City Guide Portland

What to Do in Portland, Maine as a Travel Nurse

Portland, Maine is a quaint, artsy city packed with things to eat, drink, do and Instagram while you’re on a travel nurse assignment with Cross Country Nurses. Downtown Portland, also known as The Peninsula, is the heart of the city and where many of the most popular restaurants, bars, shops and attractions are located. Portland is the most populous city in Maine, with more than a third of the state’s total population calling it home. When most people think of Maine, they picture the epic, rocky shoreline, lighthouses and lobster rolls, and you can find all that and so much more in Portland. Here’s our guide to help you get acquainted with this charming city.

Eat This!


Don’t let the line at the door turn you off; pack your patience and we guarantee it will be worth the wait! Food bloggers travel from near and far to sample the restaurant’s namesake signature dish: hand-cut Maine potatoes fried Belgian-style in duck fat and served with your choice of homemade dipping sauces. The menu features an exclusive selection of must-try foodie favorites including paninis, soups, salads and milkshakes, all handcrafted with locally sourced ingredients. Save room for dessert: their duck fat fried donut holes are almost as popular as their fries.

Portland Lobster Company

If there’s one food Maine is known for around the world, it is without question fresh lobster. You’ll find lobster on the menu at numerous local restaurants, including Portland Lobster Company. This casual restaurant offers a spectacular view of the city’s harbor and some of the best seafood options in town, including local lobster, shrimp, crab, clams and mussels prepared in a variety of ways. Portland Lobster Company also features an excellent draft beer selection, including many from the city’s local breweries.

Drink This!

Bard Coffee Shop

This is independent coffee shop serves fresh roasted beverages with heart. No seriously, the baristas top each hand-crafted coffee with an artistic swirled shape, like a flower or yes, a heart. You’ll find an eclectic mix of hip locals, curious tourists and work-from-homers setting up shop with their laptops in this warm, sunny space featuring large tables and an excellent opportunity for downtown people-watching. Locals swear by their maple lattes, nitro cold brews and seasonal Italian sodas. A variety of breakfast sandwiches and pastries are available, too.

Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash is one of the country’s most popular craft breweries and it was founded right here in Portland, Maine in 1995. Their Belgian-style beers are loved by both locals and beer aficionados nationwide. A brewery tour is the perfect way to spend a free afternoon learning about their history and unique beer-making process, and you’ll be rewarded with a generous sampling of several house specialties. Even if you’ve already done the tour, Allagash also offers daily tasting menus and an unbeatable beer flight special featuring four three-ounce pours for just five bucks!

Do This!

Casco Bay Islands

Dozens of islands are scattered in the ocean waters just outside Portland, accessible only by boat. Many of them offer exciting day-trip opportunities, including bike and kayak rentals that let you explore at your own pace. Casco Bay Lines’ iconic ferry service offers a daily schedule of trips to and from many of them, including Peaks, Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Diamond Cove, Long, Chebeague, Cliff, and Bailey Islands. Hop on the ferry in the morning and spend the day discovering unique places to eat, shop, learn and explore on each individual island.

Portland Museum of Art

Considering Portland, Maine’s relatively small size, most people are pleasantly surprised when they see the selection of art on display at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA), which consists of more than 18,000 individual pieces. The PMA features a number of nationally renowned exhibitions and is a permanent home to a number of works from Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol and many others. Free Fridays offer art lovers the opportunity to visit the museum for free from 4pm to 8pm every Friday.

Instagram This!

The Portland Observatory

Constructed in 1807, the Portland Observatory is America’s last standing maritime signal tower. Open daily during season from May through October, the tower offers magnificent views of Portland’s harbor and the city itself. Take the tour to learn more about its construction and the history of Portland. The tower also makes an excellent subject for photographs, particularly during the hours just before sunrise and sunset when a colorful sky or dramatic clouds can provide an interesting background.

East End Beach

A sunrise is a beautiful thing to see from almost anywhere, but early risers on the coast of Maine are lucky enough to see it first. Portland’s East End Beach off the Eastern Promenade is a great place to photograph this daily natural phenomenon. This small beach is free to visit and offers plenty of available parking, and its scenic ocean view is a peaceful treat any time of day. At night it opens up to dogs, and if you’re ever feeling sad, watching them bliss out on the beach is sure to warm your heart and put a smile back on your face.

Apply to Be a Travel Nurse in Portland, Maine

Ready to pack your bags and see all that Portland, Maine has to offer? Check out travel nurse jobs in Portland, Maine and apply to be part of Cross Country Nurses today. Learn why travel nurses choose Cross Country Nurses as their travel nurse agency.

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