Looking for somewhere new to explore in Portland, Maine? While there’s nothing wrong with the classic Old Port go-to spots, it’s always fun to venture off the peninsula and see what else the city has to offer. Just a few minutes’ drive down Forest Avenue, between the USM Campus and Mayor Baxter Woods, you’ll find Woodfords Corner—an area Conde Nast Traveler called “one part Brooklyn to two parts Maine.”
After a bustling beginning in the 1800s, suburban development in the post-WWII era left Woodfords Corner by the wayside, but recent revitalization efforts and public improvement projects have brought new business and activity to the area. If you see the colorful, illuminated Hopeful sign (designed by artist Charlie Hewitt), you’re in the right place!
Here’s your guide to Woodfords Corner, a vibrant Portland neighborhood with plenty to eat, see, and do.
Discover your next great read at Back Cove Books
Portland’s newest indie bookstore has all the latest hits in hardcover and paperback, plus great recommendations and staff picks. Don’t miss the Instagrammable safe (the bookstore occupies space that was once a bank) and be sure to check out the ever-growing events calendar.
651 Forest Ave, Suite 1
Grab a cuppa at Coveside Coffee
Coveside Coffee is a delightful neighborhood coffee joint just down the street from Woodfords Corner. Serving 44 North Coffee, Ben Reuben’s knishes, and pastries from Solo Pane & Pasticceria, this spot is a great place to meet a friend or get some work done. They also host frequent markets showcasing local makers and organizations, usually with kid-friendly activities for little ones.
28 Vannah Ave
Embark on a historic walking tour
The nonprofit Friends of Woodfords Corner organization aims to preserve the diversity and unique history of the Woodfords Corner area. They’ve created a self-guided walking tour that visits some of the intersection’s most historic spots, including the Odd Fellows Block, which once served as the Deering City Hall. It’s the perfect weekend activity for anyone looking to learn something new.
Find your zen at Portland Yoga Project
A barre and yoga studio offering monthly classes, teacher trainings, retreats, and mentorships, Portland Yoga Project is a safe space to relax and refresh. Connect with fellow yogis during workshops for specific communities, like the monthly BIPOC Vinyasa, yoga in Spanish, accessible barre, and Queer Movement classes.
449 Forest Ave
Meet local growers at the farmers’ market
New in 2023, the Woodfords Corner Farmers’ Market brings fresh, local food to the parking lot of the Woodfords Congregational Church on Thursday afternoons. Whether you’re looking for produce, eggs, seafood, fresh cheeses, or baked goods, the market’s 10-12 weekly vendors offer plenty for you to take home.
202 Woodford St
Try a new brew at the Great Lost Bear
A Portland classic for nearly 40 years, the Great Lost Bear speaks for itself. With more than 80 microbrews on tap, plus a full menu of “bear necessities” like burgers, cheesesteaks, quesadillas, sandwiches, and salads (they even have a veggie-friendly section!), this funky neighborhood bar is always a good choice.
540 Forest Ave
Catch a show at STAGES Youth Theater
See Portland’s rising stars perform at Woodfords Congregational Church, where nonprofit STAGES Youth Theater’s rehearsals, offices, and mainstage performances are located. A premier youth theater institution, STAGES Youth Theater lets kids’ creativity shine during inclusive, all-student productions of fan-favorite shows including Seussical the Musical, Les Miserables, and Matilda Jr.
202 Woodford St
Explore a variety of ethnic markets
Woodfords Corner has no shortage of delectable eats, and it’s always a joy to wander through the aisles of the neighborhood’s various markets. At Veranda Asian Market, you’ll find Chinese, Japanese, and Korean delicacies, while both Sinbad Market and Foodie Friends offer Middle Eastern products and halal goods.
Veranda Asian Market – 695 Forest Ave
Sinbad Market – 710 Forest Ave #3
Foodie Friends – 630 Forest Ave
Take a loaf home from Big Sky Bread Company
Big Sky Bakery occupies the former Engine 8 Firehouse in Woodfords Corner, where they’ve been serving up fresh bread, pastries, bagels, and sandwiches since 1994. Bakers arrive at 3 am each day to start the ovens, mix and shape loaves, and mill organic hard red wheat berries, so be sure to check the bread schedule to see what’s available when you visit.
536 Deering Ave
Enjoy a hearty meal in the neighborhood
The best part about eating in Woodfords Corner? You don’t have to cook yourself—and the area has options for everyone. Grab tacos and margaritas at Bird & Co., visit Bayou Kitchen for Cajun classics like jambalaya and gumbo, or stop by MAIZ for Colombian street food (arepas, anyone?). If you’re feeling a little fancy, Woodford Food & Beverage is your spot: Chef Courtney Loreg, a semifinalist for the 2023 James Beard Award’s Best Chef in the Northeast category, cooks up brasserie classics alongside creative cocktails at this mid century modern farm-to-table restaurant.
Bird & Co. – 539 Deering Ave
BayouKitchen – 543 Deering Ave
MAIZ – 621 Forest Ave
Woodford F&B – 660 Forest Ave