Mill about in Pawtucket

Mill about in Pawtucket

These sculptures, located in the parking lot at Lorraine Mills in Pawtucket, are part of The Source, a propeller gallery, one of many sights to see at the mill complex. (Breeze photo by Melanie Thibeault)

The Breeze will be highlighting a number of local destinations this summer to encourage readers to explore the Blackstone Valley. This week is the fourth installment, featuring rehabilitated mill complexes in Pawtucket. We hope you enjoy it.

PAWTUCKET – With its rich industrial past, Pawtucket is home to many refurbished historic mill buildings, some filled with eateries, art, and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you pick one to explore or make a day hopping from mill to mill, here are some of the highlights.

Creative Commerce Center

Located at 881 Main St., the former Vitrus building houses about 20 businesses including Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration, Lighthouse Skatepark, and Smoke & Squeal BBQ.

Since opening in July, Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration is a nonprofit organization that owners describe as an interactive pinball museum. For $10, people can play any of the 50 working pinball machines and more than 2,000 arcade games, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are both modern and electromagnetic, or non-computerized, pinball games, as well as arcade games such as Skeeball, driving games, basketball, a soccer game, a shuffleboard bowling game, Guitar Hero, and many more. On a tour of the space, co-owner Joe Paquin pointed out the “history hallway,” filled with retired vintage games and noted that they are currently restoring another 20 games for people to eventually play.

The space also includes a banquet table, and Paquin said people are welcome to bring a lunch.

Right downstairs is Smoke & Squeal BBQ, which offers Carolina pulled pork, brisket sandwiches, smoked wings, St. Louis ribs, mac ’n cheese, baked beans, collard greens, and more, available for dine-in and takeout.

Also located at the mill is Lighthouse Skatepark, a 4,500-square-foot skatepark that includes a 12-by-24-foot mini ramp, quarter pipes, grind boxes, rails, and a pyramid, according to its website. The park is open from 3 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays. $10 entry fee. For more, find them on social media.

Bobby from Boston, a vintage clothing boutique, is also located in the building.

“(People) can have a full day here,” Michael Pare, who runs Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration with Paquin and Emily Rose, told The Breeze about the mill building.

Lorraine Mills

From a brewery, distillery, and diner to an escape room, art gallery, and theater, Lorraine Mills, located at 560 Mineral Spring Ave., contains more than 100 businesses and includes live/work spaces for many artists. The mill, built in the 1860s, was once home to a textile manufacturer but today people can spend the whole day exploring and still not see everything there is to offer.

Start your day with breakfast at Miss Lorraine Diner, a renovated 1941 Worcester Streamliner dining car. The menu includes omelets, benedicts, pancakes, French toast, as well as lunch items including burgers, sandwiches, and more.

If you’re looking for a drink, check out White Dog Distilling, which offers whiskey, moonshine, rum and gin, or see what’s on tap at Crooked Current Brewery next door.

The Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, which is dedicated to supporting artists within the community, has a 1,500-square-foot gallery space, located next door to the diner. Their Fall Unthemed Juried Show will run Sept. 9 through Nov. 4, as part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival. For more, visit .

Mixed Magic Theatre, an arts organization founded in 2000, has made it its mission to “bring diverse stories and images to the stage through prose and song, tackling well-known dramatics as well as original theatrical productions,” states its website. Visit for information about upcoming shows.

If it’s adventure you seek, check out Escape Room Rhode Island where players have one hour to find clues and solve a puzzle to unlock the room and win the game. Current game themes include The Heist of the Moon Diamond and High Voltage.

Food trucks are often parked in the mill complex’s parking lot, including Ming’s Street Food, JA Patty, Just Like Nana’s, and more.

Also located at the mill is The Source, a propeller gallery, whose sometimes towering sculptures are on display in the parking lot.

A celebration at Lorraine Mills will kick off the Pawtucket Arts Festival in September. Called Lorraine Mills Fest, people can “meet, eat, drink, shop, and party with the mill community while enjoying live entertainment.”

Hope Artiste Village

Located at 999 and 1005 Main St., Hope Artiste includes many businesses and artist work/live spaces. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mill complex was once home to the Hope Webbing Company Mill, built throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, which manufactured narrow fabrics.

Today you can wander the exposed-brick hallways and discover many small businesses and artists at work in their studio spaces, including Jenna Goldberg and Dorian Epps, who were at work on designs at Milkcan Industries, a screenprinting studio, last Thursday.

Shop at Providence Art Glass and Lighting for handblown glass lighting and gifts; New Moon Ceramics; Back of the Closet, a thrift and consignment store; and many more.

Grab a bite to eat at The Village Market, which offers breakfast and lunch options, and then enjoy bowling at Breaktime Bowl and Bar, the oldest continuously operating duckpin bowling alley in the northeast. For reservations, visit .

Visit the gallery at Outsider Collective, whose mission is to build community through art for people of all abilities, or stop by The Village Theatre for concerts, cultural events, and more.

Check out a show at The Met or stroll through the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, both located in the mill complex.

At Lock and Clue Escape Rooms, players have one hour to solve clues and puzzles and find their way out. For current themes and reservations, visit .

Mill at 545

Though not as expansive as Lorraine Mills or Hope Artiste Village, the mill complex at 545 Pawtucket Ave. offers Jordan’s Jungle, a 10,000-square-foot “tropical oasis for all plant people,” featuring everything from staple houseplants to rare and exotic collector plants. The store is currently closed for the summer and will reopen on Sept. 4.

Also at the mill, visit artist studios such as JP Studios Ink, Dasken Designs for paintings and stained glass, Coral Bourgeois Open Studios, Marjorie Ball Art Studio, Eveline Luppi Studio, and more.

The complex is also home to Kindred Community Acupuncture and Breathing Time Yoga. Check out Untapped Games, which sells and trades card and board games and offers tournaments in the evenings, according to the store’s manager. The current product line-up includes Magic: the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Cardfight Vanguard, Force of Will, board games, HeroClix, dice, playmats, and more.

Though it’s located at 100 Carver St., people can also access Smug Brewing through the Mill at 545 Pawtucket Ave.

There are even more mills to explore across the city, including at 59 Blackstone Ave., located behind Tolman High School, which houses R.I. Spirits distillery, Burbage Theatre, and more.

Kick off your day exploring Lorraine Mills by visiting the Miss Lorraine Diner, 560 Mineral Spring Ave. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)
One of the 50 or so pinball machines people can play at Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration. (Breeze photos by Melanie Thibeault)
Crooked Current Brewery and Escape Room Rhode Island are two of more than 100 businesses located at Lorraine Mills on Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket. Visitors can spend the whole day exploring the mill.