Summer Activities

Explore Lowell Before Summer’s End

Editor’s Note:  With school back in session, September marks the unofficial end of summer and start of the fall season.  With this change comes a change in our intern staff.  We wish Michelle, our summer intern, the best as she moves on to a new position and we welcome Dorian Taylor, a senior majoring in English at UMass Lowell.  Welcome, Dorian!

With summer coming to an end, it’s time to take advantage of the last few weeks of warm weather and check out some of Lowell’s family-friendly outdoor events happening throughout September.


 Image courtesy of NPS_David Byers

Image courtesy of NPS_David Byers

On Saturday, September 8, the 38th Annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest takes place at Boarding House Park from 10 AM to 6 PM. There will be music workshops, jam sessions, the contest itself, and a special performance by Sarangi Master Shyam Nepali at 2:30 PM. The contest is free for any local banjo and fiddle players to enter, and folk and bluegrass fans can attend for free as well.

If you’re looking to get out on the water one last time before the chill of fall sets in, the Lowell National Historical Park is offering free 90-minute boat tours of the Merrimack River on September 8th and the 16th. On this ranger-led boat ride, visitors will learn about how the Merrimack became a major power source for Lowell’s booming textile industry in the early 1800’s. The tours begin at 1 PM both days at the UMass Lowell Bellegarde Boathouse.


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If you enjoy walking, exploring and eating, Off the Beaten Path's guided food tours of the Canalway Cultural District may just be perfect for you! Taste and discover the amazing diversity of Lowell's food scene and enjoy the beautiful downtown with it's distinctive canals and historic architecture. The tours begin on Saturday, September 8, and will continue every Saturday through September.

For more information visit: www.offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com 


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On September 14th, Enterprise Bank is sponsoring a free outdoor art exhibit at their Merrimack Street location. The exhibit will include pieces that have been created by local youth, and depict a welcoming community here in Lowell. Take a stroll down Merrimack Street and check out the artwork that some of Lowell’s young creatives have to offer.

For more information visit: www.facebook.com/WelcomingWeekLowell/


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From 1 PM to 2 PM on Sunday September 8th, join UMass Lowell professor Bob Forrant on a scenic walk through downtown Lowell and learn about the city’s labor history. The tour is free and will explore the many fascinating stories of men and women from Lowell who worked valiantly to fight for the rights of workers. From early “mill girls” to 20th century immigrants, the story of labor in Lowell spans almost 200 years. The walk will start at the National Park Visitors’ Center, and there will be free parking available in the National Park lot at 304 Dutton Street.


 Photo courtesy of LNHP

Photo courtesy of LNHP

 PARK(ing) Day returns to downtown Lowell on September 21st with this year's theme being "LoWELLness". Local artists Chummeng Soun and Mary Hart will transform selected sidewalk parking spaces into artistic projects and miniature parks with messages of health, fitness, and mindfulness. The event begins at 9 AM Friday, September 21st, and the art installations can be seen on Merrimack Street and Market Street.
 

The Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race is back for its 3rd year! Contestants create all-terrain, cycle-powered sculptures capable of traveling through streets, water, mud and sand, and race against one another in a very entertaining race through downtown Lowell and the Merrimack river. The race will take place on September 22nd from 8:30 AM - 5 PM at the intersection of Market Street and Palmer Street and all throughout Lowell. An after party and award ceremony at the Cobblestones Restaurant.

 

 

Re-Discovering Lowell: An Intern Experience

As my time in the  Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (CASE) comes to an end, I am reflecting on my experiences with the City of Lowell over the past six months.  I grew up just one town over from Lowell, but never really experienced it. To me, Lowell was the Tsongas Center and the Mills. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work in CASE, thanks to the internship program at UMass Lowell, but I am sad to say goodbye!
 


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Learning about Lowell's history throughout my school years and actually experiencing it are two completely different things! Going on a canal tour was one of my favorite things that I have done here at CASE. The Park Rangers are full of knowledge that they are eager to share with you; it is contagious! If you would ask any of my former teachers, I am sure they would say that I was not always mentally present, but the canal tour was so awesome I don't think I had the option of becoming distracted! What made it even better was that it was clear that the Rangers love what they do and really appreciate Lowell's history.


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This city is a true melting pot. All the different cultural groups make every day new, interesting, and vibrant. Most days I can hear a few different types of music; all of it unique and meaningful. The culture here allows for small businesses to thrive because the people understand the importance of tradition and self-expression. The talent that fills this city makes it so you feel like you're traveling to different countries when all you really need to do is cross the street.


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The array of cultural activities includes by music festivals and smaller music venues in the summer months. The Lowell Summer Music Series is one of the coolest experiences I have had attending a concert. I saw Mikky Ekko and Fitz and The Tantrums perform at the beginning of the summer. I was able to get seats right in front of the stage and I was mesmerized by the performances. I do not know of any other venue that provides this type of intimacy. So many people put a lot of work in to make opportunities like this available, many of them volunteers. This city has a great pool of people who want to provide good times and even better memories- I am looking forward to seeing the list of performers for next year's concert series!
 


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With my last day being August 22nd, I am glad to say that Lowell is no longer just the Tsongas Center or the mills to me. Lowell is filled with new things to be discovered every day. Whether it is art, music, food or learning about a new culture-there is always something to celebrate. CASE staff made me feel so welcomed in the office and I will miss working with them, but I couldn't ask for anyone better to really show me what Lowell has to offer.

Things to Do in Lowell Before Summer Ends

Back to school specials may be starting up, but we aren’t ready to think about summer ending just yet! There are many August happenings in Lowell that you will not want to miss out on. End your summer with a bang and celebrate, explore and make memories with us!


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On August 5th, immerse yourself in the island's warmth and traditions at the Puerto Rican Festival. From 12 PM- 10 PM, come to JFK plaza to experience more music, craft vendors, and delicious food!

Then on August 11th, The 17th Annual Blues’ N Brews Festival will rock JFK Plaza starting at 1:30 PM. The festival has decided to make Lowell its new home!  This event will feature performances by Matt Schofield, Dana Fuchs, John Nemeth and Erin Harpe. The brews will include ciders, ales, lagers, meads and more. Festival proceeds go to different charities. There will be craft vendors, food trucks, food booths, prizes and giveaways! Get more information and buy tickets here.


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The 22nd Annual Southeast Asian Water Festival takes place on August 18th. The festival runs from 8 AM – 8 PM along Pawtucket Boulevard. There will be no shortage of things to do throughout the day- food, live music and dancers, vendors and the traditional boat races. More than 60,000 people travel to Lowell to experience and preserve the Southeast Asian heritage at this annual festival.


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There’s no better place to make family memories than the ball park. Catch a Spinners game before the summer ends! Not only are the Lowell Spinners fun and exciting to watch, but Lelacheur Park has something for everybody to do! The "Foul Ball Fun Zone” will put smiles on everyone’s faces, adults and kids alike! There are carnival games, rides and bouncy inflatables. Find the Spinners schedule here.


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More music, cuisine and culture are in store at the the Brazilian Food Festival. Come experience Brazilian culture at this free event held at JKF Plaza on August 25 from 11 AM - 9 PM. All proceeds will benefit Life Connection Center, bringing healthy meals to the homeless community.


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If you have not made it on a canal tour yet, we recommended you do so! There are a few different options for tours to take, but all of them are enjoyable and provide a different way to learn Lowell’s history. You can read the first-hand experience our intern, Michelle, had here, or check out their website for more information!

As always, make sure you keep up with our calendar to stay up to date with all events around the city!


Experience Destination Lowell

Our favorite weekend of summer is finally here! The Lowell Folk Festival begins tonight with the Flag Parade at 6:30 PM and official festival kick-off starting at 6:55 PM! There will not be a shortage of things to do throughout the weekend, but if you are unsure where to start, Destination Lowell is the perfect spot! We will be on Merrimack Street with plenty of information showcasing Lowell's unique and vibrant Arts and Culture scene. Immerse yourself in all things Lowell as Destination Lowell provides the opportunity to experience the many different cultures and lifestyles that we have right here in Lowell.


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Destination Lowell higlights Lowell's rich community resources. There will be many local organizations with information on topics such as Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, a nonprofit organization the mission of which is to promote a better understanding and appreciation of Jack Kerouac's life and literature and the Lowell Cultural Council, whose mission is to promote excellence, access, education and diversity to improve the quality of life for all Lowell residents. Stop by the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust table to meet their environmental educators, check their upcoming programming, or learn about their projects. Make sure you visit these booths and learn what makes Lowell the cool city that it is and how to contribute to making it even better!


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If you haven't experienced the creative, artistic spirit in our great city, Destination Lowell will change that for you. Keep an eye out for the "Lobster Roll", a human powered machine shaped like a giant lobster that will be part of the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race booth. Discover Lowell Makes, a makerspace which offers shared equipment, classes, and opportunities to teach and network. Western Avenue Studios, one of the "must see places" to visit in Lowell, will also be there. Find out what makes this artist community a destination for creatives seeking studio space in the city.


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There will be restaurant and retail booths - Crepes and The City, Fuji Restaurant, Lowell Burger Company, All Star Lounge, Humanity BoutiqueGaleria De Los Andes-Boutique - all of which are located on Merrimack Street. There will also be demonstrations from Mill No. 5, stores such as Crose Nest, Dress and Trousers,Dandelion District. Red Antler Apothecary will transform an empty storefront into a pop-up shop for the weekend!


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There are so many ways to represent Lowell's unique, rich and vibrant cultural scene. Some additional booths that will be located within Destination Lowell are the UMass Lowell Kayak Center, International Institute of New England the Merrimack Antique Bottle Club and the Lowell Historical Society. There are many other places to experience, so make sure you come by and see us this weekend! Check out the Destination Lowell section on the Folk Festival website here.

Summer Outdoor: Energize your Mind and Body

Many organizations in Lowell provide the opportunity to get to know the city on a much deeper level. Both buildings and nature are filled with history, and you can experience it all while getting your steps in! There are multiple programs that incorporate wellness, history and the outdoors and are enjoyable for all ages!


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The Lowell National Historical Park hosts the “Wellness on the Walkways Series.” These guided walking tours allow you to discover Lowell’s waterways, explore the many different canalways and outdoor spaces that are overflowing with history. There are a variety of walks including a photography walk and a birding walk. For each walk you attend, you can get a collectible button as well!

Lowell Walks, hosted by Richard Howe is another series of historical guided walking tours. These tours are held at 10 AM on Saturday mornings, each with a different topic and tour guide. Past topics have been "Abolitionism in Lowell," "Infamous Crimes," "Downtown Architecture" and more. This is a great way to exercise and learn more about Lowell’s past.


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If guided walking tours aren’t up your alley, no worries! There are plenty more options to merge wellness and the experience of Lowell’s natural and historical beauty. The Concord River Greenway is a perfect blend of all the above. The land along the Concord River has so much to share as it has been home to many people throughout its years. There is 2,700 linear feet of path for you to walk or hike while being able to experience the white water rapids, wildlife while surrounded by nature.


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At Boarding House Park, Bija Yoga is hosting Yoga in the Park on Wednesdays from 6– 7 PM. These classes are free, but donations for local organizations are gratefully accepted. Each week Bija Yoga is supporting a different organization. The classes are offered in Kripalu style yoga which emphasizes meditation and breath work, and is appropriate for all levels of students. This is a great opportunity to practice wellness, support and get to know your local organizations and what they do for Lowell! Find out more information here.


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Another great way to experience the Merrimack River is by taking the paddle tours offered by UMass Lowell. They offer sunset paddle tours, full moon and evening paddle tours, and custom paddle tours. Tours start at $30 and are held on alternating Fridays and Saturdays from 7 – 9 PM until September 4th. All tours are guided, include equipment rental, safety/paddling instructions and are appropriate for adults and children. Check out the schedule here.


Make sure you're keeping up with the events happening all summer! Check out our calendar.

Lowell Folk Festival: A Summer Must-Do

It's that time of year again! The 32nd Annual Folk Festival will be will be returning to downtown Lowell with a full lineup beginning with the parade of flags from Lowell's City Hall Plaza to Boarding House Park on Friday July 27th, at 6 PM and then continuing with the finest in traditional music, craft and food throughout the weekend. There is so much culture to be shared and even more memories to be made; this is a summer festival you won't want to miss! 

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The Music

First and foremost, Folk Fest is a showcase for music from all different cultural backgrounds. The festival features five stages of traditional music, from Africa, Hawaii, Columbia, France, Cape Verde and much, much more! Check out the list of this year's performers on the Folk Festival website which includes a map and more information on what to expect! 


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The Food

There will be over a dozen different ethnic groups sharing their delicious cuisines. From Polish to Greek, Asian, Latin, Burmese and everything in between,  all the different aromas will be guiding you on a trip around the world without having to leave Lowell! The food booths will be set up in various locations so you are able to ignite not only your taste buds, but all your other senses while enjoying the art and music all around you.


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The Local Culture

Make sure you stop by Destination Lowell along Merrimack Street! Destination Lowell presents Lowell's vibrant culture and highlights why Lowell is a great destination to enjoy history, art and creative activities all within feet of each other. It's no secret that our Canalway Cultural District is lively and the perfect destination for a summer day. Come check what this year's Destination Lowell has to offer and experience for yourself why "There's a Lot to Like about Lowell!"


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The Artisan Crafts

The Lowell Folk Festival in collaboration with the Brush Art Gallery & Studios, presents Art in the Courtyard: an arts and fine crafts marketplace. This exciting collaboration will provide an opportunity for visitors to view and purchase some of the finest art and craft works being produced.

Art in the Courtyard takes place on Saturday, July 28, noon - 7:30 pm and Sunday, July 29, noon - 6 pm in the shaded, brick-lined courtyard between the National Historical Park Visitor Center and the Brush Art Gallery. 


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The Fun

Festival-goers are in for great fun along Shattuck Street with numerous interactive opportunities.The Lowell National Historical Park Staff will be organizing interactive crafts for all ages. Everyone is invited to try out the traditional games offered by the Recreation Department, which will include ring toss, bean bag toss, muffin tin game, and the ever popular box hockey which was invented in Lowell.


Embark on a Canal Boat Adventure

If you’ve been searching for a way to enjoy this beautiful weather and learning about Lowell’s rich history, you absolutely need to go on a canal boat tour! The tours are provided by the Lowell National Historical Park and are a great way to see how the waterways have supported Lowell’s historical development and growth throughout the years. I just so happened to go on the Working the Water Tour on one of the hottest days of the year (so far,) and it was nice to be on the water for a bit with a nice breeze!

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The tour starts on the platform outside the visitor’s center at 246 Market Street. The park ranger who is leading your tour will give an introduction about what you will be experiencing and some background information before heading to the trolley which brings you to the boat.

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Allison was the Park Ranger who led the tour I was on, and she was answering questions right from the start. Throughout the tour, Allison passed around pictures of how the canals appeared in their early years, maps of the canal system, and of the men who dug the canals or had important roles in canal history.

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Not only was the tour filled with historical facts, but we also got to see a reenactment of how the Swamp Lock gate was manually opened and closed for those passing through.  A sign with the toll prices was another piece that was really cool to see; for some reason it never occurred to me that boats paid tolls too!

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One of the interesting visuals that Allison pointed out as we were going through the canal was that one side was made with stones fitted together and the other side was made with cement blocks. The cement, a more recent improvement, was breaking apart while the stones were solid and looked like they could be just a few years old.

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The tour did not end when we stepped off the boat. Allison continued to give information about canal history and the influence and impact that it has had on Lowell. The tour ended with a trolley ride back to the visitor’s center on Market Street, which is just a short walk away from many unique cafes and restaurants, a perfect way to wrap up your day in the Canalway Cultural District. Check out the dining guide here.

Lowell Summer Music Series Experience

This past Sunday, June 17th, I went to see Mikky Ekko and Fitz and The Tantrums perform at Boarding House Park as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series. The overall experience was a lot of fun and the intimate venue made for a really awesome show.

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I went to the concert with my friend Valerie, and we were determined to get the full experience at Boarding House Park. You are allowed to show up in the morning and put your chairs and blankets down to grab your spot. Valerie and I got in line at 6:58 AM and there were about 20 people in line already. The great thing about this venue is they have different sections for guests with bigger chairs and guests with small chairs and/or blankets, so everyone is able to see the artists performing. We had brought a blanket, so were able to get a spot right in front of the stage.

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After going about our day, we went back to Boarding House Park at 6:00 PM. We quickly headed towards our spot that we had reserved 11 hours earlier, and we were happy to see that no one had moved the blanket. The people who sat adjacent to us were so friendly and kind. The atmosphere was great; everyone was just there to have a good time.  The show started at 7:30 with a Park Ranger giving a quick introduction making sure all of the sponsors for LSMS did not go unnoticed.

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Mikky Ekko was the opening act, and he and his band put on a great show. You could see that he truly loves what he does and the impact that music has on him. During one of their songs Mikky actually came into the audience and interacted with fans while performing.  After their set, we got to meet Mikky himself and his drummer, Gavin. They were so down to earth and kind- I felt like I was just chatting with some friends.

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After a brief intermission, it was time for Fitz and The Tantrums. They came onto the stage and made it very clear that we had to be up dancing and singing along with them! The crowd did not hesitate to do just that. There was a middle school aged kid right in front of us who just might be Fitz and The Tantrums biggest fan; he knew every word to every song and was dancing the whole time. It was so fun to watch him enjoying himself so much and even better to be so close to the stage and see how much fun the band was having as well. Fitz and Noelle, the singers, knew how to keep the energy up in the crowd. They are both so vocally talented by themselves, but their voices accent each other so wonderfully when they sing together it really elevates their music to another level.  Ending the night with canons shooting confetti,  Fitz and The Tantrums were a blast to see in concert and I know the people surrounding me felt the same way!

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Overall, my night at Boarding House Park at the Lowell Summer Music Series was an awesome experience. Getting up early to reserve my spot and being able to trust that no one will touch it is not something you can do at most places. The venue provides an intimate setting and it really does not have a bad seat. This type of experience is not something you are able to have very often without having to pay hundreds of dollars. LSMS provides this amazing venue and experience for such an affordable price and I look forward to going to more shows!


Check out the schedule for the rest of the Lowell Summer Music Series here.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

As the third largest city in Massachusetts, visitors and residents alike are drawn to Lowell for good food, abundant culture, and year-round festivals and events.  A hive for outdoorsy folk that have a soft spot for the arts and culinary exploits; Lowell is quickly becoming a favorite weekend getaway for everyone.  We invite you to take a walk on the wild side with us and discover all that's to like about Lowell.


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Arts & Culture

Art lovers will find true beauty in the wild side of Lowell's art scene. From ever changing exhibits in art galleries like Uncharted or the Arts League of Lowell, one of the largest artist communities in the country at Western Avenue Studios placed in an old mill, there's a lot to like about art in Lowell. A well curated (and ever growing) Public Art collection that's accessible to everyone and plenty of galleries, make Lowell a perfect weekend [art] exploration.
For more about Art & Culture click here!


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Events & Happenings

What do you [not] do in a city that has over 2,000 events every year? It sure gets wild when artists like Sun Ra Arkestra take the stage at the largest free folk festival in the country every July, or when neighbors unite for their summer neighborhood block parties. There really is an event for everyone in Lowell. Some even refer to us as Festival City #1!
Click here for more info on events in Lowell or here for our event calendar!


Food & Drink

So you love food? We do too! Lowell is home to over 200 restaurants. From super casual to super fine dining, Lowell has that amazing selection of authentic ethnic foods that will make you want to come back every day to try a different place! 
For a directory of restaurants in Lowell please click here!


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Outdoor Fun

The "dog days of summer" are above us and there are plenty of things to explore that are part of Lowell's wild side. From Kayak and SUP rentals at the Bellegarde Boathouse to over 4 miles of beautiful river and canal walks waiting to be explored! Make it your family challenge to visit and experience one, or all, of the over 80 public parks Lowell has to offer.

Summer Festivals and Fun Happenings in Lowell

While the Lowell Folk Festival may be over there are still more festival celebrations and activities around the corner to entertain you for the rest of the summer! As we enter August, visit Lowell and discover all there is to like about our city. Mark you calendars, because these activities are a great way to end your summer on a high note!

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1. Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival

Lowell has a rich culture that enhances the city, attracting people from across the country and providing the perfect setting to preserve and share the cultural heritages of the Southeast Asian Community. Add the Southeast Asian Water Festival to your list of festivals and join in as the city celebrates the culture with endless food, crafts, performances and of course the famous Dragon boat races!

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2. Brazilian Food Festival

What's better than spending your afternoon eating exquisite traditional Brazilian food? The Brazilian Food Festival is for all the foodies out there, as it brings live music, authentic Brazilian dishes and delicious desserts for all to enjoy. Come experience Brazilian culture at this free event held at JKF Plaza. All proceeds will benefit Life Connection Center, bringing healthy meals to the homeless community.

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3. Lowell Summer Music Series

The music scene is always vibrant in Lowell as the Lowell Summer Music Series continues all summer long! Although the Folk Festival has come to an end, Boarding House Park music festivities haven't, as artists are lined up for all to listen. Boarding House Park is perfectly located near an abundance of local restaurants, so you can enjoy a bite to eat before or after the concert! Make a night with family and friends and discover why Lowell is the place to visit for a great night out.

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4. Family Festival

Every summer the Center for Hope and Healing transforms Shedd Park into a mini carnival with endless activities, food, music,face painting and more. This year's Family Festival will also include  zumba, yoga and sports. according to the Center for Hope and Healing, "This family friendly event raises funds to support survivors of abuse and serves as an opportunity to increase awareness of violence prevention education in our community." This event is a great way to have fun while supporting a great cause.

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5. Made in Lowell: Friday Nights!

Looking to celebrate the end of a long week?  Well, we have just the event that will get you outdoors and keep you entertained for hours! Friday Nights! is returning to The Mill Yard with delicious food, beautiful art, music and a beer garden. Lowell’s non-profit Made in Lowell hosts Friday Nights every second Friday of every month until October, so if you haven’t experienced this event you will definitely want to stop by! 

Lowell is a hotspot for festivals and summer fun, so come take a trip on the wild side and discover why There’s a Lot to Like about Lowell.

Destination Lowell - A Showcase of Lowell's Best

The 31st annual Lowell Folk Festival will bring the best of traditional music, food and crafts for all to enjoy.  This year’s Destination Lowell will offer visitors a more engaging, interactive experience by transforming Merrimack Street into hubs of activity, entertainment, outdoor sports and local vendors. We hope that festival visitors will soon discover why There's a Lot to Like about Lowell! Here are some things to look forward to.

1.  Art, Culture and Heritage

Located at the entrance of Destination Lowell between Shattuck Street and Palmer Street, the Art, Culture and Heritage area will feature a dozen local organizations offering information, giveaways and more!  Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, Western Avenue Studios and Merrimack Repertory Theater are some of this year’s participants.  Come experience Lowell’s rich and vibrant cultural scene!

2. Outdoor Fun, Sports and Recreation

As you walk further down Merrimack Street, you will see Destination Lowell’s first of three activation areas.  This area creates the perfect setting for outdoor recreation and sports organizations to promote themselves, while engaging attendees through interactive activities involving crafts, games, music, sports and fitness.  For those who love competition, this is the hub for you! Destination Lowell will provide giant outdoor games such as cornhole, checkers and jenga for all ages to enjoy while listening to some beautiful folk music in Downtown Lowell’s historic setting. 

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3. Events and Happenings

Once you’ve experienced the fun and entertaining activities at the recreation area, continue strolling down Merrimack Street to the next area that Destination Lowell has set up for you.  There are plenty of things to do at the events and happenings hub, located between Kirk and John Street. This area creates spaces for local companies like Made in Lowell, DIY Lowell, Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race and the Puerto Rican Festival to promote upcoming events and provide information on ways to get involved. 

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4. Lifestyle

The last area is the lifestyle hub.  This area will serve as a great way for participants to stay relax and unwind as Destination Lowell partners with Mill No. 5 to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Red Apothecary and Derek’s SooHoo Pottery are some of the local businesses that will have exhibits and demonstrations for all to enjoy!

 

Come check what this year’s Destination Lowell has to offer and experience for yourself why people believe Lowell is the number one festival city, as it continues to host the largest free folk festival in the United States! The Lowell Folk Festival seeks to present the finest traditional music, dance, crafts, ethnic food and cultural treasures that make up Lowell’s diverse community.   This is a free event.  For more information visit: http://lowellfolkfestival.org/

Lowell: Urban Adventures and Activities to Enjoy This Summer.

Looking for ways to enjoy the beautiful summer weather with family and friends? Not only does the city have picturesque views of the Merrimack River and its historic mill buildings, but there are enough trails, walkways and fishing spots to keep you on your feet this summer! Here are some free outdoor activities to enjoy while soaking up some vitamin D. 

Lowell's Urban Trails

1. The Riverwalk

If the heat is weighing you down, take a scenic walk along the Merrimack River to escape the humidity and cool off with a refreshing river breeze. The Riverwalk is located along the Mile of Mills on the southern bank of the Merrimack River, connecting the Boott Mills, Tsongas Center, UMass Lowell as well as Lelacheur Park. Not only is this walkway great for running and taking pictures, it has some of the best sunset views in the Merrimack Valley! You may even see a Blue Heron, so make sure you bring your camera. 

2. The Western Canalway

Located right behind the Tsongas Center, the Western Canalway is not only a beautiful walking path, it contains historic elements such as The Lawrence Turbine House, Hickey Hall Dam and the Tremont and Suffolk Mills. The Western Canal has a natural quality, and once you’re done walking, outdoor picnic tables located behind the Tsongas Center provide the perfect spot to relax and refuel. 

3. The Concord River Greenway

People typically associate the Merrimack River when they think of Lowell Massachusetts. While the Merrimack does cut through the city, the Concord River Greenway Park is a gem to keep in mind this summer.  This hidden treasure is not only a scenic walking route, but a part of the cit’'s regional trail network that connects to Lowell’s largest open spaces- Shedd Park and Rogers Fort Hill Park- to the center of the city. Other links in the Concord River Greenway are in the planning process and once complete will add to the network of walkways that have been developed by the City of Lowell and Lowell National Historic Park.  Although the Greenway is undergoing some expansion, there is plenty of walkway to enjoy in the meantime! 

U.S. National Park Services

4. Lowell National Historical Park

The Lowell National Historical Park offers a wide variety of programs that include boat tours, mill & trolley tours, free-fee days at the Boott Mills Museum and Visitors’ Center and free family programs throughout the summer.  Whether it’s taking a relaxing boat tour, or spending the day with a park ranger, there are enough activities and events to fill up your summer.  The National Park’s popular series of family programs called Your City Saturday occurs on the third Saturday of every month, so be sure to check out these programs before the summer comes to an end!

Recreational Activities

5. Hike, Fish and Bike through the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest

Located in three towns, this forest contains 1,140 acres including 180 acres of ponds, swamps, and wetlands.  The forest has six miles of trails designed for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.  If you’re searching for the perfect fishing spot, the state forest is filled with ponds and you’re bound to catch something even if you’re a first time angler!  

6. Lowell Walks

Looking to learn about the history of Lowell?  Lowell Walks are free walking tours of Lowell led by knowledgeable tour guides.  Walks begin on Saturdays at 10 a.m. from Lowell National Park Visitor Center, 246 Market Street and typically last 90 minutes.  The walking tours will run all summer long and no registration is required.  Come explore Lowell and learn about its historical background from experts.

If your goal is to stay active and outdoors this summer, Lowell offers an abundance of activities that cater to all ages, so be sure to check out these local sites while the weather is nice!