The coastal community of South Portland brims with character as it rests along the calm waters of the Fore River. Located between two major highways and situated about 30 minutes from Portland, residents have plenty of travel options available within a relatively short drive. Interstate 295 lies about 8 miles to the west from the center of town, catering to the industrial area's work commuters. State Route 77 rests 8 miles to the east, drawing travelers seeking the community college, fun at the beach or one of Maine’s largest marinas.
A strong and active community presence characterizes this cozy little town. Residents take pleasure in the excellent public safety services and the many local amenities, such as the city swimming pool and the community center. Parents appreciate the supportive and exceptional school systems in the area, and children enjoy the nearby parks for recreation and other city-sponsored activities.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Restaurant choices are plentiful in the surrounding South Portland area, and locals adore a few close-to-home choices.
For casual dining at its best, check out Docks Seafood located right in the heart of town on Evans Street. This family-owned and -operated restaurant and fish market serves up the freshest local seafood. Stop in to sample the twin lobsters with cole slaw and french fries and try an order of mussels, all for about half the price that you'd pay at the pricier restaurants downtown.
Don't be fooled by the modest appearance of Campbell's Market on Broadway. This multi-purpose shop makes fresh pizza, subs, breakfast sandwiches and more to keep local bellies full whether you stop in for a quick bite on you way to work, a sandwich for lunch, or a tasty pizza smothered in choice toppings for a hassle-free dinner.
Finer dining options require just a short drive over to the Knightville area and The Snow Squall Restaurant . Find quality American fare, unique cocktails and draft beers all served in a relaxing atmosphere at this upscale bistro. Sip your drinks on the patio while munching on the locally sourced crab cakes, or start with the creamy haddock chowder while waiting on your entrée.
History & Culture
Thanks to the city's close proximity to marine, air, railway and highway travel options, South Portland has become a booming area of retail and industry. Until the 1960's, Portland was a quiet town that was sparsely developed. The anticipation of Interstate 295's development spurred the city to purchase the land that is now South Portland, recognizing its economic potential. The city really began to thrive in 1971 when the Maine Mall opened, providing both job and shopping opportunities.
The South Portland Historical Society collects, preserves and exhibits items related to the town's historical significance and also features the Cushing's Point Museum. Stop in to explore the town's journey through time with the family or come alone for an educational trip.
Residents of South Portland enjoy travel by foot, air, land or sea. Many nearby neighborhoods provide well-maintained and convenient bike paths and sidewalks for health-conscious commuters.
The Portland Transportation Center is a bus and train station that services the area, and Metro Bus also has many stops and pick-up locations from which to choose. Travel by automobile remains the most popular option for the locals, and public parking is free on almost every street. Residents can also hail a cab with a quick phone call to any one of a number of providers in the area. Limo services are also available, or for another option, call Uber from your smartphone.
Casco Bay Lines offers ferry service year-round for passengers, freight, postal and vehicle transportation to the islands of Casco Bay from Portland. The Portland International Jetport is always available for travelers seeking destinations further away.
The cost of living in South Portland is about 7 percent greater than that of Maine on average, and about 15 percent higher than the national average, but residents find that's a small price to pay for the town's surrounding beauty. Travel is a bit pricier too, with gas prices sitting 29 percent above the national average, but bus fare into the city center only costs $1.50.
Rent is rather reasonable here. Find a one-bedroom residence at an average price of $1000 per month. If you're going out for a night on the town, expect to pay anywhere between $3 and $6 for a beer depending on the type of establishment.
Shopping options in South Portland are plentiful, offering plenty of big name stores to choose from in the surrounding area. Residents head east to the Knightville area to pick up groceries at Hannaford's Supermarket or to Shaw's to enjoy the convenience that the smaller shop provides. Find higher end shopping at the Maine Mall, which lies 30 minutes to the west.
Neighborhood locals have a variety of specialty shops to choose from closer to home. Nothing Bakes Like a Parrot hosts the sweetest treats in town. Stop at the bakery for fresh and tasty cookies, or select a cupcake bouquet for that special someone, and don't forget to try out a cupcake in a jar for a fun, crumb-free way to treat yourself. The locals also know that Nothing Bakes Like a Parrot is the go-to place for custom made wedding cakes, treat tables and party favors.
Residents of South Portland looking for a day of boutique shopping head across the Casco Bay Bridge into Portland to find options such as Tavecchia , one of the area's longest standing boutiques. This delightful boutique provides vintage fashions and a host of upper-end women's apparel that you can't find anywhere else locally.
Just around the corner on Milk Street, Waterlily sports its own brand, designed by the shop's owner. Renee draws on inspiration taken from her travels around the globe to create truly unique designs. Both upscale and thrift boutiques are bountiful nearby, making this a worthwhile drive for the fashionistas of South Portland.
The city's Parks Department maintains 525 acres of parkland, a nine-hole municipal golf course, more than 8 miles of walking trails and a municipal beach. The community places immense value on recreational sports and activities. Children can stay active during the summer with six-week long recreation camps that take advantage of the area's parks.
Residents who want to let their furry friends run free head to Hinckley Park for some off-the-leash action. The site is home to two ponds that provide a nice place for your pooch to swim after romping through the greenery.
Hikers might want to take the drive over to Portland to experience some outdoor adventure at Portland Trails. Take your best hiking boots with you for an all-day workout, choosing from more than 33 trails to choose from that offer a variety of options from rugged to wheelchair user accessible pathways.