Thinking about moving to Portland, Maine? You’re in the right place.
Living in Portland, Maine, is an experience that blends the charm of a small coastal town with the cultural richness of a larger city.
Known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and diverse culinary landscape, Portland offers a unique lifestyle. Residents enjoy a close-knit community atmosphere, access to outdoor activities, and a city rich in history and character.
The perks are balanced by disadvantages like long (brutal) winters and a limited job market. But look at me getting ahead of myself, let’s dive into the pros and cons of living in Portland, Maine.
Living in Portland, Maine
Locals in Portland, Maine, are known for their easy-going and friendly nature. This aligns with the overall atmosphere of the city, which combines a small-town feel with (some of) the amenities of a bigger city.
It’s not uncommon for locals to be described as welcoming (greeting strangers with a quick hello!).
In Portland, life is about enjoying the small things – whether it’s a sunset over the harbor, a fresh lobster roll, or a chat with a friendly neighbor. As such, locals tend to give off an easy-going and relaxed vibe.
It’s a city that effortlessly combines the charm of a small town living with a slower pace to daily life.
The Pine Tree State is known for brutal winter (a well-warranted reputation, I assure you) but the trade off is perfect summers that can’t be beat.
The average highs in the summer range between 78°F (daytime) and 66°F (evening). Between the cooler temperatures and lack of humidity, you won’t have need for an A/C while living in Maine (which brings down the electricity bill substantially).
Imagine living in a place where you can enjoy the great outdoors without needing to run inside for AC every five minutes? Or jumping into the shower whenever you come home because of the humidity.
It’s a good thing that summers in Maine are so perfect because there’s plenty to explore outdoors — which brings me to my next point.
The Small Town Community Vibes
If you’ve ever visited Portland (while exploring the fall foliage in New England), you’ll know that the city is no stranger to charming small town vibes.
Characterized by close-knit and friendly neighborhoods, This sense of community is bolstered by local events, farmers’ markets, and gatherings that foster connections.
The city’s manageable size (population of 66K) allows for stronger relationships, and there’s a common appreciation for the arts, local businesses, and the natural beauty surrounding the area. This creates a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, making Portland feel like a cozy, connected community.
The Food Scene
Named the “Foodiest Small Town in America” by Bon Appétit, there’s more than 300 restaurants in town.
The local cuisine is arguably one of the best things about living in Portland, Maine. Fishing culture is huge and locals can’t help but benefit — our seafood is some of the best in the nation.
But our cuisine doesn’t stop at seafood, not at all.
Maine is known for sustainable farming practices that produce local and fresh vegetables seasonally. Pay a visit to Portland, Maine and see what all the fuss is about (those restaurants can hold their own against bigger cities like New York and Boston).
My friends like to joke that the perk of living in Maine is having access to fine dinning food and regular-people prices and I can’t say I disagree. Seafood is always expensive, but the prices in Maine seem par for the course when considering quality.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on real maple syrup, you can’t go back to the other stuff afterwards. There’s no denying that Portland’s restaurant scene punches above its weight class.
Portland is an Outdoor Lover’s Paradise
Portland isn’t just postcard-pretty; it’s a playground for nature lovers. With access to Casco Bay and nearby trails, it’s a haven for those who love the great outdoors.
Scenic Beauty: Portland is renowned for its picturesque landscapes. It’s surrounded by 70% forested area, contributing to Maine being the most forested state in the U.S.
“Outdoor Adventures: Maine’s state parks attracted over 3 million visitors in recent years, highlighting the state’s appeal for outdoor enthusiasts.”
Maine is a beautiful state
Something folks don’t realize until moving to Maine is how rural most of the state truly is. In fact, 90% of the state is forested! Most of the beauty in Maine (in my opinion) is reserved for the breathtaking lakes, coastline and forests.
We have a handful of mountains as well, but with the tallest peak capping out at nearly 5,600 feet, you can’t mistake us for a mountainous state. However, what we lack in mountains, we make up for in breathtaking coastline.
Maine has the fourth most coastline of any state in the country. Spanning nearly 3,500 miles, the state boasts more than 4,600 islands (imagine!). There’s never a shortage of dramatic cliffsides to explore, epic hikes to be had and panoramic sunset views while living in Maine.
And because most of the state is rural, crowds aren’t that common (outside of Acadia National Park, of course). Indeed, one of the perks of living in Maine is being able to find solitude in nature and thankfully, there’s plenty of it.
Cons of Living in Maine
Lack of Job Opportunities
While Portland, Maine has a lot of great things going for it, there’s one sector it doesn’t thrive in: job opportunities.
Simply put, the city has a smaller job market compared to larger cities. This limited job market is often due to geographical location and size.
The city’s economy is strong in certain sectors like healthcare, education, and tourism, but may offer fewer opportunities in industries like technology or manufacturing. Which means we aren’t necessarily attracting tech-centered millennials the way other cities might.
This can pose a challenge for individuals seeking a wide range of employment options or specific career paths.
Lack of Big City Amenities
Think of it this way: Portland is a tourist town. You can explore it well in a weekend, but what happens next?
Portland is a fun place to visit because there’s plenty to do (and eat!) over a short period of time. But long term? Well, you’ll get used to the “same old, same old” pretty quickly.
Things close early, the airport is small and you’ll find yourself visiting the same restaurants on repeat. However, the access to great nature makes up for the lack of city amenities, so to each their own!
Let’s be real – winters can be tough. If you’re not a fan of snow and cold, you might reconsider moving to Portland, Maine.
Winters in Portland, Maine, are known for being cold and long. The city experiences a significant amount of snowfall, with winter temperatures often dropping below freezing.
Despite the chilly weather, the winter season also brings picturesque snow-covered landscapes and opportunities for winter sports and activities. Lifelong locals have adapted to these conditions, with efficient snow removal and a culture that embraces the winter season.
However, the cold and snowy winters can be a challenge for those not accustomed to the blistering cold.
Retiring in Portland, Maine
Is Portland (Maine) a good place to retire?
Portland, Maine, can be an attractive retirement destination for several reasons. Its scenic beauty, with access to both the ocean and forests, offers a serene environment.
The city’s vibrant arts and culture scene, including museums and galleries, provides enriching activities. Additionally, Portland’s reputation as a foodie paradise, with diverse and high-quality cuisine, especially seafood, enhances the culinary experience for retirees.
However, it’s important to consider factors like the cost of living, which can be higher than in other areas, and the cold, snowy winters. These elements make Portland a mixed but potentially appealing choice for retirement, depending on personal preferences and lifestyle.
Is Portland, Maine a good place to live?
Portland, Maine, is generally considered a good place to live due to its scenic beauty, vibrant arts and culture scene, and diverse culinary options. The city offers a unique blend of urban amenities and natural landscapes, appealing to those who enjoy both city life and outdoor activities.
However, factors like the higher cost of living and cold winters may be drawbacks for some. The quality of life in Portland largely depends on personal preferences and lifestyle choices.
List of the Pros & Cons of Living in Portland, Maine (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a list of the pros and cons of living in Portland, Maine.
- Easy-Going Locals
- Perfect Summers
- The Small Town Community Vibes
- The Food Scene
- Portland is an Outdoor Lover’s Paradise
- Maine is a beautiful state
- Lack of Job Opportunities
- Lack of Big City Amenities
- Brutal Winters