The center of Maine’s cities and towns holds a place in the hearts of visitors and locals alike—their historic beauty, classic New England architecture and the unique shopping experience they provide are found in few places. Downtown Portland, with its working waterfront and cobblestone streets of the Old Port, is one of the country’s most distinctive shopping districts. Numerous independent stores like Portland Dry Goods and Portmanteau and several galleries are established in the decidedly walkable downtown, from clothing boutiques to fine jewelry, and there’s no shortage of fabulous dining options when you need a break.
Bangor’s West Market Square Historic District in the city’s riverside downtown has a delightful array of shops, galleries and restaurants. Much of the architecture is unchanged since the 1800s, making it the perfect backdrop to a day of shopping. Spend some time browsing for unusual and one-of-a-kind items at The Rock & Art Shop or get stylish at Mexicali Blues.
The City of Bath’s downtown shopping district is one of the most charming in all of Maine. Old fashioned lights illuminate the brick sidewalks of Front Street, which is lined with local boutiques and shops—everything you might be looking for. For those who love to cook, don’t miss Now You’re Cooking.
Rockland is the ideal seaside town for a weekend of shopping. From wine shops to bookstores like hello, hello books, the abundant variety of inviting stores lining Main Street is impressive. The venerable yet fun Grasshopper Shop is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Rockland is well known for its welcoming B&Bs and award-winning restaurants, as well, so if you come for the boutiques, you may want to stay a bit longer.
Both Bath and Rockland join eight other downtowns as part of Main Street Maine, a National Main Street Program. The others include Biddeford, Saco, Westbrook, Brunswick, Belfast, Gardiner, Augusta and Skowhegan. These Maine downtowns have charming 19th-century brick shopfronts, narrow, tree-lined streets and classic American architecture. Not only is each shopping experience unique, but each downtown has a story to tell that weaves a tale of yesterday and today.