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Portland Observatory

138 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101
207-774-5561
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Ranked #11 of 66 Attractions in Portland
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Observation Decks/ Towers, Observatories/ Planetariums, Historic Sites, Landmarks/ Points of Interest
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... more » 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. « less
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132 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Bradford, Vermont
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2014 NEW

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
20 reviews 20 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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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
66 attraction reviews
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

Practical aspects: last tour is at 4.30 and you cannot go up without a tour. Should be obvious but just in case: not a good place for you to visit if you struggle with stairs.... The observatory is at the top of a little hill which has a lot of very cute houses and is worth walking through in its... More

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Rockford, IL
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
9 attraction reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

A guided tour to the top of this early 1800's observatory. Ship owners relied on the observatory to tell them what ships were approaching port, 20 miles out in ocean. A flag of the owner/ship would be hoisted and owner arranged dockage and sale of cargo. Be prepared to climb steps but worth the effort. Great photos of early Portland... More

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Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

This is a nice way to learn some interesting history without being stuck in a museum. The observatory is far enough from downtown Portland that there's plenty of street parking available (you could walk to it from downtown if the hill doesn't intimidate you). Tours last about 30 mins and seem to be roughly on the half-hour. The two tour... More

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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
293 reviews 293 reviews
77 attraction reviews
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

We were walking to dinner and pretty much just stumbled upon the Observatory. It is quite the sight to see. If in Portland I would check it out

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Hooksett, New Hampshire
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

We went to see this on a whim when I learned there we spectacular views. it was so worth the climb up eight floors of narrow stairs. The amount of sheer ingenuity and manpower that it took to build this tower also boggled our mind. The day we went was so clear we could see the White Mountains in NH... More

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Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
8 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2014

A little bit of a trek but worth it for the views. Be warned it can be a little windy up there. Tour was great and informative

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Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014

This was a very pleasant way to learn a bit of Portland's history, especially during its heyday as a maritime center. Fascinating, really.

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Tulum
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
12 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014

Our Docent Wendy was very knowledgeable about Portland's history, the observatories history and the area in general. The views from the top are amazing.

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