Why Portland, Maine?
When I speak at events and conferences across the country, people are often surprised to hear that an agency with our reputation is in Portland, Maine.
Why, Portland, Maine? they ask. Why not Boston, or Chicago, or LA?
All great cities, all with their own strengths. But Portland, Maine (the original Portland), is an absolute gem.
There’s a lot of great places around the US and the world, but Portland is home. You can consider this my love letter to Portland, and these are just some of the reasons we live and work here.
Portland, Maine is a great place to live and work
I moved here in 1999 and discovered it’s a great place to build a company and raise a family. There is a vibrant business community in Maine, one that we highlight in our weekly Fast Forward Maine podcast.
I remember when I used to drive up from Boston for work before I started flyte new media. I would try and tune in the traffic report…only to find there are no traffic reports in Maine! (Not that it doesn’t get a little busy on 95 on Fridays during ski season or on Saturdays when the vacation rentals turn over.)
Short commutes, easy access to outdoor activities, a welcoming business community…it’s why we call Portland home.
Portland, Maine is foodie heaven
If you like food, you want to come to Portland. In fact, in 2018, Bon Appétit named it the Restaurant City of the Year. I’m sure we would have won it every year since then, but they probably need to spread the love.
Yes. One of the world’s most recognized culinary brands named Portland, Maine, the best city for restaurants. Not New York. Not San Francisco. Not even Chicago. We have a population of only 66,000 or so. But we have the best restaurants around. Sometimes it feels like you can’t swing a leg of prosciutto without hitting another chef who’s won the James Beard award.
Here are just a few of my favorite restaurants:
- Isa Bistro – Not on enough people’s radar, but great food and drinks. We always sit at the bar.
- Fore Street – The original farm to table restaurant. How they keep the quality up after all these years is beyond me.
- Silly’s – Best brunch! So happy they’re back!
- Via Vecchia – Best new spot. Amazing food and vibe.
- Becky’s Diner – An institution. Tourists and lobstermen flock here.
- Izakaya Minato – Small Asian restaurant with small plates.
- J’s Oyster – Love this place…plus, I see it every day out my office window!
- Rose Foods – In a town not known for its bagels, this place has amazing (authentic) bagels!
It hurts me to make this list because there are at least two dozen other restaurants I love in Portland, too!
Portland has the best bars and mixologists
After a long day of building websites and optimizing for search engines, we sometimes like to relax at one of our favorite watering holes. Here are just a few in the Old Port, walking distance from the flyte new media’s portland office:
- Blyth & Burrows – Some of the most creative drinks around with a historic maritime vibe. Plus, there’s a secret door to another bar. (But you didn’t hear it from me.)
- Hunt + Alpine – I’ve had the best, most well-crafted drinks of my life here.
- Vena’s Fizz House – The widest selection of mocktails around (and regular cocktails, too.)
Breweries and Tasting Rooms in Portland, Maine
You can’t talk about Portland (and Maine in general) without a mention of our craft breweries. After all, Portland has the most breweries per capita of any city in the nation according to market research company C+R.
- Bissell Brothers – Try their Substance Ale.
- Lone Pine – A growing list, but their Portland Pale Ale still tops my list.
- Rising Tide – One of my favorite tasting rooms. Try a flight (or flyte), but I always include an Ishmael copper ale.
And if you need a safe ride, check out our friends at the Maine Brew Bus…they’ll drive you to drink!
Sports in Portland, Maine
No, we don’t have major league ball in Portland, but we do have great minor league teams!
- Portland Sea Dogs – Some of the Red Sox best players have come through our AA franchise.
- Maine Red Claws – The Celtics G-League team calls Portland home!
- Maine Mariners – Of course we have hockey in Maine! Future New York Rangers get their ice legs in Portland. (But we don’t hold that against them.)
And if you aren’t interested in the major sports, you can always check out the Maine Roller Derby!
Live Music Venues in Portland
Sadly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen live music, but when it’s here I love to rock out at:
- Thompson’s Point – a great outdoor venue on the water
- The State Theatre – I can’t count the great bands I’ve seen here, including Silversun Pickups, Clutch, and Thievery Corporation
- Aura – A great venue for music or business events. I’ve seen Warrant, Sebastian Bach, and Thievery Corporation here. (I’ve actually seen Thievery Corporation at about 3 or 4 different venues in Portland!)
The Portland Art Scene
Yes! We have culture! After all, Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth both called Maine home! Do you want art? We’ve got art.
- Portland Museum of Art – A great museum offering free entry during First Fridays
- Portland Art Gallery – A collection of modern Maine artists.
- The University of New England Art Gallery – A beautiful building filled with Maine artworks.
- Maine College of Art – You can also check out great art from students and graduates alike here!
For more options, check out this list from Creative Portland.
Things to do in Portland, Maine
It’s impossible to include everything you might want to do when you’re not meeting with flyte, but here are a few ways to pass the time:
- SummerFeet – This bike tour company has tours around Maine and the world, but they are based in Portland and offer tours here as well.
- Portland Schooner Co. – We have done “flyte days” with the crew on these ships that sail around Casco Bay.
- Casco Bay Lines – There are hundreds of islands off Portland, many with year-round residents. These residents (and tourists) make their way back and forth on Casco Bay Lines. It’s a great way to explore some of the islands in Casco Bay.
- Just walk around the Old Port – Seemingly half of Tripadvisor’s “Things to Do In Portland Maine” seem to just list streets in the Old Port or statues in the Old Port.
My favorite parks and hikes
One of my favorite things to do is to jump on my bike and find trails right in the heart of the city that go through parks, woods, and then suddenly right up to someone’s house! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Baxter Woods – A tiny diamond of a hike; I love riding my bike up and down the trails.
- Eastern Prom – Great views of Casco Bay.
- Evergreen Cemetery – Plenty of trails and quiet neighbors.
For a complete list, be sure to check out Portland Trails.
Where to stay in Portland, Maine
So, you want to come up and check out flyte’s offices? See the view we have of Casco Bay? But you want to make the most of your stay and stick around for a few days? Here are some of the places we’ve put friends and family up (when we can’t fit them in the spare bedroom):
- The Regency – Possibly the closest hotel to flyte new media. You could roll a quarter between your room and our offices!
- The Press Hotel – Located in the old Portland Press Herald building, it’s steeped in the heritage of the previous tenant.
- Hyatt Place Portland – This is where we put all of our all-star speakers who present at our annual Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference. Nothing but rave reviews!
The Agents of Change
That’s right! Our annual digital marketing conference is one more reason to visit Portland! It takes place annually at the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland.
Why Portland, Maine?
These are just a few of the reasons we chose to set up flyte in Portland, and why we’d love to welcome you to our offices (when the pandemic subsides.)
So, come see us!
Proud Mainer (from away)