John Lombard takes his sons for a walk through Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon. Dylan, 3, left, was celebrating his birthday with his brother Richard, 4. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Ahh, Lewiston, behold its underrated glory: The Great Falls, the fireworks, the delectable desserts, the hand-crafted moccasins.

Thrillist, a travel, food and pop culture website that loves a good list, this week named the most underrated city to visit in each of the 50 states. In Maine, its writers chose Lewiston.

It gave a special shoutout to Quoddy shoemakers and Labadie’s whoopie pies.

“Lewiston (is) having a bit of a renaissance,” Quoddy President and CEO John Andreliunas said. “Heck, my 17-year-old daughter wants to go to Bates in the worst way. It’s definitely having a moment here. There’s a lot of things coming together.”

In snagging the designation, Thrillist told readers to skip Maine’s beautiful coast and instead, “we’d implore you to head inland to hit up the fully repurposed mill town of Lewiston and its sister city across the Androscoggin River, Auburn.”

Also on the list of 50-most-underrated cities: Peterborough, New Hampshire, Worcester, Massachusetts, Ithaca, New York, Duck, North Carolina and Devil’s Lake, North Dakota.


Thrillist described its methodology as asking dozens of writers to weigh in on cities and towns that amounted to “treasure hiding in plain sight” and started its list with “Here, America, are your underdogs. Learn them well — they’re going to make you happy, once you inevitably go to every one of ’em.”

“It was no surprise to me — obviously, we’re the most underrated,” said Heidi Sawyer, founder of the Facebook page Lewiston Rocks. “It’s about time the rest of the world recognized that.”

She added an active foodie scene and the Androscoggin River as things Thrillist could have, but didn’t, highlight about Lewiston.

Andreliunas added Bates College, mill redevelopment, lots of good dining and the annual Dempsey Challenge led by actor Patrick Dempsey as things that could have also been touted.

It’s a good reminder about the need to toot one’s own horn a bit more, according to City Administrator Ed Barrett. (He added architecture, natural setting and active downtowns to the list.)

“This should affirm our determination to promote our many assets, continue to make progress where we come up short as well as pursue new and exciting opportunities,” Lewiston Mayor Shane Bouchard said. “Let’s go from underrated to a community everyone wants to live, work and play in.”

It’s not the first time Thrillist has shown its quirky light on Lewiston: In 2015, it named Simones’ Hot Dog Stand one of the top 21 hot dog stands in the country.

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Lewiston, shown in December 2016, was named Maine’s most underrated city to visit by the website Thrillist. (Sun Journal file photo)

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