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Posted: July 18, 2016

Live cheap: FREE things to do in Maine this summer

Written by: Staff Reports


Short on funds? No problem! Here’s a round-up on a whole bunch of things to do this summer in Maine that are entirely free including outdoor movies, theater and music! (donations at some of them are however very much appreciated).


movies collage free stuff summer 2016

Portland Summer Films

Every Sunday evening through August 28 | Congress Square Park, Portland | Free |
Bring a chair to Congress Square (and snacks!) and enjoy free outdoor flicks thanks to the Portland Summer Films Series (put on by Friends of Congress Square Park and Films in the Square). Films run every Sunday through the end of August!

Here’s the schedule:

Sunday, July 17 at 8:30 p.m. “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”

Sunday, July 24 at 8:30 p.m. “E.T.”

Sunday, July 31 at 8:15 p.m. “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

Sunday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. “On Golden Pond”

Sunday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. “Snow White”

Sunday, Aug 21 at 7:30 p.m. “Moonrise Kingdom”

Sunday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

bug light free movies collage summer 2016

The Bug Light Summer Movie Series

Thursday evenings in July, dinner and entertainment 6:30-8:30 p.m., movies start at dusk | Bug Light Park, South Portland | Free |

Here’s the schedule:

“The Peanuts Movie” on July 21

“Star Wars Episode IV:A New Hope” on July 28.

Movies start just after sunset, and there will also be live music, games, and activities prior to each movie. Food will be available from local vendors like Mainely Burgers, Bite Into Maine and Pizza By Fire at an additional charge.

Monday Night Movie Series

Monday night at dusk at Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NW. June 27 through August 25.  Movies are free with a suggested donation of $5-$8.

Here’s the schedule:

“Inside Out” on July 18

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on July 25

“Finding Nemo” on August 1

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” on August 8

“Ratatouille” on August 15

“Gremlins” on August 22

“Jurassic World” on August 25


much ado fenix

Courtesy of Fenix Theatre

Fenix Theatre Co.’s “Much Ado About Nothing”

6:30 pm Thursday, Friday & Saturday, July 14 to August 6 (NOTE! Saturday, July 30 performance will be in Congress Square Park) | Deering Oaks Park, Portland | Free |
An unforgettable comedic romp as only The Bard could write!  Fenix Theatre Co. is bringing Shakespeare back to the park with “Much Ado About Nothing,” which runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings through August 6.


Prescott Park Summer Musical

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” will enchant you all summer long with shows running from June 24 through August 21.  Musicals  are free with a suggested donation of $8-$10.


L.L. Bean promotional poster

L.L. Bean promotional poster

L.L. Bean Free Summer Concerts

7:30 p.m.  July 2 to Sept. 3. | Discovery Park, L.L.Bean campus, Freeport | Free |
The summer concert series in Discovery Park is a fantastic reason to get yourself to  L.L.Bean in Freeport.  Bring a chair or blanket, if you’d like, and catch free performances all summer.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, July 2:  19th Army Band
Part of the Maine Army National Guard, the band is comprised of musicians from all over the state. Performances include: noon – Rock Band; 2 p.m. – Brass Quintet; 3 p.m. – Ceremonial Band; 4 p.m. – Rock Band, 7 p.m. – Full Band.

Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. : Frankie Ballard
Frankie is best known for his breakthrough hit “Helluva Life” from Sunshine & Whiskey. Though his music is classic country, you’ll also hear blues and Southern rock influences. He’s opened for Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum.

Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. : Grace Potter
Grace Potter’s music combines the fun of pure pop with a bit of folk and solid rock and roll roots. This radiant performer is known for her incredible vocals and high-energy live shows. She released her solo debut, “Midnight,” last year.

Saturday, Aug. 6  at 7:30 p.m. : Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
Texan Lyle Lovett is an accomplished singer-songwriter who has been recording since the early ’80s. His eclectic, distinctive music blends thoughtful, witty lyrics with musical styles including country, folk, gospel and big-band swing.

Saturday, Aug. 13  at 7:30 p.m. : The Lone Bellow with Brynn Elliot
Born in the South and now based in Brooklyn, this talented trio doesn’t fit neatly into just one musical category. Their energetic, emotional performances rely on country, indie folk and gospel influences, all with a healthy dose of harmony.

Saturday, Aug. 20  at 7:30 p.m. : The Ballroom Thieves accompanied by Maine Youth Rock Orchestra
The Ballroom Thieves combine the sincerity of folk music with the energy of rock and blues. They’re breaking ground as the first national band to tour with a youth orchestra-our home states’ own Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, comprised of students aged 12-18.

Saturday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. : Ben Rector
The music of this Nashville-based singer-songwriter features meaningful lyrics and sing-along melodies paired with rich string arrangements, piano and percussion. Ben Rector has a new album out now, titled “Brand New.”

Prescott Park Summer Concert Series

Catch a show under the stars and by the water in Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NW. Concerts run from June 22 through August 25.  Concerts are free with a suggested donation of $8-$10.

Here’s the schedule:

7 p.m. July 27: Darlingside

7 p.m. July 31: Mandolin Orange

7 p.m. August 3: The Felice Brothers

7 p.m. August 10: Josh Ritter

7 p.m. August 24: Judy Collins with Ari Hest

6 p.m. August 28: Up, Down, and Away

7 p.m. September 1: James McMurtry

7 p.m. September 3: David Grisman Sextet

7 p.m. September 9: Taj Mahal


Music on the Brunswick Mall | 6 p.m. Wednesdays from June 29 through August 31 | Town Mall, Brunswick |
Free concerts at Fort Sumner | 6:30  p.m. Thursday nights from July 7 to August 25 | Eastern Prom, Portland |
Mill Creek Summer Concerts Series | 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays from July 6 to August 10 | Mill Creek Park, South Portland. | [PDF]Gazebo Concert Series |7 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays June 17 through  August 26. The Gazebo, Main Street, Bath |
Waterfront Park Concert Series | 6 p.m. Saturdays. July 9 through August 27. Dock at Waterfront Park on Commercial Street, Bath |
Music in the Park | 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays from June 22 to August 10 | Shevenell Park, Biddeford |
Summer Concerts in the Park | 6:30 p.m. Thursdays from June 30 to August 4| Memorial Park, Sawyer Road, Scarborough (or Scarborough High School if it’s raining) |
Riverbank Park Summer Concert Series | 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays from July 6 to August 24 |Riverbank Park, Main Street, Westbrook |
Concerts in Ellis Park | 7-9 p.m. multiple nights of the week from July 3 to September 4. | Ellis Park, at the gazebo near Short Sands, York |
Belfast Summer Nights | 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursdays starting June 23.| Steamboat Landing Park, High and Main Streets |


Derek Davis/Press Herald file photo

Derek Davis/Press Herald file photo

Miles and miles of trails. All over the state. For free. So much of what we do requires a fee, we sometimes forget that something as wonderful and simple as a trail hike doesn’t have to cost a cent. While we’re happy to support our state parks, we’ll also happily take advantage of our free community trails, too.

Portland trails:
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust:
Saco Bay Trails:
Wiscasset’s Community Trails:
Hiking in the Rangeley Lakes Region:


Joel Page/Staff Photographer David Graham, left, and Tobin Remick right, balance on top of a ladder during a performance of the Red Trouser Show on Congress St. Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 during the First Friday Art Walk in Portland, Maine.

Joel Page/Staff Photographer
David Graham, left, and Tobin Remick right, balance on top of a ladder during a performance of the Red Trouser Show on Congress St. Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 during the First Friday Art Walk in Portland, Maine.

There will be walking and plenty of art and likely a whole lot of entertainment depending on which night you hit. You might even stumble upon some complimentary wine and snacks.

First Friday Art Walk Portland | 5-8 p.m. the first Friday of the month | Portland |

Art Walk Lewiston Auburn | 5-8:30 p.m. the last Friday of the month | Lewiston and Auburn |

Biddeford + Saco Art Walk | 5-8 p.m. the last Friday of the month | Biddeford and Saco |

Brunswick 2nd Friday Artwalk | 5-8 p.m. second Friday of the month | Brunswick |

Art Museums

John Ewing/Press Herald file photo

Portland Museum of Art

Free 4-8pm Fridays | 7 Congress St, Portland |
Seize the opportunity to peruse the exhibits at Portland’s amazing art museum – for free. The museum shirks its admission fee on Fridays from 4-8 pm (that’s every Friday, not just Art Walk Friday), meaning even the budget-conscious get to appreciate the art. Thank you, PMA.

University Art Museums

You don’t have to be a student to appreciate the art on exhibit in the galleries of Maine’s universities and colleges. Those on-campus galleries regularly showcase amazing art and are open to the public. They’re also free.

University of Maine Museum of Art, Hamlin Mall, 40 Harlow Street, Bangor
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday | Free |

The Art Gallery at University of New England, 716 Stevens Ave., Portland
1-4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, 1-7 p.m. Thursday | Free |

Bates College Museum of Art, Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St., Lewiston
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday | Free admission |

Colby College Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, closed Mondays | Free |

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 9400 College Station, Brunswick
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.  Closed on Mondays and national holidays | Free admission |

Readings & Storytelling

Photo courtesy Word Portland

Photo courtesy Word Portland

Word Portland

First Monday of the month at 9 p.m. (arrive earlier for drinks/conversation) | LFK, Portland | Free | or
The monthly reading series invites local poets, storytellers, and writers to share their work inside the welcoming confines of LFK, and “good words, good drinks, and good friends” are celebrated equally. Head over for drinks and conversation at 8 p.m. Readings begin at 9 p.m.

Seanachie nights | Third Monday of the month | Bull Feeney’s, Portland | Free ($9 suggested donation) |

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