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36 Hours in Bangor
Region: The Maine Highlands
Activities: Walking, sightseeing, wildlife watching, art museum
Bangor is home to many of Maine’s unique attractions, from spots that inspired author Stephen King’s spooky-sensational books to a thriving arts, dining and shopping scene. Now is a perfect time to get out and explore all the city has to offer.
See the Larger-Than-Life Statue of Paul Bunyan
Lumberjack icon Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor — his birth certificate is even on display in Bangor’s City Hall. To honor Bangor’s hometown folk hero, a massive statue is on display in front of the Cross Insurance Center on Main Street. The statue is 31 feet high, weighs 3,700 pounds and is a perfect spot to grab a selfie with a legend.
Explore Bangor’s Spooky Side
After visiting Paul, spook yourself a bit by visiting some sights made famous by Stephen King, America’s famed horror author. You can check out King’s home in Bangor at 47 West Broadway. You can easily see his eccentric mansion behind the wrought-iron gate that is decorated with spiders and bats. Next, check out spots in Bangor, which in King’s books is called Derry, such as the drain that inspired the scene in “It” where Pennywise lures young Georgie Denbrough. It is located at the corner of Union and Jackson Streets. Then head to the Mount Hope Cemetery at 1048 State Street in Bangor, the site of the (human) cemetery in the film “Pet Sematary.” You can take a self-guided tour or just explore and see if you recognize film locations. For a guided tour of all things Stephen King, book a tour with SK Tours.
Visit the Newly Reopened Zillman Art Museum
Formerly the University of Maine Museum of Art, the modern and contemporary Zillman Art Museum has returned bigger and better than ever before, located conveniently in downtown Bangor. What was once a 1930s department store now boasts spacious galleries, a sleek glass entryway and intriguing exhibitions on display. You can easily spend a few hours perusing the airy space. Prepare to be challenged, delighted and entertained by artists from New England and around the globe. Nearby, don’t miss the iconic Hannibal Hamlin statue at the adjacent Kenduskeag Mall.
Performing Arts at Their Finest
- The Bangor Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 126th season in 2021 with live performances at the Collins Center for the Arts.
- Penobscot Theatre Company entertains audiences at the historic Bangor Opera House. Time your visit right and book your tickets for a live theater experience.
- Located in Downtown Bangor at the Historic Nichols Block, The Bangor Arts Exchange brings live performances of music, comedy and theater.
Get Out in Nature
The nearby Bangor City Forest is a perfect respite from your urban exploring. With 680 acres and nine miles of trails through the woods, the forest is great for wildlife watching and enjoying the outdoors.
Stop into some of downtown Bangor’s eclectic shops. Whether you seek a new book or a succulent to brighten your space, Bangor’s downtown shops offer unique goods and experienced staff happy to help you find what you are looking for.
A local favorite, this gem of a bookstore has a friendly, knowledgeable staff and offers great reads for children and adults alike.
Crystals, spidery air plants and fossils are among the curiosities and treasures this shop houses.
This family-owned business offers a variety of goods for your home, bath, kitchen and more. With an emphasis on Maine-made gifts, it’s the perfect place to find a souvenir.
Eat and Drink
Bangor has a great food and drink scene, from gourmet restaurants to understated farm-to-table dining options and casual breweries.
The goals of this restaurant are to “Eat local, eat inexpensively, and eat well.” A winning combination, if you ask us! Many ingredients are sourced in-season from the restaurant’s own Fiddlehead Farm.
This cozy, brick-laden eatery will warm you right up with a variety of fine Italian fare. Tip: Don’t skip dessert.
The Orono favorite has a downtown Bangor location. Enjoy a variety of local IPAs, stouts, sours and more.
After a day of exploring, shopping and eating, rest well at one of these local lodging options.
Located in the heart of downtown Bangor, the inn is within walking distance of dining, craft breweries, shopping, theater, museums and more.
This conveniently located hotel near Bangor’s waterfront boasts one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Timber Kitchen & Bar.
Just a 15-minute drive away in Orono is the Black Bear Inn, offering cozy Maine décor, spacious rooms for the whole family and plentiful amenities.
Lewiston/Auburn: 107 miles
Portland: 130 miles