Lowell is a city with unique historic and contemporary features. Located on the Merrimack River, the city developed as an industrial center in the nineteenth century and many of the mills and canals that were built over the years are still standing today.
Lowell's combination of natural and built environments creates dramatic vistas throughout the city. Sightseers have many vantage points from which to survey the city. This is a sampler of these vantage points for viewing the city, whether for an Instagram post, personal observation or as part of an activity.
1. Merrimack River Behind LeLacheur Park
LeLacheur Park is home to the Lowell Spinners, the Class-A, short season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, as well as the UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team. Behind the stadium is a riverwalk extending through UMass Lowell's East Campus. The trees obscure this particular view slightly until a clearing opens up and a sandy beach is revealed.
This beach offers a view of the Merrimack River at its widest point in Lowell. Looking across is a view of both Pawtucketville (to the west/southwest) and Centralville (to the east/northeast). The river at this beach is a torrent in the spring but calm in the summer. Also, Beaver Brook empties into the Merrimack directly across the river. This is a great spot to watch for bald eagles perched in nearby trees! Lowell has many great views of the Merrimack and this location is a gem.
2. Canal near UMass Lowell's Fox Hall
Amateur and professional photographers alike appreciate a beautiful sunset, especially when it creates a mesmerizing, peaceful reflection on water. The view of the northern canal, located between UMass Lowell's East Campus and Father Morissette Boulevard, offers stunning scenes. The canal extends from Pawtucket Street to Suffolk Street and a walk along the canal-bordering path provides great opportunities for sunrise to sunset pictures.
3. Inside Mill No. 5
This view isn't as much of a "view" as it is a historical vista. Mill No. 5 is a collection of distinctive small businesses located in a Jackson Street mill built in 1873. Once the elevator doors open into the fourth floor, Mill 5 presents a metaphor of the city itself and is just waiting to be photographed.
Preserved, nineteenth-century architecture and modern renovations combine with the flair and personality of small businesses to create something truly special. There are many eye-catching features along the central hall's creaky wood floor. Visitors are in for a unique shopping experience when they visit the mill.
4. Merrimack River Bike Path
The river bike path is located at the southernmost point of the Centralville neighborhood, running just below the VFW Highway. The path, in addition to being a great place to walk, jog, and observe wildlife such as waterfowl and beavers, offers beautiful views of both the Merrimack and Concord Rivers. The Concord River is no tiny tributary; it flows north from Wayland to Lowell where it empties into the Merrimack.
The path is the best location in Lowell to view the confluence of the two rivers, providing plenty of changing water and "Mile of Mill" views.
5. Concord River at Muldoon Park
Muldoon Park, located in the South Lowell neighborhood near Lawrence Street, features a landing on the Concord River. This is the perfect place to relax, take photos, fish or launch a boat.
6. Christian Hill Resrvoir
The Christian Hill Reservoir in Centralville has one of the highest natural points in the city. The lack of bright lights surrounding the elevated reservoir makes this a great destination for stargazing.
Viewing the horizon offers incredible sights across the entire city below. On clear days, New Hampshire and its mountain ranges can be seen! This location is not only the top of the city but is also the top of any list for sightseers.
7. Robinson Middle School Parking Lot
Like the Christian Hill Reservoir, the Robinson Middle School is located in Centralville and is also a high point in Lowell. For this reason, the school's parking lot is a convenient and popular destination for viewing the 4th of July fireworks over the river below.
Looking out at the horizon, the entire city can be seen in all directions, as well as Dracut, Tewksbury and the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest.
8. UMass Lowell's South Campus
Behind UMass Lowell's South Campus's Allen House lies a gently-sloping hill leading to a softball field, basketball courts and larger green space. This spot, surrounded by trees and overlooking the softball field with the Merrimack River in the near distance, provides a very peaceful view.
9. Merrimack River Rapids from the Howe Bridge
The Merrimack River rapids run between the Pawtucket Dam and Beaver Brook. The Howe Bridge (University Avenue) provides a high observation point both upriver towards the dam and down river towards the brook.
Nearby is a small veteran's memorial park with benches and a railing separating the landing from the drop below. It's a great place to view the river and see how the river splits Pawtucketville, directly across the water, and Centralville, further downstream, from the rest of Lowell. University Avenue and the nearby park are also great spots to watch the spring waters roar over bedrock and to catch sight of ducks, geese, herons and other waterfowl as they fly over the bridge.
10. Lowell Cemetery
Lowell Cemetery is a destination for those seeking natural tranquility and serenity. The cemetery - established in 1841 - is centered on a parklike setting in the Belvidere neighborhood. Rolling hills, bright greens and mature trees blend beautifully with ornate, elegant tombstones.
The Lowell Cemetery provides many ways to experience and learn about Lowell through the natural setting, rich history and public art unique to those who are remembered here.
Written by Henry St. Pierre