Explore Like A Local

Handmade in the Heart of Lowell

Lowell has many entrepreneurial types who have made their dreams become reality. We are so happy that these businesses are sharing their hard work and talent. If you are looking to support a local business while getting quality product, look no further! Here are some of the businesses whose home and heart are in Lowell.


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Red Antler Apothecary

Created in 2013, the Red Antler Apothecary set out to create products with natural ingredients that are healthy for your skin and bade. They list all their ingredients used in their products all of which are cruelty free! Their products are handmade and include household cleaning, soaps, shampoos and many other self-care items. Red Antler is located at Mill No. 5, and occasionally they provide workshops, such as their "Bath Bomb Boogie Workshop," which is being held April 20th. For more information, click here.


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Ymittos Candles

For over 100 years, Ymittos Candles has been crafting candles without using automation or modern machinery. They are New England's oldest, continually operating candle factory and supply candles for churches as well as hospitality, design/home, and the film industries. Ymittos has provided handcrafted candles for movies for over 20 years and over 40 films, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, The Dark Knight. The store is located on 279 Dutton Street. To find out more, check out their website here.


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Purple Carrot Bread Co.

Located at 250 Jackson Street, Purple Carrot Bread Company focuses on fresh, hearth style European breads with no chemicals or preservatives. Purple Carrot also specializes in savory and rustic pastries such as scones, croissants and cookies. Their breads are dairy free and mostly vegan. Some exciting news from Purple Carrot is they will be opening a full service cafe on Merrimack Street that will include their current products along with fresh soups, salads and hand carved sandwiches. Keep an eye out for their opening date here, or on their Facebook.


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Sweet Lydia's

What started out as an experiment is now a business that is a staple in many people's homes. Sweet Lydia's, located at 160 Merrimack street, creates one-of-a-kind s'mores. These delicious sweets have won the editor's choice food award from Yankee Magazine and have also been featured on WCVB. Sweet Lydia's offers care packages, gift boxes, and wedding favors. Check out all the different sweets Lydia's has to offer in person, or here on their website!


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Breweries

We have two breweries here in Lowell. Merrimack Ales, lcoated at 92 Bolt Street, is open for tastings every day of the week with varying hours. Merrimack Ales has their beers in different stores and restaurants around the area, so if you cannot make it to the tap room, you'll have plenty of opportunity to taste test at a local spot! Check out more about  their beers and the Hypothesis Series here.

The second brewery is Navigation Brewing located at Western Ave. Studios. Navigation just celebrated their fourth anniversary, and they are open Thursday through Sunday with varying hours. When the taproom is open, there will typically be a food truck or food vendor for you and your friends to enjoy while tasting craft brews. Navigation just created a new series called the Uncharted Series to which new brews are added monthly. To find out more about Navigation Brewing, click here.

Get Inspired in Lowell

Lowell is home to many artists, musicians, actors and other creative people. Having all this creative spirit generates a vibrant atmosphere that continues to help local artists follow their dreams and do what they love. Here are some ways that people in the City of Lowell can help inspire you as well.


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Art

From the month of March through May, local artist Dave Phaneuf’s work will be on display at TreMonte Pizzeria. Dave’s work is of local buildings and reflects his love of historic architecture and recording of subtle street views. His work is done in detailed pen and ink, enabling you to see the beauty in something you may have previously seen as mundane. Find out more about Dave's display here.  Another local artist, Scott Stephens, will have his work on display from March through May as well. Scott’s artwork will be displayed at the Mandarin Asian Bistro. Scott, a graduate of Lowell High, is showing his intricately layered collages that are inspired by his music, travels and his studies at Mass College of Art. Check out Scott’s work and challenge your mind to interpret these elaborate collages. Find out more about Scott's display here.

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Western Avenue Studios is a five acre complex that nurtures the arts and artists. The complex has three buildings that consist of 250 work only studios, 50 live/work lofts and cooperative artist run gallery, The Onyx Room Performance space. Whitsett Guitar Works and Navigation Brewing Company are also located here. Western Ave Studios has created an inspiring and supportive community for the artists who utilize their spaces, and many of them host classes in their studio. There is a wide range in the types of classes you can take. If you want to experience this creative hub for yourself, check out their website here.

An exhibit that incorporates both art and history opens on March 24th at the Mogan Cultural Center. The Branding Lowell exhibit will highlight the branding and design used in Lowell since its founding in 1836 up until the present day. Many of the local artists will be in attendance on opening day.


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Music

The Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra provides classical and pops music, and provides concerts that are comfortable and engaging for all ages. Founded in 1987, they have performed all around the greater Merrimack Valley, with a mission to inspire others through music, foster future generations of musicians and music lovers by actively encouraging area youth to become involved with local music. The LPO incorporates young musicians into their winter family concert each year and high school students are encouraged to join.

The Hearing Room is an art center and listening room that hosts regular events for local artists to share their work. Every Tuesday, they host an open mic night that welcomes music, poetry, storytelling, or comedy, encouraging original material. On Thursday’s The Hearing Room hosts a “mostly acoustic jam” where all levels of experience, genres, ages, and voices are welcome. Twice a month there is a songwriters club that makes sharing your materials and getting feedback (if you want) much easier as this event is informal and supportive. For more events at The Hearing Room, click here.

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The Luna Theater is another spot that offers regular events. Every Thursday, the Luna  hosts the “Luna Sessions,” with live jazz music being played by some of the most talented local artists. They also host “Weirdo Wednesdays,” an evening of Cult Cinema from all eras and multiple genres. This event is free and you don’t know what will be showing until 7:30 PM on Wednesday nights! Keep up with the events at the Luna Theater by checking our calendar.

Lowell in the Movies

Hollywood isn't the only place where movies are made. The city of Lowell has provided the setting for some great movies with its historic buildings, cobblestone streets and scenic views. Between 'Professor Marston and the Wonder Women', 'Proud Mary' and 'The Fighter', the last few years have been great for filmmaking in Lowell.

Next time you go to the movies, keep your eyes peeled: you might see some familiar sights!


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The Invention of Lying

Outsiders might not realize 'The Invention of Lying' was shot in Lowell, but to Lowellians there's no mistaking the landmark architecture featured in the film.  Central Street, the Merrimack River, City Hall, The Dubliner, the Cox Bridge, are some of the Lowell landmarks featured in this fantasy romantic comedy written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson. Gervais was quoted as saying he chose Lowell because "it looks so good on film". Go watch it now if you haven't!


The Fighter

There's a big difference between scenes from a movie shot in Lowell and a genuine "Lowell movie." The Fighter, definitely fits the second category. A look at the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother Dicky, who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s, the movie takes place on location in the Mill City. Its boxing matches were shot at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, and gym scenes at Arthur Ramalho's West End Gym, one of the real-life facilities where Ward had trained. Cupples Square, East Merrimack Street and Top Donut are some of the other Lowell locations shown in the movie.


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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

The movie, directed by Angela Robinson, is a biographical drama about American psychologist William Moulton Marston, who created the fictional character Wonder Woman. Crucial period exteriors were shot in downtown Lowell. "We were fortunate in all these locations were run by incredibly generous historians and curators." says production designer Carl Sprague. "Even the location of the Marston house in Lowell belonged to Seth Cooper of the Tsongas Industrial History Center. All these people were as excited as we were to bring life to a past that is so beautifully preserved in these places."

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Proud Mary

Last year crews descended on the city to film scenes for Screen Gems' action thriller "Proud Mary", starring Taraji P. Henson. Proud Mary tells the story of Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family, whose maternal instinct is awakened when she meets a young boy. In the film you'll see glimpses of actual Lowell locations: Palmer Street, Central Street and Moulton Avenue for scenes shot inside WCAP Studios, and Bridge Street over the Merrimack River. 


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School Ties (side note) 

If you remember 'School Ties',  Dana's Luncheonette on Gorham Street had a major part in the opening credits, plus some additional scenes were filmed inside the now defunct market.


Valentine's Day...lots to love!

We know how hard it can be to plan an evening out during the week, but you don't have to wait until the fourteenth to celebrate your love here in Lowell! There will be plenty of events around the city starting this weekend for you to enjoy by yourself, with your valentine and even a girls night out.


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Still searching for the right gift to give your special someone? Or maybe you just want to spoil yourself? You can do both while supporting local artists! On Saturday, February 10th, there will be a pop-up shop, Love Sick at Western Ave at the Loading Dock Gallery, 122 Western Avenue. It will be open from 12-5 PM. This event is kid friendly and will be filled with local artists who have created beautiful, unique, handmade gifts. Also on February 10th, don't miss Love Buzz V at Mill No. 5. This event will be held from 12-4 PM and features two floors of amazing vendors for you to find just the right gift for your special someone!


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Perhaps a classic movie is the way you would want to celebrate with your valentine. The Luna Theater will be screening the classic romantic-drama Casablanca on Sunday, February 11th. This 1942 Academy Award winning film will be showing at 2:05, 5:05, and 8:05. So no matter what kind of day you want to plan, whether it be to enjoy a nice brunch or dinner, check out our directory of restaurants in Lowell. You'll be able to go back in time 76 years and enjoy a thrilling movie with your valentine.


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On Valentine's Day, UnchARTed will be hosting a Valentine's Day Story Slam. This event will consist of people sharing their stories of love and heartbreak. If you want to share your story, signups start at 7 o'clock, but if you would rather just go and listen and meet some interesting and inspiring new people, the event itself starts at 7:30 PM. There will be music, food and drinks to enjoy as well.


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Looking for an event for a girls night out? Look no further than Tutto Bene! On February 15th, they'll be be hosting a Gal-entine's Day. This will be a floral arrangement class paired with a complimentary wine tasting. The event starts at 6:30 PM. Call your girls and get your tickets so you can all create beautiful floral arrangements while spending quality time together. Tutto Bene Wine and Cheese cellars is located at the rear of 58 Prescott Street.

If You Love Pizza, Lowell is Your Place!

Nothing is as satisfying as a hot pizza fresh from the oven when you're hungry. Whether you prefer a classic or gourmet pie, the oooey gooey cheesy deliciousness of pizza is hard to beat. Thankfully, Lowell, with its many spots, doesn't disappoint. In fact in Lowell we make pizza an art form. Warning: mouth watering content ahead! 

For a directory of pizza places in Lowell please click here
 


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Tremonte Pizzeria

Tremonte Pizzeria is a casual Italian spot specializing in Neopolitan thin-crust, hand-tossed pizza cooked in a stone hearth oven at over 700 degrees. This method produces a thin crust that's strong enough to hold classic toppings such as roasted peppers, onions, and sausage. If you prefer something a little bit more gourmet they have plenty of choices - from shrimp scampi and meatball & ricotta to cheeseburger. (Yes, a cheeseburger with all the fixings on a pizza.) 


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UnchARTed Gallery

You don't expect your mouth to start watering when you walk into an art gallery, yet this is exactly what happens when you set foot inside UnchARTed Gallery on Market Street in downtown Lowell. While their menu offers a delicious variety of sandwiches, soups and salads, the pizza really stands out from the rest. The Mushy Goat comes topped with marinated mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese and garlic olive oil. Another great choice is the Evil Piggy. A spicy pizza topped with pulled pork, ham and bacon, drizzled with cilantro and avocado buttermilk ranch. Can't go wrong.


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Fabiano's Pizzeria & Cafe

Fabiano's Pizzeria and Cafe is a cornerstone in the Lowell community and has been recognized for its outstanding Pizza cuisine, excellent service and friendly staff. The Prosciutto Arugula (a pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto and baby arugula) is a must, but so are the calzones and house specialties. The casual seating area is perfect for a quick bite, but if you want pizza to-go, order online and pick up a fresh pie in store. 


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Espresso Pizza

Espresso Pizza is a Lowell institution. This family-owned pizza joint serves an amazing variety of pies and slices including breakfast pizza, Hawaiian and meat pie. They still continue to use the original recipe for the pizza dough and pizza sauce since first opening the doors in 1962, which is what makes Espresso so unique. The combination of the "sweet" tomato sauce and the saltiness of the cheese makes for an incredibly tasty pizza, a favorite of locals and visitors alike.


Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising Pizza

Serving Lowell and the surrounding areas, Phoenix Rising Pizza is a family owned and operated wood fired mobile pizza truck that turns out delicious Neapolitan-style pies. They make all of their pizzas with traditional ingredients such as tomatoes, flour, olive oil and cheese all from Italy. The wood fired oven gives it that signature crispy, bubbly texture, perfect to pile on a load of specialty toppings. Their hours and locations are always changing so please follow them on Facebook to get the weekly schedule.


Warm Up with Art, Culture and Food

The Bomb Cyclone has hit Lowell this week and while this is bound to create problems for drivers and residents, it is also an opportunity for adventurous locals to bundle up, go out and find ways to have fun in the city. From open studios to new theatrical productions, there's a lot to like about 2018!


Image courtesy of Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Image courtesy of Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Merrimack Repertory Theatre's KNYUM

From January 10th to February 4th, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre will run the world premiere of KYNUM. Written and performed by Vichet Chum, the son of Cambodian immigrant parents, the one-man play tells the autobiographical story of a guy working the night shift at a New York hotel and going to class by day, downing cups of coffee as he tries to learn Khmer, the language of his family's home. In the process he will awaken to parts of his heritage, both beautiful and excruciating, which shine through only in his wildly luminous dreams. 

Tickets and times available here.
 


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Start Your New Year With Art at Western Avenue

What better way to acquaint yourself with Lowell's art scene than to visit Western Avenue Open Studios, this Saturday, January 6, noon to 5 p.m. This monthly event gives people a chance to browse through unique studios and chat with artists in their environment. Visitors can expect to see a wide range of art including jewellry, ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture, printmaking, photography and many other media. 

For more information on other galleries and museums click here.
 


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Shop Local and Fresh at the Farm Market

The Farm Market at Mill No. 5 begins the new year on January 7th. Local and fresh produce, baked goods, home and body care products and much more are available on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit the Farm Market's Facebook.
 


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Enjoy Local Dining

Take refuge from winter weather in the many local restaurants and coffee shops. With plenty of places to choose from, this is the perfect time of the year to explore new dining opportunities and revisit old time favorites. From casual to fine dining, the Lowell food scene has it all!

For a directory of restaurants in Lowell please click here!
 

Snow Fun in the City

Now that the first snow of the season has fallen and the city is covered in a blanket of white, there’s a few ways that you can make the most of the change in weather and enjoy fun times ahead.  From taking walks to sledding, there’s plenty to do in the city after the snow falls.


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Take a Walk on the Waterways:

The city’s waterways can be a great place to enjoy a walk in the snow.  The Lowell National Historical Park’s Waterways give you four distinct trails.  Start with the Heritage Hike and explore the history and culture of the city’s storied “Acre” neighborhood.  Then, walk the Redevelopment Rove where historic mill complexes and canalside spaces are now vibrant neighborhoods.   Next, there’s the Waterpower Walk along which lock chambers, gatehouses, turbine pits and dams celebrate the innovations that changed modern industry.  The longest trail, the Riverwalk Ramble, allows you to take a stroll along the Merrimack River and see the views from the Boott Cotton Mills to LeLacheur Park.  Look at the park’s trail map for more information.


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Enjoy Recreational Activities in the State Forest:

With over 1,000 acres to explore, the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest is a splendid location to take a hike or do more outdoor recreational activities in the snow.  Through 6 miles of trails, you can enjoy hiking as well as other activities such as trail running, snowmobiling, skiing and more.  There’s plenty of sightseeing to do as well, with views of ponds and wetlands providing a scenic panorama of the regional woodland.  Forest animals from beavers to deer can also make an appearance so the trail is also great for nature photography and can serve as inspiration for artists as well.  To see the full possibilities, the trail map offers more information.


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Go Sledding and Snowshoeing in Neighborhood Parks:

New snow brings fun activities that the whole family can enjoy and neighborhood parks are the perfect places for recreation.  If you’re a fan of sledding or snow tubing, Shedd Park on Rogers Street and the Christian Hill Reservoir are locations to enjoy this fun activity with friends and family.  With over 50 acres, Shedd Park offers plenty of space for such activities and can also serve as a source for other recreational fun such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  

So, these pastimes can present new traditions to enjoy winter weather and help you discover other recreational opportunities in your local neighborhood parks.


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Other Fun Activities:

Live performances are an entertaining way to enjoy the snow for those looking for other forms of recreation.  Plus, the city’s social scene calls for a night filled with laughter, joy and company.  So if you’re looking for humor, Mondo Monday returns to The Luna Theater on December 18th and The Hearing Room introduces their first ever Amateur Comedy Night on Friday, December 29th.  For more entertainment, there’s also the Acoustic Bluegrass Jam this Friday, December 15th and the Great American Songbook on Sunday, December 17th at The Hearing Room where acoustic instruments and traditional jazz are featured.

Four Festive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

The holidays are an exciting and joyful way to spend time with family and friends and rejoice on all of the wonders of life.  Whether you’re looking for fun activities or you’re still looking for the perfect holiday gift, there’s much to do in the city this time of year.  Here are four festive ways to celebrate the holidays:


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‘Tis the Season for Holiday Movie Classics!

Watching movies is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends.  Not only can these films bring you joy, they have the ability to bring out the holiday spirit in anyone.

Step out for a night in the city and enjoy Ralphie Parker and his family’s holiday adventures in the 1983 classic A Christmas Story which will be playing at The Luna Theater on Sunday, December 10th.  Clarence gets his wings in It’s a Wonderful Life at the Pollard Memorial Library on December 15th and at The Luna Theater on December 16th.  Don’t get stuck "Home Alone" and catch Chris Columbus’ beloved comedy classic at The Luna Theater on December 24th.


Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore

Celebrate with Music and Theater

Traditions such as music and tales about discovering the marvels of the season are great opportunities to enjoy the holidays and make new memories.

Running from now to December 24th, Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s A Christmas Carol is a holiday classic that is bound to bring out the festive in anyone.  There’s more holiday fun for all ages on Saturday, December 9th at the Pollard Memorial Library for Jingle Jam.  Then, experience orchestral entertainment on Saturday, December 9th at the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday Concert.  If you’re looking for more local orchestras, join the UMass Lowell String Project’s Winter Showcase on Thursday, December 14th.  There’s also the 2017 Holiday Pops Tour, coming to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, December 17th, that captures the magic of the holidays with their signature Sleigh Ride and other classic holiday music.


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Deck the Halls with Art and Treasures

The arts can be another great place to look for inspiration.  The various shows and receptions available not only provide you with a look into the local art scene, but also enhance your holiday experience with activities that can become new traditions.

Join Western Avenue Studios (WAS) for their Holiday Open Studios on Saturday and Sunday, December 9th and 10th for endeavors that include browsing art, speaking with artists, and purchasing unique gifts.  The Arts League of Lowell is displaying their Holiday Treasures Members’ Show reception on Saturday, December 9th where special holiday-themed art treasures can be purchased.  Loading Dock Gallery’s show, Winter Lights: Gifts for the Holidays, will run to Sunday, December 31st and features hand-made products from soaps to furniture.  There’s also Ayers Loft Gallery’s Peace on Earth members’ show reception on Saturday, December 9th.  This show, which will run to Thursday, January 4th, is a reminder of the joyful times ahead while shining a light on local artists and their work.


Photo courtesy of The Vintage Witch

Photo courtesy of The Vintage Witch

Walkin' in a Crafty Wonderland

Holiday-themed markets offer creations from local artisans that might change the way you do holiday shopping and prepare for festive times, and can help you find new activities to incorporate into your holiday traditions. 

Unique gifts and art from over 30 local artists are available at WAS’ Handmade Holiday Shopping Night on Thursday, December 14th.  Then there’s The Holiday Oddity Market on Saturday, December 9th at Mill No. 5 where you can find gift options for that someone on your holiday gift list with an eccentric taste.  Do some lunchtime shopping at The Brush Art Gallery and Studios on Friday, December 15th for Soup and Shop and enjoy complimentary soup while browsing through the available art and other creative products.  Then, on Saturday, December 16th, Mill No. 5’s It’s a Wonderful Market has more vendors of vintage, handmade and artisanal goods that are perfect for the holidays.

Local Holiday Shopping Guide 2017

Shop local for the holidays, it’s a great way to get your holiday shopping done early and help small businesses grow.  Here are some recommendations of local stores where, from health and beauty to miscellaneous goods, there’s no shortage of great gifts that you can buy for loved ones this holiday season.


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Health and Beauty

If you know of someone who loves natural soaps, body butters, balms and other health and beauty products then this section is for you.

Take a trip to Mill No. 5 where you’ll find the Red Antler Apothecary which carries delightfully scented soaps that smell as great as they look along with body creams, balms, shampoos, scrubs and more.  Next, take a trip to Western Avenue Studios where Eir’s Garden offers Scandinavian-inspired soaps, lotions, creams and salves.  Finally, check out Mack Soaps for a variety of hand-made products such as soaps, aftershave, eye creams and lip balms.  These shops showcase the natural and local health and beauty products that are available to you and make great holiday gifts.


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Music and Records

Music is an essential source of entertainment for many of us and a passion for aspiring musicians.  If you have someone on your gift list that enjoys music, check out the following.

The Tone Loft at Mill No. 5 has great gifts for friends and family including new and used instruments as well as music lessons in guitar, percussion and vocals.  Near The Tone Loft is another fine shop for local music enthusiasts, Vinyl Destination.  This record store stocks vinyl records in a variety of genres.  If you’re interested in more records, there’s always Garnick’s Records on Middlesex Street where you’re likely to find records from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s ranging from classical to jazz to rock and psychedelic music. Just around the corner on Central Street is RRR Records, a used and new record shop where you'll find plenty of hidden gems. For a music lover, these stores present a chance to discover new music or a fun gift idea for more casual shoppers.


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Art and Jewelry

The city is filled with artistic talent, and local artists and jewelry makers provide art scene gift options. So, if you’re looking for locally made art products, here are some ideas.

At Van Gogh’s Gear on Market Street you can find art supplies such as brushes, paints, drawing tools and more.  If you know someone who is interested in learning, take a trip to The Cogitation Zone in Western Avenue Studios (WAS) and learn how to make pottery at one of the classes offered.  Also at WAS, there’s Lush Beads offering finished jewelry pieces, custom designs, and private lessons in beading. Also don't forget to check out Lush Industrial's fun and funky unisex jewelry made with new and repurposed hardware.  Lowell’s local museum gift shops can also help you find a special gift.  Check out the shops of the New England Quilt Museum and the gift shop at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center.  Whether you’re looking for it or not, the city’s art scene can be a great place to find a unique holiday gift this season.


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Miscellaneous Goods

Looking for other gift ideas?  Whether you’re seeking the perfect gift or you’re unsure what to get someone, the choices that these shops provide can inspire you to find something great to gift someone this holiday season.

At Mill No. 5, visit Crose Nest and discover botanical herbs, teas, stationary, jewelry and more.  Next, stop by Bon Vivant where you’ll find an array of goods such as clothing, jewelry, candles, matches and chocolate.  Sweet Pig Press carries all sorts of stationary including journals, holiday cards and banners. On Middle Street, stop by Rogers Pool Patio & Toy Co. for a variety of games, puzzles, dolls, activities and other options.  With these shops, you’re bound to find a locally sold gift that will make someone on your gift list all that more joyful this holiday season.


Lowell Fall Dining Guide 2017

By Life As A Maven - It seems that as soon as Fall arrives we all want soup, a nice warm drink and comforting food. Throughout the fall and winter in New England the flavors go between pumpkin to maple to peppermint to sage and any other myriad of seasonal combinations you want to make. In dining out, many restaurants come up with a fall/winter menu that compliment the flavors of the season and this makes it exciting for me as a food writer/blogger because I love trying new ways the flavors can be incorporated into new dishes.


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Take a Bite Out of Local Flavors
 

What makes the Canalway Cultural District a dining destination? The history in Lowell is rich and along with eating a great meal you can take in some of the surrounding sites such as the Whistler House Museum of Art, The New England Quilt Museum or the National Streetcar Museum. Because Lowell is a walkable city the restaurants and things to do around them make for a great day outing or a full weekend trip. 

Some great new restaurants have opened up recently and with this in mind I wanted to share a dining guide of my favorite spots (both new and old) to check out in the Canalway Cultural District of Lowell.

Let's get started!
 


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Cobblestones of Lowell is a historic restaurant that brings American classics to life while also providing modern takes on favorite dishes. 1981 Ramen Bar is Lowell's only Ramen spot. It offers big bowls of savory broth, noodles & toppings, great drinks & a fun atmosphere that makes for a great dining experience.


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Fabianos Pizzeria & Cafe is not just a pizzeria - they take American classics like pizza, burgers, pasta and more to a different level by incorporating Peruvian flavors. Mandarin Asian Bistro  offers delicious sushi, as well as hot dishes that make this spot ideal when you can't make up your mind - they also have great drinks and live music on the weekends.


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El Potro Mexican Bar & Grill  serves fresh, delicious Mexican food in a welcoming environment. Everyone is friendly and there is always something yummy to eat. Same is true for Lowell Burger Company which is new to the food scene in Lowell. LBC takes burgers and makes them exciting - and that special sauce is to die for! 


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Fuse Bistro is a delightful restaurant that makes delicious, unique dishes while incorporating local flavors. Their drinks are interesting, delicious and the atmosphere is always warm. Same holds true for Lowell's other new place, Warp & Weft which cooks up international comfort food. With a complete redesign of their restaurant it makes this the new go-to.

Canalway Cultural District Renewal

Following the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s approval for the renewal of the Canalway Cultural District designation, the city’s district will expand to include the west side of Dutton Street along the Suffolk Canal and the Hamilton Canal District from Thorndike Street to Central Street along the Merrimack, Lower Pawtucket and Hamilton Canals. The district creates a framework to spotlight artists, performing and fine arts organizations, historic preservation groups, creative businesses and events and festivals that are part of the community.


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Encompassing the heart of downtown Lowell and its canalway system, the district consists of preserved historical sites, cultural facilities, museums and galleries, performance venues, events and festivals that happen throughout the year. To facilitate moving through the district, way finder kiosks and brochures will be redesigned to include a map that highlights the district’s assets. The Cultural Affairs and Special Events office will also update the likelowell.com website with new district information.


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District goals are to sustain and support existing artists, cultural institutions and ventures as well as encourage new cultural development, economic activity and new job creation. As a result of the restoration of most of Lowell’s historic mills and buildings, the district’s promotional success can lead to the redevelopment of remaining structures. Continued success can aid in strengthening the identity of the city and celebrating its history, diverse communities, arts and culture.


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The canalway features 5.3 miles of functioning canals and were used to power the city’s mills during the Industrial Revolution. Today, the system creates electrical power as well as provides links for Lowell National Historic Park boat tours, showcases public art and can be used as a palette for special lighting of gatehouses and flowing waters. Along these canals, historic buildings and mills have been restored for commercial, residential, artistic and professional uses. Other businesses —coffee and pizza shops, restaurants, diners and retailers—are also located within the district.


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The district includes the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell Memorial Auditorium, New England Quilt Museum, Whistler House Museum of Art, Brush Art Gallery and Studios, the Lowell National Historical Park and more. District events include open studios, gallery shows and festivals such as the Lowell Folk Festival, Summer Music Series, Kerouac Festival, Winterfest and many others. Upcoming events and festivals hosted in the district are sure to continue to celebrate the creative and historic aspects that make the city a diverse hub for arts and culture.

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.

The Ultimate Fall Happenings Guidebook

Lowell is a haven for artists of all types and for those seeking creative experiences in the city’s art districts.  With over 600 creatives, Lowell provides a stage for unique exhibitions and performances that are exclusive to Lowell.  Discover why There is a Lot to Like and check out Lowell's art exhibitions, movies, music and performing arts happenings this fall!

1. Music Is In The Air

Lowell is known for its vibrant year round music scene.  The Luna Theater and Coffee and Cotton in Mill No. 5 on Jackson Street are home to popular music performances including Live Jazz sessions every Thursday night.  Around the corner on Chelmsford Street, The Hearing Room is an ideal place to exercise your vocal cords every Tuesday evening at open mic night. If you're in Downtown Lowell stop by UnchARTed Gallery, a hip art gallery and restaurant featuring eclectic live music on weekends.

2. Not Your Average Movie Night

Who doesn’t love a good movie night?  If you’re looking to take a break from mainstream movies and try something new, the Luna Theater is the place for you.  The Luna Theater has movie nights throughout the week including their weekly Weirdo Wednesdays movies and new screenings of mainstream movies like A Ghost Story and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  In addition, the Magical Mystery Movie Club, a weekly movie series for children and families, runs every Sunday at 11:30 during the Farm Market

3. Cutting Edge Exhibits

Lowell has several museums that always have new and exciting exhibits to admire.  Check out the Boott Cotton Mills Museum as well as Summer Celebration of New England Quilts and Threads of Resistance on display through the first week of September at the New England Quilt Museum. Continuing all fall is the Lisa Kovvuri exhibit at The Whistler House Museum, showcasing portrait painting with a refined finish.  In addition to Kovvuri's paintings, Adrien Bisson will be presenting The Portrait Experience Through Photography.

Photo: Brush Gallery. Artist: Chrissy Theo Hungate.

Photo: Brush Gallery. Artist: Chrissy Theo Hungate.

4. Lose Yourself In The Art

As the writer Thomas Merton says, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”  Lose yourself in Lowell’s galleries this fall.   Check out new exhibits at the ALL Gallery, Western Avenue Studios and Loading Dock Gallery.  The Arts League of Lowell (ALL Gallery) is showcasing the new Fabrication of Imagination exhibit where Lowell’s rich textile manufacturing history is referenced and then updated with new, out-of-the-box, three-dimensional, textile art work.  Then, head to the Loading Dock Gallery’s newest art show: Fantastic Worlds which runs from August 30th-October 1st.  
 

5. Interactive Classes

Bring out your inner Picasso by taking a painting, drawing or sculpture class.  Lowell has multiple outlets to express your creative side including pottery classes at Derek Soohoo pottery studios or The Pottery Mill.  Or try one of the art classes offered at either Western Avenue Studios or ALL studios. If you’re the singing and musical type, make sure to check out the Hearing Room's classes that are offered all season long! 

Six Things to Do in Lowell That Your Kids Will Love

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!  

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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.  

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3. Trolleys

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.  

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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.  

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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. 

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6. Eat!

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?  

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.

Take a Walk on the Art Side

The Lowell Folk Festival is all about traditional music, ethnic food and culture - lots of culture and art! If you come for the festival, there are plenty of galleries and museums to visit and plenty of artistic inspiration to be found in neighborhoods across the city. We invite you to explore your surroundings and enjoy Lowell's creative scene while taking in the sights and sounds of this incredibly diverse music festival.

Decatur Way - Photo Courtesy of Liz LaManche

Decatur Way - Photo Courtesy of Liz LaManche

1.  Lowell Public Art Walk

Outdoor art is all around in Lowell! Whether you're walking downtown or exploring our neighborhoods, you're sure to see a variety of original works that reflect the city's history, ethnic heritage and contemporary life. Our self-guided tour encourages residents and visitors to chart their own course and discover the public sculptures, murals, memorials and historic monuments that make Lowell unique. Visit Lowell Public Art Walk to learn more and discover local treasures near you.

Photo Courtesy of the Lowell Folk Festival_Higgins _ Ross

Photo Courtesy of the Lowell Folk Festival_Higgins _ Ross

2. Art in the Courtyard

Under the tents in the shaded, brick-lined courtyard between the National Historical Park and the Brush gallery, you will find Art in the Courtyard, a high-traffic  spot featuring some of the finest art and craft work by local artists. This venue provides an opportunity for visitors to meet the artists and learn about the  techniques and processes that go into creating their works. Art in the Courtyard is coordinated by the Brush Art Gallery and is one of the best
places  to view and purchase art and fine crafts at the Lowell Folk Festival.

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3. Pop Up Art Show

If you're looking for a respite from the over-stimulation of the festival then head over to the Arts League of Lowell and check out the work of their talented artists in a special pop up show of small works especially chosen for the Folk Festival weekend. Works are no larger than 12 x 12 inches or smaller and all priced at $100 or below. This is your chance to find something lovely and unique from Lowell!

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4. Threads of Resistance

Located in downtown Lowell, The New England Quilt Museum is the only institute in the Northeast solely dedicated to the art of quilting and the second-oldest quilt museum in the United States. Their new exhibit titled "Threads of Resistance", on view now through September 9, 2017, proves that the art of quilt-making is alive and kicking. This national exhibition, organized by the Artist's Circle, features 64 juried works of fiber art, contemporary quilts, and art quilts designed to express a range of emotions from anger and sadness to hope and empowerment. Inspired by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter".

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5. Discover other Galleries and Museums

There's plenty of art to see elsewhere: Stop by  UnchARTed Gallery  and check out the abstract map prints by the artist Jennifer Carland of Carland Cartography! Also check out these other exhibits:  Gallery Z   - Reflections II, thru July 30 -  Ayer Lofts Art Gallery  - Lowell Loves Art, thru July 30 -  Loading Dock Gallery  - The Cultural ARTbeat, thru July 30 -  LTC Gallery  - Opening August 3: Japan: Tradition and Inspiration, thru August 31 -   Whistler House Museum of Art  - Opening August 5: Contemporary Art Quilts 2017, thru September 1.
 

The Mill Yard: Lowell's New Outdoor Hotspot

Looking for the perfect way 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 for all to enjoy. 

1. Friday Nights and The Mill Yard Grand Opening

While Friday Nights, sponsored by Made in Lowell, has been an ongoing event, this week’s festivity is going to be something you will not want to miss!  With food trucks, local vendors and live entertainment, it’s the perfect setting for family and friends to enjoy this social event at a beautiful venue surrounded by mills and canal ways.  Friday Nights begins at 5 pm, with the grand opening of The Mill Yard starting at 6.

In addition to Made in Lowell’s monthly Friday Nights celebrations The Mill Yard venue will serve as a prime outdoor location aimed at enhancing community engagement, offer space for entertainment, showcase local musicians and expand the city’s collaboration with food trucks.

The Mill Yard will provide the perfect setting for families, friends and foot-truck aficionados and will be available to host a variety of artisan markets and private functions.  Come celebrate Lowell’s first ever community food truck park at the grand opening event tonight at 6 pm!

2. Art is in the Air

If you want a break from all the excitement at The Mill Yard, there is a lot to do in the surrounding area that will keep you entertained.  The Mill Yard’s location is within sight of some cool public art.   “Veils of Color,” created by artist Barbara Poole, fills the windows of a former mill wall with brightly dyed panels of fabric representing the dyes that used to be dumped in the canal when the Appleton Mills Dye House was operating.  Nearby a pop up art park has been created from concrete blocks and jersey barriers, part of the City’s effort’s to creatively transform construction and security materials.  When not being used for Folk Festival and other street closing security, they will be on display in the park, located across the Lower Pawtucket Canal in the Hamilton Canal District.

3. Mill NO. 5 and its many amenities just a footstep away

Photo: millno5.com

Photo: millno5.com

The fantastic thing about The Mill Yard is its centrally located right across the street from Lowell’s vibrant Mill No. 5.  The quaint shops and weekly farm market in this renovated mill building are open all week long.  Mill No. 5’s Luna Theater is always showcasing films and shows, with an upcoming comedy movie Band Aid this Friday night starting at 7:35pm.  By expanding the use of The Mill Yard and making it an urban oasis for current and future district residents and businesses, local shops will be busier than ever! 

4. The Breathtaking Western Avenue Studios

If you’re an art lover looking for something to do after grabbing a bite at Lowell’s new food truck park at The Mill Yard, the Western Avenue Studios located just around the corner is where art comes alive.  The space has over 300 artists and 250 studio spaces for local artists and provides exquisite art for the public to see.  The Western Avenue Studio is home to the largest artist’s community on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.  The studio has art classes and art exhibits year round.  The current Gallery show is The Cultural Artbeat which runs through July 30th. 

 

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! 

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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!

 

ART CREATED FROM CONCRETE AND METAL

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[LOWELL, MA] - When the Lowell Folk Festival returns to downtown Lowell July 28-30th, visitors will enter festival areas past security blocks and barriers that have been transformed into works of art. The Cultural Affairs and Special Events Office (CASE) has teamed up with local artists to create public art from chunks of concrete as a creative approach to brighten the entries to the festival. 

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Eighteen security blocks are being painted by artists Mary Hart, Alexandra Derderian and Ioana Singureanu. CASE provided funding for stipends and materials.

“With the City of Lowell owing much of its multi-cultural heritage to its immigrants, each pattern I selected is meant to honor individual immigrant groups without being too specific about the inspiration,” said artist Ioana Singureanu. “I'm happy to participate in this project and I hope other cities follow Lowell's example of creative integration of safety and art.” 

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In addition to the concrete cubes, twelve jersey barriers will be painted by artist Bret Weese. 

“When you give the public something to look at, the way they interact with each other changes, making the community stronger,” said Weese. “If my work is to be defined, I would say it is inspired by the graffuturism movement, which is a more modern and contemporary fusing of abstract expressionism and graffiti.”  

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“We are delighted to engage our local artists to create works of art out of basic construction blocks and in so doing, change perceptions about our safety measures,” said City Manager Kevin Murphy. “We look forward to continuing this program and to using these blocks to create a temporary art park when they are not in use for events.”

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In addition, a metal storage container, placed in The Mill Yard in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, will receive an artistic treatment.  The painted container will be used for events equipment storage for Mill Yard events such as Friday Nights, enhancing the area and serving as another piece of public art.

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