6 Top Reasons to Visit The Greater Bangor Region 

Welcome to Bangor, the Queen City of Maine! Our jewel city is located on the western bank of the mighty Penobscot River, and was the “lumber capital of the world” for much of the 19th century.

Bangor is the third-largest city in the state and the retail, cultural and service center for central, eastern and northern Maine, as well as Atlantic Canada. From historic downtown shops, theatres and eateries, to untouched wilderness and pine forests, to historic landmarks, to modern-day attractions – the Greater Bangor Region offers you a chance to explore some of Maine’s most popular activities.

Bangor is an easy drive to four of Maine’s most spectacular regions: Aroostook County, Down East & Acadia, The Maine Highlands and Maine’s Mid-Coast. These regions offer great outdoor adventure, rich cultural experiences, culinary delights and scenic beauty. They are all yours to see when you use Bangor as your home base.

Whether you’re planning a visit or have just arrived, use this guide to learn more about the Greater Bangor Region and experience the best of Maine in any season.

photo of walking bridge over river in autumn
Kenduskeag River
Justin Russell Photography

Natural Beauty & Outdoor Recreation

Known for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife, many visitors come to Maine to blaze new trails, venture off the beaten path, and see a moose! Whether your preferred mode of exploration is hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, cruising, or just strolling along the river’s scenic banks, the Greater Bangor Region is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Walk, hike, or bike the nearly 10 miles of groomed trails at Bangor City Forest, or check out the nearby Orono Bog Boardwalk for an educational slant to a delightful walk. If you’re into birding, the manicured trails of the Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden may be more up your alley. Or, check out two area sanctuaries—the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge or the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. If you want to increase your chances of spotting a live moose in their natural habitat, we suggest stopping at the New England Outdoor Center in Millinocket.

History & Nostalgia

Bangor’s rich and storied history can be seen even today in the architecture, monuments, parks, and the stories that are still part of the Bangor community. Don’t miss the Bangor Historical Society and the Thomas A. Hill House and Civil War Museum, featuring one of the nation’s largest collections of Civil War artifacts.

You can see an authentic reconstruction of a logging and milling community at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum. And if you’re a transportation enthusiast, don’t miss the Cole Land Transportation Museum, which preserves Maine’s transportation history by showcasing a variety of rare artifacts, including trucks, trains, snowplows, motorcycles and more.

photo of buildings in downtown bangor
Downtown Bangor
Justin Russell Photography

Arts, Culture & Entertainment

The Bangor area is the cultural hub of Northern Maine. Enjoy everything from performing arts to visual arts, to music and dance, in venues from state-of-the art to historic, to open air! Historic downtown Bangor offers the richness of Bangor’s music, dance, theatre, art, film, libraries, and museums all in one area.

Looking for an adrenaline-pumping evening? Hollywood Casino offers Vegas-style blackjack, roulette, poker, and hundreds of slot machines, as well as live entertainment.

Region Full of Flavor

When most people think of Maine, they think of lobster. And almost every restaurant in the area has their unique twist on this delicacy. But if you’ve never had a Hipster Apocalypse IPA, poutine, and a whoopie pie in one sitting, this is the place!

The dining scene in Greater Bangor has exploded over the past several years. New local establishments and popular chain restaurants have been popping up all over the region, much to the delight of food lovers everywhere. You can feast on a variety of ethnic flavors from Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Italian. And with over a dozen craft breweries in our region, Greater Bangor has become a craft beer destination.

Festivals & Events

If festivals and events are your jam, this is the perfect spot. The Greater Bangor Car Show: Wheels on the Waterfront is held in early September and offers the opportunity to enjoy more than 300 cars in 30 different classes. The Darlings Waterfront Pavillion hosts concerts every summer. Past artists include Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Rod Stewart, and many more. Or learn about our region’s history at the first Penobscot River Festival happening in August.

band performs at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.
Brantley Gilbert Concert at Cross Insurance Center
Monty Rand

A Reason For Every Season

While summer is perhaps our busiest season, fall in Maine is a favorite. The Greater Bangor area is your gateway to some of the best fall foliage viewing of anywhere in New England. With vast expanses of hardwood trees, such as maple, birch, oak and beech, the scenery around Mt. Katahdin, Moosehead Lake, and Acadia National Park are beyond compare.

Winter visitors are able to cross-country ski, snowshoe, or just take a long winter walk. Families often choose to spend a day skiing, snowboarding, and tubing at a local ski mountain. Because of Maine’s superior climate and spectacular scenic views, we are also home to some of the world’s best snowmobiling trails.

Greater Bangor remains vibrant in the winter months as our downtown retail, dining, and entertainment venues thrive. When planning your seasonal getaway, don’t forget to check out the vast array of lodging accommodations. The Greater Bangor region has everything from wilderness camping to major hotel chains to quaint B&Bs to luxury seaside resorts.