Located in central Maine, Bangor offers urban conveniences in a small-town atmosphere. The former "Lumber Capital of the World" spans 34 square miles on the western side of the Penobscot River and is home to about 33,000 residents, including author Stephen King. An affordable cost of living makes this city a desirable place to live.
- The downtown shopping district offers a selection of local stores selling antiques, clothing, food, and beverages.
- Bangor Mall is a one-level enclosed shopping center anchored by major department stores.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
In the 1850s, Bangor was one of the busiest ports on the East Coast and engaged in shipbuilding and commerce. But by the 20th century, sawmills and shipyards gave way to the current forest industry, pulp, and paper amid advent of steam and steel.
Today with its diversified economy, the city has become one of the major urban centers of Maine. Bangor, today, maintains the commercial and social center of Northern, Central and Eastern Maine and supports a string of retail and service businesses. The city is also a center for government, education and employment. Service, wholesale/retail trade and government make up 55 percent of Bangor's labor market. The city's top employers include:
- Eastern Maine Medical Center
- St. Joseph Hospital
- Acadia Hospital
- Bangor Mental Health Institute
- University of Maine
- Georgia Pacific
- General Electric
- Bangor Mall
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Bangor is famous for its architecture. The city contains a number of Greek Revival, Victorian and Colonial Revival houses, some of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Downtown Bangor embraces a wide variety of locations, such as Smith's Ceramics, Robinson Ballet Company, Central Street Yoga, Bangor Museum and Center for History, Police Museum, Main Discovery Museum, University of Maine Museum of Art, Club Gemini, Fuzion, The Union Street Brick Church, Bangor Public Library, Bangor Symphony Orchestra and Penobscot Theatre Company. The neighborhood also includes a string of restaurants and shops.
- The Broadway Historic District is one of the main residential neighborhoods of the city. The district embraces distinct featured houses built in every period and style from the 1820s to the early 20th century. Part of the district, which was burnt down in the Great fire of 1911, has been rebuilt and now the district has given way to more elite neighborhoods.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Maine's Discovery Museum: Three floors of interactive exhibits await visitors at the largest children's museum north of Boston. The museum features exhibits on everything from Maine's ecosystem to Charlotte's Web. A number of programs are offered throughout the year, including Parent's Night Out, a babysitting service that provides supervised play, pizza, and a science and craft activity.
- University of Maine Museum of Art: This downtown art gallery has more than 6,500 original works of contemporary and historic art with a large section devoted to American mid-20th century works on paper. Local art and artists such as Berenice Abbott, Marsden Hartley, and Winslow Homer are celebrated throughout the museum. A number of workshops, lectures, and other educational programming are available.
- Cole Land Transport Museum: Each year, 20,000 people visit this museum to see the collection of Maine's land transportation equipment, historical photos documenting life in more than 2,000 early Maine communities, and the largest display of snow removal equipment under one roof in America. War buffs will be interested in the museum's U.S. military memorabilia and World War II, Purple Heart, and Vietnam memorials.
- Bangor Museum and Center for History: The country's second-oldest historical museum, located in downtown Bangor, was established in 1864. The museum houses 10,000 local and regional photographs dating back to the 1840s. There is also an 800-garment historic clothing collection and a number of Civil War artifacts. The museum staff arranges several activities and events throughout the year, including a tour of Mount Hope Cemetery.
- Penobscot Theatre Company: Northern and eastern Maine's only professional theater company was started in 1973. The theater operates year-round and uses the Bangor Opera House, the last remaining theater in downtown Bangor, as its base of operations. More than 5,000 students in Maine are served each year by the company's arts education and outreach programming. Each year, the theater hosts a two-week festival featuring new playwrights.
- Paul Bunyan Statue: Bangor claims to be the home of the mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan. A 35-foot tall, 3,700-pound Bunyan, wielding a double-sided axe and pike, stands on a concrete base in front of the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center. The statue's steel interior and fiberglass exterior makes it able to withstand wind speeds of up to 110 miles per hour. Donated in 1959, the statue gained famed when it came to life in Stephen King's 1986 novel It. Bunyan will help the city celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2084, when the time capsule entombed in his pedestal is opened.
- Tommyknockers and More Bus Tours: Fans of Stephen King come from all over the country for this spooky tour that takes participants to famous places in King's novels and movies. The tour also goes past King's West Broadway residence, a red brick Victorian mansion complete with spider webs and bats fashioned into the wrought iron fence.
- Hollywood Slots: Adult entertainment can be found at this star-studded complex featuring 1,000 slot machines, a seven-story hotel, meeting space, and Maine's only Brazilian grill. Maine's local acts perform live here Thursday through Saturday and on holiday Sundays. From April to November, the horse racetrack offers exciting betting opportunities.
- There are 30 parks and specialized facilities throughout the city, including a 27-hole municipal golf course and two outdoor municipal swimming pools. Camping, hiking, and recreational boating are all popular activities.
- The 650-acre Bangor City Forest has more than five miles of walking, biking, and cross-country trails.
- American Folk Festival: At the end of August, downtown Bangor is consumed by a three-day party that features music, dance, food, and crafts from different cultures.
- Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race: Forget the groundhog! Spring arrives in Bangor the third week of April with New England's biggest paddling event. The 16.5-mile race starts in the town of Kenduskeag and ends where the Kenduskeag Stream and the Penobscot River meet in downtown Bangor.
Bangor has only one newspaper, the Bangor Daily News.
The area is served by several radio stations, including:
- WMEH 90.9 FM (public)
- WEZQ 92.9 (adult contemporary)
- WKSQ 94.5 FM (top 40)
- WZON 620 AM (sports)
Local television stations include:
- WABI (CBS)
- WLBZ (NBC)
- WVII (ABC)
- WXVF (FOX)
- MPBN (PBS)
- WABI-DT2 (CW)