Smarter Travel: Portland has metropolitan food and entertainment, but without ‘pretentious big-city attitude’

The view from Top of the East at Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. (Courtesy of the Greater Portland CVB)

The view from Top of the East at Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. (Courtesy of the Greater Portland CVB)

Another week, another national list of top American cities that includes Portland.

This time around, the publication Smarter Travel is urging smarter travelers to visit Maine’s largest city in its list of “America’s Best Small Cities on the Rise.”

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Portland’s been lauded by national publications for everything from its food and drinks to its environmental friendliness and safety for raising families. You won’t have to go far back into my blog archives to find other such national listings or even a roundup or two of links to magazines that have made a big deal of Portland, like Women’s Health and Travel + Leisure and Forbes, among many, many others.

I’m not bothering here, but seriously, just click back into the blog archives for a moment.

For the moment, let’s bask in Smarter Travel’s praise. Portland is the first city listed on the publication’s online slideshow, followed by New Haven, Connecticut, and San Louis Abispo, California.

Here’s how Smarter Travel wrote up Portland:

What’s Hot: The creative economy. There are so many artists, photographers, ad-agency writers and designers, and high-tech creative types in Portland that collectively they’re driving change in the city. This influx of young creative professionals has fueled new expansion in the historic Old Port waterfront district, with new shops and restaurants that now stay open year-round. It has also transformed the Bayside district’s scrap yards and warehouses into student housing, restaurants, and even a hipster bowling alley.

Emma Rose Schwartz, 12, strikes a famous pose at the Portland Museum of Art during this 2012 file phot. Artists of all skill levels were invited to the museum to sketch Maine State Ballet Dancers, just as Edgar Degas did in 19th century France, to celebrate its current Degas exhibition and the Ballet's upcoming production of Swan Lake. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Emma Rose Schwartz, 12, strikes a famous pose to be sketched by artists at the Portland Museum of Art during this 2012 file photo. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Why We Love It: Portland has all the trappings of a metropolis — touring Broadway shows, an opera company, two ballet companies, its own symphony, and chefs who regularly turn up on the Food Network — but without any of that pretentious big-city attitude.

If You Go: Don’t miss the First Friday Art Walk tour of galleries and studios or the Old Port with historical red-brick buildings and cobblestone streets. In October, sample seafood at the Harvest on the Harbor festival, when the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year is awarded.

Winner of the Harvest on the Harbor lobster cooking contest Chef Chris Long, of Natalie's at the Camden Harbour Inn, prepares butter poached lobster with grilled local mushrooms, corn, parsnip ragout and thyme butter while host Michele Ragussis looks on last October in Portland. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Winner of the Harvest on the Harbor lobster cooking contest Chef Chris Long, of Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn, prepares butter poached lobster with grilled local mushrooms, corn, parsnip ragout and thyme butter while host Michele Ragussis looks on last October in Portland. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.