City Adventures in Maine
Stroll through Maine’s charming cities for a sense of local culture and heritage as you take in the sights of fascinating architecture, historic mills and working waterfronts mixed with contemporary amenities. Across the state, Maine cities feature fabulous food and drink, world-class art and performances, rich history, shopping, distinctive events and more. You’ll also find that many cities tout convenient access to surrounding trails and waterways, so nature’s respite isn’t far away from your urban playground.
Portland and Greater Portland Area
Chances are you’ve heard of Portland, Maine—and for good reason. With award-winning restaurants, a laid-back nightlife scene, superb shopping and a unique arts and music scene, the biggest city in Maine has amassed a lot of attention. You’ll also discover plenty of landmarks and attractions to explore, like the Portland Observatory—the only remaining historic signal tower in the nation—and the Portland Head Light in nearby Cape Elizabeth.
Bangor boasts significant downtown architecture and a thriving arts, dining and shopping scene. Explore Bangor’s spooky side with a drive by author Stephen King’s eccentric mansion and the many local sites that inspired his writing. Or, see the larger-than-life statue of lumberjack icon Paul Bunyan, who was born in Bangor. The Zillman Art Museum features modern and contemporary art by artists from New England and around the globe and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Penobscot Theatre Company and The Bangor Arts Exchange all capture audiences with their superb live performances of music, comedy and theater. You can easily spend 36 hours in Bangor.
The capital of Maine, the city of Augusta, is in the heart of the beautiful Kennebec Valley in Central Maine, and it is another designated Maine Street Community. Just an hour from Portland you can peruse this historic downtown, enjoy a variety of restaurants and craft beer from Cushnoc Brewing. Nature lovers will appreciate the 6.5-mile Kennebec River Rail Trail that extends from Augusta, in addition to Viles Arboretum’s 6 miles of trails throughout 224 lush acres.
The Twin Cities or “L/A,” as Lewiston and Auburn are called by locals, is split by the Androscoggin River and its Great Falls, you can walk along the river between the two cities on the Auburn Riverwalk. With unique events, history, and arts and culture venues, there is much to experience and discover in the Twin Cities. History buffs will appreciate Lewiston’s and Auburn’s rich Franco-American heritage, with historic architecture, performing arts, restaurants and Museum L-A to learn from and appreciate. Performing arts enthusiasts will embrace the selection of live entertainment available, including the award-winning Public Theatre, as well as the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra.
Waterville grew on the banks of the Kennebec River, powered by water and mills. Today, this brick-lined city on the river is a vibrant center of education, cinema and the arts. Its two private colleges—Colby and Thomas College—offer engaging experiences for community and visitors alike, like the Colby College Museum of Art, featuring American and contemporary work. Discover what has been heralded as one of the best art-house cinemas in New England and the country at Railroad Square Cinema. Film aficionados will not want to miss the annual Maine International Film Festival, going strong for more than 20 years.
Biddeford & Saco
The neighboring cities of Biddeford and Saco were once industrial giants. The Saco River, which flows between the cities, powered enormous brick mills, including the largest cotton mill ever built in America. Today, visitors can tour the Biddeford Mill Museum for a glimpse of that history. The vast mill buildings are being restored and reimagined and our now filled new businesses, shops, artist studios, restaurants and more. Both Biddeford and Saco have been designated Main Street Communities for their work in revitalizing their historic downtowns. In Biddeford, fascinating history and present-day entertainment and a burgeoning food scene combine for fun, intriguing experiences. The City Theater has been entertaining with live performances for over 125 years.