Where to Live in Portland, Maine

It seems like everyone wants to live in Portland, Maine. Hardly a week goes by that we’re not on some “best of” list. College graduates flock here for the food, drink, entertainment and active sports scene. Retirees downsize to Portland for cultural options and top-shelf medical facilities. Everyone loves the city’s size. It’s big enough to keep you busy, small enough to find your “tribe”, and see them often about town.

Many new Portland Maine residents want to be “on the peninsula”. Portland’s downtown is flanked by hills overlooking the east and west ends, and water access on the north and south. Almost anywhere on the peninsula, you can walk from grocery to gallery, beach to brewery, or concert hall to coffee shop. And you can’t spin a lobster without pointing to a restaurant.

What’s the Best Neighborhood in Portland Maine?

With so many great neighborhoods, it’s more about finding the best fit for you. We’ve broken down the choices to help you decide where to look. All the neighborhoods are in Portland, unless noted.

Near Lots of Restaurants (walking distance):

map of Portland Maine neighborhoods
Some popular Portland Maine neighborhoods
  • Munjoy Hill
  • Newbury / India Street
  • Old Port
  • Meeting House Hill (South Portland)

Near Nightlife and Music Venues:

  • Old Port
  • Congress St – mid-town
  • Longfellow Square

Near Beaches and Trails:

  • Baxter Boulevard
  • Newbury / India Street
  • Ferry Village / Willard Square (South Portland)
  • Munjoy Hill

Car-Free Possible:

  • Knightville (South Portland)
  • Bayside & Parkside
  • Congress St. – mid-town
  • Longfellow Square

Mostly Residential:

map of South Portland Maine's east end
Popular neighborhoods in the east end of South Portland Maine
  • Oakdale
  • West End
  • Ferry Village (South Portland)
  • Meeting House Hill / Willard Square (South Portland)

Less Congested, but Close to the City:

  • Deering Center / Rosemont
  • North Deering
  • Ferry Village (South Portland)
  • Meeting House Hill (South Portland)
  • Peaks Island

Drive-to Cheaper Rents in Portland Metro Area:

  • Westbrook
  • Old Orchard Beach
  • Redbank / Brick Hill (South Portland)
  • Riverton

Older Apartments with Character:

  • West End
  • Oakdale
  • Deering Center
  • Old Port

Sleek New Apartments and Condos:

  • Munjoy Hill
  • Newbury / India Streets
  • Bayside
  • Commercial St.

What’s the Cost of Living in Portland Maine?

Like many coastal cities, Portland Maine’s cost of living is above average. But, it’s about 50% less than New York and almost 30% less than Boston. The biggest outlier in our cost of living is housing cost: about 57% higher than the U.S. average. You might need to compromise on your “wish list” to find a place you can afford. And, because it’s so popular, it’s a seller’s market right now. If you see a great house, condo or apartment, it likely won’t be on the market tomorrow.

Moving to Portland, Maine?

You’re going to love it! We’ve been here since 1933, and are proud to be active in our community. We sponsor local non-profits and events. We champion fellow small businesses. We volunteer and buy local. Find us in the Knightville / Mill Creek area of South Portland, across the Casco Bay Bridge from Portland. We love to share our knowledge about the place we call home.

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