Bangor is the third-largest city in Maine and one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. The city sits along the Penobscot River, and it was established in the 19th-century for the shipbuilding and lumber industries, both of which are still an important part of Bangor’s economy. If you visit this city, you will find plenty of outdoor spaces, activities, and attractions to keep you fully entertained during your stay. Here are the 20 best things to do in Bangor, Maine.
20. Take a Ghost Tour
There are some elements of Bangor history that are either eerie or grizzly. If you are interested in finding out more about the area’s darker history, then there are various walking ghost tours around the city, says Oyster. These tours highlight landmarks where there have been sightings of ghosts, although a personal sighting is obviously not guaranteed. Some of the tours also take you along Central Streets, which is the location of a bloody battle between FBI agents and Al Brady and his gang in 1937.
19. Drink Your Way Along the Maine Beer Trail
Maine has some amazing breweries, and these are along what has become known as the Maine Beer Trail. Ten of the breweries are in Bangor or the surrounding area, so you are spoiled for choices of places to try some local craft brews. If you do not want to visit all ten of them in one go, just pick the ones that are close to another attraction you are visiting that day, and end your day with a tasty beer that has been produced locally.
18. Enjoy an Orchard Experience at Treworgy Family Orchards
An unusual but fun activity for families to enjoy while visiting Bangor is a day at Treworgy Family Orchards. At this family-run farm, the main activity is fruit picking, as the farm grows pumpkins, raspberries, blueberries, apples, and more fruit and vegetables. However, that is not the only way to spend your time at this attraction. There is also a petting zoo that will appeal to children, and there is a corn maze to navigate your way around if you visit during the fall. There are also additional activities available during various holidays, such as cutting your own Christmas trees at Christmas.
17. Take the Stephen King Tour
One of the most notable Maine natives is author Stephen King, who is known for his horror and thriller books, many of which have been transformed into blockbuster movies. Although he was born in Portland, he has also lived in Bangor, and a view of the exterior of his former home is included in the Stephen King Tour. However, as it is a private residence, tourists cannot go inside the property. The tour also highlights the local landmarks that inspired his books, including some that were used in various Stephen King films.
16. Admire the Views from Thomas Hill Standpipe
If you want to see some amazing city views, then head to Thomas Hill Standpipe. It is an Americal Civil Engineering Landmark that is one of Bangor’s most historic locations, and it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The landmark opens to the public for tours at set times. If you are lucky enough to visit at one of the times it is open for tours, then this landmark offers some of the best views across Bangor.
15. Watch a Movie at the Drive-In
A fun activity to enjoy in the evenings is watching a movie at the drive-in. Bangor Drive-In movie theater is just outside Bangor in the neighboring town of Hermon. If you are visiting Bangor in your car, head seven minutes outside Bangor to this nearby attraction. There are concessions where you can buy food and drink to enjoy throughout the film. An outdoor movie is best enjoyed when the weather is good.
14. Learn About Local History at the Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House
The best place to learn about the history of Bangor and the surrounding area is at the Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House. The house is a private residence that houses the museum and is the home of the society. Some of the exhibits within the museum include books, antique furniture, shoes, clothing, paintings, and photographs. Although you can tour the museum on your own, there are knowledgeable guides available to give you detailed information about the artifacts on display.
13. Go Shopping at Bangor Mall
Whether you want to pick up some souvenirs or treat yourself to some new clothes, then the top retail destination in the city is Bangor Mall. There are many top name brands with outlets at this mall, and these sit alongside boutiques and one-off stores. Some of the types of stores you will find in the mall include clothes, accessories, sporting goods, toiletries, jewelry, and more. When you need to take a break from shopping, there are some excellent eateries where you can grab a meal or relax with a coffee.
12. Enjoy a Bike Ride Through Bangor City Forest
Although Bangor is an urban location, there are some pretty outdoor spaces where you can spend your time. Despite its city center location, Bangor City Forest is a green and tranquil space where locals and visitors can get away from the urban buzz and spend time feeling like they are in a rural setting. If you enjoy getting active, then the paved pathways are ideal for enjoying a bike ride. They are equally suitable for taking a walk or going for a jog. There are benches along the way if you need to stop for a rest.
11. Have a Fun Night at Hollywood Casino
A fun way to spend an evening is trying your luck at the Hollywood Casino, says The Crazy Tourist. Although it is not as big as the casinos in Las Vegas, there is a roulette wheel and plenty of slot machines and tables. The casino also has an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy a meal, and there are televisions on the walls if you fancy watching a game.
10. Take a Walk Along Penobscot River Walkway
The most notable natural feature of Bangor is the Penobscot River. Running alongside the waterway is a paved trail. The half-mile trail is suitable for walking, bicycling, and in-line skating. There are also people fishing who sit alongside the walkway. The trail is part of Bangor’s Waterfront Park, where you will find restrooms, boat slips, and picnic tables. In the summer, the park and waterway are used to host open-air concerts.
9. Have a Photo Taken with the Paul Bunyan Statue
Paul Bunyan is a legendary character from local folklore, and at least six towns in the United States, including Bangor, claim that the character originates from that location. There is a fun and colorful statue of lumberjack Bunyan wielding a double-sided ax alongside a big blue ox in Bangor, and it is often used as a photo opportunity by those visiting the area. The statue stands 31-feet high, and it weighs approximately 3700 pounds. If you want to have your photograph taken with the unique statue, you will find it in Bass Park.
8. Enjoy a Stroll Around Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery is the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States, it was developed in 1836, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery covers more than 300-acres of partially wooded land that overlooks the Penobscot River. Mount Hope Cemetery is the final resting place of many notable local people, and the landscaped gardens are dotted with monuments. There are paved roads and pathways to walk along and benches where you can enjoy the cemetery’s tranquillity.
7. Take a Family Trip to the Maine Discovery Museum
One of the top-rated family attractions in Bangor is the Maine Discovery Museum. This attraction is dedicated to innovation, inspiration, education, and creativity. There is a multitude of interactive activities for people of all ages to enjoy, all of which are both fun and educational. Some of the topics covered by the hands-on exhibits and informative displays include technology, world cultures, the human body, art, animals, plants, maths, fitness, and nature.
6. Visit the Hudson Museum
An interesting attraction to visit is the Hudson Museum, which is housed in the same building as the Collins Center for the Arts on the University of Maine campus. It is unusual as it educates visitors about various aspects of cultures around the world, rather than having a focused theme. The permanent exhibit includes Northwest coast art, ceramic art from Native American cultures, more than 900 objects from the Maine Indians, and over 2,000 pre-Columbian ceramics. There are also traveling exhibits that change throughout the year.
5. Watch a Performance at the Collins Center for the Arts
If you want to watch a performance during your visit to Bangor, then head to the Collins Center for the Arts. It is one of the city’s cultural hubs, and it attracts locals and visitors alike. The center houses the 1435-seat Hutchins Concert Hall, the Bodwell Lounge Area, and the Minsky Recital Hall. Throughout the year, this venue hosts various concerts, films, shows, and lectures. Included in the program are various performances by the University of Maine School of Performing Arts. On the first floor, visitors can grab a bite to eat at Miller’s Café.
4. Peruse Bangor Farmers Market
For the chance to try some of Bangor’s finest produce, head to the Bangor Farmers Market, which is open every Sunday from the beginning of May to the end of November. There are locally grown meats, fruit and vegetables grown by local farmers, and goods such as bread, cheese, chutneys, and coffee. The market also has vendors selling food to eat as you walk around the other stalls.
3. Go to Cole Land Transportation Museum
Although there are several museums to visit in Bangor, one of the most interesting is the Cole Land Transportation Museum. The main exhibitions include vehicles that were used to clear the land to create the state of Maine, including cars, trains, trucks, snowplows, and fire engines. There are also artifacts that educate visitors about the history of the early pioneers and the businesspeople who settled in the area. The museum also has an exhibition featuring memorabilia devoted to the military service people of Maine.
2. Explore Acadia National Park
One of the best outdoor spaces to explore during a vacation to Bangor is Acadia National Park. It consists of Mount Desert Island and several smaller islands that sit just off the coast. It is one of the oldest national parks in the United States, and it is home to Cadillac Mountain, which is the eastern seaboard’s tallest mountain. Other features of the park include the Isle au Haut, Schoodic Peninsula, and the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. There are multiple trails around the park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Due to the park covering several islands, fishing and boating are also popular activities. There are several campsites and numerous picnic areas within the park.
1. See the Art at the University of Maine Museum of Art
According to Vacation Idea, one of the best things to do in Bangor, Maine, is to see the art at the University of Maine Museum of Art. It has been open since 1936, and the focus of the museum is enabling people to appreciate contemporary art. In the permanent collection, there are more than 3,800 works of art from the 20th century, including original prints and photographs. Some of the artists with work on display include Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Richard Estes, Andrew Wyeth, and Diego Rivera. In addition to the [permanent exhibition, the museum also has traveling exhibitions and hosts workshops.
Written by Liz Flynn
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