Artsy Portland. The OTHER artsy Portland.
April 26, 2004 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Portland, Maine and wondered if anyone had recommendations for neighborhoods. I'm looking for places that are funky, artsy and not-so-sterile.

Price isn't a big concern since my living expenses will be covered.
posted by machaus to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, Portland is great. You will love it here. Despite our larger than life abilities, Portland isn't really that big, so it is hard to go wrong. Personally, for me, I need to be intown, so my options are limited to West End (pretty, more expensive), Downtown (a mix of everything), and the East End (less expensive sometimes, great views of the harbor, but further away from where it is all happening). I am sure there are some nice places, but for me it is the penisula or nothing. Welcome to Portland.

ps - Vacancy kind of sucks here. Sometimes it can be heard to find a place right off. Be patient.
posted by tcaleb at 11:19 AM on April 26, 2004

And to more specifically answer your question, I would say East End or downtown would be best for you as far as art and funk go.
posted by tcaleb at 11:20 AM on April 26, 2004

tcaleb is right on with the East End/Downtown recommendation, as well as the comment about low vacancy rate.
posted by Icky at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2004

Hey! Welcome to Portland!

Everything they say about the vacancy rate is 100% true - its very tough to get a nice apartment, as a thousand other people are also looking at the same place. Early bird and cash in hand gets the worm ... er .. apartment.

First question - do you have a car? Public transportation in Portland is ok, not great (busses mainly, no subway, a few cabs) and can get you mostly where you need to be, but unless you're living, working, and eating right in downtown (which is certainly possible) and are willing to walk everywhere, then you'll need a car and you'll need to ask about parking when you look at an apartment.

If it were me, based on what you've said, I'd look first in the west end, but more specifically in the network of streets around Longfellow Square, the area between Longfellow Square and the Art Museum, on both sides of Congress Street. Many buildings in this area are older brick townhouses and Victorian single-family homes converted to apartments, and properties range from beautiful multi-million dollar homes to apartments marketed at new immigrants. Also, this area has a great variety of ethnic restaurants, easy access to public transit and eclectic shops and stuff.
posted by anastasiav at 1:00 PM on April 26, 2004

Yes, I have a car, but I'm guessing that due to the lack of places available, my ability to locate somewhere that will allow a dog and a cat might be hopeless.
posted by machaus at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2004

How long will you be here? There are winter rentals available at many waterfront areas. June - mid-Sept is expensive and hard to find, but the rest of the year may be quite manageable.

Portland includes a number of islands. Peaks Island has a sizable year-round, interesting community, and is served by pretty much hourly ferry service. It's a 20 minute ride. Summer rentals are way more expensive, and not easy to find, but winter rentals can be found. In any case, Peaks is a great place for a Me-Fi gathering.

As with many cities, the University has message boards for housing. Check the Portland Phoenix as well as the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Are you staying for a while? Short term rentals are a bear. I hope you'll be up for a Me-Fi gathering. I'll keep an eye out for a good rental. Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 2:09 PM on April 26, 2004

It is a temporary gig, but I'd like to at least be there through a one-year lease. Otherwise I'll be stuck in the hell known as not being able to hang art on the wall in a corporate, pre-furnished apartment. Thanks for everyone's help, this is a huge adjustment.
posted by machaus at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2004

So basically, you are looking for a one bedroom where you can have a cat & dog? If I see anything, I will email you, but in all fairness, I should warn you I am currently looking for a new 1 bedroom too. (except I don't have pets). The competition is pretty fierce around here. The advice about cash in hand is good.

Also, like all places, ads can be kind of deceptive about the quality of the digs... Are you going to be able to come up here to look around before you move, or can you stay with someone for a couple of weeks while you are looking, or will this all be sight unseen?

One year leases are pretty standard. That should be easy.

A portland mefi get-together... yowzers. I didn't realize there were that many people here. On the other hand, I hardly even feel eligible since I am such a lurker here.
posted by tcaleb at 3:41 PM on April 26, 2004

I should have two company paid scouting trips lined up. Now I know to bring cash...
posted by machaus at 3:50 PM on April 26, 2004

machaus, do drop a line when you get in town -- I've been wanting to have a Portland Meetup for a while now, but have been waiting for warmer weather...

If you do have a car and pets, you might also try looking in the Woodfords area -- basically inside the triangle formed by Forest Ave, Brighton Ave, and Woodfords St. Its an area where almost all the available apartments are in converted single-family homes (so the apartments are a bit less sterile than usual), but because its near USM landlords tend to be a bit more lenient on who (or what) is living in their place. It tends to be a bit quieter in this area, but the old port is just a couple of miles away....

Also, Portland is Dog City -- everyone (but me) has a dog, I think -- I bet you'll be surprised at how many say "Pets OK".
posted by anastasiav at 6:52 PM on April 26, 2004

Will do and thanks for the help. Having been in Richmond, I've never made it to a D.C. Meetup.
posted by machaus at 8:41 PM on April 26, 2004

Portland has a wonderful dog park, with a 2nd dog park opening soon. Offer the potential landlord a pet deposit and/or an additional amount of rent per month. I have a 2-family and every dog I've allowed has caused damage.
posted by theora55 at 7:24 AM on April 27, 2004

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