By Lauren Leblanc on June 9, 2017 - Growing up in a suburban town that lacked diversity, it wasn't until coming to college in Lowell that I realized just how special the city is. The culture, diversity and liveliness Lowell offers to its residents and visitors is truly remarkable. If you are looking to live or visit a community that fosters educational success, creativity, cultural acceptance and civic engagement, Lowell is the place for you! As a current student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a young adult looking to enhance my life experiences, I have never felt more at home than I do living in Lowell, and here are some reasons why.
Yes, I’ll admit I was one of those elementary students who came to Lowell during a third grade field trip to tour the Lowell Industrial History Center. Lowell was the center of the Industrial Revolution starting in 1840 and continues to proudly showcase this history with its restored mills. Whether you are taking a scenic walk through the Locks and Canals Historic District, or visiting the New England Quilt Museum, there is enough history and culture here to keep people of all ages engaged. In addition to being known for its nationally recognized museums such as the Boott Cotton Mills Museum and the Whistler House Museum of Art, Lowell is a naturally breathtaking place to explore, while learning some of the city’s history along the way. If you’re in the mood for a peaceful yet picturesque nature walk, the Riverwalk along the Merrimack River or the Greenway along the Concord River are hidden gems many overlook upon coming to Lowell. Get those cameras ready!
As someone who grew up in the suburbs, I can tell you what a breath of fresh air it was to move to Lowell this past fall. What attracted me to UMass Lowell is like the city itself, the university has a diverse student body. Students from all 50 states and over 50 countries make up the student population. The city of Lowell is truly a melting pot with a large Cambodian, African American and Puerto Rican presence that is continuing to grow and flourish. No matter your background or culture, Lowell allows its residents and visitors the opportunity to embrace and experience a variety of cultures through annual festivals offered throughout the year. Catering to all ages and backgrounds, the Lowell Folk Festival (the largest folk festival in the United States), African Festival and the Southeast Asian Water Festival are some of the many ways one can enjoy the food, music and customs that make Lowell special. As someone who has attended the Folk Festival for a few years now, I can tell you the festival is something worth seeing, hearing and taking part in if you haven’t already!
Love fresh produce and supporting local businesses? One of the amazing things about Lowell is it supports local farms and hosts farmers markets throughout the year. The newly renovated Mill No. 5 is a great place to shop for local produce, desserts, home accessories and more every Sunday from 11am-3pm. You can take your love for farmers’ markets one step further and experience the city’s original urban outdoor farmers market. Since 1979, Community Teamwork has sponsored the Lowell Farmers’ Market, offering fresh, locally grown produce from area farmers, as well as meats, fish, honey, baked goods and more. If you are looking for a fun after school activity, or way to de-stress after your workday, the market is open Fridays, from July through October in Lucy Larcom Park.
Where Camaradery is Alive
The second I step foot in the Tsongas Center wearing my Riverhawks jersey, or walk up the steps to LeLacheur Park, I feel like I am a part of something special. The energy felt at the hockey and baseball games is such an electrifying experience. Sporting events bring communities together, and that is exactly what the Tsongas Center and LeLacheur Park aim to do. Lowell is home to UMass Lowell’s Division One hockey team, the three-time champions of the Hockey East Division, the most competitive conference for college hockey. When hockey season comes to an end, enjoy a warm summer evening watching the Lowell Spinners minor league baseball team (the farm team of the Boston Red Sox) play at Lelacheur Park.
Lowell is a smaller city in terms of its population, but it has big city attractions including professional sports, nationally recognized museums, parks, theaters, a university and community college, farmer markets, festivals, and a river that binds it all together. When I asked my friend Caitlin, who is a current UMass Lowell student about the Lowell community, she reflected saying “the community in this city is filled with love and opens its arms to everyone. You can truly be yourself in Lowell, and you can always find something to do.” Although I have only experienced Lowell for a short time, I have finally found a place to call home. To me, Lowell is a place that accepts and challenges its community members to become engaged. It's a community that strives for an inclusive atmosphere that is always growing, changing and offering new opportunities to celebrate history, arts, food and community.