Walk the Working Waterfront is a free-to-attend, self guided walking tour proudly celebrating the people, businesses, and infrastructure that comprise the heart of Portland’s ocean economy. Now in its 6th year, this annual, community-centered affair was created to encourage visitors to discover firsthand what life on the historic Commercial Street waterfront is like. From Becky’s Diner to the Maine State Pier, attendees are welcomed into dozens of businesses, taken onto select commercial vessels for tours, and encouraged to explore the piers in new ways, while taking plenty of pictures along the way.


As always, the walking portion of the day is free and open to all, along with activities that include walking tours of the historic waterfront, tours of the Coast Guard vessels, as well as demonstration/education stations. There will also be many other specials on offer for purchase if you so choose, from happy hours, to historical cruises that travel up and down the piers, to an oyster happy hour cruise out into Casco Bay. The day is yours!


A community’s voice


Walk the Working Waterfront is an inclusive, community focused event with a rich list of partners, collaborators and participants. Not only is the event promoted by Portland Downtown and Visit Portland as part of Portland’s summer kickoff weekend, it is highlighted on social media by people and local businesses, discussed on the radio with Q 97.9, and covered by the local media outlets. WTWW focuses on reaching its audience using the multi-channel voices of those who help make the event possible. 

We are actively seeking sponsors for 2021,  please contact chris.cary@newenglandoceancluster.com with questions or to request our sponsorship packet.



With the help of our supporters, the event’s social media audience is quite large, and that makes our social media accounts buzz! (Numbers below, other than maps, represented in gross sums)

3000 maps printed and placed across the city and handed out to participants

1000+ attendees

186,835 - Supporters’ Combined Facebook followers

54,395 - Supporters’ Combined Instagram followers

63,776 - Supporters’ Combined Newsletter reach

We are excited for these numbers to increase in 2020 as the pool of event supporters continues to grow.

#walktheworkingwaterfront | #wtww2020


Do I have to buy tickets for this event?

The walking portion of the event is free to attend and enjoy, however there are scheduled elements that will require purchase of tickets or pre-registration.  These will be advertised prior to the event through social media and the Walk the Working Waterfront website. 

How can I be a respectful and safe walker?


Please remember, the waterfront is a busy place SO RESPECT WORKERS AND BUSINESSES. Be observant of any commercial operations, and if you are stopping to take pictures, do so in a safe manner, away from the edges of the pier and out of the way of vehicles. Use common sense and courtesy.


What about the weather?

The event is largely a self-guided tour and attendees should plan accordingly for rain or shine and being on foot for a majority of the time. 

What will they be offering?
All participating businesses and descriptions of what they are doing can be found on the printed event maps, and online. What each business offers will vary, so we encourage you to read your map, or stop in and ask. Some businesses will require you to show the printed map to receive their offer, so please keep it on your person.  These guides will be available from volunteers and at the Hannaford and Bristol Seafood Information Station on Union Wharf.
Will every participating business be giving things away for free?
No. Businesses are not required to give things away, though many will have things like specials, happy hours, special sales, raffles, and some may have samples. Please read the event map in print or online for further information.
Will all businesses on commercial street be participating?
No, not ALL businesses along Commercial Street are participating in the same capacity.  Refer to your program guide or ask a volunteer to find out what businesses are featuring.

Where can I sit and rest?

Those who would like to get off their feet can stop at one of the many benches in public spaces, or at safe points along each pier/wharf. Businesses such as restaurants also offer a great opportunity to relax, hydrate, and grab something to eat.

GENERAL Considerations
  • There is no bag or pet restriction for this event outside of the city and business’ individual policies. Click here for Portland’s guidelines on dog owner responsibilities:

  • While this event is focused on the waterfront-side of Commercial Street, crosswalks will allow attendees to access both sides of Commercial Street.  Crosswalks and traffic signals should be highly regarded for the safety of pedestrians and drivers on this busy day.

where can i Park?

Here is a comprehensive list of parking locations in Portland.

where can i find bathrooms?

There are two public restrooms located toward the Eastern End: one in the Casco Bay Ferry Lines Terminal, and one inside the Ocean Gateway.  Businesses and restaurants are not expected to open their facilities to non-patrons, so please be a paying customer if you are looking to use one of their bathrooms. More info here.


The event program will include a guide to the great restaurants conveniently located right on the waterfront! Ask a volunteer for a recommendation. Other dining options found in Old Port are generally a quick walk from Commercial Street.  See Portland Downtown’s restaurant guide here:



Smoking is allowed on public sidewalks in Portland with the consideration that there will be many people and businesses will have their own policies. More info here



The city of Portland has a public metro system that can be accessed through the following sites and apps:



Aside from the metro, we encourage walking during the event due to its containment on the waterfront (a 2 mile loop).


Driving directions
  • From the North:

    • Merge onto I-95 South

    • Follow signs for I-295 South

    • Follow signs for  Downtown Portland

    • Take exit 7 towards Franklin Street

    • Stay on Franklin Street for 1 mile

    • Turn right onto Commercial Street.

  • From the South:

      • This route has tolls

    • Merge onto I-95 North

    • Follow signs for I-295 North

    • Follow signs for South Portland/Downtown Portland

    • Take exit 7 towards Franklin Street

    • Take a right to continue onto Franklin Street

    • Stay on Franklin Street for 1 mile

    • Turn right onto Commercial Street.


Further questions and concerns about Walk the Working Waterfront, please use the contact info in the footer.