by Aaditee Kulkarni Updated on 13 Oct 2018
Located along the banks of the beautiful Penobscot River, Bangor is also called the “Queen City of Maine.” The “lumber capital of the world” during the 19th century, Bangor is most famous for housing the tallest Paul Bunyan statue in America.
Hometown of horror-author Stephen King, Bangor is the third-largest city in Maine. The city serves as a retail, cultural and service centre for the state and its neighbouring areas. Bangor is located in close vicinity of some of the best natural attractions in Maine and is visited by people from all over the country to enjoy its great outdoors, scenic beauty, rich cultural festivals and events, and culinary delights. There is so much to do in the city and around it. Whether you are a history-buff, and avid-reader, or an adventure enthusiast, Bangor is the place for you!
Here's the list of top things to do in Bangor:
1. Get adventurous at the Bangor City Forest
Also called the Rolland F. Perry City Forest, the Bangor City Forest is a vast recreational area located just outside the city. One of the best places to visit with family in Bangor, this forest encompasses 680 acres of wildlife habitat. Additionally, the park has over 9 miles of trails for recreational purposes like hiking, walking, cycling, biking, and more. At the end of Tripp Drive, you will find a large picnic area where you spend the day with your entire family. The entrance to the Orono Bog Boardwalk is also located inside this park.
2. Learn about the city’s transportation at the Cole Land Transportation Museum
Established in 1989, Bangor’s Cole Land Transportation Museum is a storehouse of land transportation vehicles used in the U.S. state of Maine. Industrialist and philanthropist Galen Cole assembled the museum for many years before finally opening it to the public. The museum contains the former Maine Central Railroad Company station, along with many vintage automobiles like a Ford Fairlane, a Ford Galaxie, a Buick, a Volkswagen, and many more. Apart from the cars, this museum also houses many motorcycles, mopeds, and a few bicycles. The museum is open between May to November.
3. Get interactive at the Maine Discovery Museum
One of the top attractions in Bangor, the Maine Discovery Museum is a must-visit. This museum is the largest children's museum in Maine and has many interactive exhibits that will keep the visitors hooked. Located in Downtown Bangor, this museum offers many educational opportunities for the kids and adults. Children can explore the many areas like science, nature, geography, children’s literature, music, art and anatomy through the means of hands-on exhibits. This museum also hosts the Maine Science Festival every year with more than 60 events and activities in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics, and technology.
4. Hike through the Acadia National Park
This 47,000-acre park is one of the best places to visit near Bangor. The Acadia National Park is a recreational park that is located off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The park boasts a variety of landscapes like rocky and sandy beaches, woodlands, grasslands, marshlands, and granite peaks. Activities in the park include hiking thorough its many trails and mountains, swimming in one of its ponds, and boating at its lakes among many others. Once here, make sure you do not miss out on watching a sunrise at the Cadillac Mountain, or going fishing at the Jordan Pond.
5. Experince varied flora and fauna at the Orono Bog Boardwalk
One of the top attractions in Bangor, the Orono Bog Boardwalk takes you right into the heart of the nature and gives you a glimpse of fascinating flora and fauna of the Maine bog. The boardwalk is 1 mile long and goes in a loop. The trail starts from the edge of the Bangor City Forest and is owned by the University of Maine. As you make your way through the boardwalk, you will see many different varieties of vegetation which is mostly dominated by the peat moss. The trail is wheelchair accessible and easy enough for everyone to visit.
6. Try your luck at the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor
Previously called the Hollywood Slots and Bangor Raceway, the present-day Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor is a casino and a harness racing track. This casino is the first licensed slot and casino in the state of Maine. The hotel cum casino has 16 tables and 923 slot machines along with 152 rooms, and four suites. One of the best places to visit in Bangor, the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor is a popular nightlife venue. The hotel is very clean and well-maintained, and the staff here is extremely polite and professional.
7. Spend a family day-out at the Blackbeard's Park
Blackbeard's Park is an amusement centre and one of the best family-friendly places to visit in Bangor. This facility has many attractions that people from various age groups can enjoy. This includes an arcade and games rooms for all the gamers; a 36-hole mini golf course which will also treat you the views of the Maine's own white-tail deer; batting cages for practicing baseball and softball; go-karts with many S turns, an events’ venue where you can host birthday parties and get-togethers; and a snack bar for some amazing hot-dogs and ice-creams.
8. Relax at the beautiful Pushaw Lake
Located at about 6.5 miles from downtown Bangor, the Pushaw Lake is a freshwater lake and one of the best places to visit near Bangor. This lake is shared by many neighbouring towns like Orono, Old Town, Hudson, and Glenburn along with Bangor. There are many private residences and bed & breakfasts near the lake which make for a perfect weekend gateway. There was a small dam constructed here in 1920 which helps maintain the water levels at this lake. The beautiful lake offers gorgeous views along with many recreational activities like swimming and fishing.
9. Get groovy at the Darling's Waterfront Pavilion
The Darling's Waterfront Pavilion, also called the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion is an open-air amphitheatre and an events’ venue in Bangor. Built along the Penobscot River, this venue is known to host many concerts from the month of July to October. The facility is owned by the city of Bangor and can accommodate up to 15000 spectators. Originally built as a temporary facility for a concert by Celtic Woman, this venue was later converted into a permanent one.
10. Touch upon history at the Mount Hope Cemetery
The Mount Hope Cemetery is located in the town of Bangor in Maine and is the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States. In the year 1834, architect Charles G. Bryant designed this cemetery which was later funded and built by the Bangor Horticultural Society. A perfect combination of great design, great location and history, a visit to this cemetery will leave you enthralled. This cemetery has burials that date back to the early 1800s. This beautiful garden cemetery is one the top attractions in Bangor.
11. Get into the world of forestry at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum
One of the most popular museums in Bangor, the Maine Forest & Logging Museum is a non-profit historical museum. With a purpose of preserving the history of forestry in the state, this museum was founded in 1960. The centre piece of this museum is the Leonard's Mills which is a water wheel powered, up-and-down sawmill in Maine that is still operational. Other exhibits found at this museum include a blacksmith's shop, stone dam, saw pit, settler's cottage, smokehouse, trapper's hut, log cabin, batteau, hovel, rotary saw mill, shingle machine, clapboard mill, covered bridge, and gift shop.
12. Marvel at the 31-foot tall Paul Bunyan Statue
A favourite character from the American folklore, Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack who has many statues all over the United States. Bangor is special when comes to the Paul Bunyan Statue. This city is both the birthplace of both lumber industry and Paul Bunyan. In Bangor, this state is often referred to as the largest statue of Paul Bunyan in the world. If you are geek, you must stop here for a photo. This statue is located on the Main Street near the Bass Park.
13. Explore some of the state’s best art exhibits at the University of Maine Museum of Art
University of Maine Museum of Art, or the UMMA, is an art museum that is located in downtown Bangor. Established in the year 1946, this museum is home to some of the greatest art collections in the state of Maine. A regional fine arts centre, this museum offers many artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. Owned by the citizens of the State of Maine, this museum has permanent collection of historic and contemporary art. The museum includes works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Burtynsky.
14. Enjoy sun and fun at the Bangor State Fair
A favourite summertime festival and one of the best festivals in Maine, the Bangor State Fair happens every year towards the end of July. Held on the grounds of the Bass Park, this fair is an agricultural and recreational gathering. The fair gets better and bigger every year and is definitely not to be missed. This fair is a typical county fair with many attractions, kiosks, rides, food stalls, gifts shops, live music, and many artists.
15. Get spooked at the Stephen King House
Stephen King is one of the most popular horror authors of recent times, was born in the town of Bangor in Maine. The author has always used the reference of this state in most of his stories, and despite the fame, chose to live in this house in downtown Bangor. The house is red and looks quite historic from the outside. A small wrought-iron fence surrounds the property. The entire look of the house if quite spooky from the outside. The house is not open for public as it is still occupied. The Stephan King House is a must visit.