Your Guide to visiting Portland, ME.
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The erection of the Maine Mall, an indoor shopping center established in the suburb of South Portland during the 1970s, economically depressed downtown Portland. The trend reversed when tourists and new businesses started revitalizing the old seaport, locally known as the Old Port. Since the 1990s the historically industrial Bayside neighborhood saw rapid development. The emerging harborside Ocean Gateway neighborhood at the base of Munjoy Hill. The Maine College of Art has been a revitalizing force downtown, attracting students from around the country. The historic Porteous building on Congress Street was restored by the College, in collaboration with Portland architect Richard Renner.
The Arts District, centered on Congress Street, is home to the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Stage Company, Maine Historical Society & Museum, Maine College of Art, Children's Museum of Maine, SPACE Gallery, Merrill Auditorium, the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ, and Portland Symphony Orchestra, as well as many smaller art galleries and studios.
Baxter Boulevard around Back Cove, Deering Oaks Park, the Eastern Promenade, Western Promenade, Lincoln Park and Riverton Park are all historical parks within the city. Other parks and natural spaces include Payson Park, Post Office Park, Baxter Woods, Evergreen Cemetery, Western Cemetery and the Fore River Sanctuary. The non-profit organization Portland Trails maintains an extensive network of walking and hiking trails throughout the city and neighboring communities.
Portland hosts many internationally renowned bars, taverns and restaurants. The downtown area, including the Arts District and the Old Port have a high concentration of eating and drinking establishments, with many more to be found throughout the rest of the peninsula, outlying neighborhoods, and neighboring communities.
Local lore holds that Portland ranks among the top U.S. cities in restaurants and bars per capita. According to the Maine Restaurant Association, Portland is currently home to about 230 restaurants. Many of these institutions cater to niche markets in the culinary world, perhaps most notably the harvest of local sea cucumbers that are primarily exported to Asian markets.
Portland has developed a national reputation for the quality of its restaurants and eateries. In 2009, Portland was named the "Foodiest Small Town in America" by Bon Appétit magazine, and was featured in the New York Times as a food destination.
In the spring of 2007, Portland was nominated as one of three finalists for "Delicious Destination of the Year" at the 2007 Food Network Awards.
Other sites of interest include: