Portland, Maine (population 66,000) has had a dramatic resurgence over the last 20 years. Always an important port and manufacturing center, Maine’s largest city is an ideal retirement community – in fact it is often mentioned as one of America’s most livable small cities. It combines New England history (founded in 1632), a vital downtown centered on the Old Port District, pristine beaches, and a friendly, small town feel. Having many successful years of redevelopment under its belt, this vital city also has many desirable suburbs that attract active adults 55 plus. Cape Elizabeth, for example, features the Portland Head Light and has many great neighborhoods along the ocean. There is an interesting variety of neighborhoods within Portland, many of which are named. The University of Southern Maine and several other colleges make this a college town.
Portland has many attractions for active adults. The downtown is bustling with good restaurants and interesting stores. The Maine Mall is the largest enclosed mall in Maine. There is an ample stock of Victorian buildings. There is so much to see and do, including a just-completed 30 mile network of bike and walking trails, some of it along the water.
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The retirement community housing choices are very good, ranging from private homes to condos. Some retirees live here for the summer, and then migrate to a warmer climate. Cape Elizabeth is one of the nicest suburbs. Prices are a relative bargain compared to other parts of New England. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median selling price in the 4th quarter of 2020 was $374,400, in the Portland-South Portland area, which is a 20.7% increase compared to the 4th quarter of 2019.
What Is Special about Portland
• Lively downtown with broad streets and excellent shopping • The Old Port • Livable small city • The 1873 Italianate Portland Custom House • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception • Portland Head Light and Museum • Maine College of Art • Fabulous coast of Maine • Back Cove designed by Frederick Law Olmstead • America's "Foodiest" Small Town by Bon Appetit Magazine, numerous other "Best Places"
Portland is above average in walkability when compared to other towns.
What Is Not Special about Portland
Winters are long, cold, and dark
Who Will Like Retirement in Portland
Portland attracts a community of retirees who want to live in a small city in the un-crowded and beautiful state of Maine
Local Economy Is Driven by
The economy is driven by services (financial, healthcare, and social services)
Climate and Physical Environment
Portland is located on a peninsula beside Casco Bay on the Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to the moderating presence of the water, Portland winters are several degrees warmer and summers cooler than just a few miles inland. The average July high is 79 and the January average low is 12. November is the wettest month with almost 5" of precip.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
There is plenty to do thanks to the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Portland Museum of Art, Children’s Museum of Maine, and the Center for Cultural Exchange. Portland has a lively restaurant scene. Home of several colleges including the University of New England, Maine College of Art, and University of Southern Maine
The crime rate is slightly above the national average.
Maine Medical Center
Portland International Jetport. There is intercity bus service and Amtrak service to Boston, MA with several trains per day. There is a local public bus system. Portland is also a great walking city and has a high Walk Score of 65 from walkscore.com. The State Ferry Terminal has many daily ferries to Casco Bay Islands, many of which are inhabited year-round.
Currently retired and living with wife in Las Vegas Nevada. Our daughter moved at the end of August 2018 from San Diego area to Portland Maine in order to get out of California and work / live in Maine. Visited Portland in the late 70s and again last May to celebrate daughter\'s birthday. Impressed with the vitality of the area and the friendliness of people living there. We stayed downtown in the touristy Waterfront area, visited LL Bean in Freeport and spent time with our daughter.
Not so impressed with the older architecture and the cloudy, cool rainy weather mid May. Also would not look forward to four to five months of cold snowy dark late fall to early spring weather. However, compared to Las Vegas it would be less crowded for the most part and crime and traffic would probably be more reasonable. Would like to hear from people who have retired there and to gather some of their thoughts on Portland and the surrounding area.
Editor's comment: Some of our friends have moved to Portland from Maine. They bought a condo downtown and are thrilled. They love the restaurants, coffee shops, and small urban vibe. Of course they head to Florida for 3 winter months so they do get out of Dodge for some of those cold winters.
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