List of “must see” while on travel assignment in Maine’s best-kept secret.
The first thing that might come to mind about Bangor, Maine is Stephen King.
“There was a time not long ago when the only association Bangor, Maine, had was with its famous hometown author,” Travel & Leisure magazine says, referring to Stephen King. The magazine also touts Bangor’s appeal as a charming small city and Maine’s best-kept secret.
Today, several revitalization efforts are underway to encourage a sense of community by creating safe social spaces for people to meet, eat and drink in comfort. Parking bay “parklets” are popping up along streets featuring canopies with tables and chairs seating up to 50 people.
(“Parklets” are a small seating area or green space created as a public amenity on or alongside a sidewalk, especially in a former roadside parking space.)
Let us take you beyond the legendary novelist where travelers will find plenty to write home about.
Cascade Park– Perhaps one of Bangor’s most popular parks, Cascade Park, is located on State Street, just past Eastern Maine Medical Center. Equipped with a gazebo, walking trails, picnic tables, and a water fountain, it offers an excellent place for a sunny outing, relaxing walk, or picnic. Don’t miss the spectacular waterfall more than 20 feet high.
State Fair– The Bangor State Fair is a recreational gathering of the population of the Greater Bangor Area and the entire state of Maine that lasts for 4 days at Bass Park – the land encompassing Cross Insurance Center. The Bangor State Fair typically draws between 40,000 and 50,000 people a year and dates back to 1849. The 2023 Bangor State Fair returns August 3rd – 6th and will feature plenty of rides and games.
Hollywood Casino Bangor– A favorite attraction, this casino hosts nearly 800 Vegas-style slots, thrilling harness racing and 14 big-time table games, plus excellent dining options and great live entertainment. It also includes a luxurious hotel, featuring 148 deluxe rooms and four suites. It’s the perfect escape.
Racing– Experience the heart-pounding action of live harness racing. Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway features a full track schedule every April through October and offers simulcast horse racing from around the country, 365 days a year.
Paul Bunyan Statue – Bangor claims to be both the birthplace of the lumber industry and the Birthplace of Paul Bunyan. In fact, Bangor was once the lumber capital of the nation. Reputed to be the largest statue of Paul Bunyan in the world, it stands on a stone pedestal in front of the Bangor Civic Center in Bass Park. The statue is 31 feet high and weighs 3,700 pounds, not including its double-sided ax and lumberjack’s peavey. Paul Bunyan’s fiberglass-over-metal frame is hurricane-proofed to withstand 110 mph winds. The Paul Bunyan Statue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 and makes for the perfect backdrop for that Instagram shot. .
Maine Discovery Museum – Discover three floors of hands-on, interactive exhibits that invite you to explore the worlds of science, nature, geography, children’s literature, music, art, and anatomy, plus daily STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) programming.
Downtown Dining– From upscale dining to casual eats, your taste buds can travel the world in independent, locally owned restaurants. With over 40 restaurants, bars and nightlife venues you can always find something fabulous in downtown Bangor. Whether it’s locally-crafted beer and snacks on a patio, a quick sandwich during a lunch break, innovative fare for a special evening, a night out on the town, or just a place to linger over a coffee, downtown has it all.
Click here for a map and brochure.
Penobscot Theatre Company (PTC)– PTC operates year-round in the historic Bangor Opera House, producing theatre works both classic and new. For more than 40 years, PTC has produced Mainstage shows, musicals, limited engagement concerts and performances, and several productions produced by their education program: The Dramatic Academy.
Take a Hike– Maine has great trails for those days when you need to commune with nature. This huge, interconnected system provides miles of diverse, easy to moderate trails designated for non-motorized use. Highlights include abundant wildlife, a grassy overlook, and connections to the Orono Bog Boardwalk and other adjacent preserves. Plan your route today!
House of Stephen King– The king of horror Stephen King’s private home now houses the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation a private non-profit organization that promotes strengthening and supporting communities and draws upon the values and spirituality of the founders. Take a 2.5 hour but tour learn about “Derry, Maine“, to visit all the locations in the city that has inspired the books of the author. Please note the actual house is not open to the public.
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