Where to Stay in Portland, Maine → 4 Best Areas for Tourists

Getting ready to visit one of the best cities in Maine? Then hop on because I’m about to embark on a virtual trip and discover all the main sites, art museums, shops, and other cool attractions in this historical city!

I won’t divulge all the secrets about this fabulous destination in Maine because I want to get straight to business and help you search for the best hotels and areas where to stay in Portland! I’ve looked through hundreds of hotel lists to find the best of the best for each price range.

One thing that I can say is that these hotels sell out super fast, especially the waterfront ones, so I highly recommend booking yours in advance to avoid the high prices!

Let’s go!

If you are in a hurry

Don’t have time to read the whole post? No worries, because I’ve made a shortlist of the best hotels in Portland, Maine, all located in the Downtown / Arts District

luxury hotel

The Press Hotel

Best luxury hotel

airbnb

Trendy Apartment

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

mid-range hotel

The Westin

Best value for money

budget hotel

Holiday Inn

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here’s a map to help you visualize all the areas where to stay in Portland, Maine, that I will be talking about in this post:

Downtown / Arts District
for first-timers
Old Port District
for nightlife
West End
for tranquility
East End
for families

1. Downtown / Arts District – best place to stay for first-timers

Although many of you may know more about this city’s twin sister by name (Portland, Oregon), I’m 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 Portland’s main attractions, the Portland Museum of Art, and South Portland.

Oh, yes, there’s 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!

Luxury hotel

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

Mid-Range

Enjoy the street views on the rooftop bar of this perfect place that offers room service and free wifi

Budget

Go for a dip in the pool at this Portland hotel that provides breakfast and a free airport shuttle

Airbnb

I love the design of this place that’s located in the city center and which has a kitchen and 2 rooms

Things to do in Downtown / Arts District

  • Visit the Portland Museum of Art
  • Check out Wadsworth-Longfellow House
  • Go shopping in Monument Square
  • Take a stroll in Lincoln Park
  • Have dinner at Davis’

2. Old Port District – best area in Portland, Maine for nightlife

Located less than 1 mile away from Downtown Portland, the historic Old Port area overlooks the beautiful Casco Bay and has the most relaxed atmosphere and vibe!

Old Port is a great place to stay in town during your trip if you’re a night owl who loves to bar hop, check all the restaurants, and have lots of drinks!

Did you know that Maine produces nearly 90% of the nation’s lobster supply – roughly 40 million pounds annually?

I hope you like lobster and other seafood because so many restaurants in the Old Port area serve this. (Scales and J’s Oyster are some of the best ones around if you just can’t wait!)

When you want to take a break from partying and drinking at the pubs, you can walk around the historic harbor in the Old Port and admire all the boats! And if you’re in the mood for a road trip, get your car, or rent one and explore other local areas, like Cape Elizabeth in Maine.

Luxury hotel

Relax after a long day of visiting all the historical attractions in Old Port on the terrace of one of Portland’s finest hotels. Located not too far from the waterfront, this hotel has a restaurant and a bar.

Other accommodation options in Old Port District

Mid-Range

Admire the views of Casco Bay at this waterfront hotel in Old Port which offers a free airport shuttle

Budget

Drink your coffee on the balcony of your room at this hotel in the center and admire the views of the city

Airbnb

Spacious and bright accommodation in Old Port that has a patio, free wifi, and a kitchen

Things to do in Old Port District

  • Admire the views of Casco Bay
  • Eat lobster at Scales and J’s Oyster restaurants
  • Take a tour of Old Port
  • Have a drink at The King’s Head
  • Explore the Portland Trails in the Old Port District

3. West End – where to stay in Portland, Maine to relax

Located just southwest of Downtown Portland and Old Port, this neighborhood is perfect for people who aren’t fans of big crowds and busy areas but still want to be nearby the top attractions, the best restaurants, and shops in the city.

West End is a bit more tranquil. You can walk down the street and not expect to bump into tons of tourists waiting to get into the art museums or shopping centers.

This area has developed its unique charm, and it has many historic houses. As you walk along Western Promenade street you’ll notice many beautiful 19th-century local homes.

Luxury hotel

This has to be one of my favorite places to stay in Portland, Maine! I like everything from the design, to the accessories and the modern rooms! Cozy up in front of the fireplace at the hotel and relax after a day of exploring and shopping in the city.

Other accommodation options in West End

Mid-Range

Feel at home in this Portland hotel that has a garden and that’s located just a street away from the attractions

Budget

Located near the Old Port area, just 6 minutes away by car, this inn offers a delicious breakfast and car parking

Airbnb

Simple, minimalistic, yet so chic! This cozy place has a kitchen and it’s near most of the attractions

Things to do in West End

  • Take a walk on the Western Promenade
  • Visit the Gothic House
  • Enjoy the views of the bay in the Memorial Park
  • Have dinner at Becky’s Diner
  • Check out the Portland Fire Museum

4. East End – best place to stay in Portland, Maine for families

In the search for the perfect area for your family trip to Portland? Stick around because I’m about to talk about one of the best neighborhoods in the city for you and the kids!

Located east of Old Port and Downtown Portland, this area is filled with restaurants, shops, and natural spots where the children can run and play. The East End beach is one of those places that will probably become the highlight of your trip.

Nearby the beach, you’ll find Fort Allen Park, from where you might be able to spot the Casco Bay Peaks Island if you’re lucky! Out of all of the neighborhoods in Portland, Maine, the East End is the one that has that holiday mood going on.

Luxury hotel

Located a street away from the art scene in Downtown Portland and the Old Port area, this hotel is a great place to book for your family trip. It has a restaurant on-site, a bar, and a free shuttle to the airport.  

Other accommodation options in East End

Mid-Range

A swimming pool, Casco Bay views, and a restaurant. This sounds like the perfect recipe for your family holiday

Budget

How unique is the design of this hostel in Portland, Maine? Guests have access to a lounge area and garden

Airbnb

Comfortable and compact accommodation that offers beach access, 2 rooms, and a kitchen

Things to do in East End

  • Have a family day on the East End beach
  • Climb the stairs of the Portland Observatory
  • Explore the Bayside trail
  • Have dinner at Banh Appetit
  • Spot Casco Bay Peaks Island with binoculars from Fort Allen
👑 Luxury price:$320
💵 Mid Range:$180
🛏️ Budget:$100
🏠 Airbnb:$250
💰 Accommodation prices:Medium
📍 Best area:Downtown / Arts District
👪 Best area for families:East End
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:The Press Hotel
💵 Best mid-range hotel:The Westin Portland Harborview
👛 Best budget hotel:Holiday Inn Portland

Frequently asked questions about Portland, Maine

🚶 Is Portland, Maine a walkable city?

Yes, Portland is a walkable city with a compact Downtown area and other great neighborhoods like the Old Port District near the waterfront. 

🚗 Where should I stay in Portland, Maine, without a car? 

You can stay in any of the main neighborhoods without a car. Still, I recommend the Downtown / Arts District or Old Port neighborhood as they host the biggest attractions in the city plus some great hotels such as The Press Hotel, Autograph Collection

📅 How many days should I spend in Portland, Maine?

Spending between 3 – 4 in Portland, Maine, should give you enough time to visit all the attractions in the city and the art museums plus other places like the Portland Head in Cape Elizabeth and South Portland. 

🛑 What are the bad areas of Portland, Maine?

Most of the areas inside Portland are safe. You should avoid places like Libbytown and Nasons Corner, located just outside of Portland. 

Conclusion

Wow! Are you as impressed as I am with this location? The restaurants, shops, and hotels all look so cool! I hope this post helped you decide where to stay in Portland, Maine.

This post has so many unique hotels, and I know better than anyone how hard it is to make a decision, so here are my top 2 favorite places to help you with the search, both located in Downtown / Arts District:

Keep in mind my advice and book your hotel in advance! It will save you so much time and money, trust me!

Have the best holiday in this fantastic city! Explore other nearby places such as South Portland all day long, and visit the Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. You won’t regret it! And if you have any questions, don’t be too shy to ask me in the comments.

Safe Travels,

Victoria

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