We might be biased, so here's a sample of what some third-parties have to say:
What People Say About Us
Travel + Leisure (2010): #9 Best Farmers' Market
"The 30-odd growers and producers who gather on Saturdays in downtown Portland’s Deering Oaks Park are carrying on a tradition that goes back more than two centuries (the city’s first farmers’ market opened in 1768)."
Bon Appétit (2010): Foodiest Small Town
"Why? First, it's got great product, from oysters to fiddlehead ferns. Second, the town has attracted stellar chefs who know how to turn these resources into great food. Third, it even has a signature meal, breakfast, that turns the first fare of the day into a celebration of all this bounty. And finally, it has citizens who expect a lot, and get even more."
Parenting Magazine (2012): #3 Best City for Education
"Already doing well with its small class sizes, Portland also ranked for its low student-to-teacher ratio and high graduation rate."
Parenting Magazine (2012): #3 Best City for Families
"New to this year's list, Portland is another small, northeastern city that lures parents with clean air, plenty of outdoor space for kids to play, and a laidback lifestyle that encourages healthy, active family living."
Self Magazine (2009): #3 Healthiest City For Women
"You can work downtown, hop on a bike at lunch and quickly be in a wooded area by a stream,' enthuses Heather Chandler, 38, publisher of the Sunrise Guide, a book of green-living tips for southern Maine. The area (including South Portland and Biddeford) posts primo scores for water and air quality and has nearly 70 percent more green buildings than the average."
Forbes (2011): #6 Best City for Young Adults
"The New England port town has the highest number of small businesses per capita, a relatively high proportion of large businesses and a low unemployment rate."
The Advocate (2010): #8 Gayest City
"It’s sweet, romantic, and too small for bitchy queens and their toxic attitudes. Energetic young businesses like fermented-honey booze-maker Maine Mead Works and the popular men’s clothing label Rogues Gallery have established it as a harbor for creativity as well as tolerance."
Portfolio.com (2010): #8 Fun City
Three top ten-rankings (for shopping, popular entertainment, and culture) helped put Portland at #8 in the nation.
Travel+Leisure (2012): #8 Worst-Dressed People
"Portland isn't where you come to try on cutting-edge clothing. But that's just fine because the city slays the competition in other areas, placing first in five survey categories, including best summer destination and best drivers."
Kiplinger Magazine (2012): #1 Best City for Your Second Act
"Portland's lively arts scene, highly skilled workforce and inventive cuisine, along with a low crime rate and high-quality medical facilities, are drawing professionals who are making their home base here and telecommuting or flying to their jobs."
Outside Magazine (2010): Best Town in the East
"Portland is one of those rare places that really does combine small-town charm with big(ger)-city opportunities. But what we really love is the uniquely Maine mix of generational fishermen and young professionals, the latter lured here by the relatively low cost of living and (for Maine, at least) a diverse economy that includes everything from major financial and insurance corporations to media companies like our partner Outside TV."
Men's Health (2012): #2 Most Eligible Women
"We undertook a nonpartisan examination of the data on datable citizens: the ratio of single women to single men, the percentage of college-educated women, the percentage of gainfully employed single women (all from the Census), and the number who work out (Experian Simmons)."
Forbes (2009): #1 Most Livable City
"Tasty microbrews aren't the only reason to like Portland. Thanks to high marks in five key quality of life metrics, Portland tops this year's list of America's Most Livable Cities. 'It's a very easy place to live," says Leon Perrin, 31, a manager at Gritty's. "It's small, so getting around isn't too much of a hassle. And it's a beautiful place throughout all four seasons.'"