Situated along the Androscoggin River, Lewiston is a dynamic and diverse community. Along with Auburn – just over the bridge – it offers many amenities typically found in a city twice its size without the traffic or parking hassle. It is the second-largest city in Maine and boasts colleges, dining, cultural events, entertainment, two major hospitals and abundant outdoor recreation.
As you drive through downtown Lewiston, you can’t help but notice the many former textile and shoe mills situated along the river and canal. An important hub in the northeast during the manufacturing boon, many of Lewiston’s mill buildings have been renovated and re-purposed as restaurants, museums, niche manufacturing spaces and more. The mills, many churches, downtown Lisbon Street and its many historical buildings create an architecturally rich landscape. Some of the most compelling buildings include: Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Kora Temple, Bates Mill Buildings, A.Singer Building and the Grand Trunk Railroad Station – Lewiston’s link to the Canadian National Railway system – through which thousands of French-Canadian immigrants entered into the city looking for work in the mid 1800’s. There are 44 listings in Lewiston on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Lewiston/Auburn area offers a long list of great places to eat and drink, many located in historic buildings providing exceptional ambience. In Lewiston, situated in renovated textile mills, you’ll find both DaVinci’s Eatery and Fishbones. Nearby in the historic Grand Trunk Railroad Depot is Rails, offering a comfortable and modern dining experience. Downtown Lisbon Street, where almost every building is architecturally significant, you’ll find upscale restaurants: Fuel Bistro, Mother India and Marche, as well as wood-fired bakery and market Forage Market & The Vault, a specialty shop offering wine and craft beers. The always yummy Ben’s Burritos is inside the Rainbow Bicycle building, and a block down the street is Orchid, popular with locals who love sushi. Nearby is She Doesn’t Like Guthries, offering eclectic cuisine, live music and independent films. Some more local favorites are Boba, for southeast Asian cuisine, seafood at the Chic-a-dee, GridIron Sports Pub and Luigi’s Pizza serving pizza and Italian fare from the same corner of Sabattus Street since 1953. As you head towards the bridge leading to Auburn, be sure to check out the fun and feisty Irish Pub and Mexican Cantina Pedro O’Hara’s!
Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in Lewiston/Auburn and both communities are especially active in cycling – both road riding and mountain biking. Two of Maine’s premier bike shops are located in Lewiston, Rainbow Bicycle and Busytown Bikes. Both shops offer group rides and are actively involved in helping maintain local trails. Mt. Apatite – a former mine site that still attracts hobby rockhounds – is situated on a 300-acre preserve and is enjoyed year-round by mountain bikers, hikers and cross-country skiers. Nearby Pineland Farms Trails, Bradbury Mountain State Park and Range Pond State Park offer beautiful multi-use trails as well. Thorncrag Sanctuary, a 372-acre wildlife preserve is located in Lewiston and is perfect for birdwatching, hiking, snowshoeing and nature photography. For a scenic walk try the Whitman Spring Road Trail with its beautiful views of Lake Auburn or the Lewiston-Auburn Greenway Trail for a cool city walk.
Generations of kids in Lewiston/Auburn learned how to ski at Lost Valley Ski Area including World Cup and Olympic alpine ski racer Julie Parisien. Recently revitalized by new ownership, you’ll find expanded ski trails and year-round events. Bigger ski mountains in Maine, such as Sunday River and Sugarloaf are just over an hour’s drive away! Lewiston and Auburn are known as hockey towns and each town offers developmental hockey and large arenas. The Colisee in Lewiston is home to the L/A Nordiques Youth Hockey Organization, Lewiston & Scarborough High Schools and L/A Fighting Spirit Hockey Club of the NA3HL. The venue hosts the Maine Principals High School Hockey State Championships and a variety of charity hockey games throughout the year. And Auburn’s Norway Savings Bank Arena offers public skating and hosts a variety of programs and youth tournaments year-round.
Golfers in Maine are hardy, and you’ll often find them on the course right through November! There are several major golf courses in Lewiston and nearby Auburn – Apple Valley, Martindale Country Club, Fox Ridge Golf Club, Prospect Hill Golf Course. A local landmark, Tabers On the Lake features a driving range and miniature golf. After a rousing game of mini-golf, be sure to grab a North Burger, onion rings and ice-cream from their take-out restaurant, and enjoy your meal enjoying views of the lake while observing the talents of others on the driving range!
There are many trails, water views and scenic places in Lewiston/Auburn from the falls at Great Falls, to meandering trails along the Androscoggin River and many wooded preserves. The possibilities for outdoor fun are endless.
Some of the best festivals/events in the area can be found in Lewiston including the Artwalk on the last Friday of each month from May-September, Great Falls Balloon Festival, the largest balloon festival in northern New England, and the annual 4th of July celebration – Liberty Festival – featuring live music, games, food, fun and fireworks. Newer to the area is ever-popular Dempsey Challenge. The challenge is a two-day non-competitive run, walk, cycle fundraising event which benefits The Dempsey Center. Both the center and the challenge were founded by Lewiston native actor Patrick Dempsey in honor of his mother and her battle with cancer. The Dempsey Center provides services, free of charge, to anyone in the community impacted by cancer.
In a Class of Its Own
Museum L-A – The Story of work and Community in Lewiston – Auburn Maine. Located in the heart of the “mills” district, the museum’s purpose is to tell the story of thousands of textile mill, shoe factory and brick industry workers that built the Lewiston Auburn area. Artifacts from the mills have been curated along with detailed personal stories of those who worked in the buildings. The museum offers permanent and special exhibits.