20 Things To Do In Bangor, Maine

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Once a prosperous place during Maine’s logging heyday, the sleepy city of Bangor is a timeless New England destination where one of the world’s most successful authors penned several of his masterpieces. Bangor is best known in more recent times as the hometown of Stephen King, the author who wrote “The Shining” and “Pet Sematary”, however, there’s much more to Bangor to see. The city offers a balance between history, nature and the arts, with art museums, shopping districts, dining and entertainment options, as well as plenty of outdoor spaces and historic landmarks.

Bangor, Maine

20 Things To Do In Bangor

bangor at night
Looking for things to do in Bangor? Check out our top 20 list.

1- Stop By Stephen King’s House

The former residence of famous Maine native Stephen King, Bangor Manor, known locally as “Stephen King’s House” is an imposing Victorian-style that looks like it’s out of one of King’s novels.

Completed in 1858, the manor was acquired by King in 1980 shortly after releasing his now-classic “The Shining” novel when he moved from Colorado back to Bangor in his home state of Maine.

King erected a spooky-looking wrought-iron fence, decorated with bats and spiders, around the manor, turning this red Victorian home into the most haunted house on the street.

Even though King recently moved out of his former Bangor residence, the house remains an alluring tourist attraction, attracting many Stephen King fans to Bangor to see where he found the inspiration to write some of his novels.

Stephen King’s House is at 47 W Broadway, Bangor, ME 04401.

2- Be Inspired By The Zillman Art Museum

Falling under the management of the University of Maine, the Zillman Art Museum is the city’s premier venue when it comes to showcasing contemporary visual art.

The art museum was designed by Ann Beha Architects and was opened to the public in 1946, housing the university’s extensive art collection for all the enjoy.

Touted as one of the best art museums in the region, the Zillman Art Museum is owned entirely by the residents of Maine, making it the only such venue with a permanent fine arts collection in the state.

The Zillman Art Museum is at 40 Harlow St, Bangor, ME 04401.

3- Plan A Visit To The Cole Land Transportation Museum

With an acre of total indoor exhibition space, the Cole Land Transportation Museum pays tribute to the different vehicles and automobiles that played a role in Maine.

The museum is roughly 3 miles (5 km) outside downtown Bangor and was officially established in 1990.

Open Monday through Sunday, the museum showcases some truly rare vehicles, including a 1923 Packard Roadster, a 1913 Stanley Steamer bread truck, a 1938 Lincoln V-12 Model K and a 1931 REO Royale Coupe, to name but a few.

The Cole Land Transportation Museum is at 405 Perry Rd, Bangor, ME 04401.

4- Visit The Thomas A. Hill House

The Thomas A. Hill House, or Grand Army Memorial Home as it’s also commonly called, is an important historical landmark in the city that’s served as the home of two Bangor mayors.

Completed in 1840, the house was designed by British-American architect Richard Upjohn and was commissioned by prominent local businessman Thomas A. Hill.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the house now serves as a museum and is a classic example of Greek Revival-style architecture.

The Thomas A. Hill House is at 159 Union St, Bangor, ME 04401.

5- Bring the Family To The Maine Discovery Museum

Spread out across three levels, the Maine Discovery Museum is an interactive, hands-on educational zone where visitors of all ages can learn and discover through play and interaction.

The museum was established to inspire young Bangor residents to get involved in STEAM fields such as the sciences or engineering, with the museum currently housing exhibits on topics such as art, literature, nature and many more interesting topics.

Situated in downtown Bangor, the museum regularly hosts unique events and programs, and is an absolute hit with families stopping by Bangor with younger travellers.

The Maine Discovery Museum is at 74 Main St, Bangor, ME 04401.

6- Tour The Hose 5 Fire Museum

One of Bangor’s most storied historic landmarks is the Hose House No. 5, better known today as the Hose 5 Fire Museum.

The Hose 5 Fire Museum initially served as the city of Bangor’s fire station when it opened in 1897, a role which it dutifully carried out until the completion of the city’s new fire house in 1993 nearly a century later.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in its centennial celebration in 1997, the museum exhibits a large collection of firefighting equipment and important Bangor history, and is free for all to enjoy during the summer months.

The Hose 5 Fire Museum is at 247 State St, Bangor, ME 04401.

7- Spend An Afternoon At Cascade Park

Cascade Park is a relatively compact urban outdoor recreational space in downtown Bangor that enjoys scenic views across the adjacent Penobscot River.

The park was established on low-lying swamp lands in 1934 and has blossomed into a fine outdoor attraction in Bangor that boasts amenities such as walking trails, a gazebo and several dedicated picnic areas.

Free to enjoy, the park is within walking distance from Bangor’s main shopping district and is ideal for travellers wishing to spend an afternoon enjoying Maine’s outdoor scenery.

Cascade Park is at 600 State St, Bangor, ME 04401.

8- Shop Fresh Produce At The Bangor Farmers’ Market

blurred background of people shopping in a market
Shopping for local produce in the farmer’s market is one of the things to do in Bangor, Maine.

Since its first organised meetup, the Bangor Farmers’ Market has been the go-to spot in town for picking up the freshest produce and most delectable homemade goods.

The market takes place every Sunday from 11 an to 1.30 pm between May and November, and is organised at Bangor’s Abbott Square just outside the city’s Broadway Historic District.

The Bangor Farmers’ Market is at 140 Harlow St, Bangor, ME 04401.

9- Stroll along The Penobscot River Walkway

At just 0.5 miles long (800 m), the Penobscot River Walkway is a short, yet very scenic nature trail which runs along a section of the Penobscot River through Bangor.

The trail is suitable for hikers, cyclists and in-line skaters, with fishing permitted along the trail for an all-around outdoor experience.

This free-to-use trail runs from Union Street to the junction of Front and Railroad Streets, and is just a short trek from the Maine Discovery Museum and the Maine Savings Amphitheater.

10- Go Hiking Through The Bangor City Forest

The Bangor City Forest, also referred to as the Rolland F. Perry City Forest, is a serene 600-acre (243 ha) publically accessible recreational space far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The park lies just 5 miles (8 km) outside downtown Bangor and is home to the Orono Bog Boardwalk, a mile-long (1.6 km) elevated walkway which passes by large sections of the forest’s unique ecology.

Classified as a “working forest”, the Bangor City Forest is a great spot to visit if you’re an avid hiker, with trails galore on offer to help you escape into Maine’s scenic and tranquil outdoors for hours on end.

The Bangor City Forest is at 54 Tripp Dr, Bangor, ME 04401.

11- Go Gift Hunting At The Rock and Art Shop

The Rock and Art Shop is a family-owned and operated downtown Bangor establishment where visitors can browse and purchase unique natural history finds such as fossils, minerals, shells, rocks and other nature-inspired items.

Founded in 2007, the shop is unlike any other attraction in Bangor and is among the most exciting places to visit in the region, even if you’re just popping in to take a look.

The Rock and Art Shop is at 36 Central St, Bangor, ME 04401.

12- Explore The Maine Air Museum

Established by the Maine Aviation Historical Society in 2000, the Maine Air Museum is a world-class exhibition space dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the great state of Maine’s rich history in aviation.

The museum is at the Bangor International Airport, about 2 miles (3.2 km) outside Bangor’s city centre, and boasts a large collection of civil, military and commercial aircraft artefacts.

Among the museum’s most popular attractions are its displays of the White Bird and the eye-catching sliver aircraft at the museum’s entrance, greeting visitors in style.

The Maine Air Museum is at 99 Maine Ave, Bangor, ME 04401.

13- Stop By The Paul Bunyan Statue

Standing at a whopping 31 feet tall (9.4 m), the Paul Bunyan Statue along Bangor’s Main Street is almost as big as the mythical woodsman’s legend.

Very little is known about Paul Bunyan or who he was, but that didn’t stop the residents of Bangor from erecting a 3,700-pound (1,678 kg) statue in honour of the beloved American-Canadian folk hero.

Free to enjoy and a popular place to snap some pictures, the statue is the largest Paul Bunyan statue in the world and a very interesting roadside attraction to gawk at when travelling through Bangor.

The Paul Bunyan Statue is at 519 Main St, Bangor, ME 04401.

14- Catch A Penobscot Theatre Company Production

Touted as one of the best theatre companies in all of Maine, the Penobscot Theatre Company regularly delights Bangor locals and visitors with Broadway-quality productions at the Bangor Opera House in downtown.

The company got its start in 1973 when Lou Collier and George Vafiadis decided to bring theatre to Bangor, growing into what is today the only year-round professional theatre company in northern Maine.

In addition to its jam-packed schedule of annual shows, the theatre company also organises several community events and special evenings, cementing the Penobscot Theatre Company’s reputation as one of Bangor’s leading cultural attractions.

The Penobscot Theatre Company is at 131 Main St, Bangor, ME 04401.

15- See An Open-Air Concert At The Maine Savings Amphitheater

crowd at an outdoor concert
Going to an outdoor concert is one of the cool things to do in Bangor.

Perched along the shores of the Penobscot River near the Penobscot River Walkway is the Maine Savings Amphitheater, the city’s premier outdoor event space.

Opened in 2010, the amphitheatre plays host to the annual “Waterfront Concert Series”, a large music festival which often attracts international acts to Bangor.

The amphitheatre has undergone several renovations since first opening and currently boasts a maximum seating capacity of more than 15,000.

The Maine Savings Amphitheater is at 1 Railroad St, Bangor, ME 04401.

16- Hike The Orono Bog Boardwalk

The Orono Bog Boardwalk is a mile-long (1.6 km) looped trail within the Bangor City Forest where visitors can take in the region’s unique ecology from up close.

The trail was declared a National Natural Landmark and is slightly elevated, passing

The trail was declared a National Natural Landmark and is slightly elevated, passing over the bog’s 600-acre (243 ha) wetland forest, as well as its flora and fauna species.

Open year-round, the trail can be hiked, cycled or snowshoed depending on what time of year you decide to swing by, making it a fun multi-season outdoor attraction.

The Orono Bog Boardwalk is along Tripp Dr, Bangor, ME 04401.

17- Explore Downtown Bangor

Downtown Bangor has long been renowned for its diverse retail, dining and entertainment options, not to mention its small-town charm, making it one of the top places in the city to explore in detail.

The city’s downtown district is fairly compact compared to larger cities and towns throughout the country, making it quite easy to take in all the sights and unique venues on foot.

Be sure to swing by downtown Bangor staples such as the Paul Bunyan Statue and the Rock and Art Shop as you lap up all the quintessential New England charm Bangor has to offer.

18- Climb To The Top Of The Thomas Hill Standpipe

Measuring 50 feet tall (15 m) and 75 feet wide (23 m), the Thomas Hill Standpipe is, quite literally, one of the biggest attractions in the city of Bangor.

The standpipe was completed in 1897 to help regulate Bangor’s water pressure and store water for emergencies, a role which it still serves even today more than 125 years since first entering operational use.

Not only is the standpipe one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks, but it’s also an architecturally significant one, honoured with an addition to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The Thomas Hill Standpipe is at 41 Thomas Hill Rd, Bangor, ME 04401.

19- Stop By The Famous Mount Hope Garden Cemetery

It’s not often a city’s cemetery is considered among its greatest places to visit, however, Bangor’s famous Mount Hope Garden Cemetery is certainly no ordinary graveyard.

The cemetery might be recognisable to astute followers of Stephen King’s works since it was the inspiration behind King’s “Pet Sematary”, as well as a filming location in the subsequent film adaptation.

There are self-guided tours of the cemetery available to visitors who’d like to take a stroll through this quiet part of central Bangor, with the local Bangor Historical Society also offering guided tours of the cemetery and its various interesting sights.

Mount Hope Garden Cemetery is at 1048 State St, Bangor, ME 04401.

20- Stroll Through The University of Maine Campus

Although not technically situated in Bangor itself, the University of Maine’s main campus in nearby Orono is the state’s only public research university and boasts one of the most scenic campuses in all of New England.

Founded in 1865, the university’s Orono campus features a student body of about 11,000 students every semester and is one of only two public land grant universities in the United States on an island.

The university’s rich history, picturesque surroundings and eye-catching campus buildings make the Orono campus one of the finest places to stroll through in Maine, which visitors to Bangor can experience just 10 miles (16 km) outside the city.

The University of Maine Campus is at 168 College Ave, Orono, ME 04469.

Previous article20 Things To Do In Galena
Next article20 Things To Do In Milwaukee
cropped mark westwood.jpg
Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.