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“Great History Lesson”

Portland Observatory
Ranked #10 of 151 things to do in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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.
Syracuse, New York, USA
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great History Lesson”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

We visited the Portland Observatory last week after reading about it in Frommers. It's essentially a landlocked lighthouse that was built as a signal tower to tell the town what ships were coming in. Our guide was friendly and narrated a good tour to the top. We went on a rainy/cloudy day but from the top could still see out over the city and the harbor to Portland Head Light. I'm sure the views would be terrific on a clear day. Our guide (Jean?) recounted the building of the observatory and its service to Portland. It's amazing to think that when it was built none of the buildings surrounding it down to the water were there. It's a fascinating history lesson, especially the story of the man behind the observatory. The only negative was the price. Even with AAA, it was $8 apiece; the regular $9 price is a bit steep for this one attraction. The guides take small groups up, so that was nice not having to be packed in with a lot of other people. Overall, this is a highly recommended attraction to visit. I especially think school-aged kids would love it.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank GJC1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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362 reviews from our community

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Cambridge, MA
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great views and history”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

A wonderful place to go if you're at all interested in history or just want to take in a great view of Portland. I went on the 4th of July, and when I showed up I was the only one for a while, so I got my own personal tour. The guides are volunteers who are very excited and history and are fun to talk to. They take the climb in easy stages, so I didn't get out of breath at all, and when we got to the top the view was fantastic. You could see all of Portland, lots of islands, and several lighthouses. A good introduction to the area.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank tzarac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Very informative and great views”
Reviewed July 2, 2013

Whilst staying in Portland we visited the Portland Observatory. The lady who gave us the tour was very informative and it was really interesting to learn more about the Observatory and also Portland itself. The short tour to the top was only about $8 and well worth the money, the view of the town was good and you could see as far as Cape Elizabeth lighthouse. It’s worth visiting and finding out more about the history of the town.

Visited June 2013
Thank Happy_Camper182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weymouth, Massachusetts
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“Good time”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Knowledgable unfortunately not a big crowd but the show and guide were both enjoyable and educational and fun for the kids it was a Friday night and only 8 people there but we had fun

Visited June 2013
Thank Joe R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camarillo, California
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Fascinating tour - incredibly knowledgeable tour guide”
Reviewed June 23, 2013

You learn lots about the historic city of Portland (more than we learned on the fun but light-weight Duck Tours). Lots of great displays + views of the city. It is really a tribute to the non-profit group that maintains this historic site, the Greater Portland Landmarks, and their wonderful volunteer docent. Cannot say enough good things about this nice man - he had lots to tell and was very patient with our many questions - thank you for doing such a good job!

Visited June 2013
Thank Europe69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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