36 Hours in Lewiston/Auburn
Region: Maine Lakes & Mountains Activities: Walking, sightseeing, birdwatching, art and cultural museums, performing arts Family friendly
The City of Lewiston and its close neighbor, the City of Auburn, are both nestled along the beautiful Androscoggin River. Take in the sights from both sides (and cities) as you walk along the river 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. Much of the two city’s architecture was built in the 1800s and there are many beautiful historic properties to admire.
Arts and culture are thriving in Lewiston and Auburn (L/A to locals), which are the heart of Maine’s rich Franco-American heritage, and you can dive into the culture at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, a performing arts organization that celebrates Franco-American heritage and culture with a wide variety of events throughout the year. You can also visit the Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor (Maine MILL) to experience the history and culture of Maine’s working people, particularly mill workers with a unique collection made up of over 10,000 artifacts. Lewiston and Auburn are also home to many of the region’s arts and culture venues including the award-winning Public Theatre, as well as the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra. L/A Arts, the arts agency for Lewiston Auburn, hosts great local art exhibits as well as world-class performances.
Bates College, a private liberal arts college, hosts the Bates Dance Festival each summer with internationally acclaimed performances. The Bates Art Museum has incredible exhibitions and its collections include the Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection, which has over 400 pieces of work by the important modernist painter.
If you want to spend some time outdoors, the cities offer plenty to do! The Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary is ideal for birdwatching, and the trails through forests and fields are ideal for walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The weather in Lewiston and Auburn makes it a great birding destination year-round. Rock hounds from around the world flock to Mount Apatite Park in search of gems like tourmaline. In winter months, enjoy the relaxed vibe at the family-friendly Lost Valley ski area with 15 groomed trails.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, the restaurant scene as plenty to entice. At Forage, freshly made bagels are the highlight of the breakfast and lunch menu. Café Obscura offers flatbread pizzas, tasty sandwiches and more, and be sure to see what events are happening at the Lounge downstairs. Try the local favorites, Fish Bones or DaVinci’s Eatery. On Lisbon Street in Lewiston, you’ll find a wonderful selection of Somali restaurants and markets, like The Heritage Restaurant and Saban’s Cuisine. Locals also rave about the Italian Bakery - home to cannoli, bread, pizza and pastries. For a craft cocktail and tasty food, head to Sonder + Dram, found in the basement of the historic McGillicuddy Building in downtown Lewiston. There are also three local breweries in L/A: Baxter Brewing in Lewiston, where their pub has 24 beers on tap, in Auburn, Gritty McDuff’s brewpub is always popular, and Side By Each Brewing Co. roasts its own coffee as well! Craft Brew Underground is a local pub that delights in craft beer with over 200 varieties of beers from around the world.
When you’re ready to put your feet up for the night, consider the charming boutique Inn at the Agora, the eco-certified Hampton Inn in the heart of downtown Lewiston, or the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch, right in the heart of historic Auburn – all near museums, theaters and dining. For more adventure along the Androscoggin, consider this itinerary.
Mileage: From Bangor: 145 miles From Portland: 37 miles