lowell

‘Tis the Season to Shop Local

Tis’ the season of giving and if you’re looking for some special gifts for your friends and family this holiday season, Lowell has plenty of choices for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion or one-of-a-kind artisan gifts, here are some local holiday shopping spots where you’re sure to discover unique finds.


Photo courtesy of Dandelion District

Photo courtesy of Dandelion District

For Fashionistas

Whether you’re seeking clothing and jewelry that’s modern, retro or a little more exotic, there are some great boutiques and consignment shops in Lowell to explore for gifts for your fashion forward friends. Humanity Boutique offers a selection of women’s clothing that reflects Lowell’s hip culture and style. The shop is all about mixing pieces of different colors, patterns and textures that will complement women of all ages.

Dandelion District located in Mill No. 5 is where you’ll find very cool vintage consignment clothing including flannels, jeans, leather jackets, tees and much more. Galeria De Los Andes Boutique is a vibrant shop with alpaca sweaters, ponchos, scarves and more! The boutique is also known for their selection of fine Tagua and sterling silver jewelry.


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For Audiophiles

For your loved ones who are always talking about and listening to music, you can find great music related gifts at Lowell’s local music shops. For new and used instruments and lessons, the family owned Tone Loft located in Mill No. 5 carries guitars, bass guitars, keyboards and ukulele’s, and offers lessons in all of these instruments.

Serious music fans love their vinyls, and you can find an extensive selection of new and used vinyls of all genres at Vinyl Destination, just steps away from the Tone Loft. Every record store has their own unique inventory, so if you’re seeking a certain album or artist be sure to also check out Garnick’s Music Center and RRRecords for more options.


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For Natural Beauty Lovers

Walk into Red Antler Apothecary at Mill No. 5 and you’ll be hit with an aromatic wave of handmade soaps, bath bombs, candles and herbal blends, all of which make for great Christmas gifts. Browse their selection of personal and household cleaners or ask the friendly staff to create an herbal blend specifically for your needs. Just down the hall at Crose Nest Botanical Pharmacopoeia you can find other great gifts for the body and spirit, including botanical teas, bath soaks, face masks and more.


For Pet Lovers

Pets are part of the family too, right? Whether you’re shopping for your own pet or for a pet-loving friend, there are a couple unique shops in Lowell to stop by for gifts that animals, and their owners, can both get excited about!

At SITIZENS Animal Treats located in Mill No. 5 you will find healthy dog, cat and horse treats that are made from all natural ingredients grown at their Laszlo Family Farm. Be sure to also visit PUPS, a one-of-a-kind pet boutique and supply shop that offers stylish leashes and harnesses, custom built dog beds, specialty dog houses and a variety of pet food and toys.


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For Foodies

Mill City Cheesemongers is a great shopping destination for your foodie friends and family members. They of course carry a large selection of cheeses, but they also sell craft beer and wine, various jams, crackers, sauces and sweets. Their friendly staff can also provide you with samples and advice on which cheese matches what you’re looking for.

Sweet Lydia’s handcrafted candy shop has some great holiday selections from gourmet marshmallows, smores, candy bars, hot chocolate and much more. Their treats are available to purchase individually or as conveniently pre-packed gift boxes perfect for the holidays!

With plenty of great restaurants, cafes and eateries in Lowell you can’t go wrong with giving your loved ones a gift certificate to their favorite eatery (or one they’ve wanted to try) for the holidays!

Visit http://www.likelowell.com/food-and-drink/ for a list of Lowell’s restaurants and café’s

Holiday Happenings Coming in December

The City of Lights Parade and Celebration has sparked the holiday season, and as we move into December there are plenty of festive entertainment and shopping opportunities coming up to keep you in the holiday spirit.


Courtesy of Boston Pops

Courtesy of Boston Pops

Entertainment

On December 16th Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in a performance of their beloved Holiday Pops concert at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium from 2:30 – 4:30 PM. Audience members can expect to hear some holiday classics, several new arrangements of seasonal favorites and their signature rendition of Sleigh Ride. With holiday music, sing-a-longs, and an appearance from Santa Claus himself, the Holiday Pops concert is sure to leave you feeling merry.

The Lowell Memorial Auditorium is bringing their musical adaptation of the holiday TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to their stage on December 2nd at 3 PM. See all of your favorite characters from the original special including Santa, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and of course Rudolph, as they come to life for a very entertaining holiday musical!


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From now until December 23rd, The Merrimack Repertory Theatre presents Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a holiday play featuring several characters from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. This warm-hearted and witty show written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon involves love letters being delivered to the wrong person and unexpected engagements being announced. Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley is holiday treat for Jane Austen fans and the entire family alike.

On December 1st and 2nd Middlesex Community College launches their new Donahue Family Academic Arts Center theater with their inaugural production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet! There will be shows at 2 PM and 7 PM both nights, so if you’re looking for a break from holiday shopping or just want to get out of the house, come see a classic love story at Middlesex Community College.


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One of the best parts about December is watching our favorite holiday movies, and the Luna Theater has us covered with several classic holiday films playing throughout the month. Upcoming shows include The Polar Express on December 1st and 2nd, White Christmas on December 2nd, A Christmas Story on December 8th and 9th, and It’s a Wonderful Life on December 15th and 16th. Enjoy these classics on the big screen!

For times and to purchase tickets visit http://www.lunalowell.com/calendar/action~agenda/request_format~json/


Holiday Shops and Markets

If you’re looking for unique gifts for family and friends this month be sure to explore the 6th annual Totally Bazaar holiday market at Mill No. 5 on December 1st. From 12 – 5 PM there will be two floors of vendors selling a wide variety of vintage, handmade and artisanal holiday gifts. On December 8th Mill No. 5 also presents their Holiday Oddity Marketplace.  From 12 – 5 PM you can find even more uncommon and unusual items that make perfect holiday gifts. Pass on the socks and ties this year, and explore the Holiday Oddity Market to find something memorable!


When shopping for holiday presents this season be sure to visit the Lowell National Historical Park Gift Shop for national park novelties, Lowell apparel, books about the city and children’s gifts like park ranger hats and stuffed animals. The New England Quilt Museum also has a wonderful gift shop with a variety of handcrafted quilts and handbags, jewelry and unique toys.

Holiday Open Studios comes to Western Ave Studios this December with four days of art exploration and shopping fun! On December 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th from 12 – 5 PM you can browse the open art studios, chat with artists, shop for unique gifts for all budgets, watch art demonstrations and enjoy lunch and a craft beer from the Navigation Brewing Company.


On December 14th, Brush Art Gallery & Studio’s Soup and Shop Lunch Holiday Marketplace offers complimentary homemade soups while you do some holiday shopping in a gallery environment! Studio Artists are offering a 10% discount on artwork from the studios during this event, and Gift Certificates are available as well.

The following day, December 15th, the gallery hosts their Sugar and Spice Weekend Holiday Marketplace. Try some homemade cookies and explore the vibrant Studio Gift Shop for that perfect gift you’ve been searching for. There will also be Brush Studio artists on site who would love to talk to visitors about their techniques and inspirations for their creative works.

Start the Holidays off Right with City of Lights!

The holidays are just around the corner, and there is no better way to kick off the holiday season than by spending the day enjoying Lowell’s City of Lights Parade and Celebration! With a whole afternoon of planned activities and several nighttime happenings to keep the celebration going, City of Lights offers a full day of entertainment for everyone! November 24th marks Lowell’s 30th annual City of Lights celebration, and this year’s festivities are going to be better than ever!


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Things to Do

There will be plenty of fun holiday traditions to enjoy like having your photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Clause at City Hall from 1 – 3 PM, watching the classic Christmas movie Elf at the Lowell National Park Visitor Center at 2 PM, and singing along to your favorite holiday songs at JFK Plaza from 3:30 – 5:30 PM.  There will also be ice skating at JFK Plaza from 1 – 5 PM with skates available to rent for $1. The Lowell National Historical Park Holly Jolly Trolley rides will run from 12 - 3:30 and there will be self-guided tours of St Anne’s Church from 2 - 6 PM. Silly Sally will provide children entertainment including facepainting and balloon twisting from 1 - 5 PM, a puppet show at 2 PM and a magic show at 3 PM.


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Shopping

It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping, and City of Lights offers some great opportunities for buying gifts for friends and family—or for treating yourself! Children's Shopping Day at the Pollard Library is an opportunity for children to purchase gifts for their friends and family. From 10 AM – 4 PM the library will serve as a temporary shop where children can choose from hundreds of donated items that are being sold for $1 to $5, and have their presents wrapped and labeled for them by volunteers.

From 12-7 PM, explore the holiday craft market on JFK Plaza and find locally made arts and crafts, holiday foods and more.  

The Brush Art Gallery and Studios is offering a chance to win a wreath from a display of about 40 beautifully decorated wreaths. The wreaths will be displayed in Edson Hall behind St. Anne’s Church on Merrimack Street from 2 – 5 PM, and the winning raffle tickets will be drawn shortly after.


Food & Drink

Local food trucks will offer their culinary specialties at JFK plaza from 1 – 6 PM, so you can easily grab a delicious bite to eat between festivities without having to travel far. However if you are feeling up to a scenic stroll through downtown, be sure to visit the several cafés and restaurants who are participating in the popular City of Lights hot chocolate competition! From 2 – 4 PM, try free samples from each location listed on the City of Lights guide and vote for your favorite cup. Also, keep an eye out for storefronts that have been adorned for the City of Lights window decorating contest and cast your vote for the store you think looks the best!


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Parade & City Hall Lighting

The festive daytime fun leads right into the exciting main events: the City of Lights Parade and the lighting of City Hall and the Wannalancit Mills smokestack Christmas tree. Thousands of spectators line downtown streets each year in anticipation of the high-energy parade of talented marching bands, elegant holiday-themed floats, and other performance groups and local personalities. The parade will begin at 4:30 PM from Jackson Street to JFK Plaza. Following the parade, City Hall will be lit up to officially start the holiday season!

Halloweekend in Lowell

Halloween weekend is finally here and there is a lot to do in Lowell! Halloween is all about scary movies, trick-or-treating, getting into costume and having a great time with your family and friends. There will be opportunities to do all of these things and more this weekend in the Mill City.


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Mill No. 5 will host the Little Pet Shop of Horrors on Saturday from noon to 5 pm. Bring your pet in costume to participate in a contest, then go trick-or-treating in the awesome shops and fill those bags with delicious pet treats!

For your scary movie fix, The Luna Theater will be showing John Carpenter’s original Halloween on Friday and Saturday night, as well as the animated film Coraline if you’re seeking a more family friendly option. Gather your family and friends for a movie in the cool and comfortable Luna Theater, and maybe arrive early to shop around Mill No. 5 before your show starts.

For show times and other films playing visit : www.lunalowell.com/calendar


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Over the weekend and through November 11th, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre will be showing a light-hearted murder mystery called Murder for Two. In this unique musical comedy, a surprise party has gone wrong and the great American novelist Arthur Whitney has been murdered. Each guest is a possible suspect, and just two talented actors play all thirteen roles in a very entertaining homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries. 


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Families are in for a treat Saturday afternoon! Kiwanis of Greater Lowell presents the annual Monster Bash and Halloween Stroll. Children and parents can enjoy trick-or-treating downtown and head to the Lowell High School for costume contests, kids' games and the Monster Bash's all ages haunted house! The bash is free to attend and will run from 12-3 PM.

To see the schedule of events and participating trick-or-treat locations visit www.likelowell.com/halloween-stroll


Courtesy of Creative Cinderella

Courtesy of Creative Cinderella

From 12-6 PM on Saturday Western Avenue Studios is hosting the Market of Mystery and Madness, a Halloween Oddity Market on their second floor where over 25 artists will be selling their strange and unusual creations. After you’ve made your odd purchases, be sure to head downstairs to Navigation Brewing Company’s Halloween Bash! From 2-8 PM there will be a food truck, craft beer, live music and a Halloween costume contest.


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On Saturday the Pollard Memorial Library is hosting Halloween Crafternoon from 1-2 PM. This event is a great opportunity for children in grades K through 4 to get creative and decorate Halloween masks and trick-or-treat bags!

To register, call the Children’s Desk at 978-674-1529 or go online to www.LowellLibrary.org – visit the Events Calendar, select your desired program and click Register.


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Halloween isn’t just for kids though, right? On Saturday night, adults (21+) can enjoy a high energy concert at Zorba Music Hall’s Monsters of Rock (Halloween Edition). Internationally touring AC/DC tribute band Back in Black will be performing accurate renditions of the band’s classic hits and their B tracks as well. The venue is attached to the Olympia Restaurant where you can enjoy Greek cuisine and wine before the 9 PM show.

To purchase tickets and see other upcoming shows at the Zorba Music Hall visit: zorbamusichall.com/events


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On Sunday, the non-profit Get There, Start Now hosts its Seventh Annual Hallows Eve 5k Fun Run and Walk! Runners, walkers, children and spectators are invited to the Lowell Lodge of Elks to join the races or participate in other festivities such as face painting, trick-or-treating, raffles and costume contests. Participants are also invited to the post-race party and awards ceremony immediately following the race.

For a schedule and more details about the event visit www.HallowsEveFunRun.com

Lowell’s Canalway Cultural District: A “Great Neighborhood”

By Dorian Taylor - Lowell's Canalway Cultural District was recently named one of this year's 15 Great Places by the American Planning Association. With a thriving art and music scene, daily cultural activities, several unique public parks, and a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and shops, it's no surprise that over 500,000 people visit the district each year. Here are some reasons to visit, or revisit, the Canalway Cultural District.


The Worker by Elliot and Ivan Schwartz (1985)

Thriving Arts Community

It's not very hard to find beautiful art in Lowell. Spread out across the Canalway Cultural District are more than a dozen public art installations that reflect the city's culture and history including the Homage to Women and The Worker statues. There are also 12 excellent museums and art galleries in the district, such as the New England Quilt Museum, Brush Art Gallery & Studios, Gallery Z Artist Co-op, the Arts League of Lowell and the Whistler House Museum of Art.

Lowell's music scene has also gained traction over the years, and today visitors and locals can find live music playing every week in the District at various cafes, restaurants, art galleries and other venues. In addition to music and fine art, theater performances are also a staple in the district. The Lowell Memorial Auditorium, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre and MCC's new Academic Arts Center are excellent venues to see musicals, comedies, dramas and music.


Lowell Folk Festival

Daily Cultural Activities

With over 100 free public and private events, performances and activities, there is always something to do in the Canalway Cultural District. Along with 20 annual festivals, such as City of Lights and the Lowell Folk Festival, there are regular live music performances, movie screenings, children's programs, intimate gallery openings, athletic events and much more.

To see an updated calendar of fun and interesting activities to do in the city visit: www.likelowell.com/calendar


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Shopping and Dining

There are 60 eateries, coffee shops, and restaurants in the Canalway Cultural District offering an extensive variety of cuisine and flavors that reflect Lowell's diverse culture. On top of a great dining selection, many of these restaurants are conveniently located within walking distance to performance venues and one-of-a-kind shopping destinations. Before or after your meal, be sure to explore the district's unique shops and check to see where live music is playing to keep the good times going.


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Public Parks

The District includes several public parks, each with unique landscapes and features. If you're feeling up for a walk, explore the district's Riverwalk for scenic views of the city and the Merrimack River. If you're looking for a spot to relax, stop by the Whistler House Park or Lucy Larcom Park to catch up with a friend, read a book, or just take in the views. Be sure to stop by the Lowell National Park Service Visitor Center to pick up maps, make trolley tour reservations, and plan a great visit to the city.


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.


Photo Courtesy of Boston GreenFest

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.

Spring into Art

There is no better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than seeing beautiful art around the city! The upcoming months will have great opportunities to view inspiring artwork that will make you want to keep coming back! Stretch your legs after this long and exhausting winter and see the superb exhibits up on display.

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Explore Lowell’s history in a new, exciting way! The Branding Lowell exhibit at the Mogan Cultural Center highlights the branding and design used in Lowell since its founding in 1836 up to the present day. There will be merchandise available for purchase and 100% of proceeds go towards Lowell High School’s Visual Arts Program. Branding Lowell will run through the spring and summer daily at the Mogan Cultural Center with a satellite location at Mill No. 5. Follow the link for more information.


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Other Exhibits Happening Around Lowell

Nancy Bernardo will give a public lecture at UMass Lowell O’Leary Library about her works and current show “Decorative Debris” In this exhibit, Bernardo uses transitory texts from the early 20th Century to show the beauty in everyday imagery. The lecture will begin at 3:30 P.M. followed by a reception at the University Gallery in Mahoney Hall, from 5-6 PM. The exhibit will continue until April 21st.


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Meanwhile, at the Arts League of Lowell, the exhibit "Honoring Gaia: Mother Earth" has been on display since March 1st and run to April 22nd. This exhibit honors Gaia, Mother Earth in mythology, life, birth, and the regeneration of our planets fragile ecosystems in the face of dangerous climate change. Visit the website for more information.


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On March 1st, the "Visual Voices" exhibition opened at the Whistler House Museum of Arts Parker Gallery. This exhibit features works by students in grades 9-12 from Lowell High, Greater Lowell Technical High, and Lowell Catholic High. "Visual Voices" was started in 2002 by art teacher and local artist Lolita Demers and has grown into a biennial city-wide art event. A reception and award ceremony will be held on April 7th from 2-4 PM.


Quietus

Emily Sandagata’s mixed media work blurs the boundaries between painting, sculpture and textile art, incorporating found objects, natural materials, and earth-based pigments. Her latest show "Quietus," is on view at UnchARTed Gallery through April 7. Don't miss this terrific exhibit that explores themes of death, survival, transformation, growth and decay.

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.


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.

Looking Back at the Origin of City of Lights

As the annual City of Lights Parade and Celebration approaches, I spent an afternoon at the UMass Lowell Center for Lowell History and looked through Father Armand "Spike" Morissette’s collection of documents from the early days of the City of Lights Parade. What began as a project and symbol of “Faith in Lowell” has now become an honored tradition for the city’s community and the beginning of holiday season festivities.  Below are some of the events’ traditions that began in the 1950s and have evolved into today’s celebration.


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Lighting the City

The City of Lights organizers wanted to demonstrate the vibrancy and joy of the holiday spirit and decided there was no better way to do so than to light up the city with lights.  Lighting of public buildings, monuments, stores and homes was encouraged.  The lights would not only fill the streets with local residents enjoying the brilliant display, but also bring people from neighboring communities to experience the beauty of a city glowing in light.   After a hiatus and a decline in the number of lighting displays, the City of Lights theme was resurrected in the late 1980s/early 1990s through a partnership between the city and private businesses.  Some 50,000 new lights and unique decorations were installed.  A holiday stroll grew into a holiday parade.  Nowadays, the tradition continues with an estimated 60,000 lights that bring the holidays to life and serve as the official start of the holiday season for many.  The City of Lights program from the 1952-1953 season began this honored tradition, one that is as popular as ever six decades later.


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Music and Poetry

With holiday singalongs, caroling, concerts, movies and more fun entertainment in the City of Lights Parade this year, it’s no secret that the community loves to be entertained.  The origin of the City of Lights shows that this tradition goes back to the 1950s when music and poetry defined the entertainment of the Parade at the time. Songs like “Lights On In Lowell Town” written about the City of Lights by Paul Bordeleau and Henry Fournier were the embodiment of bringing the holidays alive in the community. Poems were the other big form of entertainment, with a poem called “Christmas Lights” being printed on the back of the City of Lights 1952-53 program book.  Other poems were included in the actual event, with local poets being chosen to have their poem become the “Official City of Lights Poem” every year.


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Contests and Activities

Nowadays, the Parade includes a multitude of activities such as the Festival of Wreaths, Photos with Santa, Strolling Carolers through Downtown and more. In the 1950s, many of the activities revolved around garnering participation for the City of Lights project. Contests helped do this, especially when it came to decorating. Home decoration contests allowed the community to get involved in the celebration and to show how festive they were in decorating their home. These contests had first, second and third place plaques that were awarded. Today, downtown stores compete in a window decorating contest and eateries compete in the Hot Chocolate Competition.  It’s delightful to see how the activities have grown through the years and how the spirit of the early City of Lights program continues today and displays Lowell’s love for holiday festivities.

Lowell: Why I’m Proud To Call It Home

Photo by Morgan Tierno

Photo by Morgan Tierno

By Lauren Leblanc on June 9, 2017 - Growing up in a suburban town that lacked diversity, it wasn't until coming to college in Lowell that I realized just how special the city is. The culture, diversity and liveliness Lowell offers to its residents and visitors is truly remarkable. If you are looking to live or visit a community that fosters educational success, creativity, cultural acceptance and civic engagement, Lowell is the place for you! As a current student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a young adult looking to enhance my life experiences, I have never felt more at home than I do living in Lowell, and here are some reasons why.

Historical Assets

Yes, I’ll admit I was one of those elementary students who came to Lowell during a third grade field trip to tour the Lowell Industrial History Center. Lowell was the center of the Industrial Revolution starting in 1840 and continues to proudly showcase this history with its restored mills. Whether you are taking a scenic walk through the Locks and Canals Historic District, or visiting the New England Quilt Museum, there is enough history and culture here to keep people of all ages engaged. In addition to being known for its nationally recognized museums such as the Boott Cotton Mills Museum and the Whistler House Museum of Art, Lowell is a naturally breathtaking place to explore, while learning some of the city’s history along the way. If you’re in the mood for a peaceful yet picturesque nature walk, the Riverwalk along the Merrimack River or the Greenway along the Concord River are hidden gems many overlook upon coming to Lowell. Get those cameras ready!

FolkFest

Cultural Hotspot

As someone who grew up in the suburbs, I can tell you what a breath of fresh air it was to move to Lowell this past fall. What attracted me to UMass Lowell is like the city itself, the university has a diverse student body. Students from all 50 states and over 50 countries make up the student population. The city of Lowell is truly a melting pot with a large Cambodian, African American and Puerto Rican presence that is continuing to grow and flourish. No matter your background or culture, Lowell allows its residents and visitors the opportunity to embrace and experience a variety of cultures through annual festivals offered throughout the year. Catering to all ages and backgrounds, the Lowell Folk Festival (the largest folk festival in the United States), African Festival and the Southeast Asian Water Festival are some of the many ways one can enjoy the food, music and customs that make Lowell special. As someone who has attended the Folk Festival for a few years now, I can tell you the festival is something worth seeing, hearing and taking part in if you haven’t already! 

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Farmer’s Markets

Love fresh produce and supporting local businesses? One of the amazing things about Lowell is it supports local farms and hosts farmers markets throughout the year. The newly renovated Mill No. 5 is a great place to shop for local produce, desserts, home accessories and more every Sunday from 11am-3pm. You can take your love for farmers’ markets one step further and experience the city’s original urban outdoor farmers market. Since 1979, Community Teamwork has sponsored the Lowell Farmers’ Market, offering fresh, locally grown produce from area farmers, as well as meats, fish, honey, baked goods and more. If you are looking for a fun after school activity, or way to de-stress after your workday, the market is open Fridays, from July through October in Lucy Larcom Park. 

Photo via TripAdvisor

Photo via TripAdvisor

Where Camaradery is Alive

The second I step foot in the Tsongas Center wearing my Riverhawks jersey, or walk up the steps to LeLacheur Park, I feel like I am a part of something special. The energy felt at the hockey and baseball games is such an electrifying experience. Sporting events bring communities together, and that is exactly what the Tsongas Center and LeLacheur Park aim to do. Lowell is home to UMass Lowell’s Division One hockey team, the three-time champions of the Hockey East Division, the most competitive conference for college hockey. When hockey season comes to an end, enjoy a warm summer evening watching the Lowell Spinners minor league baseball team (the farm team of the Boston Red Sox) play at Lelacheur Park. 

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Lowell is a smaller city in terms of its population, but it has big city attractions including professional sports, nationally recognized museums, parks, theaters, a university and community college, farmer markets, festivals, and a river that binds it all together. When I asked my friend Caitlin, who is a current UMass Lowell student about the Lowell community, she reflected saying “the community in this city is filled with love and opens its arms to everyone. You can truly be yourself in Lowell, and you can always find something to do.” Although I have only experienced Lowell for a short time, I have finally found a place to call home. To me, Lowell is a place that accepts and challenges its community members to become engaged. It's a community that strives for an inclusive atmosphere that is always growing, changing and offering new opportunities to celebrate history, arts, food and community.

Even More Reasons Why Lowell is Heaven for Creatives

Art entrepreneurs create opportunities, jobs, culture, products and services that help drive our economy. With over 600 artists and makers residing in Lowell, the city has a great infrastructure that provides invaluable support to the creative community. (Read the first part of the article here).
 

1. Creative Resources

Over the last 10 years the Lowell Cultural Council Program (LCC) has supported hundreds of community-based projects in the arts, humanities and sciences annually allocating funding within the Lowell community on behalf of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. These funds provide economic support for community events that reach residents of all ages. This year alone the LCC funded 42 projects for a total of $61,645.

Pictured above is Barbara Poole's 'Veils of Color', a public art project funded by the LCC.

Pictured above is Barbara Poole's 'Veils of Color', a public art project funded by the LCC.

2. DIY Community

The spirit of do-it-yourself is alive and well in the city. Organizations like DIY Lowell, a citizen-led initiative that connects and empowers Lowellians, are essential to creating positive change. Residents can submit ideas and implement small-scale community projects to enhance the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods.

For PARK(ing) Day Lowell, DIY Lowell and the National Historical Park transformed three metered parking spaces on Merrimack Street into a pop-up park for the day.

For PARK(ing) Day Lowell, DIY Lowell and the National Historical Park transformed three metered parking spaces on Merrimack Street into a pop-up park for the day.

3. Cultural Partnerships

The Cultural Organization of Lowell provides information, advocacy and services to individuals, organizations, institutions and agencies involved with the local creative economy. Commonly known by the acronym "COOL" this nonprofit plays a key role in the city helping to strengthen the vitality and economic growth of arts and culture in Lowell. 

4. Makers Culture

As the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Lowell continues to attract makers and innovators. Organizations like Lowell Makes are succeeding in efforts to bring together local artists, engineers, makers and thinkers to provide the tools and learning resources where individuals can gain and practice modern skills with a community of creative-minded people making all kinds of things.

5. Inspired Innovation

The first of its kind in Massachusetts, New Vestures is a fashion and textiles co-working makerspace. Founded in 2012 by artist, designer & educator, Diana Coluntino, New Vestures aims to support a community of fashion designers, entrepreneurs and innovators who believe that creative, sustainable apparel, textile design and manufacturing practices will improve lives and better the world. 


For more information on these organizations and more public arts attractions in Lowell, please visit likelowell.com.

9 Reasons to visit Lowell this fall

The leaves are changing and the days are getting shorter. Fall is upon us and so are lots of great things to do in Lowell. Here are our 9 top picks why you should visit Lowell this seasons. There's A Lot To Like in the city!

1. City Of lights

Ring in the holidays in Lowell and join us for this year's City of Lights Parade and Holiday Celebration, Saturday, November 26, from 12 - 7PM. ! Take the afternoon to stroll the city streets and enjoy live performances, holiday shopping, photos with Santa, AND the crowd favorite, our Annual Hot Chocolate Competition! The daytime fun leads to the nighttime extravaganza -- The City of Lights Parade and City Hall Lighting -- which marks the City's official start to the holiday season! 


2. Dine Out Lowell

There is no question that Lowell is the cultural hub of the Merrimack Valley. This Fall, Dine Out  Lowell is your opportunity to experience Lowell's culinary culture. From November 26 to December 4, 2016 come and experience the vast variety of restaurants and menus. From casual to fine dining, there's something for everyone. Take advantage of "Happy Hour Parking" in the Joseph M. Downes Garage in the Canalway Cultural District.


3. Monster Bash & Halloween Stroll

Celebrate the Halloween season in Lowell at the Annual Monster Bash & Halloween Stroll, Saturday, October 29, from 12 - 3PM. Enjoy downtown trick-or-treating, costume contests, kids games, and get spooked at Monster Bash's all ages annual haunted house!


Image by Tory German

Image by Tory German

4. Mill No. 5

Mill No. 5 is the perfect destination for shopping and entertainment. You can find unique gifts and items in one of the 11 eclectic shops, or shop for locally and artisan food, cheese, wine and more. Different markets happen weekly, and between the café, lounge and movie theater there is always something going on.  Mill No. 5 is located in Lowell's Hamilton Canal District, with conveniently located parking in the Edward J. Early Garage.


5. Western Avenue Studios - Open Studios

So much to see at First Saturday Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios!  - Every month artists open their doors to the public from 12 - 5PM, so that you can come browse their latest works - you'll be amazed at what you find. Talk to artists about their work and what inspires them. It'll take you more than one visit to check out all the art you'll find at Western Avenue.


6. Take a walk along the Greenway

Reserve your spot for this popular Merrimack River Hike & Picnic, Saturday, November 19, from 9AM - 2pm. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy this fantastic 8 mile hike along the Merrimack River. More info >>>


7. Angkor Dance Troup Event

Angkor Dance Troupe is collaborating with Merrimack Repertory Theatre to produce an original piece first performed during a Cultural Exchange at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia called Pin Panhchapor (The Harp and Five Colors of Harmony). The production will take place November 18 and 19, 2016. Tickets are available here.


8. Fall Foliage in Lowell

Fall could easily be renamed to "Instagram Season" here in Lowell. Fall foliage is one of Lowell's many hidden secrets. Lowell's foliage season usually begins mid to late-September and extends into late October. The 'peak' foliage can be found at many different times and places as the season unfolds. The best places to experience fall foliage in Lowell include Lowell Heritage Sate Park, Dracut-Tyngsboro-Lowell State Forest, The Concord Greenway, Fort Hill Park, And the Canalway and Riverwalks. We suggest you book your stay at one of Lowell's Hotels and plan your trip early!


9. The Canalway Cultural District

The Canalway Cultural District is home to many of Lowell's top attractions. With more than a dozen public art installations, public parks, over 14 annual festivals and events, countless concerts along with performances that range from intimate gallery openings to mayor athletic events year-round. There's A Lot To Like for everyone. Did you know that the Canalway Cultural District offers a wide variety of dining options to satisfy your personal tastes and budget? The district is home to more than 40 restaurants and coffee shops in walking distance to many attractions. Enjoying a relaxing meal before a show or cap off the evening with cocktails and dessert add to a pleasurable experience in the Canalway Cultural District.