By Allison Lamey - Lowell’s rich history, compact size, and diverse mix of festivals and events make it a great city to explore with kids. I asked my kids (three boys aged 9, 6, and 2) what they like to do most in Lowell. Here are some of their favorites.
1. Music, Art, Theatre, Oh My!
There’s no better place to cultivate an appreciation for the arts in your kids than in Lowell.
The Cultural Organization of Lowell maintains a calendar of exhibits and events that are sure to please kids of any age. Some of our favorites include the Lowell Summer Music Series free concerts at Boarding House Park and the many community events organized by Made in Lowell. For the budding artist in your home, many galleries in Lowell offer youth classes and you can watch artists at work during first Saturday of each month at Western Avenue Studios. My six year old is particularly fond of the glass blowing demonstrations at Mill City Glassworks!
2. Free Movies
Our go to spot on a rainy afternoon is the Magical Mystery Movie Club at the Luna Theatre in Mill No. 5. Every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. they show free movies, rated G or PG, that are unannounced until the start of the show – hence the “mystery”! House lights are kept a bit brighter than normal and you’re free to come and go so there’s no pressure to keep active kiddos confined to a seat for 90 minutes. As an added bonus the seats are so comfortable your little one (or you) may get in an unexpected nap.
Trains are a big favorite in my house so the National Park Service trolley rides are a go to activity for us. They offer free rides between the Visitors’ Center and the Boott Mills Museum throughout the day. For a longer, more educational experience NPS offers several guided tours, for a small fee, that delve into the history of the canals and mills that shaped Lowell. When you’re done your little ones can make believe they’re a trolley conductor on the child-size replica at Mack Plaza.
4. Picnics on the Waterfront
Lowell offers several great spots to lay down a blanket and picnic along the Merrimack River. Our favorite spots include the Vandenberg Esplanade along the VFW Highway, Sheehy Park on Pawtucket St. near UMass Lowell South Campus, and the Riverwalk behind the Tsongas Arena. All three locations have walking paths that are stroller, bike, and pet friendly. The Esplanade and Sheehy Park are also a great spot to watch rowers and kayakers.
5. The Lowell Spinners
Lowell proudly boasts its minor league baseball team, the Lowell Spinners, and it affiliation with the Boston Red Sox. The stadium offers great views from any seat, fun entertainment between innings, and a kids’ play area if your little ones get restless. The affordable prices mean you can bring the whole family and still have money for peanuts and cracker jacks.
Lowell’s growing reputation as a cultural food hub means there’s something to please everyone no matter how sophisticated their taste buds may be. Lowell has a great variety of restaurants offering classic American cuisine and ethnic dishes representative of Lowell’s diverse population. While we have our favorites in every neighborhood our kids love to eat downtown where they can people watch until their meals arrive. You can check out the great variety of restaurants here. My nine year old wants to make sure I also mention that after dinner you can pick up a yummy treat from one of several downtown shops including Sweet Journey, Little Delight’s Bakery, or Sweet Lydia’s. Dessert is healthy for you when it’s made local, right?