Most people associate Maine with quaint backwoods living and summers filled with blueberries and lobster and other Maine favorites. That being said, Vacationland has more to offer than crustaceans and moose.

I spend half of my time in Southern Maine since my family bought a beach house in Wells when I was little. While the beach has its perks, my favorite thing to do in Maine is go up to Portland. 

Portland is hands down my favorite city in America. It has an laidback edgy vibe while also giving you quintessential New England beauty. When I started school in Boston I was surprised to find that not that many people knew how cool Portland is.

Here are seven reasons why you should spend a long weekend in Portland Maine at least once in your life. 

1. Accessibility

The best part about Portland is how convenient and accessible it is for people around New England. Train tickets from Boston to Portland are usually less than $30 and the ride is around two and half hours. Portland is also easily walkable, with plenty to explore within the downtown. 

2. Food

Portland has a wealth of food options for you to explore. Pizza lovers should make sure to check out the original OTTO pizza parlor where you can try out classics like their drool worthy Margherita or their inventive slices like the mashed potato, bacon, and scallion pie. 

Those who prefer something lighter should try out Blake Orchard Juicery. Fresh cold pressed juices, nut mylks, and smoothie bowls are only a few of the great options this small shop offers. Even if you don't go up to Portland, Blake Orchard Juicery's Instagram is definitely worth a follow if you need any healthy eating inspiration. 

If you want to try something really unique, I'd definitely go to The Holy Donut, which is only a few doors down from Blake Orchard Juicery. Made with Maine potatoes—with vegan and gluten free options—these doughnuts are crispy, moist, and full of flavor. This busy shop often sells out of their doughnuts before closing time so make sure to get there early so you can snag some. 

3. Shopping 

Portland is the perfect place to go if you're looking for a unique shopping experience. While there are mainstays like Urban Outfitters, Stonewall Kitchen, and the Maine Mall about 15 minutes out of the downtown, Portland is packed with vintage stores and local shops. 

My favorite vintage store is Moody Lords, a record store with some awesome clothes from the 70's and 80's. I can always find a hard to find record or awesome throwback whenever I look through this spot. A new favorite of mine is Pinecone and Chickadee, which has the perfect blend of locally made art pieces and, as they say, "vintage oddities." 

5. Museums

My first memories in Portland are in its art museum, which is the largest and oldest public art institution in Maine. This museum has a great mix of American, European, and modern pieces as well as classics from Maine artists like Winslow Homer. 

The art museum isn't the only museum in Portland however. The Portland Children's Museum is right next to the art museum, but my favorite is the International Cryptozoology Museum, where you can learn all about Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, mermaids, and more. 

6. Music 

Portland is also great if you're a music lover. There are plenty of venues around the city that big acts have been to to warm up for bigger shows in Boston or New York, like Foster the People, Alt J, and The Lumineers. 

The venues range from open spaces like the outdoor Thompson's Point to the more intimate Port City Music Hall, so you'll definitely find a show that's up your alley. 

7. Exploring

My favorite thing about Portland is how there's always something to explore when you're there. The last few times I've gone I found some great spots like Portland Flea-for-All, a massive vintage store that has every vintage item you could ever be looking for, and the Public Market House, a space for local businesses that offer things like blueberry sticky rice and pho. 

If you want to get out of the city for a bit and experience some quintessential New England views, there's always Portland Head Light in nearby Cape Elizabeth, as well as the Portland Breakwater Light in South Portland. 

Portland is also great to explore any time of year, making it perfect for a long weekend or a unique Spring Break destination. With cheap and accessible transportation and tons to explore, Portland is the perfect destination for those who want to see everything New England has to offer.