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Maine’s Best Shopping: Downtowns, Markets, Main Streets and More

Downtown Shopping

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 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.

Home to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor was the former summer playground to presidents and the country’s wealthiest families during the Gilded Age, and today vestiges of this opulence remain. Stroll down Bar Harbor’s Main Street through the original business district and pop into shops, or see grandiose architecture from the past like the former Ledgelawn Inn on Mt. Desert Street.

Main Street Maine Shopping

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.

Both Bath and Rockland join eight other downtowns as part of Main Street Maine, a National Main Street Program. Main Street Maine’s website is a great resource for downtown shopping throughout Maine—like the Chocolate Drop Candy Shop in Belfast or The Chocolate Shoppe at Merkaba Sol in Augusta for those with a sweet tooth. If you’re a bookworm, check out Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick. To bring joy to the little ones in your life, head to Island Treasure Toys in Bath.

Whatever items you are looking for, there are local shops full of choices. For the fashionable among us, head to Sugar and for the fitness guru, be sure to check out Catalyst for Change in Biddeford.

Looking for something special to brighten up the home? Check out Vintage Shabby Beach in Saco or Hilltop Antiques in Skowhegan for one-of-a-kind items.

For the foodie on your list, head to Maine Grains in Skowhegan, Ragged Coast Chocolate in Westbrook, Night Moves Bread in Biddeford, and Fiore in Rockland and Brunswick for culinary tools and treats.

Mall & Outlet Centers

Starting in the far south, the town of Kittery boasts a mile of outlet shopping including the well-known Kittery Outlets. Heading north, South Portland hosts The Maine Mall, the state’s largest. Also in the Greater Portland area is the town of Freeport, which lets you walk to outlets and front-line stores clustered in a downtown around L.L.Bean’s famous headquarters.

In Central Maine, the city of Auburn offers up the Auburn Mall. Northern Maine’s Bangor Mall draws customers from Maine and all the way down from Canada. Finally, check out the Aroostook Centre Mall in the far-northern town of Presque Isle.


Something new, something old. For true shoppers, there’s a little magic in both.

For the new, seek out some of Maine’s many craft markets and shows. There, you can see, touch and feel the work of Maine’s artisans and crafters and talk to them about their work. Maine has gatherings specifically for its Native American artisans and more general fairs and festivals as well.

Maine Craft Markets

The Maine Crafts Association organizes many shows and markets statewide and runs its Center for Maine Craft in West Gardiner.

The United Maine Craftsmen also schedules markets and shows for craftspeople across the state.

Flea Markets

Shoppers looking for bargains, old things or stuff that’s just a bubble or two off plumb know to head for a local flea for a look around. You honestly can’t predict what you’ll dig up. A moose head? Maybe. A trayful of aesthetically challenged glassware? Good chance. An adventure? Absolutely.

Here are some markets to check out:

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