Located in the state of Maine, Bangor is the county seat of the Penobscot County and has a population of around 33,000 people.
It was established in the middle of the 19th century – initially based on the lumber industry and that of building ships.
The main advantage of the city for these industries was the Penobscot River, which connects to the Atlantic Ocean 30 miles downstream.
The city has a rich history. Today’s economy is based on multiple sources – including retail, education, and healthcare.
Now let’s take a look at the best 16 things to do here in Bangor:
1. Visit the Cole Land Transportation Museum
Travel back in time by visiting this beautiful museum. It includes a wide variety of vehicles like trains, lorries, plows, motorcycles, ships, helicopters, construction vehicles and others.
You can read more about each one of them and their history, and you can also admire them in real size. As you can imagine, the museum is quite large and you can easily spend a few hours here.
The entire family will love this place and you can take lots of cool photos. You will also receive scavenger hunt lists from the front desk, which will make you pay more attention to the details of this large collection of vehicles.
2. Admire Stephen King’s house
Stephen King is a popular author, famous for his horror novels. He now lives here in Bangor and fans of his work can stop by and admire his lovely home.
It is a private residence though, so entering is not allowed, but you can just take a quick walk around the beautiful neighborhood, take some photos of his home and maybe have a chat with him if he happens to be around.
3. See the Paul Bunyan Statue
As we mentioned earlier, the city of Bangor was initially very heavily focused on the lumber industry. This huge, 31-foot statue pays tribute to all the lumberjacks that worked and are still working here.
The statue is still in a great shape after many years of enduring tough weather conditions. Who is Paul Bunyan you might ask? He is the main character of many folklore stories where he has all sorts of superhuman powers.
4. Watch a play at the Penobscot Theatre Company
This place can pride itself on being the most professional non-profit theatre company in the Northeast of America.
They have a wide variety of high-quality plays and musicals all year round, and accessible prices for everyone. The actors are very passionate and professional and deliver some amazing performances.
The plays are presented with some amazing sets and costumes, to better set the era and the mood of each scene. The entire family will love this place.
5. Take a walk through the Mount Hope Garden Cemetery
This cemetery is huge, peaceful and impressive at the same time. It includes some beautiful scenery, a nice river, old war cannons, ducks, and various monuments and plaques dedicated to those who passed away.
Occasionally, there are organized tours; a guide will present you with a brief history of this place and some of the important personalities that rest here.
Even if you don’t go on a guided tour, you can still have a nice, relaxing walk around the Mount Hope Garden Cemetery.
6. Wander along the Penobscot River Walkway
As mentioned before, the Penobscot River crosses the city of Bangor, so it was inevitable that a nice walkway was created.
Along the beautiful banks of the river, you can walk, ride a bike or jog and admire the bridges, nature or the historic cannons.
There are also plenty of food trucks nearby and lots of benches, so you can take a break and have a snack while admiring the river.
7. Try your luck at the Hollywood Casino
Don’t expect a Vegas casino here, but this place still has plenty of tables and slot machines where you can try your luck and maybe win big.
Whenever you want to take a break from playing and clear your mind, just watch a game on the TV or enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Play poker, roulette or blackjack or just go for a spin on the slot machines.
The casino is not crowded or noisy, smoking is not allowed inside, and the staff are friendly and professional.
8. Hike or bike through the Bangor City Forest
If you happen to be in Bangor during the summer, it’s definitely worth taking a walk or a bike ride through the forest. It is a beautiful and quiet place located in the middle of the city.
Escape from the city noise and traffic without having to travel too far. The trail is a one-mile loop with plenty of benches along the way to relax and admire nature.
For bike riders, you can choose the longer trail of East-West which is five miles long.
9. Take the kids to the Maine Discovery Museum
This is a great place for the young ones and will keep them busy for an hour or so. It has plenty of exhibits spread over three floors, including somewhere the kids can interact with various items.
The staff are very friendly and absolutely love kids. There is even an ever-running river where kids can splash with the boats and a multi-story tree fort where they can climb.
The entry fee is very affordable, so you can bring your kids here multiple times if they really like it.
10. Buy some gifts from The Rock & Art Shop
Get a nice souvenir to remind you of Bangor or a gift for someone special at home from this cute little shop.
They have a large selection of rocks and crystals, jewelry, bugs, books and many other interesting items for all tastes and ages. They also have some unique air plants and other beautiful works of art.
Plus, they display the work of a local artist every month. Some customers consider this shop to be just like a natural history museum with a touch of anthropology.
11. Attend a concert at the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion
If there happens to be a big concert when you are in Bangor, it will probably be held at the Waterfront Pavilion. This is a well-organized, clean and accessible place with lots of security.
Seating is great, but it depends on the concert you attend; at most of them, you won’t need to sit down, but rather to stand up and dance.
Big artists have performed here, including Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, and Kid Rock.
12. Shop at the Bangor Mall
This is the go-to destination when it comes to shopping in Bangor. It includes plenty of popular brands like Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, Bridal Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JC Penny’s and Sephora.
There are plenty of places to sit down and take a load off in case you get tired from all the shopping, as well as some good places to eat and have a drink.
13. Have a beer at 2 Feet Brewing
If you’re looking for some delicious local food as well as some freshly brewed beer, this is the place to go. They have plenty of self-brewed beers to choose from as well as various dishes made on the spot.
If you feel brave enough, try the ghost pepper beer. The staff here are friendly and knowledgeable and will tell you all there is to know about each type of beer.
14. Visit the Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House Museum
Learn more about the history of Bangor and the surrounding areas by visiting this museum and historical society.
The house that hosts the museum is a private residence with a history of its own. Inside, you will find many antique clothes, shoes, books, decorations, old furniture, paintings, photos and more.
The guides are very knowledgeable and will gladly tell you all the details and secrets of these items. Everything is well maintained and they often hold wine events in here as well.
15. Walk through Cascade Park
Yet another wonderful place located in the city, this park includes plenty of trees, fountains, waterfalls, alleys, and benches, making it a perfect location for a quick outdoor retreat.
Cascade Park is quite large and takes about one to two hours to walk all of its trails. The place is serene and clean.
Parking is free and you can bring your dog.
16. Get some organic local veggies from the Bangor Farmers Market
If you want to support the local economy and get some fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables, make sure to stop by this market.
There are plenty of local vendors with a wide variety of products to choose from -including some home-made cheese and organic meat.