A man looks at his phone while sunbathing on the Bangor Waterfront in this 2017 file photo. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Bangor, sitting near the center of Interstate 95 in Penobscot County, has been named Maine’s “best kept secret” by Travel + Leisure magazine.

The Queen City is lauded for its “picturesque” waterfront, which attracts hundreds to summer concert series most years, as well as its craft beer scene that makes it “a place for travelers seeking good food, local beer, and a blossoming music and arts scene without the crowds.”

Travel + Leisure highlights Nocturnem Draft Haus, a downtown staple, for its “carefully selected tap selections” and its jazz music, as well as the eclectic collection of entertainment at the bar on any given night. Paddy Murphy’s gets a shoutout for its live music and ample supply of the region’s craft beer selection, as well as a note that it is “the place to mingle with locals.”

It also gives a nod to Happy Endings, with its specialty cocktails and bites that give it a “sophisticated and cozy atmosphere.”

In terms of entertainment, Travel + Leisure shouts out Queen City Cinema Club, which is described as “dark and quirky,” that “takes visitors back to a simpler time when film, board games, and arcade tickets were the ultimate way to spend a day.”

The Briar Patch is lauded for both its selection of Maine authors and national bestsellers along with its relationship with the Bangor Public Library, and The Rock and Art Shop just across the street is described as a “something-for-everyone kind of place.”

Travel + Leisure doesn’t miss out on the “leisure,” highlighting the Bangor City Forest and the Bangor Waterfront as easy places to get out and enjoy the view. The City Forest, with its miles of well-maintained trails, is “​​an easy break from all the eating, drinking, and doing that can come with exploring a new place.”

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.