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. If you want to explore off-the-beaten-path Portland, scroll down to find out more and get inspired on your next trip to the enchanting waterfront city. Here are the best non-touristy things to do in Portland, Maine.
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.
Walk Portland & Try Maine’s Best Beers
Duration: 3 hours
2. Check out the food trucks at Portland Mercado
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.
Address: 7238 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206, USA
Website: Portland Mercado
Opening hours: 10am - 9pm (daily)
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.
Guided Hike in Portland's Forest Park! (Largest Urban Wilderness in the USA)
Duration: 3 hours
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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!
Downtown Portland Helicopter Tour
Duration: 15 minutes
5. Watch a soccer game at Providence Park
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!
Address: 1844 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Website: Providence Park
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Price: 25 - 250 USD
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!
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
7. Admire magnificent artworks at First Thursday
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!
Address: 1111 SW Alder St. Portland, OR 97205
Website: First Thursday
Opening hours: 12pm - 8pm (daily)
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 visit in Portland.
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
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!
Keep Portland Weird! A Photo Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
10. 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
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.
Private Half-Day Whitewater Rafting in the Gorge
Duration: 3 hours 40 minutes
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.
Come Sail with Us
Duration: 2 hours
Enjoy Portland like never before
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.
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