Top 10 Reasons To Retire In Portland, ME

A Small Town with Great Amenities

When people choose to retire in a small beach retirement town, it’s usually because they want to get away from city life and live their retirement in peace. Sometimes, however, retiring in a small town means giving up on conveniences you’ve grown quite accustomed to. But that’s not the case for retirees in Portland. Here, you’ll be spoiled with a huge number of attractions, entertainment venues, boutiques and one-of-a-kind stores, a vibrant nightlife, a busy working waterfront and more. Portland offers all these along with peaceful, quiet mornings, minimal pollution and reasonable cost of living. It rarely gets any better than this.

Arts and Culture

There’s an abundance of arts and culture offerings in Portland. It’s pretty impressive considering it only has a population of 66,000. It even has its very own Arts District, which is home to a plethora of museums, art galleries, studios and other facilities. What makes Portland truly unique in this department is its First Friday Art Walk event. On the first Friday of every month, studios and art galleries welcome visitors with exhibits and receptions. On top of that, there’ll be performances on the streets for everyone to watch.

Getting and Staying Fit is Easy

It’s no secret that as you grow older, it gets harder to stay in shape, so it’s important to choose a beach retirement town that offers easy access to activities that’ll keep you moving. In Portland, there’s a good number of parks and a wide range of activities people of ages can do, from running, biking and hiking to skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating in the winter. The city is also easily walkable, so if you run your errands on the same day it could count as your workout for that day.


Surf-casting is popular throughout the state, with challenging striped bass, bluefish and mackerel being the usual catch. In Portland, the two top destinations for surf-casting are the city’s public pier and the Eastern Promenade Boat Launch, which not only offers two cement boat ramps and a float but also restrooms, trailer parking and the option to fish along the shoreline. There are also charters available for when you want to take fishing to the next level.

Medical Care

It’s great when a beach retirement town offers plenty of opportunities for seniors to get fit, but equally important is easy access to major hospitals, and Portland has at least two: Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital. Main Medical Center is the largest hospital in the state. Boasting over 600 beds, it’s the only Level I trauma center in Maine. There are also several other clinics and healthcare facilities scattered around the city.

Portland International Jetport

Winter in New England can be harsh, and it can really make you think twice about retiring in Portland. Luckily, you can easily escape winter weather through Portland International Jetport, which is just 15 minutes away from downtown Portland. Direct flights are available to many of the major cities on the east coast. Plus, the airport itself is pretty neat—it’s been named as the best airport in North America twice by Airports Council International.

Access to Various Beaches

Portland may not have award-winning beaches like other beach retirement destinations do, but it does have plenty of lovely beaches in and around the city that you can get to in about 30 minutes or less (or more if you don’t mind going farther). Willard Beach, one of the smaller, less crowded beaches, is about a 14-minute drive from downtown Portland. The most popular one is probably Crescent Beach, a picturesque spot about eight miles south of the city.

Casco Bay

Did you know that Portland is located on Casco Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Maine that’s home to over 200 islands? This means access to even more beaches. Some of these islands are just a short ferry ride away—perfect for when you want to escape the city and be engulfed in nature. Apart from beaches, they also offer a wide range of outdoor activities, from kayaking, fishing and motor boating to hiking, biking, tennis and camping. There are a bunch of uninhabited islands you can explore as well if you’re feeling more adventurous.

Nationally-recognized Dining Scene

A media darling, Portland has been awarded prestigious titles over the years for the quality of its food scene: Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appétit Magazine and one of the 30 Most Exciting Food Cities in America by Zagat, just to name a couple. Lobster may be what it’s mostly known for, but the city offers tons of international cuisines as well. For some of the best seafood the city has to offer, head over to Eventide Oyster Co. and sample their raw bar and lobster rolls. Like Asian food? There’s The Honey Paw, Empire Chinese Kitchen and Miyake. For upscale American fare, hit the rustic Fore Street Restaurant.

Best Beer City

Portland isn’t just popular for its vibrant food scene; it’s also popular for its huge beer selection. In 2015, it ranked 14th on America’s 20 Best Cities for Beer Lovers by Travel + Leisure. Matador Network also named it the “top craft beer city in the world.” It boasts 19 microbreweries—the most per capita in all of the United States. There’s literally one for every 3,500 residents. You’re sure to have an amazing experience no matter where you grab your drink, but Allagash Brewing Company is probably the best place to start.

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