With over 350 years of history as a center for shipping, fishing, commerce, and travel, the Portland Waterfront offers a unique mix of heritage and innovation. Combining private and public piers in support of a full range of commercial marine activities, Portland Harbor boasts a true working waterfront in the heart of Maine’s largest City. The Portland Waterfront also invites tourism with dockside restaurants, historic architecture, harbor tours, and local and international ferry service. Work and play coexist on the waterfront with a fascinating and evolving mix of uses.
The Waterfront is generally described with three overlapping sub-districts:
• The Western Waterfront is exclusively dedicated to freight and industrial uses that need access to the deep water of the harbor’s maintained dredged channel.
• The Eastern Waterfront is home to Portland’s passenger port with Casco Bay Island ferry service, international ferry service, and cruise ship facilities. Passenger activity has helped to catalyze development in the nearby India Street neighborhood and on nearby underutilized industrial land.
• Between east and west, one finds the Central Waterfront. Geographically and functionally, the 19th century piers and wharves of the Central Waterfront form the heart of the harbor supporting traditional fishing, marine research, tourism, and non-marine uses. The Central Waterfront is tightly connected with Portland’s historic Downtown, Arts, and Old Port shopping districts.