15 Romantic and Cool Things to Do in Biddeford Maine

WHY GO:  Most things to do in Biddeford Maine revolve around the massive textile mills left to rot when the industry died. Like Manchester NH, these sprawling brick behemoths have been cleaned up and repurposed into establishments that visitors and locals now flock to: breweries, distilleries, event and workshop spaces, restaurants, museums, community centers, and one sexy hotel.

River Walk Biddeford ME

The decline of the textile industry in Biddeford ME left the town with what turned out to be a major enticement for architectural visionaries…. and beer and spirit makers.

When a formerly bleak, defunct mill town morphs into a brewery-foodie-boutique hotel hotspot, people take notice. Which is what happened to this small, ocean-set factory ‘burg in Southern ME.

Welcome to quirky Biddeford Maine Squirrel holding can of beer.

The Getaway Mavens are always looking out for once gritty – now pretty – destinations: perfect for a romantic overnight. Many times, we’re ahead of the curve (although Biddeford has been a story for a few years now).

Lincoln Hotel Lobby Biddeford

So, read on to find out about the one hotel you’ve GOT TO book; a diner with some James Beard cred, a 2-mile long Atlantic Ocean beach, and a River Walk with some severe warnings. All this and more in Biddeford ME.  Read on.

(For 17 more short trips in-state, check out our Best Romantic Getaways in Maine post.)

Things to do in Biddeford Maine

Start of the Mill River Walk Biddeford

WALK: River Walk

Biddeford Mill buildings frame every view from The River Walk, a paved trail that goes up and over, and then along the Saco River. Walk along to see the scope of these former factories, which still dominate the town: now, however, with a different function.

Certain Death warning sign near Biddeford Mills ME

The river courses wildly over rocks. Signs on chain link fences, that keep people from getting too close, warn of “Certain Death” when water is released. It’s a reminder that this area of town was never a playground, but is beautiful in its way.

GO: Pepperell Mill

For over 150 years, the Pepperell Mill turned out blankets, towels, and linens. Once abandoned, however, the sprawling complex was left to local government and entrepreneurial visionaries to either demolish or repurpose. They chose the latter.

Mill Studio Arts in Pepperell Mill Biddeford ME

Now,  Pepperell Mill is a hotbed of collaboration: with start-ups, spirit-makers, a Mill Museum, breweries, restaurants, residential apartments, and more coming down the pike. It’s no wonder Biddeford is growing in popularity.

VISIT/TOUR: Biddeford Mills Museum (Bld 18 and Peppermill Center Bld 13)

Locals felt it important to preserve the 170-year history of the Biddeford ME Mills, as that industry built this town.  There’s a small museum, and a guided tour that starts in the larger museum at the Peppermill Center. Watch this Channel 8 News video for more information.  

Biddeford City Theater Maine

GO: Biddeford City Theater Opera House

The Landmarked live Biddeford City Theater has been entertaining residents of this small Maine city since it first opened in October 1860 with a play about slavery in the Southern States.

A fire in 1894 destroyed the original Opera House, but a new one was built in 1896 better and more ornamental than the first. Although it’s gone through some dips and abandonments over the years, the Biddeford City Theater reemerged as a regional theater in the 1990’s, producing five productions per year and showcasing other types of performers.  

One Blue Sky Mural Biddeford ME

PHOTO OP: One Blue Sky Mural

The One Blue Sky painting, depicting a base-ball capped boy with a phone to his ear, can be found on the side of a building on York Street. Interestingly, there’s another mural 5,600 miles away in Iraq, of a girl in a similar pose, by the same artist – the Detroit based Pat Perry. The project, called “Opening Lines,” brought two 5th Grade classes, one in Biddeford Maine, the other in Slemani Iraq, together virtually.

GO: Engine

Both a gallery and Art Walk co-coordinator (in collaboration with Common Roots Studio), Engine drive the arts community in Biddeford. Visit the storefront to peruse the latest exhibits, and/or take the self-guided Art Walk on the third Friday of every month from May through October. Styled on First Fridays in other cities, the Art Walk enables participants to meet artists, taste new brews, and learn about the latest in the Biddeford Arts Scene.

Fortunes Rocks Beach off season Biddeford ME

BEACH: Fortunes Rocks Beach, Biddeford Pool

(You’ll find Fortunes Rocks in the section of Biddeford called Biddeford Pool).

How did the 2-mile-long Fortunes Rocks Beach get its name? Ironically, from a not-so-fortunate (or fortunate, depending on your perspective) sailor named Frances Fortune, whose ship was dashed upon these very shores during a winter storm, and he survived. Fortune married a local widow and built a homestead where summer cottages in the neighborhood now stand.

The beach itself is a wide crescent of sand bookended by rocky areas. Off-season you’ll find dog-walkers, and others poking amid the tidal pools – the sea a stirring greenish blue.

Treehouse Toys Biddeford ME

SHOP: Treehouse Toys

Come to Treehouse Toys in Biddeford (with other stores in Portland ME and Portsmouth NH) for a selection of playthings you might not find anywhere else. If you’ve got kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews – many a toy will call to you. Pop in for a minute and you just might stay to play for awhile. The store owners really have a handle on what kids (and babies) like.

Round Turn Distilling Biddeford ME

DISTILLERY: Round Turn Distilling

Round Turn Distilling is situated in the Pepperell Mill complex (next door to Branded Brewing, below). The tasting room is modern-cool – a great place to hang out with friends and sip on terrific signature cocktails featuring Round Turn’s own small-batch Bimini Gin.

Banded Brewing Biddeford

BREWERY: Banded Brewing

Also located in the Pepperell Mill, Banded Brewing was Biddeford’s first brewery – opened in 2013. It’s tasting room is massive and industrial, serving up beers from traditional to avant-garde.

Sacred Profane Tank Pub Biddeford

BREWERY: Sacred Profane Tankpub

Go for the name, stay for the brews. Sacred Profane takes both its beer – and generosity of spirit -seriously: going as far as putting a “Values” page on their website. It boils down to – this is a sacred place for everyone. Harassment will not be tolerated.

Elements Books Coffee Beer Biddeford ME

COFFEE/BEER/BITES/BOOKS: Elements Books Coffee Beer

If there was ever a self-explanatory eatery and bookstore, Elements is it. Elements fuses all aspects of a perfect day – with java in the morning; communal tables, breakfast, and just the book you need to get motivated; and a nice pint in the afternoon. Nighttime brings fun programming.

BREWERY/DISTILLERY: Batson River (See Below Under Where to Stay)

Where to Eat In Biddeford ME

Palace Diner Biddeford ME exterior

EAT: Palace Diner

So many accolades for this itty-bitty train car breakfast/lunch place – the Palace Diner. Well its name might be an oxymoron, but the two chef/owners, Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley, were nominated for a James Beard Award (along with 6 others ) in 2020  – thus considered restaurant royalty. The Palace Diner has been a Biddeford icon since it first opened in 1927 and owned by Mitchell and Conley since 2014.

Tuna Sandwich Palace Diner Biddeford

The tiny counter can accommodate just 15 people, but you can take your toothsome Tuna Melt, French Toast, Double Patty burger, and other sandwiches and sides out to eat at a nearby park (or your office). I can personally attest to the deliciousness of its hefty tuna sandwich, an artisanal take on the after-school Wonder Bread version Mom used to make.

ICE CREAM: Sweetcream Dairy

Every New England town needs a great homemade ice cream spot, and Sweetcream Dairy makes their own in Biddeford using only natural ingredients.

EAT: Locals Recommend

Magnus on Water for outstanding cocktails and innovative dishes; Fish and Whistle for fish & chips, Pacifico for Latin American; Run of the Mill Brewery for music and elevated pub food. According to many here, there’s nary a miss restaurant-wise, so you can also try something not mentioned here and be happy.

Where to Stay In Biddeford ME

Entrance to The Lincoln Hotel

STAY: The Lincoln Hotel

If you want to stay in the sexiest hotel in town – book a room at The Lincoln Hotel.

As mentioned before, Biddeford ME is dense with abandoned mill buildings – most in the process of converting (or already converted) into housing, light manufacturing, art studios, eateries, and breweries.

Lincoln Hotel Lobby Bar Biddeford

The Lincoln Hotel is another thing entirely. A stunning re-do, the cool and massive retro lobby incorporates the buildings’ structural support poles and a vast array of speakeasy-ish furnishings, along with a bar right out of The Shining (but with happy, living, guests).

Guest Room The Lincoln Hotel Maine

Rooms at The Lincoln

Guest rooms at The Lincoln are perfect for a smolderingly affair, or, if you just need a night to lift your spirits.  Suite-sized rooms are kitted out with in-wall fireplaces, industrial-height ceilings, walls of both original brick and deep saturated colors, and oh the bathrooms!

View from Bathroom to Bedroom at The Lincoln Hotel Maine

Spacious, stylish, and intriguing, some sport casement-glass showers through which you can see your bed – topped with a faux fur throw.

Basement level of Lincoln Hotel with Batson River Brewing and Distillery

Dining Inside the Lincoln Hotel – Batson River Restaurant

Although a separate entity from The Lincoln Hotel, you can get to Batson River Brewing & Distilling Restaurant by elevator. This vibrantly decorated pub, located in the basement section of the mill, shares a long corridor with a few other establishments.

Lincoln Hotel Basement Batson River Restaurant

Take a fun romp through a warren of dimly lit rooms – ranging from intimate to vast, and then choose your vibe.  The atmosphere down here is, like the hotel lobby – and The Lincoln Lobby Bar – speakeasyish – with old fashioned lampshade lights on tables.

Batson River Brewing Restaurant fireplace Biddeford ME

The elevated pub grub is good – but you’re here for the ambiance. The coziest and most romantic spot is on a leather couch in front of a roaring fireplace. Sip on stellar cocktails and soak in all the love. You’ll be captivated for sure.

Romantic things to do in Biddeford Maine pin


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine, Shape.com, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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