Bangor, Maine

Queen City

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What's it like to live in Bangor?

What's the deal with Bangor?

I lived in Bangor while I was in grad school at UMaine, and thenI lived across the river in Brewer for another 5 years or so. I didn't mind it. Never had a problem with crime/homelessness. The opioid epidemic hit rural areas hard, and people struggling with addiction and homelessness have congregated in places like Portland and Bangor. There are a few places they tend to congregate and are easy enough to avoid if you're worried. It is quite sad though. There were a few decent restaurants downtown (and there are some really nice downtown apartments now).

Lots of opportunity for outdoor activities. Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park were both reasonable drives for day trips. Rock climbing in Clifton. Lots of spots for bouldering around greater Bangor if you're into that. People ice climb on Harlow Street in the winter (some locals call this Bangor Ice Park). Maine Bound Adventure Center (at UMaine) and Acadia Mountain Guides (locations in Bar Harbor and Orono) offer guided trips and private instruction, and can be a good way to meet young people. I used to go to the Bangor City Forest with a headlamp after work to go snowshoeing after a big storm. There are single track bike trails at Essex Woods, and the University of Maine has a trail system that's great for running, biking, and cross country skiing. UMaine has a small climbing gym that is open to the public at night. You can canoe/kayak/SUP in the nearby lakes and rivers.

For meeting younger people post covid, try joining Bangor Greendrinks and other meetup groups you can find for activities you're interested in. You may have to be more pro-active about finding young people with similar interests, but they are out there.

What's the deal with Bangor?

I was planning on doing the exact same thing last fall, but I grew up in that area. I had lived in Portland for a few years, and found it wasn’t really what I was looking for anymore. My advise is to not live in Hermon. It’s a cliquish and really boring small town. Look in the Bangor neighborhoods of Fairmount or little city. It’s an objectively nice area. The tree streets are okay, and trending up. 1st through 4th streets are Bangor’s Parkside from 20 years ago.

There are more young people in Bangor than people think. Not like Portland, but the downtown scene in Bangor is great and that’s where you’ll find the younger and likely single people. I personally like bars and restaurants in Downtown Bangor more than Portland. It just seems more authentic and feels more like the Maine I know. Also you’ll find young people at the mill street bars in Orono. That’s where all the grad and PhD students and young UMaine faculty hang out.

Homelessness in Bangor is nothing like Portland. It’s still noticeable though.

If you hear bad things from people in southern Maine about Bangor, I would take it with a grain of salt. There is a weird rivalry almost between southern Maine and the Bangor area. People in Bangor tend to think Portland is a pretentious shithole, and people in Portland tend to think Bangor is an isolated shithole. In reality both are decent places to live.

Living in Bangor

There are plenty of college age people around, so dating is good from what I've seen and heard. Bangor is really what you make of it. As someone who has lived all over America, Bangor is very manageable, with caveats. Everything you need is available within city limits, except the cultural perks of big cities like Boston, NYC. etc.

Real estate was pretty cheap, now climbing due to all the out of state interest. Rentals have shot up and competition is fierce. Crime is low, but there are hotspots near or in downtown that warrant extra care. Just use common street sense and you'll be fine. The homeless have lots of resources available to them and are rarely an in-your-face threat of any kind.

MaineLife Season 7, Episode 7 - Bangor