South Portland, across the harbor from Portland, was built on fishing, shipping and shipbuilding. To get to know it, it’s best to start on the water.
Things to Do in South Portland
Bug Light Park, named for the diminutive lighthouse guarding it, is a great place the start your search. During World War II, the park was the site of a massive shipyard with 30,000 workers who, almost amazingly, turned out 244 Liberty ships, built for hauling cargo to Europe, by war’s end. The shipyard is gone now, but a memorial remains in the grassy park for the workers and Liberty ship sailors. Bug Light, officially, Portland Breakwater Light, is right off the park and still guides ships into Portland Harbor.
Spring Point Shoreway, a mile-long stroll along the water, will take you through the Southern Maine Community College campus, into historic Fort Preble and by another harbor lighthouse, Spring Point Ledge Light. You can visit this light, at least in good weather, by hiking out the granite breakwater that connects the light to the mainland. The Shoreway continues on to Willard Beach, a small but popular public beach.
If you’re looking for some local entertainment, try the theater. One of the Portland region’s top professional theater companies, Mad Horse, and two of its longest-running community theaters, Portland Players and the Lyric Music Theater, have their stages in South Portland.
When many people think of South Portland, they think of shopping, and with good reason. The Maine Mall, the state’s largest, is near the Maine Turnpike. Dozens of additional stores, restaurants and hotels near the Maine Mall have been built ever since. Shoppers can spend hours, if not days, in Maine Mall and its orbit.
Where to Stay in South Portland
South Portland hotels include DoubleTree by Hilton, Howard Johnson Hotel South Portland, Hampton Inn Portland-Airport, Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks and these other suggestions. Also scroll down the list of regional businesses below.
Restaurants in South Portland
Looking for restaurants in South Portland, Maine? There are plenty — some old faves, some new. Consider The Saltwater Grille, Cia Café, Enios Eatery, Foulmouthed Brewing, David’s 388, or Scratch Bakery for an amazing bagel breakfast. Here are other suggestions. Save room for ice cream from Willard Scoops. Also scroll down the list of regional businesses below.