By Nathan Kane
Bates College Sophomore

Whether you’re a new or long-time resident, student, visitor or just looking for something to do, this guide will provide you with 50-plus ideas for how to spend time in the Lewiston-Auburn area. (NOTE: this is not meant to be an exhaustive list; just the opinions of one Bates College student. For more ideas and more complete listings, visit

The Arts of L/A

Plan your day around a live performance or make time to visit an exhibit in the area. Either way, the arts are a great place to start.
The number of gallery openings in the area is truly impressive and definitely worth a walk into town. Art is everywhere, go to for a layout of shows and exhibits in the area.
Attend one of the many events at the Marsden Hartley Cultural Center at the Lewiston Public Library. Whether it’s contra dance, a lecture or a film festival, there are plenty of activities to explore. 200 Lisbon Street, (207) 784-0135.
Explore the drama of L/A. Go to a play at one of the many theaters including Community Little Theatre, The Public Theatre or Schaeffer Theater at Bates College. For more info, head to,, or
Enjoy a classical or cultural performance at the Franco-American Heritage Center; for ticket info, call (207) 689-2000 or visit
Attend a concert at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee at 190 Birch Street in Lewiston, the host of the infamous Liston vs. Clay match and home to the annual B to B Trade Show. Newly renovated, this is one of the most modern venues in Central Maine. Check it out at
Go to a concert at The Maple Room, a uniquely intimate venue; small space and big talent. Located at 22 Park Street, call (866) 901-1036 or visit for listings.
Enjoy an elegant, classical concert presented by the Maine Music Society at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, one of the area’s premier cultural centers. Investigate online at
She Doesn’t Like Guthries, Gritty’s and Shooters are all options for night life that can be explored at, along with details on other live local music offerings.

Eating in L/A

The variety of food in the area is too much to summarize, so I won’t try. However, I will say that there are some delicious options here and every place on this list is worth a look. Also, note that the Morning, Noon and Night categories are merely suggestions; I commend any effort to eat donuts for dinner or pizza for breakfast.


Explore the rich (and tasty) history of bakeries in L/A, some of which have been open for 80 years! In Lewiston, Grant’s on Sabattus Street is a classic, serving pastries, breads, pies and cakes. However, if you are looking for the original Maine whoopie pie, look no further than Labadie’s Bakery, now a 24-hour operation which ships their famed products all over the country. Visit and for more information.
The Bread Shack is L/A’s most notable newcomer to the bakery scene. Founded by a member of America’s Bread Olympics Team (yes, such a thing apparently exists), this artisan bakery turns out loaves of the finest and most delicious fresh bread available anywhere. Located in Auburn, you can find it open weekdays and on Saturdays. For the specifics, visit
A devoted group of regulars and local college students can be found (not necessarily nursing hangovers) at The Pop Shoppe, a great, easily affordable breakfast and lunch diner on Main Street in Lewiston. Call (207) 777-7467 for details.
The Italian Bakery Co on Bartlett Street turns out fresh, delicious, homemade donuts and is a great place to grab an affordable meal to go. 225 Bartlett Street, (207) 782-8312.
A ten-minute drive outside of L/A, one of the most charming and unique dining experiences in the area, is Nezinscot Farm. This organic farm serves their own fresh food for brunch and offers plenty of goods-to-go.
Try coffee from, well, anywhere in the world at Willy Beans, a friendly and tasty coffee shop located next to Fishbones at the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston. Surf free wi-fi, too. 70 Lincoln Street, Lewiston,

Investigate the delicious barbeque stands scattered throughout the area. Only slow, home-cooked, no-teeth-necessary quality here. Among the best are DJ’s all hardwood, fire-cooked, straight from Texas flavors and Little Dan’s, now complete with a bar and live performances on most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Visit and for more information.
With a menu that makes paying over $10 a challenge for any meal, Rolly’s Diner serves up “great cooking and plenty of it.” They’re located at 87 Mill Street, Auburn,
Try a suspiciously red hot dog at Simones’ Hot Dog Stand on Chestnut Street in Lewiston. This classic restaurant has been open for over 100 years and is not only a local favorite, but an icon of the area.
For a taste of classic fast-food, unbound by chains (no redheads, kings or clowns here), try Roy’s All-Steak Hamburgers. These delicious sliders are actually all steak, no lie. 5 Washington Street, Auburn, (207) 783-4304.
Get away from Papa John’s and sample the real pizza of L/A. Test Pat’s, Antonio’s New York Deli and Za’pizza Market for an impressive variety. Pat’s has been serving its homemade signature sauce for 50 years and has become a college favorite. Antonio is from New York and has brought with him New York-style pizza ovens and all the flavor of a slice from The Big Apple, without the cost of a round-trip ticket. Za’s offers award-winning calzones, great pizza and a seven pound, 20-inch pie for anyone interested in a challenge. So, go online to,, or call/visit Antonio’s at (207) 784-6800, 29 Lisbon Street, Lewiston.
Stuff yourself with Chinese food at Chopstick’s buffet on weekdays, found in downtown Lewiston. Call (207)783-6300 for delivery or take-out, or go online to
Val’s Root Beer and Drive-In is one of L/A’s many hidden treasures and a delicious one, at that. Find it at 952 Sabattus Street in-season (May-August).

One of Lewiston’s most impressive restaurants is undoubtedly the modern French bistro, Fuel, located on downtown Lisbon Street. Delicious food, gracious staff, suave atmosphere and an extensive bar make this the premier destination for discriminating L/A diners on a night out. Read reviews, see their menu and make reservations at
Wei-Li’s offers authentic oriental food, and all dishes are freshly cooked to order and always homemade. We-Li offers an extensive line of healthy dishes which contain no MSG or oil, are low-sodium, low-carb, and low-calorie. Check them out at 945 Center Street in Auburn.
The newest restaurant on the scene is The Falls, located at Great Falls Plaza overlooking the scenic Great Falls of the Androscoggin River. Slightly upscale American cuisine, comfortable but trendy ambiance, great drinks, great lunch portions, and always tasty. For details, visit
You may not immediately think of going to a hotel for lunch, but you ought to re-think that concept, thanks to the Great American Grill at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Rivewatch. They offer great food, fresh salads, tasty sandwiches, and quick, friendly service. Call 784-4433 for details.
Take someone out to Fishbones, an upscale, contemporary grill in downtown Lewiston. The food is great and while I recommend the tuna, there are plenty of options from the “land and air” as well. For reservations call (207) 333-3663 or go online at
Sidle down College Street to Thai Jarearn Express, my favorite Thai place in the area, and when you get there, be adventurous, don’t simply order pad-thai.
Hey, your place is good, too! Grab take-out or get delivery from one of the 10, that’s right 10, Chinese food places in L/A. Check them all out at
In terms of food from south-of-the-border, Auburn offers Margaritas, south of Corbon Street. This authentic Mexican restaurant serves tasty classics, whips up delicious margaritas and is furnished with hand-crafted artwork, furniture and décor. Find it on Center Street or visit
For great Italian, visit Davinci’s Eatery in the Bates Mill. This is a relaxed restaurant with generous portions and a newly expanded lounge. For hours, a menu or reservations visit
Stroll to Dairy Joy at the east end of Campus Avenue in Lewiston during the warm months of the year for great ice cream. (207) 782-8168?

Activities in L/A

For a family-friendly activity, head over to Jokers in the Auburn Mall. With arcade games, train rides and a playhouse, maybe you can convince the kids to clean their room.
Lewiston and Auburn each host a movie theater, but did you know that the Flagship Cinema in Auburn now offers a chance to see classics on the big screen? If you’ve always wanted to see Jaws larger than life, first, I suggest doing it during the winter and second, check out
Bowl your troubles away at either Auburn Lanes or Spare-Time Recreation in Lewiston. Call (207) 783-3521 (Auburn Lanes) or (207) 786-2695 (Spare-Time) or visit for hours and information.
Step inside Lewiston’s or Auburn’s Public Library and find a book to read this summer at the beach, on vacation, or at home. 200 Lisbon Street in Lewiston, (207) 794-0135, and 49 Spring Street in Auburn, (207) 333-6640.
No indoor activity list would be complete without a roller rink. So, while five-year-olds skate circles around me, for those of you who are a little more coordinated, there’s RolloDrome in Auburn. This roller rink has been around for over 50 years and holds some pretty cool events. To find out the when and where, visit, or call (207) 777-3940.

Relax, take a walk and enjoy the natural beauty and diverse wildlife at Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary, the largest bird sanctuary of its kind north of Boston. Get more information and directions online at
Go to the farmer’s market in Kennedy Park on Tuesdays, in-season, socialize with the community and buy some great, fresh food! This is located downtown on Bates and Pine Street in Lewiston.
Go fishing in one of the lakes or rivers in the local area. For trout, smallmouth bass and even salmon, Lake Auburn is a great spot to drop a line. Head over to Route 4 or go online at
For some of the most breathtaking views of the Androscoggin River, enjoy the walking path beginning behind the Hilton Garden Inn, and connecting to the Riverwalk (near Gritty’s Brew Pub) to Lewiston Railroad Park, also known as Simard-Payne Park.
A number of discrete boat launches lie hidden along the Androscoggin River and are very much worth investigating. Check one out on Lincoln Street in Lewiston.
Explore the unique geology of Mount Apatite year round, located north of Route 11/121, between Hatch Road and Garfield Road. You’ll find quarries of igneous rock from which some sampling is allowed, wooded areas and plenty of trails. For any geology enthusiast or nature lover, provides some great information and food for thought (which reminds me, bring a picnic!). (207) 784-0191.
Hot day? Well, you could drive for an hour to a crowded beach, but why would you? Head over to the Auburn Municipal Beach on Route 4, open from Memorial Day weekend through the summer for a great swim without the hassle.
Not only is Lost Valley great for skiing, but during the summer months, check out the paintball scene and bike trails, although I’m not sure they would appreciate you doing both at the same time.
If you’re into golf, play 18 holes at one of the many greens in the area including Prospect Hill, Springbrook, Fox Ridge and Spring Meadow. Visit for listings.
And hey, if you’re not a seasoned golfer or you’re just looking for a fun time, head over to Taber’s on Lake Shore Drive in Auburn, complete with a driving range, snack shack and challenging mini-golf course. (207) 784-2521
Skate at one of Maine’s premier skate parks, in Kennedy Park on Pine Street in Lewiston. About 12,000 square feet of bowls, rails, stairs and half-pipes makes gamers wish this was a level in Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 4.


Unique Shops
Buy samurai swords, beautiful antiques and other rarities at Orphan Annie’s at 96 Court Street in Auburn.
Maine Heritage Weavers are still producing classic Bates Mill bedspreads from patterns that date back to the 1800’s. Visit the Bates Mill Store at 41 Chestnut Street in Lewiston. (207) 784-7626.
Mr. Paperback is a chain of 13 bookstores in Maine, each offering a unique collection of paperbacks, cards and gifts. Grab one of their comfortable chairs, a coffee from their café and jump into a great story! Track them down at 855 Lisbon Street in the Promenade Plaza.
For something of a shopping adventure, take a look at Marden’s Discount, for close-out prices and a constantly changing stock. It’s one of the few places where you could find products by Kenmore, Armani and Playschool all under the same roof. (207) 786-0313 750, Main Street, Lewiston.
Looking for a unique piece of art, framed photograph, jewelry, or notecards? Gallery 5 on Lisbon Street and L/A Arts Community Gallery are great places to browse and buy. The Gallery is located next door to Fuel restaurant at 49 Lisbon Street, while L/A Arts is located at 221 Lisbon Street.

Ever notice the gigantic, Gothic church overlooking Lewiston? It isn’t merely a Church, but a basilica, the only one in Maine and one of only 54 in the U.S. Visit Sts. Peter and Paul Basilica and admire the newly renovated and always impressive stone architecture. Find out more at
Museum L/A has an incredible collection of industrial artifacts that reaches back into the heart and history of Lewiston and Auburn. Explore the lives of settlers, immigrants and mill workers with a trip down to 35 Canal Street in the Bates Mill Complex., (207) 333-3881.
Pay a visit to the Androscoggin Historical Society, trace family history, see artifacts from the area, and unearth the roots of Androscoggin County. Court Street, (207) 784-0586,
Take the self-guided L/A Historic Walking Tour and delve into the history of the mills, the community and the people who lived here before you.

Try handcrafted ale at Gritty McDuff’s during one of their great live shows most Friday nights. 68 Main Street, Auburn, (207) 376-2739,
Check out awesome live music most weekend nights and have a fully organic burrito (with a delicious micro-brew, of course) at She Doesn’t Like Guthries, 115 Middle Street.
Grab a martini or other drink and take in a show at Shooters, a new bar on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, featuring live artists most weekends. With a relaxed wine/martini bar for early evening acoustic performances on one side and a dance floor and music you can move to on the other, this place offers the best of both worlds. (207) 376-3042.
The Blue Goose at 69 Sabattus Street is one of L/A’s classics (and a regular Bates hang-out): a small, down to earth bar, a relaxed crowd and affordable drinks and fare.
Put a smile on your face with a comedy show at the Fireside Inn. Website: 1777 Washington Street N, (207) 777-1777.
For a few classy spots with after-hours cocktails, see Fuel, Fishbones and Margaritas (details above).
Festivals and Special Events
On Saturday, June 20th, head over to the Colisee in Lewiston for the Grapes and Grains Festival, where brewers and wineries from all around Maine offer samples of their finest beverages. 190 Birch Street or
For fantastic outdoor events during the summer, attend two months of Auburn Community Concerts. See them weekly from June 17 through August 26 at 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday nights at Festival Plaza on Main Street. Rain location at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch. Visit for details.
If you’re visiting in the summer, check out the L/A 5K Triple Crown Series. These three major running events take place in mid June, July and August and start at varying locations. Head to for more information.
Who doesn’t like balloons, particularly huge, flame-powered ones? Don’t miss this year’s Great Falls Balloon Festival August 21-23. See why thousands of people get fired up about the largest festival of its kind in New England, complete with activities, fireworks, dozens of food vendors, and more. Investigate further at

Sunday, July 12, don’t miss the Chief Worumbo Androscoggin River Fun Race from Durham to Lisbon. For details, visit

On the Fourth of July, celebrate with the Liberty Festival in Lewiston at Veteran’s Park and in Auburn at Festival Plaza. For a small cover charge, enjoy all-day entertainment and see a fireworks show at 9:30 P.M. that is sure to light up the Androscoggin. Visit for more information.
From July 11th to August 8th, the world renowned Bates Dance Festival comes to Lewiston for its 27th year. This amazing gathering of youth, pre-professional and highly respected professional dancers and choreographers lends itself to remarkable performances and invaluable opportunities to participate. Visit for more information.
Celebrate Mediterranean heritage at L/A’s Greek Festival held in September. The food is delicious and attractions include folk music, dancing and even a bazaar. The festival takes place at 155 Hogan Road. For more information go to
If you’re a cat-person you may want to sit this one out, but for all dog-lovers out there, don’t miss the chance to show off man’s best friends at the 13th Annual Strut Your Mutt festival. On October 3rd, walk down to Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston for an afternoon of new smells and canine socializing. For more information call (207) 786-4713.
The Dempsey Challenge, a major riding/cycling/running fundraiser event for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing, is being held right here in Lewiston on October 4th. Award-winning actor Patrick Dempsey and cycling legend George Hincapie will both be participating in the Challenge and then hosting a reception after the event for those who have made a high-level contribution to the cause. There will be a festival held all day in Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park accompanying the event. For more specifics and registry information, visit
Apples, magic, music and chairlift rides are just a few of the attractions of the Fall Festival at Lost Valley in Auburn (200 Lost Valley Road). This all happens in October, so be sure to take a look at for more information.
Glow with the holiday spirit after attending the tree lighting ceremony in early December located at both Festival Plaza in Auburn and Courthouse Plaza in Lewiston. Visit the cities’ websites, and in early November for the details.
The Auburn Winter Festival runs from late January to early February and is not an event to be missed. With activities ranging from downhill mountain bike racing to ridiculous relay races to shoveling competitions, it definitely helps make winter more bearable. There are a number of locations for these events so check out for the details.

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