Here are our Top 10 Reasons to Visit Portland on an extended weekend getaway this Winter

Don’t let cold temps scare you away. Portland, Maine is becoming more of a year-round tourist destination. During the winter months you should get a more “live-like-a-local” experience. Another benefit is lower hotel prices and smaller crowds than during the summer.

  1. Avoid the crowds. With fewer visitors in town, it’s easier to make reservations at the top restaurants and leaves plenty of room for selfies by historic sites and lighthouses.
  2. View scenic lighthouses. Within 20 minutes of Portland, you’ll find six lighthouses and can easily view all of them within two hours. On a winter weekend, the lighthouses are spectacularly beautiful with snow on them. Don’t miss the oldest operating lighthouse in Maine and the symbol of the city, the Portland Head Light, built in 1791. Just south of Portland is Two Lights State Park, named after two Gothic towers captured by Edward Hopper in his 1929 painting “The Lighthouse at Two Lights.” One of the towers is still a lighthouse, although not open to the public, and the other is a private home. Another interesting one is Bug Light, so named because of its small size of only 26 feet tall. Its official name is Portland Breakwater Light and it’s the only lighthouse designed after a Greek monument.
  3. Enjoy outdoor fun. Bundle up and go ice skating, dog sledding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Cross-country skiingCross-country skiing is really popular here, with miles of trails in state parks and other trails in the greater Portland area. Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, about 30 minutes  from downtown Portland, is a popular excursion for its 30 kilometers of trails for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. You can also skate and sled here.
  4. Take a foodie tourThe Portland Old Port Culinary Walking Tour is a leisurely-paced walking tour that carves a path through the streets of the charming Old Port educating you on local food, drinks and history! Friendly and engaging tour guides take you to several Old Port and neighboring artisanal shops, restaurants and pubs where you’ll sample a delectable mix of classic Maine, Maine-inspired, up-and-coming, cultural, fancy foods and beverages. Meet and greet culinary artisans along the way, learn what inspires them and how they got their start with a lively narration from your guide!
  5. Take a walk through time. Walk Through Time in Portland history The Walk Through Time in Portland history tour is given year-round. Sites may include the famous lobster statue, the U.S. Customs House and the home of Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow.  You’ll want to wear your walking shoes to navigate the sloping streets and cobblestones as you wander around the shop-and-restaurant filled areas of Old Port.
  6. Shop ‘til you drop. Portland is a boutique shopping mecca for high-quality artisan gifts and handmade wares from Maine.  In the heart of the historic Old Port district you’ll find many shops and galleries along Middle Street and the Downtown Arts District including locally owned boutiques, such as Portland Trading Co., Rough & Tumble, and Salt Cellar, that beckon with their unique clothing, leather goods, culinary gifts and more.
  7. Hang out at a local coffee shop or bakery. Grab your hat and mittens and begin your day by visiting a local coffee shop or neighborhood bakery. You could spend hours walking around cobblestone streets sipping local blends and trying every flavor of pastry imaginable.
  8. Explore galleries & museums. The Portland Museum of Art has a sculpture garden, film screenings and more than 18,000 works of art in its collection. Highlights include oil paintings by Mary Cassatt, Jasper Johns and Renoir, and an etching by Winslow Homer.  Be sure to visit the gift shop, where you can find loads of gifts under $50. If you’re traveling with kids in tow, check out the Children’s Museum and Theatre of PortlandChildren’s Museum and Theatre of Portland. It’s been named a top museum for children and has interactive exhibits and daily activities. For cutting edge work by local, national and international artists, check out the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art.
  9. Enjoy the craft beer scene. Portland, Maine’s craft beer scene is hopping. The seaside city currently boasts the third-highest number of the breweries in the U.S.  Portland’s breweries are as much about quality as quantity and offers inarguably one of the most vibrant and diverse scenes in the country, there are a ton of options—from well-known heavyweights that helped pioneer microbrewing in the ’90s (Allagash and Shipyard) to innovative upstarts (Foulmouthed and Batson River). You can choose among various guided tours offered year-round or  you can simply walk around a fantastic city while checking out some of the best breweries in the country.
  10. Enhance your winter wardrobe. For the perfect gear for all your winter adventures, look no further than the Freeport Brand Name Outlets and L.L.Bean – located just a short drive away in Freeport, Maine. From boots and jackets to skis and snowshoes, the L.L.Bean flagship campus is open 24 hours a day
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