD 122.0)

If you crave something extraordinary, head to Old Town/Chinatown and take a 15-minute helicopter ride to see Portland from above. Go to a rooftop helipad next to Waterfront Park where the chopper is waiting for you. Enjoy unobstructed views of the Willamette River, Portland’s notable bridges, downtown cityscape, the rich forests, and other landmarks from the window seat. Let it stays in your memory forever despite the short time!

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Downtown Portland Helicopter Tour

Duration: 15 minutes

12. Go on a fun scavenger hunt (from USD 35.0)

non touristy things to do in portland maine | go on a fun scavenger hunt
Source: www.viator.com

Eager to scout Portland’s off-the-beaten-path locations? This two-hour tour will take you to the grooviest part of Portland’s Alberta Arts District. Walk around the historic neighbourhood and capture the charming Victorian homes, street musicians, and vintage shops along the way. The tour itself is set as a ‘hunt’ where you will be put in a team and given a mission to find 25 items. Each item found is worth a point. The team (or individual) who earns the most points will win the game!

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Keep Portland Weird! A Photo Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

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13. Go on a sailing tour of Saco Bay (from USD 140.0)

If you’re looking for a non-touristy thing to do near Portland that offers plenty of sunshine and sea breeze, then this tour is for you. You’ll be setting sail from Saco River and enjoying the cruise all the way up to Saco Bay, where you’ll be checking out points of interest such as Wood Island Lighthouse, Biddeford Pool, and Old Orchard Beach. You’ll learn all about the local marine life and, if you’re lucky, might even spot some sharks, seals, and even whales.

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Come Sail with Us · ★4.97

Duration: 2 hours

190 reviews

14. Have a rafting adventure at the Northwest Whitewater (from USD 67.0)

In less than 1.5 hours from Downtown Portland, you can get an adrenaline rush in the White Salmon River. The great rapids and are perfect for those who enjoy extreme rides. Come to Northwestern park, get your wetsuits, life jackets, neoprene boots, and helmets along with a quick lesson on paddling, then hit the waters! It may seem hard, but the activity is family-friendly.

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Private Half-Day Whitewater Rafting in the Gorge

Duration: 3 hours 40 minutes

Enjoy Portland like never before

Source: Pexels

In a city of a modest size like Portland, there might not be much to expect, but we can always find exciting activities for you to try! Whether for its nature, food, history, or art, this peninsula is worth putting on your travel bucket list. Do you think that our picks can set this New England port into a perfect landing spot for travellers? It’s for you to decide.

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Portland, Maine

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Starting her dream to travel the world by staring at The Encyclopedia of the Nations, Putri now enjoys the beauty of visiting places she only saw on papers as a kid. Foreign lands with languages...Read more

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