Explore Portland, Maine's East End this spring

Published: April 10, 2024

I’ve lived in Portland’s East End (specifically, on Munjoy Hill) for over 30 years. I love this neighborhood and the incredible diversity of options when it comes to exploring, eating, shopping and recreating. We’re in the heart of Maine’s largest city, while also being a literal stone’s throw from Casco Bay. And in the last few years, the East End has become home to even more great places to experience. I asked our PMR staff for some recommendations on their favorite things to do in Portland’s East End. Here’s what they suggested…

“This is a vibrant neighborhood with tons of exciting things to see and do. Be sure to visit Cong Tu Bot on Washington Ave. when you get hungry!” — Billy

This Asian noodle restaurant offers a unique twist on traditional street fare, with dishes like bún chá that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

If you’re looking for a taste of local flavor, be sure to check out the many (other) restaurants, markets and shops along Washington Avenue and Congress Street. From trendy eateries to neighborhood markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Forage Market and Bakery, located at 123 Washington Ave, is a must-visit for food lovers. With a mission to bring people together through good food, Forage sources fresh ingredients from local producers to create delicious craft food and beverages. Their artisan baking methodology ensures that every bread and bagel is carefully prepared by hand, resulting in fluffy interiors and crusty exteriors that are bursting with flavor.

Image: Yannick Allen-Larochelle on unsplash.com

If you’re a fan of craft beer, be sure to check out Lone Pine Brewing Company on Anderson Street. Founded in 2016, Lone Pine has quickly become one of the largest craft breweries in Maine, known for its innovative brews and commitment to quality. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking to enjoy a quick cold one, Lone Pine is a great spot to relax and enjoy the local brews. Another great brewery to check out is Belleflower Brewing, offering a variety of unique and flavorful beers, perfect for sipping and relaxing with friends.

For more local flavor, head over to Munjoy Hill Tavern on Congress Street. This friendly neighborhood bar attracts a diverse crowd of locals and visitors alike, creating a welcoming and cozy atmosphere. Their menu features a variety of delicious dishes, but the stuffed bread is a standout favorite among regulars.

“My spots are the local favorites. I would always suggest Munjoy Hill Tavern for a nightcap or Double Great Coffee, just up Congress Street, for a pick-me-up!” — Monica

For a unique dining experience, check out Terlingua on Washington Ave. Chef Wilson Rothschild has created a menu that combines house-smoked meats with Caribbean, Southwest and Mexican inspired dishes. Whether you’re craving lunch, brunch, or dinner, Terlingua’s menu is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Be sure to try their Brisket Chili on a chilly spring evening for a warm and comforting meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.

If you’re still looking to sip some locally distilled spirits, Maine Craft Distilling just across the street on Washington Ave is the place to go. Their farm-to-flask distilling approach ensures that every sip is bursting with flavor and made with the freshest ingredients.

PMR gardens

Situated on the eastern edge of the Portland’s downtown peninsula, the East End is centered around Munjoy Hill and offers a unique blend of history, culture and modern amenities.

One of the neighborhood’s main attractions is Eastern Promenade, a scenic waterfront park designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm, known for creating Central Park in New York City and the modern Boston Commons. The two-mile Eastern Promenade Trail offers stunning views of Casco Bay and Portland Harbor.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the Eastern Prom multi-use trail, explore Will’s Playground, or relax at East End Beach. The park also features a public boating ramp, hand-launch boat ramp, community garden, and picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for a family outing or a peaceful day in nature.

For those looking to venture out onto the water, Casco Bay offers endless opportunities for kayaking, paddle-boarding, and boating. With more than 300 islands to explore, the bay is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Guided tours and rentals are available for those looking to experience the beauty of Casco Bay from a different perspective. Whether you’re paddling along the scenic waterfront of Portland Harbor or exploring the rugged coastlines of the bay’s wildest islands, you’re sure to be mesmerized by the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. For rentals and more information, make sure to check out Portland Paddle, with a location right off East End Beach.

For a unique kayaking experience, consider a multi-day trip that crosses Casco Bay, visiting some of the dozens of islands along the way. From hidden beaches to panoramic views, each island offers its own unique charm and beauty. Wildlife enthusiasts will delight in the abundant wildlife, including seals and seabirds, while history buffs will appreciate the fascinating remnants of the past, such as abandoned forts and centuries-old lighthouses. Whether you’re camping on Jewell Island, exploring the trails of Bangs Island, or soaking in the views from Whaleboat Island, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories on this one-of-a-kind adventure.

Back on land, the Washington Ave Bike Share offers a convenient way to explore the neighborhood and beyond. However, Portland’s East End is quite walk-able and easy to navigate on foot.

With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, Portland’s East End is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a peaceful day in nature, you’ll find it all in this charming neighborhood.