The fourth largest city in Massachusetts, Lowell transports visitors back to America’s Industrial Age with attractions such as Lowell National Historic Park, the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, the New England Quilt Museum, and the American Textile History Museum. Lowell, MA is also home to beautiful parks, excellent restaurants, the Whistler House Museum of Art, LeLacheur Park, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre and other unique attractions. Here are the best things to do in Lowell, MA.
1.Lowell National Historic Park
© Rachel Napear Photography,Merrimack Valley CVB
Lowell National Historic Park was established in 1978 and is operated by the National Park Service, which has park partners and volunteers to help with the care of the national park. The park has many notable features and takes visitors back to the industrial era where they can learn how the cotton mill worked and how textiles were created.
Features include: the Boott Cotton Mill and Museum, The Francis Gate, the Mill Girls and Immigrants Boarding House, the Suffolk Mill Turbine and Powerhouse, and the Lowell Canal System. The park has a visitor center that provides a free self-guided tour, and the footpath along the Merrimack Canal offers visitors a glance into the functions of existing and former sites.
304 Dutton Street, Lowell MA, 01852, 978-970-5000
2.Boott Cotton Mills Museum
© Courtesy of nd700 - Fotolia.com
The Boott Cotton Mills Museum was operational for over one hundred and twenty years before it was closed down in 1955. Since then, it has been restored and reopened as a museum that pays homage to the mill and the mill tradition of the city of Lowell. The museum not only features authentic mill equipment, but also turns on all the industrial grade looms to give visitors a look at a real working mill.
The industrial grade looms run at top speed and are located in the weave room. There is a gift shop that is filled with educational books of the 19th century, as well as videos and other information on the history of mills in Lowell. The museum building itself has three floors, two of which are specifically used for the museum while the third hosts modern condominiums and lofts.
115 John Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-970-5000
3.Whistler House Museum of Art
© Whistler House Museum of Art
The Whistler House Museum of Art aims to preserve the birthplace of James McNeill Whistler, one of America’s premier artists. The museum also looks at raising awareness for the history of the house and the artwork of the original residents who were innovators during the American Industrial Revolution. The museum promotes research and exhibitions that are related to the Whistler heritage, the house, and regional artists.
The Whistler House has events that showcase diverse campaigns and exhibits. The museum offers youth summer programs that revolve around class-based education. Those interested in the artwork can visit the house, which has an exhibit of their permanent collection, as well as an exhibit for the Parker Gallery and Arshile Gorky.
243 Worthen Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-452-7641
4.New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts
© Courtesy of Dave - Fotolia.com
The New England Quilt Museum is located in the Lowell Institute for Savings Building, which was built in 1845 in the classic Greek Revival Style. It has over 18,000 square feet of space filled with exhibition galleries, a resource center, a museum store, classrooms, support areas, and over four hundred antique and contemporary quilts. The museum holds exhibitions throughout the year that showcase award winning quilts from various international competitions.
The museum also has workshops throughout the year where you can learn about quilting techniques and learn from artists through their educational programs. The museum store has books and magazines for sale on various quilting techniques and types, from sewing to textile to modern quilting, plus they have quilts for sale that date back to the 1860s.
18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-452-4207
© Courtesy of mtsaride - Fotolia.com
This park opened in 1998 and is home to the Lowell Spinners, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The stadium can seat 5,000 people and was built as a replacement for the Alumni Field, which occupied the site prior to LeLacheur Park. The seating of the park is raised above the field so all viewers can easily see the play by plays, while a large scoreboard sits in left field.
There is a speaker system installed in center field rather than behind home plate, and it provides excellent audio. There is plenty of available parking, and the park boasts a gorgeous backdrop of the Merrimack River over the fence in left field. The concourse surrounds the top portion of the park, which is where you will find refreshments, merchandise, and bathrooms.
450 Aiken St., Lowell, MA 01854, 978-459-1702
6.Merrimack Repertory Theatre
© Merrimack Repertory Theatre
The Merrimack Repertory Theatre is a non-profit professional theatre that presents performance through September to May at the historic Liberty Hall, which is a 279-seat theatre. The theatre was co-founded in 1979 and has since produced over 200 productions, including sixteen world premieres.
The theater is known for its contemporary and classic performances, producing seven plays throughout each season in addition to offering education programs aimed at both students and adults. The student matinees allow schools to provide their students with an experience that presents literature through performance. This allows the students to connect with stories and characters in a unique way.
50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-654-4678
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7.Lowell Summer Music Series
© Lowell Summer Music Series
The Lowell Summer Music Series, an annual non-profit series that is held between June and September, brings live concerts to residents and tourists at affordable prices. All of the concerts are held at the Boarding House Park, which is located in the Boott Mills Complex. All concerts have general admission, and season passes are available.
You can buy tickets online that have no fees attached to them, and you can view their upcoming shows via their website. The Lowell Summer Music Series also has specific shows designed for children, which are free of charge, and they offer an art portion, organic snacks, a performance, and trolley park rides. Places to Visit in MA
40 French Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-272-1829
8.Mogun Cultural Center, Lowell, Massachusetts
© Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
The Mogun Cultural Center was established in 1989 and currently forms a bridge between the city of Lowell and the community groups within the city. The focus of the cultural center is to play a positive role among all groups associated with the museum including the advancement efforts of cultural and historical activities within the city.
The cultural center has historical displays and educational programs for youth, and it promotes community diversity and learning while supporting the folk arts, music, and dance. Current exhibits include: The Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit, the Center for Lowell History, the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and the Angkor Dance Troupe.
40 French Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-970-5000
9.Western Avenue Studios
© Western Avenue Studios
Western Avenue Studios offers a haven for creative individuals who want to work and live among an inspiring community. The complex has over five acres spread out amongst three brick mill buildings that have 250 work only studios and 50 live/work lofts.
Among these buildings is an artists’ association, the Loading Dock Gallery, and the Onyx Room Performance Space. The Western Avenue Studios offers individuals the opportunity to rent out studios, which is especially useful to artists who want the perfect space to help them thrive. However, if you are looking for a live in workspace, you will be required to obtain an artist’s certification.
122 and 160 Western Avenue, Lowell, MA 01851, 978-710-8605
10.National Streetcar Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts
© National Streetcar Museum
The National Streetcar Museum, mixed into the National Historical Park, is located in downtown Lowell and was established in 1978. The museum is perfect for visitors who enjoy trolleys, or rather, train cars as its special exhibit allows visitors to explore the history of the urban rail transportation and its rebirth in America. The exhibit details the history of the public transit system within Lowell and how it fits into the broader story of American transit.
For families who are bringing children, there are trolley rides available on fully restored streetcars that operate from May through October – they are free and provided by the National Park Service.
25 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-458-5835
11.Cobblestones Restaurant and Bar
© Cobblestones Restaurant and Bar
Cobblestones Restaurant and Bar is located in the historically owned “Yorick Building,” which was an exclusive building constructed as a boarding house for the Merrimack Manufacturing Company back in 1859. Now the Cobblestone Restaurant and Bar has an Italianate style to it with its Victorian fence, granite stairs, and segregated dining rooms.
The menus range from a dinner menu, a drink menu, a lunch menu, a late night menu, and a brunch menu, as well as a craft beer menu. In addition to offering relaxed fine dining, Cobblestones also offers numerous special occasion and private dining options. A banquet manager who will work to plan the perfect event for any size, or occasion will handle and organize these functions.
91 Dutton St, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-970-2282
12.El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill
© El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill
El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill offers authentic Mexican and Central American cuisine that originate from recipes handed down through the generations. The restaurant is family-owned and serves traditional meals that are prepared fresh with homemade ingredients. The restaurant can accommodate large parties, or it can be rented out for company lunches and private events. Catering is an option, as the restaurant has a large takeout menu for at-home events.
They also have live music nights featuring a Mariachi band that plays classic mariachi songs. You will hear Afro-Amerindian folk tunes and the Mexican polka as well as Corridos and Cumbias. Things to Do in Massachusetts
124 Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01864, 978-455-2840
13.Back Page Jazz and Comedy Club
© Back Page Jazz and Comedy Club
Is a ground floor club specifically designed around Lowell’s unique music and live entertainment. The club is located in downtown Lowell, tucked behind the Blue Taleh, and is well marked by its canal entrance way. This listening room is dedicated to jazz, comedy, and the blues with low-lighting and strong drinks. For those who want to sit back, have a few drinks, and just listen to some soul soothing music, this is the place.
The Back Page very rarely charges a cover charge, and they almost always have at least one band playing throughout the night. They have plenty of events that run from Tuesday through Saturday, and their drink list is extensive.
15 Kearney Square, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-455-4418
14.Athenian Corner Restaurant, Lowell, MA
© Athenian Corner Restaurant
The Athenian Corner Restaurant is located in the Historic District of downtown Lowell and serves a large variety of Greek cuisine. The restaurant offers banquets with facilities for 10-75 people that includes either a banquet dinner menu, a memorial dinner, or a Greek buffet option. They serve dine-in lunch and dinner, as well as takeout dinner and lunch, plus they offer catering with a special menu for takeout only.
The restaurant offers live entertainment from Thursday through Saturday evenings, which often includes belly dancing, Middle Eastern, or Greek music.
207 Market Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-458-7052
15.The Old Court Pub, Lowell, MA
© The Old Court Pub
The Old Court, an authentic Irish pub, has been open since 2001 and is an integral part of the downtown dining area in Lowell. The pub celebrates its unique Irish identity by featuring traditional Irish classic dishes including Bangers ‘n’ Mash and Fish and Chips, as well as Shepard’s Pie. Plus, it has contemporary American cuisine on the menu for those who like good old American food.
The pub is licensed to sell liquor, including an extensive collection of imported and domestic beers. There are daily specials, a large menu, catering service, and a function hall that can host buffets and sit-down meals for a maximum number of 150 people.
29-31 Central Street, Lowell, MA 01852, 978-452-0100
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16.UMass Lowell Kayak Center
© UMass Lowell Kayak Center
The UMass Lowell Kayak Center offers educational and recreational summer kayak opportunities to the UMass community as well as the greater public. Those who are new to kayaking or want to brush up on their techniques can take advantage of instructional courses for both adults and children of all skill levels. The UMass community and greater public are welcome to rent kayaks through the summer rental program each year.
All kayaks are new are well maintained throughout the season by the center’s staff. Once the summer program has ended, the kayaks are sold off to the public. The center runs their pricing on one hour, two hour, and half day (four hour) intervals, but they also have summer and monthly passes available.
322 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-5080
17 Best Things to Do in Lowell, Massachusetts
- Lowell National Historic Park, Photo: Rachel Napear Photography,Merrimack Valley CVB
- Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Photo: Courtesy of nd700 - Fotolia.com
- Whistler House Museum of Art, Photo: Whistler House Museum of Art
- New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts, Photo: Courtesy of Dave - Fotolia.com
- LeLacheur Park, Photo: Courtesy of mtsaride - Fotolia.com
- Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Photo: Merrimack Repertory Theatre
- Lowell Summer Music Series, Photo: Lowell Summer Music Series
- Mogun Cultural Center, Lowell, Massachusetts, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Western Avenue Studios, Photo: Western Avenue Studios
- National Streetcar Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts, Photo: National Streetcar Museum
- Cobblestones Restaurant and Bar, Photo: Cobblestones Restaurant and Bar
- El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill, Photo: El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill
- Back Page Jazz and Comedy Club, Photo: Back Page Jazz and Comedy Club
- Athenian Corner Restaurant, Lowell, MA, Photo: Athenian Corner Restaurant
- The Old Court Pub, Lowell, MA, Photo: The Old Court Pub
- UMass Lowell Kayak Center, Photo: UMass Lowell Kayak Center
- Cover Photo: Rachel Napear Photography,Merrimack Valley CVB