Established in 1826, the city of Lowell is well known as “the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution.” Today, several of Lowell’s textile mills are preserved as part of the Lowell National Historical Park, converted into shops, homes for residents and even campus buildings brimming with old New England charm.
Lowell has re-emerged as a bustling gateway city located 45-minutes north of Boston. In addition to serving as UMass Lowell’s location, the culturally diverse city offers a thriving art scene, festivals, outdoor recreation and great restaurants. Below are eight fun things to check out while you’re on or near campus.
1. Restaurants Downtown and Near Campus
Foodies, look no further! Downtown Lowell is within walking distance of North and East Campus and possesses several one-of-a-kind restaurants and cafes. With Lowell’s rich Cambodian population, you’ll find an abundance of top-notch Asian dining options, including the Eggroll Café, the Ramen Bar and Tasty Dumplings. Other nearby campus favorite restaurants include The Sizzling Kitchen and Life Alive, which offers organic, plant-based options. Caffeine lovers will find no shortage of coffee or bubble tea shops near campus.
2. Mill No. 5
Located inside a repurposed mill building, Mill No. 5 is home to several locally owned businesses, including a coffee cafe, a yoga studio and an apothecary. Explore the indoor streetscape and add to your record collection at Vinyl Destination, shop for new or pre-owned books at Lowell Book Company or unleash your inner nerd at Pop Culture. The Luna Theater inside Mill No.5 is a mini movie palace best known for playing indie, classic and international films.
Tip: The best time to visit Mill No. 5 is on weekends when all the shops are open.
3. Jack Kerouac Park
Learn about Lowell’s most famous writer while enjoying the fresh air outside. Located at 75 Bridge Street, the Jack Kerouac Park features several granite monuments with engraved quotes from the beat generation novelist. The On the Road author was born at 9 Lupine Street, and the city of Lowell is the setting of many of his works.
4. Boott Mills Museum
Learn about the rich history of Lowell and the city’s contribution to the Industrial Revolution at 115 John Street. The Boott Mills Museum will show you how the mill girls lived and how the Lowell canal system operated.
Behind Donahue Hall, you can walk along the Lowell Riverwalk. This highly-trafficked trail is 2.5 miles long and takes you along the Merrimack River to downtown Lowell. In addition to being paved, the path is relatively flat and easily accessible to those with wheelchairs or strollers. Benches and picnic tables are placed along the route for resting in the shade and enjoying the scenery.
6. Farmers Markets
Load up on fresh produce, cheese and other goods from Mill City Grows, located on Pawtucket Boulevard, Shattuck Street, Broadway and Jackson Street. These markets operate throughout the week and remain open until late October or early November. The Lowell Chamber of Commerce, located at 11840 Fulton Street, also holds a farmer’s market every Thursday until September. Lastly, The Farm Market is on Sundays on the 5th floor of Mill No.5.
7. Art and Music Scene
The Lowell Festival Foundation offers a summer music series featuring nationally recognized musicians at Boarding House Park. The summer music festival is within walking distance of downtown restaurants, bars and cafes.
If you love art, check out Western Avenue Studios, located at 122 Western Avenue. Over 350 artists rent studios in this repurposed mill. You can tour the building and shop at certain studios.
8. UMass Lowell Campus
The vibrant and diverse UMass Lowell campus has plenty to offer students and visitors. Campus recreation offers multiple facilities, including bike and boat rental centers open to the public. The Campus Recreation Center also provides group fitness classes, an indoor track and more.
If you’re a caffeine lover, both Lyndon and O’Leary libraries include Starbucks locations. An additional Starbucks is inside University Crossing, where you can access free gaming activities and a lounge on the second and third floors.
Finally, support UMass Lowell’s up and coming athletes by going to one of our exciting sports events! From softball to our famous hockey games, many of these events are free or discounted for students, their families and alumni.
Explore UMass Lowell’s affordable online undergraduate and graduate programs renowned for their return on investment.