Bangor, ME • 207-942-6711
The last two editions of Places Rated Almanac named Bangor, Maine, the "Best North American Small Metro Area". The annual book confirms what residents know firsthand: Bangor, Maine is a vibrant, safe, and friendly place to work, play, and raise a family.
Once known as the lumber capital of the world, this central Maine city (pop. 31,000) has a surprising array of amenities for a place of its size—yet retains its friendly, close-knit feeling.
Downtown Bangor, a pleasantly walkable city, provides a cultural center with options for learners of all ages. One of the downtown's newer additions, the Maine Discovery Museum, is New England's second-largest children's museum. Nearby are the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA), the Bangor Museum and History Center, Penobscot Theatre, and the venerable Bangor Public Library. Downtown Bangor is also home to many stores, restaurants, and the country's oldest continuing community orchestra, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.
Other treasures within city limits include the Bangor City Forest, featuring walking and cross-country ski trails, the Penobscot River waterfront, and dozens of parks. Bangor's waterfront, once teeming with ocean-bound vessels, has reemerged in recent years as a cultural centerpiece—thanks, in part, to the city's annual American Folk Festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each August.
Education is highly prized in Bangor. The list of colleges within city limits is impressive: Husson College, Eastern Maine Community College, New England School of Communication, Bangor Theological Seminary, Beal College, and the Bangor campus of the University of Maine at Augusta. Bangor public schools achieve high standardized test scores and college acceptance rates. The city is also home to a number of private and faith-based schools. Bangor is 10 miles from the University of Maine, Orono, the state's flagship campus. Many of its 14,500 students and employees live in Bangor.
The city offers a public transit system, the BAT, which transports UMaine students and staff free of charge. The city's airport, Bangor International Airport (BGR), is an important regional resource serviced by major carriers.
Bangor's Eastern Maine Medical Center is also a key regional resource and a major employer, providing world-class medical care and, more recently, cooperative genetics research. The city is also "the" area shopping place, with the Bangor Mall area providing a great selection of national stores and specialty shops.
Many who choose to work and play in Bangor live in its neighboring communities, all within easy reach. These include the cities of Brewer, Old Town, and Orono, as well as towns such as Glenburn, Hermon, Holden, and Orrington. Bangor is within an hour's drive to some of Maine's most spectacular natural wonders, including Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor and Baxter State Park, home of Maine's largest peak, Katahdin. The city is also adjacent to four seasons of recreational opportunities, from snowmobile and ATV trails to nature preserves. Even within city limits, rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams seem to appear at every turn, with opportunities for boating, fishing, or just enjoying the view.
One of Bangor's most famous claims to fame—its status as home to novelist Stephen King—is known by millions. Others, like its hosting the new sport of "bouldering" (a form of rock climbing), have yet to be widely discovered. Perhaps that's as it should be. Bangor is a city that continues to be shaped by the people who live here—both longtime residents and new arrivals.