Portland, ME lighthouse

iStock/Sean Pavone

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 62
Demographics 37
Economy 66
Education 65
Health 77
Housing 49
Infrastructure 51

#44. Portland, ME

You know it for its lobster and lighthouses, but Portland, ME isn’t just a picturesque place to visit. It’s a phenomenal place to live thanks to its robust economy, where sociable self-starters are fueling a creative renaissance and joining tech and health care companies. Local islands and beaches, cobblestone streets and whoopie pies (they’re big here!) sweeten the deal. 

Top Colleges/Universities: University of Southern Maine & Southern Maine Community College

Top Industries & Employers: Major industries in Maine include health care, finance and life insurance. WEX, a financial services company, is a major employer in the area and Covetrus, a pet health tech company, has its headquarters in Portland.

Weekend Plans: Explore the local beaches, whether it’s a picnic at Crescent Beach, surfing at Higgins, spotting seals at East End Beach or kayaking at Pine Point Beach. Eight distinctive beaches are near Portland.

Favorite Place to Feast: High Roller Lobster, which has a lobster-centric menu with (of course) lobster rolls as well as lobster tacos, BLTs and rangoons. Whoopie pies are also on the menu.  

Beloved Beverage: Wicked good beer from Shipyard Brewing Co.

Outdoorsy Activity: Hop on a ferry or sail out to one of Casco Bay’s islands, which are just off the coast of Portland.

Rooftop Bar: Slurp oysters and enjoy well-balanced cocktails at Luna Rooftop, which has a bird’s-eye view of the working waterfront.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: Explore nearby Acadia National Park with your dog. 

Remote Work Perk: If you’re an entrepreneur or self-employed, you’ll have resources galore here, from a bevy of professional groups to coworking spaces to private investors interested in mentoring and investing in early-stage companies.

One More Thing … Portland was the Maine state capital until 1832 when the capital was moved to Augusta.

– Brittany Anas

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