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Lewiston & Auburn
The Twin Cities or “L/A,” as Lewiston and Auburn are called by locals, are north of Portland, Maine in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region. They are split by the Androscoggin River and its Great Falls and you can walk along the river between the two towns on the Auburn Riverwalk. The mile-long paved path stretches from a small park beside Great Falls in Auburn to a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river to Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston. It’s a popular spot from which to watch the Liberty Festival on July 4th and the Great Falls Balloon Festival in August. Each fall, thousands of cyclists, runners and walkers descend on the area to join actor Patrick Dempsey for the Dempsey Challenge, a fundraiser that benefits Lewiston’s Dempsey Center. The center provides support and education for individuals and families impacted by cancer.
Lewiston and Auburn are the epicenter for Maine’s rich Franco-American heritage, ever since the first French-speaking Canadians came to work in the textile mills and shoe factories during the 1800s. Maine’s only basilica is in downtown Lewiston. The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul has a rose window and architecture that were modeled after the cathedral at Chartres in France.
Things to Do in Lewiston and Auburn
To learn more about Maine’s Franco-American heritage and culture, visit the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, a performing arts organization that celebrates Franco-American heritage and culture. You can also visit Museum L/A to experience the history and culture of Maine’s working people, particularly mill workers. Lewiston and Auburn are also home to many of central Maine’s arts and culture venues including the award-winning Public Theatre, as well as the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra. Bates College hosts the Bates Dance Festival each summer with internationally acclaimed performances, and each spring the Emerge Film Festival promotes the motion picture arts by showcasing a diverse selection of films.
For nature lovers, the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary is ideal for birdwatching, walking or jogging on trails through forests and fields. The weather in Lewiston and Auburn makes it a great birding destination year-round.
You can fish for bass or lake trout at Lake Auburn or discover minerals like feldspar and tourmaline at Mount Apatite Park. The city’s Festival Plaza beside the Androscoggin is home to a free summer concert series and performances by the Auburn Community Band. In January, you can embrace winter in Maine at the Auburn Winter Festival at Lost Valley ski area.
In nearby New Gloucester, the last remaining Shakers live at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. Visit the museum for tours, craft workshops and demonstrations.
Where to Stay in Lewiston and Auburn
You have your choice of hotels and inns in Lewiston and Auburn. From cozy urban spots like the Inn at the Agora, in a restored former church rectory, to the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch, right in the heart of historic Auburn, your lodging options are all within walking distance of the cities’ activities and dining. You can also check here for additional suggestions.
Restaurants in Lewiston and Auburn
The restaurant scene in Lewiston and Auburn has boomed in recent years. You can still track down a classic Franco-American comfort food—tourtiere, a flaky, delicious meat pie—at popular spots like Grant’s Bakery but your dining options don’t stop there. Try the local favorites, Fish Bones or DaVinci’s Eatery, in the Bates Mill Complex. At Forage, freshly made bagels are the highlight of the breakfast and lunch menu. There are also three local breweries—Baxter Brewing in Lewiston, and Gritty McDuff’s and Side By Each Brewing Co. in Auburn.