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Portland, ME Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 19
Total Sleeping Rooms 2,487
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 289
Committable Meeting Rooms* 11
Convention Center Space 30,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Exhibit Space 10,640 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $106
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $56
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $378
*Maximum for a single hotel

Portland, ME Meeting Planning Overview

Welcome to the Portland Meeting and Event Planning Guide, written with meeting planners in mind. With its spectacular coastline and waterfront, Portland is a stunning backdrop for meetings and events that will both recharge and inspire attendees. Just three miles from downtown Portland, the Portland International Jetport offers nearly 100 flights a day to major destinations across the country. Portland is also just a two-hour drive from Boston and a four-hour drive from Hartford. Once in Portland, getting around the city is a breeze thanks to an efficient public transportation system, though the mild weather and charming boroughs also create a particularly pedestrian-friendly locale.

Accommodations and meeting facilities go hand in hand in Portland. With 239 well-appointed guest rooms, the award-winning Holiday Inn By the Bay Hotel and Convention Center is the perfect place to host events and overnight guests. Located in the heart of Portland, Holiday Inn By the Bay is one of Maine's largest convention facilities. Offering 30,000 square feet of space including 1 meeting rooms and a 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall, the hotel can accommodate groups ranging in size from eight to 1,400 people.

A number of other large-scale facilities are available to make Portland events a success. Located in Portland's stately City Hall, the Merrill Auditorium seats up to 1,908 people; and the Cumberland County Civic Center in the heart of downtown features 22,000 square feet of space. Perfect for trade shows and annual conferences, the center is one of Maine's largest exhibit facilities. Additionally, the Portland Exposition Building is the 2nd oldest arena in continuous operation in the U.S., hosting nearly 600,000 guests per year.

For a truly unique meetings experience, planners can look to the many alternative spaces spread throughout the city. From restaurants and historic homes to museums and meetings at sea, the unique Portland event venues impart a touch of New England charm to any event. Host a meeting amidst the grandeur of the Victoria Mansion, one of the nation's most prestigious historic landmarks. Or enjoy a backdrop of well-crafted ceramics and sparkling glass art at the Portland Museum of Art's intimate Glass Gallery. For a truly memorable experience, groups can gather on an Odyssey Whale Watching cruise for snacks, drinks and unforgettable views of Maine's aquatic life 20 miles off shore.

As Maine's economic capital, Portland is home to the headquarters of several major corporations including Unum, TD Commerce Bank, Maine Bank & Trust and ImmuCell Corp. Several colleges and universities also call the city home including the Maine College of Art, University of Maine School of Law and University of Southern Maine.

About Portland, ME / Additional Info

In the shadow of soaring tree-covered mountains and fringed by the crashing waves of Maine's rugged coast, the scenic city of Portland offers 52.6 square miles of history, culture and diverse terrain. Once called Machigonne, meaning "Great Neck," by early Native American inhabitants, the Portland peninsula was established as a fishing and trading settlement by Europeans in 1623. Today, it is the largest city in the state of Maine with a greater metropolitan area of about 520,000 people – almost one quarter of Maine's total population.

From majestic lighthouses to historic mansions, Portland is home to a number of sites that reveal its storied past. Visitors can wander along the streets of the historic Boothbay Railway Village, home to over 50 antique automobiles, or take in the views from the Portland Observatory, the country's only remaining maritime signal tower. Drop by the childhood home of beloved 19th century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Old Port District, lined with unique shops, sophisticated boutiques and outstanding eateries.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find just as much to do in the city as history buffs. Portland's mild weather and diverse terrain provide just the right conditions for a slew of recreational activities. Ski in the foothills of the beautiful White Mountains during the winter, or hit the beach as temperatures rise in the summer. Deep-sea and fresh water fishing opportunities abound in the region's lakes and marshes and off the Atlantic coast. Or, for a look at regional wildlife, the Maine Wildlife Park lets guests get up close and personal with native species such as the great horned owl and the mountain lion.

When night falls, Portland shines with an international cuisine scene that rivals most major metropolitan cities. From Asian fusion to Italian, Portland offers flavors from around the globe. Patrons can listen to live jazz while dining on sumptuous Italian cuisine at the trendy Azure Café, or pull up a chair at Bull Feeney's for an evening of hearty Irish fare, specialty brews and live entertainment. For a truly historic evening, take a step back in time at the Jameson Tavern for traditional delicacies of New England clam chowder and Maine steamed clams.

Of course, no trip to this seaside city would be complete without feasting on some famous Maine lobster. There's no better way to enjoy this regional favorite than by dining above the water at DiMillo's Floating Restaurant. A Portland institution for decades, this restaurant-turned-car-ferry offers spectacular views of Portland Harbor. On water or land, indoors and out, Portland's exciting mix of activities are sure to make guests long for an excuse to extend their stay.

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