Lowell's neighborhoods are a diverse reflection of the city's many populations, each with its own character and history. The eight distinct neighborhoods include: Pawtucketville, Centralville, Highlands, The Acre, Downtown, Back Central, South Lowell and Belvidere.
Some maps also break the neighborhoods down even further to include Lower Belvidere, the upper and lower Highlands and Ayres City, but this guide will focus on the distinct eight.
Pawtucketville is the largest of Lowell's neighborhoods. Occupying the city's northwest area north of the Merrimack River, the neighborhood is mainly residential with lots of open space, parks and other green places for leisure and recreation.
Pawtucketville is an attractive summer destination in the city because of its location along the Merrimack River. Visitors can swim, kayak, fish and even take boat tours along the river. Parks such as the Vandenberg Esplanade and Lowell Heritage State Park are perfect places for summer activities. The Lowell Tyngsboro Dracut State Forest provides an environment for quiet hikes, birdwatching and crosscountry skiing. Other parks in the neighborhood include the Gannon Family Memorial Park, Father Maguire Playground, Fels Park and the Flaggy Meadows Playground.
Also located in Pawtucketville is the historic Hawk Valley Farm on Varnum Avenue. Hawk Valley Farm has been connected to the Varnum family since the 1660s. Today, the grounds still feature the old Varnum House from the 1700s along with various ruins and foundations from centuries past. Hawk Valley Farm is part of an urban land trust that preserves green space in the city to educate visitors of the now urban area's agricultural past.
Other attractions include UMass Lowell's North Campus with its Lydon Library, Costello Center and the Cushing Field Complex.
In Lowell's northeastern corner is the Centralville neighborhood. Separated from Pawtucketville to the west by Beaver Brook and with the Merrimack River along its southern border, Centralville is also a highly residential neighborhood with acres of green space.
The McPherson Playground, with basketball and tennis courts, baseball diamonds and pool is the perfect play area for recreational sports. Another large park, Gage Field, is located across the street behind the Robinson Middle School.
The Robinson Middle School parking lot and the Christian Hill Reservoir are two high points with great vistas of the city and are ideal for stargazing, appreciating city vistas and enjoying Lowell's 4th of July fireworks. Riverfront Park runs along the neighborhood's southern border. The park features the Merrimack River Bike Path, a river level, paved path from Beaver Brook to Duck Island. The park is a great area for summer picnics, jogging, fishing, and spotting hawks, herons, eagles and other wildlife.
Lowell's Highlands neighborhood is situated in the southwest section of the city. At the neighborhood's northern point is UMass Lowell's South Campus. The neighborhood's central section is mainly residential, and the diversity of the neighborhood is indicative of the city's overall culture. Much like Pawtucketville and Centralville, the Highlands features green spaces
and parks. Two active parks are Hadley and Callery Parks.
The Merrimack River serves as the neighborhood's northern border. Its riverfront, directly across the street from UMass Lowell's South Campus, is a scenic area for UMass Lowell students, locals and tourists and is a great place for fishing, picnics and relaxation.
The Acre is a neighborhood west of Downtown Lowell. It is a small neighborhood but is full of vibrancy and activity. The neighborhood is densely populated with a blend of small businesses.
North Common, the Acre's largest park located in the middle of the neighborhood, is an oasis from the urban landscape. North Common includes a public pool as well as basketball courts, making the park a summer destination that is relatively close to downtown.
Western Avenue Studios and Lofts anchor the southwest corner of the neighborhood with over 300 working artists at the studios. Decatur Way is a public, outdoor art space where local art is featured and runs between Merrimack and Salem Street from University Crossing to the LHA's Mercier Center.
Downtown Lowell is full of activity and nightlife as well as unique small businesses and restaurants, each lending its individual flair and personality to Lowell's downtown scene.
Downtown includes: The Tsongas Center, Lowell National Historical Park, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, New England Quilt Museum, Pollard Memorial Library and Lowell City Hall as well as historic canals, such as the Eastern Canal and Upper Pawtucket Canal, and numerous businesses, restaurants and cafés. Check out Lowell's downtown restaurants and cafes here.
Another fun feature of Downtown Lowell is its extensive trolley system. Trolleys are operated by the Lowell National Historical Park and run from spring through fall.
Back Central is located south of Downtown Lowell. It holds the distinction of being the smallest of Lowell's neighborhoods however Back Central has an exciting mix of businesses and residences. A noteworthy feature of Back Central is South Common, a large park located
at the corner of Highland and Thorndike Streets.
South Lowell, an area also known as Ayres City, is a residential neighborhood that features three large cemeteries at its center. The cemeteries are Westlawn Cemetery, Edson Cemetery and St. Patrick's Cemetery. Surrounding these three cemeteries are many residential roads.
The Concord River flows through the neighborhood and provides a scenic location for nature lovers and relaxation seekers. Muldoon Park features a boat launching spot on the Concord River.
The Belvidere neighborhood, along with Lower Belvidere, is situated in the southeast corner of the city. The neighborhood is the secondlargest of Lowell's distinct eight. Belvidere is separated from the rest of Lowell by the Merrimack and Concord Rivers.
In Lower Belvidere is the historic Lowell Cemetery, known for its green space and natural serenity. The cemetery features ornate headstones in a parklike landscape, making it a beautiful destination that functions as a public art display surrounded by nature. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Belvidere also features more green space and parks. Rogers Fort Hill Park and Shedd Park are perfect relaxation spots. The Wyman Bird Sanctuary.
Written by Henry St. Pierre