Planning to visit Bangor, Maine? This little city in central Maine was once known as the Queen City of the East thanks to its prominence as a lumber port and location on the Penobscot River. These days, Bangor is an ideal jumping off point for adventures in other parts of the state.
And if you’re planning to stay awhile, you’ll find a welcoming, vibrant community with the creature comforts of the city combined with the small-town culture that defines Maine.
Keep reading for all the basics to help you get the lay of the land as you visit Bangor!
Bangor, Maine Neighborhoods
While Bangor isn’t a large city, there are various areas or neighborhoods around town that you may want to familiarize yourself with.
Like many other cities, Bangor’s downtown area is seeing a revitalization. Here you’ll find several streets lined with boutique shops, busy coffee shops, restaurants, a theatre company, events at the Cross Insurance Center, and Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion (known as the Bangor Waterfront).
The Bangor International Airport is quite small, so it is easily accessible and not far from I-95. The airport is located on Union Street, which runs parallel to Ohio Street–both are main streets that are often referenced in directions. This is not the main shopping district, but there is a grocery store, Marshalls, and some fast food on Union Street.
The Pine Tree Inn is a very convenient Bangor, Maine airport hotel and is just a few minutes away from the airport.
The Bangor Mall area has expanded so much that the mall itself is no longer the main attraction. Two main roads intersect in this busy shopping area: Stillwater Avenue and Hogan Road. There are several shopping centers with department stores, a movie theater, fast food, and plenty of restaurants.
Broadway runs along Route 15, a state route that stretches from close to the Canadian border all the way to the tip of an island on the coast (Deer Isle). While this is the main road that runs through the heart of Bangor, there isn’t a lot of commerce here. You’ll find a grocery store, a few other stores, and some restaurants and fast food. Additionally, St. Joseph’s Medical Center is located on Broadway.
The main focal point on State Street is Eastern Maine Medical Center, the larger of two hospitals in Bangor. There is also a small park near the hospital called Cascade Park. State Street intersects Broadway near downtown and leads out of town towards the University of Maine in Orono. Hogan Road connects with State Street, making it an easy way to get from downtown to the mall area.
Where to Stay in Bangor, Maine
Whether you are visiting for a few days or are on an extended work trip, staying in a hotel near the Bangor Airport is ideal. Not only does it make arrival and departure easy, it’s also not far from I-95 and quick to get to most other areas of Bangor.
Check out our accommodation options near the Bangor Airport here!
Getting Around Bangor
Given that Bangor is a small city, it is quite easy to drive around town. There are only two highways: I-95 running north and south, and I-395 running east and west between Bangor and Brewer. Get to know the main areas and streets, as mentioned above, and you’ll be navigating the city before you know it.
Biking is also an option in warmer months, though for most people it is recreational rather than a transportation method. There are currently only a couple of multi-use trails along Bangor roads (though the city is working to improve safety for walking and cycling), so most biking in Bangor will be in a shared lane with cars. While state law dictates sharing the road with cyclists, it is not recommended to bike along the busier main roads.
Here is a map of a suggested bike route along roads in Bangor, and here is the only guide and map to all Bangor area trails (most are recreational and not for transportation).
If you need to use public transportation, the Community Connector Bus has routes that take you all over the city and to neighboring towns. The Pine Tree Inn is located very close to the Capehart route and Mall Hopper route. Find general information about the bus here, as well as a map of all bus routes in Bangor here.
Map of Bangor
Bangor, Maine Attractions
The most well-known attractions in Bangor are the Paul Bunyan statue, Stephen King’s home, and the Bangor Waterfront, which draws in thousands of concert goers during the summer. There are many other fun things to do in Bangor throughout the year–head here for our guide!
Places to Eat in Bangor
Bangor offers everything from inexpensive fast food all over town, to chain and local restaurants, to fine dining options. Some local favorites are Bagel Central, Moe’s Original BBQ, Sea Dog Brewing Company, and Eagle’s Nest (for a lobster roll across the river in Brewer). Find even more great places to eat in Bangor here.
What to Pack for a Trip to Bangor
The biggest question on your mind for visiting Bangor may be what to pack! Of course, the purpose of your trip will dictate how much casual and professional clothing you need to bring.
But it’s also important to be prepared for Maine weather, which can be quite unpredictable. We experience all four seasons in full force.
- WINTER: Snow can show up as early as October, though it is typical for it to start in November and December. January and February are the coldest, snowiest months. It is not uncommon to have wind chills well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. March sometimes brings an arctic blast and last big snowstorm, while other years it is rainy and unpleasant.
- SPRING: April is known as “mud season” as the mounds of snow melt and the ground thaws, and it’s still quite chilly throughout the month. May brings more spring-like weather.
- SUMMER: Summers in Bangor are comfortably warm and sometimes get hot and humid. Temperatures are still warming up in June, and July and August are the most “summery” months.
- FALL: Warm, comfortable weather usually lingers into September, but soon fall’s crisp air settles in.
For winter months, make sure to pack the basics to keep you warm in the bitter cold: good quality boots, coat, gloves, and a scarf. Many people wear snow boots while commuting and bring a pair of work shoes to change into once inside. For quality clothing, L.L. Bean is a great place to look, and we have a location near the Bangor Mall. If possible when renting a car in the winter, look for heated seats or a remote car starter.
During spring and fall, warm layers with a light coat or quality fleece jacket are helpful. It’s not generally warm enough to wear sandals.
And in the summer, pack lighter weight and warm weather clothes, but be sure to bring some layers (like a sweatshirt, sweater, or a jacket) for chilly days and evenings.
If you will be spending time outdoors from spring through fall, protection from bugs (mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks) is vital for both your comfort and health. Bring long, light-colored layers, use quality bug repellant, and do thorough tick checks after spending time in the woods.
We hope these tips and bits of information help you get familiar with our beautiful city here in the heart of central Maine! We love making our guests feel at home as they get to know Bangor–whether they’re visiting for 3 days or 3 months.
Get more information about our accommodation options here, or feel free to contact us with any questions.
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