16 Best Things to Do in Bangor (Maine)

Written by Trishia Bourgoin
Updated on
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Welcome to Bangor, a captivating city nestled in the beautiful state of Maine. As we explore this vibrant destination together, let me share some fascinating insights about its history and offerings.

Bangor, serving as the county seat of Penobscot County, is home to approximately 33,000 residents. Its roots can be traced back to the mid-19th century when it thrived on the lumber and shipbuilding industries. Situated alongside the Penobscot River, which gracefully flows into the Atlantic Ocean just 30 miles downstream, the city enjoyed a strategic advantage for these bustling trades.

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Bangor’s past, where tales of its industrious heritage come alive. However, Bangor’s allure extends far beyond its historical significance. Today, its economy flourishes through a diverse range of industries, including retail, education, and healthcare, fostering a dynamic environment that appeals to both residents and visitors alike.

Now, let’s embark on an exciting journey to discover the top 16 attractions and experiences that Bangor has to offer. From cultural treasures to outdoor adventures, this city has something for everyone to enjoy.

1. Visit the Cole Land Transportation Museum

Cole Land Transportation MuseumSource: colemuseum.org
Cole Land Transportation Museum

Step into a world of transportation history at the captivating Cole Land Transportation Museum. This remarkable museum is a treasure trove of vehicles that will transport you through time. From trains and lorries to plows, motorcycles, ships, helicopters, and construction vehicles, it showcases an impressive array of transportation marvels.

As you wander through the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to delve deeper into the stories behind each vehicle and discover their fascinating histories. What makes this experience even more captivating is the chance to witness these magnificent machines up close, in their true-to-life sizes. The museum’s expansive space ensures that you can leisurely explore the collection, immersing yourself in the wonders of transportation heritage for hours on end.

The Cole Land Transportation Museum is an ideal destination for the entire family, offering something to delight every visitor. Capture unforgettable moments as you snap photos of the incredible vehicles and create lasting memories.

2. Admire Stephen King’s house

Stephen King’s House, Bangor, MaineSource: Nagel Photography / shutterstock
Stephen King’s House

If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s chilling tales, a visit to his residence in Bangor is a must. While his home is a private residence and not open for entry, you can still soak in the ambiance of the neighborhood and catch a glimpse of his lovely abode.

Embarking on a leisurely stroll through the picturesque surroundings, you’ll find yourself in awe of the charming neighborhood that Stephen King calls home. As you approach his residence, take a moment to capture some photos as mementos of this exciting encounter.

Although chances are slim, who knows? You might even catch a glimpse of the renowned author himself during your visit. If you’re lucky enough to cross paths with Stephen King, a friendly chat could be an unexpected delight.

3. See the Paul Bunyan Statue

Paul Bunyan Statue, BangorSource: mark stephens photography / shutterstock
Paul Bunyan Statue

As we explore Bangor’s history, it’s fascinating to learn about its deep-rooted connection to the lumber industry. A remarkable testament to this heritage is the towering Paul Bunyan Statue, standing proud at a magnificent 31 feet tall. This iconic statue pays homage to the tireless lumberjacks who have shaped the city’s past and present.

Despite enduring the test of time and weathering the elements, the Paul Bunyan Statue stands resilient, symbolizing the strength and perseverance of those who toiled in the timber industry. But who exactly is Paul Bunyan, you may wonder?

Paul Bunyan is a legendary figure woven into the fabric of folklore, captivating imaginations with tales of his extraordinary abilities and larger-than-life adventures.

4. Watch a play at the Penobscot Theatre Company

Penobscot Theatre CompanySource: Wangkun Jia / shutterstock
Penobscot Theatre Company

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the exceptional productions of the Penobscot Theatre Company, which stands as the epitome of professionalism among non-profit theatre companies in the Northeast of America.

Throughout the year, they offer a diverse repertoire of top-notch plays and musicals that captivate audiences of all ages. What’s truly remarkable is their commitment to making these incredible performances accessible to everyone by keeping ticket prices affordable.

The actors, with their unwavering passion and skill, deliver awe-inspiring performances that leave a lasting impression. Each play is brought to life with meticulous attention to detail, featuring stunning sets and costumes that transport you to different eras and evoke the perfect mood for every scene.

5. Take a walk through the Mount Hope Garden Cemetery

Mount Hope Garden Cemetery, BangorSource: Svetlana Miljkovic / Wikimedia
Mount Hope Garden Cemetery, Bangor

The vast and serene Mount Hope Garden Cemetery offers not only a peaceful atmosphere but also stunning natural scenery. As I strolled along, I was captivated by the gentle flow of the nearby river, the presence of old war cannons, and the graceful presence of ducks.

One of the remarkable aspects of this cemetery is the array of monuments and plaques honoring those who have passed away. Each one tells a story, preserving the memory of individuals who have left their mark on this world.

For those interested in delving deeper into the cemetery’s history, there are occasional guided tours available. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours offer fascinating insights into the rich heritage of the cemetery and shed light on some of the notable personalities laid to rest here.

6. Wander along the Penobscot River Walkway

Penobscot River, Bangor, MaineSource: Melinda Fawver / shutterstock
Penobscot River, Bangor, Maine

I had the pleasure of strolling along the picturesque walkway that winds alongside the majestic Penobscot River in Bangor. This charming pathway was designed to embrace the natural beauty of the river and provide a delightful space for leisurely walks, invigorating bike rides, or energetic jogs.

The elegant bridges that span the river added a touch of architectural charm to the landscape, while the surrounding nature created a serene and tranquil atmosphere. It was a perfect blend of man-made marvels and the raw beauty of the natural world.

What truly impressed me were the historic cannons that dotted the path. These remnants from the past served as a reminder of the rich history that has unfolded along the river’s shores.

When I felt the need for a quick recharge, I discovered an array of delightful food trucks conveniently located nearby. I indulged in a tasty snack while sitting on one of the many benches scattered along the walkway. It was a delightful moment of relaxation, savoring the flavors of my treat while gazing out at the flowing river.

7. Try your luck at the Hollywood Casino

Hollywood Casino, BangorSource: booking.com
Hollywood Casino, Bangor

When I visited the Hollywood Casino in Bangor, I discovered a charming gambling destination that may not rival the extravagance of Las Vegas, but still offered an enjoyable experience. The casino floor was adorned with an enticing array of tables and slot machines, beckoning me to try my luck and see if fortune would smile upon me.

What I appreciated most about the Hollywood Casino was the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Unlike bustling Vegas casinos, this establishment exuded a sense of calm and tranquility. It wasn’t overly crowded or noisy, allowing me to fully immerse myself in the gaming experience without feeling overwhelmed.

As I explored the variety of games available, I found myself drawn to the poker, roulette, and blackjack tables. The friendly dealers guided me through the gameplay, making sure I felt comfortable and confident. The thrill of anticipation filled the air as I placed my bets, hoping for a stroke of luck that could lead to a substantial win.

For those seeking a different kind of entertainment, I discovered a cozy area with comfortable seating, where I could watch live sports games on large television screens. It was the perfect opportunity to take a break from the gaming action and enjoy some exciting sports action.

Smoking was not allowed inside, which contributed to a cleaner and more comfortable atmosphere for all guests. The staff members were attentive, friendly, and professional, always ready to assist with any questions or concerns.

8. Hike or bike through the Bangor City Forest

Bangor City ForestSource: vagabond54 / shutterstock
Bangor City Forest

Whether you find yourself in Bangor as a resident or a visitor, I highly recommend taking the time to wander through the enchanting Bangor City Forest. Nestled right in the heart of the city, this enchanting oasis offered a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle.

As I entered the forest, a sense of tranquility washed over me. The peaceful ambiance, far removed from the city noise and traffic, immediately put me at ease. It was as if I had entered a different world, a natural haven within the urban landscape.

The main trail, a picturesque one-mile loop, was perfect for a leisurely stroll or a refreshing bike ride. As I ventured along the path, I discovered an abundance of lush greenery, tall trees, and vibrant flora. Each step revealed a new vista, captivating my senses and immersing me in the beauty of nature.

For those seeking a longer adventure, the Bangor City Forest also offers the East-West trail, a five-mile route that caters to avid cyclists. This longer path provided an opportunity to immerse myself deeper into the wilderness, pedaling through captivating landscapes and experiencing the sheer joy of being in motion amidst nature’s embrace.

9. Take the kids to the Maine Discovery Museum

Maine Discovery Museum, BangorSource: Wangkun Jia / shutterstock
Maine Discovery Museum

When it comes to finding a delightful destination for my little ones, the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor never fails to impress. As soon as we stepped inside, it was evident that this place was designed with children in mind, offering a plethora of engaging exhibits spread across three floors.

The moment we arrived, the friendly staff warmly welcomed us, radiating an infectious enthusiasm for the joy of children’s exploration. It was clear that their passion was to create an unforgettable experience for young minds. I couldn’t help but appreciate their dedication to ensuring that every child who walked through those doors would have an incredible time.

As we ventured through the museum, my children were immediately drawn to the interactive exhibits that awaited them. From hands-on activities to imaginative play areas, there was no shortage of opportunities for my little ones to engage and learn. I watched with delight as they eagerly interacted with the various items, their faces alive with curiosity and wonder.

One highlight of our visit was the ever-running river exhibit, where children could splash and play with miniature boats. It was a joyous sight to behold as my kids immersed themselves in the aquatic adventure, their laughter filling the air. Another favorite was the multi-story tree fort, where they could climb and let their imaginations run wild. It was a delightful blend of physical activity and imaginative play that left them with beaming smiles.

The best part? The entry fee was incredibly affordable, making it possible for us to return multiple times if my children desired. This affordability meant that the Maine Discovery Museum became not just a one-time visit, but a cherished destination for our family’s outings.

10. Buy some gifts from The Rock & Art Shop

The Rock & Art ShopSource: facebook.com
The Rock & Art Shop

The Rock & Art Shop boasts an impressive array of rocks and crystals, each one a unique masterpiece of nature’s artistry. As I perused the collection, I marveled at the intricate patterns and vibrant colors that adorned these geological wonders. It was a delight to discover the perfect stone that resonated with me, embodying the essence of Bangor.

In addition to the captivating rocks and crystals, the shop also featured an exquisite selection of jewelry. From delicate and ornate designs to bold and eclectic pieces, there was something to suit every style and preference. I found myself captivated by the artistry and craftsmanship that went into each stunning creation.

But the Rock & Art Shop didn’t stop at natural wonders and jewelry. They also had a fascinating assortment of preserved bugs, offering a unique and unconventional curiosity for those with a penchant for the extraordinary.

The shop also housed an impressive collection of books, which catered to the curious minds seeking knowledge and inspiration. From field guides to metaphysical explorations, the shelves were brimming with literary treasures that held the potential to transport me to new realms of understanding.

One of the highlights of my visit was discovering the unique air plants and other captivating works of art. These ethereal botanical wonders added a touch of enchantment to the shop, breathing life and vibrancy into the space. It was a testament to the shop’s commitment to curating an extraordinary collection that extended beyond traditional boundaries.

11. Attend a concert at the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion

Bangor Waterfront PavilionSource: facebook.com
Bangor Waterfront Pavilion

The Waterfront Pavilion had a reputation for hosting electrifying concerts that encouraged the crowd to let loose and embrace the music. Instead of sitting down, the atmosphere called for standing up and dancing, as the infectious beats resonated through the air. It was a liberating feeling to be surrounded by fellow fans, all united by our shared love for music and the exhilarating performances unfolding before our eyes.

Attending a concert at the Waterfront Pavilion was an experience unlike any other. The combination of a well-organized and accessible venue, fantastic seating options, and the incredible talent that graced the stage made for an unforgettable night of music and memories.

The caliber of artists who had graced the stage of the Waterfront Pavilion was truly astounding. From chart-topping sensations like Ed Sheeran to the powerful performances of Imagine Dragons and the electrifying energy of Kid Rock, this venue had seen it all. Each concert delivered an unforgettable experience that left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance.

One aspect that stood out to me was the strong emphasis on security. The Waterfront Pavilion had implemented robust security measures to ensure the safety of concert-goers. This gave me peace of mind, knowing that I could fully immerse myself in the music and revel in the electric atmosphere without any concerns.

12. Shop at the Bangor Mall

Bangor Mall, MaineSource: facebook.com
Bangor Mall, Maine

When it comes to shopping in Bangor, there’s no better destination than the Bangor Mall. From well-known names like Victoria’s Secret and Hollister to specialized stores like bridal shops and Dick’s Sporting Goods, the Bangor Mall had it all.

The mall itself was designed with the comfort of shoppers in mind. As I strolled through the bustling aisles, I noticed numerous seating areas strategically placed throughout the mall. These cozy spots provided a welcome respite for tired feet and weary shoppers, allowing me to recharge and plan my next shopping adventure.

One thing that impressed me about the Bangor Mall was the variety of dining options available. When hunger struck, I had no trouble finding a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing drink. Whether I was craving a quick snack or a leisurely meal, the mall’s diverse selection of restaurants and cafes had something to satisfy every culinary craving.

Aside from the shopping and dining options, the Bangor Mall also exuded a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. The constant buzz of activity and the cheerful interactions between shoppers and staff created a lively ambiance that added to the overall shopping experience.

The Bangor Mall truly offered a comprehensive shopping experience, making it the ultimate destination for fashion enthusiasts, sports enthusiasts, beauty lovers, and more.

13. Have a beer at 2 Feet Brewing

2 Feet BrewingSource: facebook.com
2 Feet Brewing

The extensive selection of beers available at 2 Feet Brewing left me spoiled for choice. From light and refreshing brews to bold and hoppy flavors, there was a beer to suit every palate. One option that caught my attention was the ghost pepper beer, known for its fiery kick. Feeling adventurous, I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised by the unique and exhilarating experience it offered.

The staff at 2 Feet Brewing were not only friendly and welcoming but also incredibly knowledgeable about their craft. They took the time to guide me through the different types of beers available, providing valuable insights into the brewing process and flavor profiles. Their passion for their craft shone through, making my visit all the more enjoyable.

In addition to their impressive selection of beers, 2 Feet Brewing also showcased their culinary prowess with their on-site kitchen. The menu featured an array of delectable dishes, prepared with care and using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Whether I was in the mood for a hearty burger, a flavorful pizza, or some delectable appetizers to pair with my beer, 2 Feet Brewing delivered on every front.

The atmosphere at 2 Feet Brewing was vibrant and welcoming, making it the perfect place to unwind and savor the flavors of Bangor. The cozy and inviting ambiance, combined with the friendly chatter of fellow patrons, created a warm and lively setting. It was evident that this establishment was not just a place to enjoy great food and beer but also a hub for the community to come together and share in the joys of good company and memorable experiences.

14. Visit the Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House Museum

Bangor Historical SocietySource: facebook.com
Bangor Historical Society

Housed in a charming private residence with a rich history of its own, the Bangor Historical Society offers a fascinating glimpse into the past.

As soon as I stepped inside the museum, I was immediately surrounded by a treasure trove of artifacts that spoke volumes about the bygone eras. The carefully curated collection featured a wide array of items, including antique clothes, shoes, books, decorations, old furniture, paintings, and captivating photographs. Each piece seemed to hold a story of its own, whispering tales of the people and events that shaped Bangor’s past.

Guiding me through this historical journey were the knowledgeable and passionate guides of the Bangor Historical Society. Their expertise and enthusiasm were evident as they shared intriguing details and hidden secrets about the various items on display. Their deep understanding of the historical context and their ability to bring the stories to life truly enriched my experience.

What impressed me the most was the meticulous care and attention given to the preservation of these precious artifacts. The museum’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the collection was evident in the pristine condition of each item. It was clear that the Bangor Historical Society took great pride in their role as custodians of the city’s heritage.

In addition to the intriguing historical exhibits, the Bangor Historical Society also hosted special events, including wine events. These occasions provided a unique opportunity to further immerse myself in the ambiance of the museum and engage in conversations about the past while enjoying a delightful gathering with fellow history enthusiasts.

15. Walk through Cascade Park

Cascade Park, BangorSource: qnr / Flickr
Cascade Park

Cascade Park is a true gem nestled right here in our city. I was greeted by a breathtaking sight: a lush oasis filled with majestic trees, enchanting fountains, cascading waterfalls, and meandering pathways. It was an idyllic setting, perfect for a tranquil outdoor escape.

The park’s expansive grounds provided ample space to explore and unwind. Each step revealed a new discovery, whether it was a hidden waterfall or a secluded alcove where I could sit and reflect.

What impressed me most about Cascade Park was its meticulous upkeep. The entire park was immaculately maintained, with every tree pristinely groomed and every pathway free from debris. It was evident that the park’s caretakers took great pride in ensuring its cleanliness and beauty.

These inviting spots offered a perfect respite for me to rest, soak in the tranquil atmosphere, and appreciate the natural surroundings. I also observed families enjoying picnics and friends gathering for conversation, all basking in the serene ambiance that Cascade Park provided.

One of the highlights of my visit was the fact that parking at Cascade Park was completely free. This convenience made it easy for me to access the park and enjoy its offerings without any added hassle. Furthermore, I was thrilled to discover that the park is dog-friendly, allowing me to bring along my furry companion to share in the joy of exploring this outdoor sanctuary.

16. Get some organic local veggies from the Bangor Farmers Market

Farmers MarketSource: Arina P Habich / shutterstock
Farmers Market

When it comes to supporting the local community and enjoying the freshest produce, the Farmers Market is an absolute must-visit.

The market was teeming with local vendors, each showcasing their own unique offerings. I couldn’t help but be captivated by the wide variety of products available, from plump and juicy berries to crisp and vibrant greens. It was a true feast for the senses, and I found myself eagerly exploring each stall, eager to discover the next delicious find.

One of the highlights of the Farmers Market was the presence of local artisans and craftsmen who brought their homemade cheese and organic meats to the table. It was a delight to witness the passion and dedication that went into their products. I couldn’t resist sampling some of the delectable cheeses, each one bursting with flavor and made with love. The organic meats, sourced from nearby farms, were a testament to the commitment to quality and sustainable practices.

Not only did the Farmers Market offer an abundance of fresh produce and artisanal goods, but it also provided an opportunity to connect with the local community. The vendors were friendly and approachable, happy to share their stories and offer recommendations. It was a refreshing experience to engage in conversations about the origins of the produce, the farming techniques employed, and even recipe ideas to make the most of my market finds.

16 Best Things to Do in Bangor (Maine):

  • Visit the Cole Land Transportation Museum
  • Admire Stephen King’s house
  • See the Paul Bunyan Statue
  • Watch a play at the Penobscot Theatre Company
  • Take a walk through the Mount Hope Garden Cemetery
  • Wander along the Penobscot River Walkway
  • Try your luck at the Hollywood Casino
  • Hike or bike through the Bangor City Forest
  • Take the kids to the Maine Discovery Museum
  • Buy some gifts from The Rock & Art Shop
  • Attend a concert at the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion
  • Shop at the Bangor Mall
  • Have a beer at 2 Feet Brewing
  • Visit the Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House Museum
  • Walk through Cascade Park
  • Get some organic local veggies from the Bangor Farmers Market