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Portland Observatory

138 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101
207-774-5561
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92%
Ranked #8 of 52 Attractions in Portland
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Historic Sites, Observation Decks/ Towers, Observatories/ Planetariums, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Landmarks
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Owner description: In the 1800s, Captain Moody used this observatory to monitor the routes of ships as far as 30 miles...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Historic Sites, Observation Decks/ Towers, Observatories/ Planetariums, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Landmarks
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Owner description: In the 1800s, Captain Moody used this observatory to monitor the routes of ships as far as 30 miles away. Today visitors can tour a museum focusing on the history of the watch tower and get a stunning bird's-eye view of Portland and the harbor.

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140 reviews from our community

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    46
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    3
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
25 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2014

It seems like such a small request, but once you reach the top of the Observatory, you will not be disappointed by the view. Portland is a small city, but the surround is magnificent. Those who traipse up the stairs will be captivated by the view on a clear day and, on a cloudy day, the layers of the cloud... More 

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Twyford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2014

It is a bit of a walk and a gentle climb from the harbour area to get to the Observatory but the views from the top are spectacular. It is also worth visiting for it's history (I won't go into it because the tour guide was so entertaining, knowledgeable and friendly that it would spoil it). A must see during... More 

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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
12 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2014

You just need 30 minutes for this attraction. It's all on foot, so definitely not recommended if you cannot make it to the top. Pretty expensive for a short narrative, but certainly very informative. I would recommend on a sunny, clear day.

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woburn,ma
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014

This structure was so interesting. We had a tour by an amazing gentlemen. Unfortunately, I didn't get his name, but at the end after giving us an amazing amount of information about how the observatory was designed and built and its use, he mentioned he was 89 years old. (This was after he led us us 5 flights of stairs... More 

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Paris, France
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2014

We spent half a day in Portland and decided to visit the Observatory One cannot go to the top of the tower without guides and they usually start a new tour when they have several customers but it was not a very busy day and we had a guide for the 2 of us only. Our guide was a local... More 

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Huntington Beach, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2014

My tour guide was born in 1932! That fact alone, once I teased it out of him, amazed me about this place. The observatory isn't what you think. It's an old lookout tower that was an early warning system for dock workers back before two-way radios or cell phones. There are 104 steps up to the top, but you ascend... More 

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Toronto
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
37 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2014

This was a very unique building and is very visible from many places in Portland, which I suppose was the point of the building. It is funny yo see a wood structure to have lasted to long intact. Certainly worth the visit.

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Rapid City, South Dakota
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2014

Great place to stop in and get information and an unbelievable view of the city and harbor. The staff was very knowledgeable and friendly!

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Bradford, Vermont
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2014

Really cool place, but would have been MUCH cooler if we could have gone to the top without a tour group!

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
16 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2014

The observatory is not an astronomical observatory, but a place where you can climb a tower to see the city of Portland from a high view. It was once a Marine watch tower which sent up flags to report when a certain vessel had arrived at the port. After its usefulness was replaced by radios, it sat idle, but was... More 

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?