Reviews of Portland Observatory (Tourist Attraction)

138 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101, United States

Average Rating:


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At the present the business has a score of 4.6 stars out of 5 and the rating is based on 392 reviews.

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This Tourist Attraction is included in the category of Museum.

Where is Portland Observatory?

REVIEWS OF Portland Observatory IN Maine

Aurora Vintilescu

The view is nothing out of this world, but still recommend to go here while in Portland, because you get to see the whole city from above. It’s not too hard to climb all the stairs either, since the observatory is not too high up.

Monica Wang

This was the only "museum-y" thing I did during a weekend in Portland, because one does need a break from eating and drinking. $10/adult for a tour guided by a wonderful docent who was able to point out lots of neat details and divulge cool stories about this building. Fantastic view from the top.


Clean. Great staff

Erik C. Jorgensen

Really great iconic Portland spot, meticulously restored. Go if only for the views, but there's much more: fascinating architectural and engineering history and a great story about Portland in the age of sail. On a clear day it's not to be missed. On a cloudy day it's still worth the trip (but way better to wait for visibility)

Duncan Segrest

Very nice and friendly staff. Great local and historical attraction. Highly recommend checking it out. Great views from the top.


Friendly staff! Great view

Irina Bocearov

Had a surprise that the place and the people are so nice, but the view is gorgeous!!!

Brainbender Interactive

Awesome tourist spot.

Polly Lee

It Is ok

Christina Y

The observatory is a great way to take a look at Portland, unlike the lighthouse they let you go to the top and they have displays on each level that teaches you the history of the observatory and how it was built. I love taking photos so this was a must do!


Great story and cause.

Jimmy Clark

Went here to view the scenic scenery of Oregon. I turns out I was on the other side of the country.

Anna Hawkins

Interesting historical site in Portland. The guided tour gives you tons of cool information about the observatory and the view from the top is unbeatable.

Kristine London

Experienced this during their "Sunset Tour" only available on Thursday evenings. It was very beautiful and scenic! They have guided tours during the day, but the Sunset Tour is self guided with staff to help answer questions. What made this visit for me was the kind staff, especially the employee at the top of the lighthouse, Alyssa. She was open to answering any of our questions, not only about the history of the Observatory, but about Portland in general. We were able to get some awesome suggestions on where to go during our trip here, as well as learn a lot of Portland history.

Guy Call

Cool Historical story

Nick Guarino

I think this is a great way to start a trip to Portland. The tour gives you a sense of the city's history and the view from the top of the Observatory provides a good overview of the city's layout. The price of admission is very reasonable and it helps preserve an important monument.

Chris Hannah

Best view in the city. Anthem of the Seas in the harbor.

Olivia Nolan

Perfect view of Portland. Very helpful and informative staff - 10/10 worth the visit.

Patricia Tardell

We had to limit our visit to the open information level, the stairs to the top were too much for our legs. Information available is very interesting and thorough.

Jennifer H

This was a surprisingly interesting attraction. Small, yes, but educational! I learned a lot about the ships and the trading that occurred at this port over the last couple of hundred years. Good for kids, I think, since you can climb the tower and get dizzy at the top.

David Hall

Not pleased!!! Looked on line and found the observatory was down as being open today 9/24/19, and arrived to find it closed, after travelling from Manchester NH just to visit it!!! Pleased update the information on Google to prevent others from making the same mistake!!

Caitlin Prather

The observatory had great views and very helpful staff. You can read the history and see pictures & maps on your walk up as well.

William Harkcom

Nice views from the top. Take one of the guided tours, they are great.

Anuj Abhishek

One of the last remaining wooden observatories still standing. It was destroyed in a fire that gutted Portland but was later rebuilt. The view from the top is great but you have to take a guided tour which is fantastic because the lady who was our guide was a very sweet soul and patiently acquainted us with the historical significance of the place.

Jason Schwegler

The walk up the hill to the tower is much more difficult then the walk up the stairs. The staff is very friendly and helpful.

Cyriac E

Nice place. You don't need a lot of time here. Good view of the city and water.

Jon Carnes

We had an excellent tour full of information about the observatory and the history of the area. It gave a good perspective to a non local about Portland. The view is magestic and well worth the time, money, and stairs.

Doron Bracha

The tower is beautiful and well maintained, the views are probably great and the staff is knowledgeable. Yet the prices are too high, even with the offer of $30 per family, that's not reasonable for a short visit of 10-15 minutes. There's only one person working there, no movie and no elevator. I think they should let visitors walk up freely, and donate as much as they want and can. That way parents wouldn't have to wait downstairs and only let their kids go up and enjoy the view. Such places of civic importance and educational value should be open to the public and affordable.

Jim Caffrey

Awesome views !

Hillel Weinberg

That brown tower overlooking Portland isn't brick, it's wood. It's a tower originally intended to give the earliest possible notice of the arrival of ships but even from the beginning was a tourist attraction of sorts. Mount the stairs and be rewarded with a great view of the city and beyond. Knowledgeable guides and helpful exhibits.

Ben Pick

One of the highest points in Portland offers wonderful 360 views. The staff was knowledgeable and captivating in detailing the deep history of the observatory.

Rachel Hinkley

Great views of Portland! Did not do the tour because of lack of time, but would have loved to (only a half hour I believe)

broucks wright

Great guide ... Beth

Toby Fieldhouse

We had a great tour with Barbara who was very knowledgable and enthusiastic. She spent a lot of time answering our questions and explaining the history of both the observatory and Maine to us. I definitely recommend!


Great staff!!! Of course, the views are awesome.

Kai Avocado

Ahhh how amazing! Over 100 steps in total to get to the best view in the city! Our triple A cards got us a discount. We opted to wait till a docent was available so we could get the guided tour. It’s not mandatory but definitely worth it. The docents are very passionate and dedicated, we learned so much about the observatory. Once at the top we took tons of pictures while enjoying beautiful views and warm weather... will probably have to return! There’s free parking on nearby side streets so don’t get discouraged!

Judi Uthoff

Awesome. We went with a docent and learned a great deal about why and where the tower was built. Fascinating and beautiful both.

Alan Stopko

Best kept secret in Portland. Tower originally used late 1800 to early 1900's for signaling ship owners that their ships are arriving thus saving time and being efficient. Private foundation funded a historical part of history. Guides Chip and Susan do excellent job explaining the tower and answering questions. Take advantage of senior/military/AARP's rate. View is worth the 100 step 86 ft tower where you can see 30 miles.

Martha Barton-Rivera

Great view, interesting exhibits

Dan DeVillers

This was an unexpected find. Unique place that has been restored and provides great views.

Brandon Oglesby

Surprised how good the observatory is. Interesting history on each floor and great views of the entire city.

Chris Cenci

Great place. Think Lighthouse, but no light and an equally interesting story and view. Made of wood, held down by rocks, survived fires, and preserved beautifully. The observatory used to serve as a “high speed” notification system for ship owners who weren’t sure exactly when a boat would return for sea. This allowed a few hours lead time to assemble a crew to unload the boats precious cargo. 1800’s GPS and geofence alerts

Thomas Read

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. GMaps says it’s open.

greg Nye

Was a little pricey for what you get out of the tour but the views were amazing.

David Marcella

A quick and necessary stop in Portland. Beautiful views and great tour guides if your want them

stan brady

Great experience

Brian Rowe

The observatory gives a great view of the city, port area, and (on a clear day) even as far away as Mt. Washington. The staff here were very friendly and knowledgeable. On each floor there was a wealth of history on the observatory as well as Portland in general. This observatory played a key role in developing Portland into the city it is -definitely worth seeing.

Joe Nolan

We caught a tour guide by luck, who was enthusiastic and informative. Great views of the city and surrounding waterways.

john beaty

Super view from the top of the observatory

Danielle Clark

Unique view of both sides of Portland. Ocean and city. Went of flag day and it was free but typically worth the cost.

Jamie Kerr

A great mix of history, architecture, and local storytelling. $10 is a lil steep for the max 30mins you should spend here but - its great to contribute to the preservation of this landmark.

Chi Yu Yang

Nice view of the city and the surroundings. However it was very simple experience and not really worth 10$ per adult. Also they have removed the telescope that people used to look at signals from the ship. So that was a little disappointing... I had a much better experience for 15$ at Portland museum of art.

Cristina Mink

Neat, but nothing super impressive in my opinion. It’s the last one standing of its kind in the US, so THAT was the only thing that made it worthwhile in my books.

Derek Lincoln

I hate heights, but such an amazing view from the top!

Douglas Smith

The views from the top of the observatory are stunning. The history behind this landmark is interesting. Glad I got to see it

Marita Fitzpatrick

Loved this place! We had an amazing tour. The views are unbeatable.

Nancy Malinosky

Great view of Easr end

Joshua Tricarico

Cool historic observatory with a view as a reward after your history lesson!!

Margaret Lukens

Great views, interesting history.

Darren McLellan

Over 200 years old. The last remaining maritime observatory in the country. Definitely worth a visit.

Jonathan Leo Connor

$10 seems like a lot for this place but it offers a great view of the city and there are some displays about the building's history which tells you a lot about the city's history too.

Garrett Foster

Great views

Christopher Keane

Amazing views of Portland with an incredibly interesting history, told by friendly knowledgeable guides. Well worth a visit.

Stephen Priest

Incredible veiws of Portland and the waterfront. May interest history buffs with the information displayed. AAA discount available for entrance fee. Can be hot inside but you may get breezes up top. Parking on street available. Watch your head in two places.

Biju Parekkatt

Historic place. Lot to learn from the guide. Nice people around. We really liked the girl on the top floor who explained everything in detail and took our family photo. Great experience.

Lisa Andrew

Nice views from the top.

V Fes

What a great piece of history

Ashlee Chapin

Great information about the town and the observatory. Talked about how building was built and an amazing view of Portland! Watch your head as your climbing up the steps but they are great about warning you.

Danielle DeGuglimo

A must do, eapecially if the weather is nice and the sky is clear. Let them know if you got a AAA membership, you will get a discount.

Ilene Lazar

A one of a kind place that only takes up an hour of your time. Well worth it if you're visiting Portland. $10 for adults but $8 If you meet their discount requirement.

Donald Schroder

Nice view from the Hill top: the bay and the Harbour.

Emily H

My family and I went just about a year ago. There was something for everyone there. There's the excitement of climbing a tower for younger ones, the beautiful view, and all the history inside that I personally enjoyed. We climbed on a cloudy day and still had fun :)

A Shen

Nice local business offering great views of the city and harbor.

David Deutsch

An interesting piece of history. Very informative tour. Really recommended. It's nor too long, and it's very enjoyable.

Victoria Szetela

360 degrees views. Absolutely gorgeous. There are a lot of stairs to climb but it is well worth it.

Christine McHale

Even though it's where I live, I still like going to the top and enjoying the view

Martha Malik

A little hidden gem. The tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Nice bit of history to be able to walk around in. Worth a visit if your in the area.

Gopi Pothireddi

Great views of the city from up the observatory.. and it does get pretty cool up there! In summers it is pretty refreshing.. it's only a quick hike of a hundred steps or so.. but worth it!

Whitney Gayman

Really neat spot for a quick glimpse of local history.

Riccardo Di Capua

Good pedagogical experience. Docents are knowledgeable and enthusiastic

Thomas M

Great place to visit

Angela Maaya

Tallest structure you can have a fun climb with, loved the views from above! It's 6 story high with chairs and historical displays on each floor.

Jung Bo Sim

This place was closed on the day of visit on Wednesday noon.

Steven Jefairjian

This Portland landmark has a rich history, is a museum and testament to the interesting facts about the area. Going to the observation deck is a fun way to see the water with wonderful views of Munjoy Hill, the Islands, Casco Bay and City. Just across the street from the Observatory is Hilltop Superette... perfect for a cool drink, nice food and refreshments, even an ice-cream window. Try it after visiting the sights...YUM

Art Siegel

Great views and lots of clearly explained and illustrated history.

Melinda G.

Nice bit of Portland history with great views at the top. The staff were all very friendly and informative.

chloe webb

Really neat place, the view from the top is gorgeous.

Stephen Singrossi

Great tour, very informative a lot of history. Wonderful view not to miss.


Great place to visit. Be sure to bring your military, student, senior citizen or AAA card for discount. It is worth having the tour to get more in depth info. I am not a fan of heights but it was worth the view to make it to the top. Be sure to watch your steps and your head as you are moving through the stairs.

Erine Taguchi

You can have a good view to see around Portland downtown from here! Very good view. This light house is not for navigation but for communication. So this is located in the town. Not so tall but you have to take stares so need a little bit power to get the top. No elevator. Besides looks no parking, but maybe you can find anywhere. I couldn’t find nearby so I parked a little far parking and walked to get to it. But you are sure you can enjoy wonderful view!!!

Marilyn Coronado

It was great with the guide of Nina to share the stories of the observatory. Awsome views!

Brian Kipruto

Great view of the city, it’s takes you back in time

Stephen Lucarini

On street parking. Get the guided tour

Robert Laird

This is a very enjoyable look at some Portland, Maine history and the opportunity to ascend a piece of that history. On a good weather day, you'll also enjoy the views of Portland and surrounding areas. Highly recommended.

Kelly Hunt

Beautiful views, interesting tour!

Eric&Jennifer Bone

Very interesting historical structure and a wonderfully knowledgeable guide! We visited on a beautiful June day and were warmly welcomed by the enthusiastic staff. Well done!

G Corradino

Quite an interesting experience, friendly staff.

Richard Zurn

It was very interesting to listen to the information from the guide and walk up to the top of the tower. It was a very nice view.

Raghu Veer

A highly must visit if in Portland. Great views of the city from here. The staff is extremely friendly and greatly accommodating.

James Keller

History well worth the price of admission!

Jonathan Adams

Exceptional views from this unique historic landmark. It's too bad it's not open more.

Marija D

The workers there seemed like the nicest people on earth! Give them a raise!

Eirik Harteis

If you want to understand the history of Portland, this is the place for you. There are few structures like this. The views are fabulous too. Be prepared to walk up many flights of stairs.

Ellie Martin

Beautiful interior! I loved visiting this cafe and would recommend for others to try it out. My mocha was very good and not to sweet. I went around 4pm, but by then most food options had run out. Get there early if you would like to grab one of their goodies!!

Rich Sawyer

Incredible views and architecture!

Brad Holderman

While structurally simple, the age and importance of the role of the observatory makes a visit well worth it. Combined with visits to Portland Head Light etc., the role of shoreside support for the maritime can be better appreciated. My only criticism is the lack of printed material available, not even a quick summary brochure.

Beth-Anne Frysinger

Amazing views once you get to the top

Ashish Kumar

Spectacular views!

Sharon Bollinger

This place is a MUST visit when you come to Portland! You will be amazed with the craftmanship and the passion that went into building and keeping this Observatory in operation. Talk to the folks that work here. The sights fro the top are breathtaking!

E Dending

Great history, great sights

Alice Xia

Cute historic place

Nancy Hernandez

Interesting and beautiful place and spectacular staff

Brian Stone

Really enjoyed the view from the top! It was a bit of a poor weather day when I went, but that did make for some dramatic photos. The last surviving structure of its kind in the US, and truly beautiful if you like 19th century construction. Very knowledgeable guides are on staff for tours/

Hillary Campbell Johnson

Interesting history of signals to ships and gorgeous view from the top.

Ian Broadwater

Great view of the bay

Jason Stackhouse

Nice view of Portland. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant as well.

Miss Tish

Great guided tour, very informative. Military discount was appreciated!

Josie DeJager

Really interesting, great people who work there, fantastic view at the top

Kenneth Jones

Love it lots of conversation it's a shame how Maine are now started to charge for parking

Lizzie Newhouse

Great stories, information, and history! Offers of discounted rates for various reasons a few being Portland residency, AAA membership, and active military. Although it was a very foggy day, it was still so much fun to spend time learning about the Portland Observatory!

Daniel Hendrix

Doug is the man.

Robert Kelley

Must see location

Gail Bailey

The staff brings this place to life. Small interesting piece of history with knowledgeable staffers. The view from the top helps explain why it was sited there. Only the bottom level is handicapped accessable.

Jacob R.

Great place! Once you're up there, you could see all of Maine. They have history tour guide as well. Take note, if you're not a local you'll pay more but not that expensive it's like $1 or $2 more.

anne schell

Wonderful place I could sit and watch out the Windows all day

Kiersten Quilliams

Great views you can't get anywhere else!

Stephanie Messina

Have a dosent give you a tour. They are super knowledgeable.

steven matthews

So interesting with the docent led tour! Only Ship Observatory left in the U.S.

Robin Hill

Great History!

Mark Jennings

Great views of Portland, and if you're lucky you'll see as far as Mount Washington, NH. Take a guided tour up the observatory's 7 stories. We thoroughly enjoyed our guide, Brian, who told us the history of the observatory and the town and pointed out many landmarks once at the top.

vince cullers

Great views and lots of history of the city

Alistair Dsouza

Surprisingly beautiful view from top

Caroline F

Really enjoyed this impromptu stop.

Kate Herbert

Amazing landmark. It is a unique structure with interesting and informative exhibit. Also amazing views from the top!

Helga Streibl

No opening for special occasions like visible approach of Saturn close to the moon on August 17th

Kimberly Peng

A short tour with a nice 360 view of Portland. You'll be in and out in about an hour.

jacqueline jackson

$10 entrance fee and the hostess was nice. There's 7 levels to the observatory and each one has a little of the observatory's history. Host at entrance was nice and volunteer at the top was also nice. For a visitor would recommend because the view of the dock and Portland was great

Latham Green

View the full of people from the Port and the rest of the time you've got this. The tall and fine watching. The height of the downtown. The history of the Maine coast. Maine and Maine.

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