THE LIST OF LISTS FOR WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO GO

sguide lead

Welcome to Lowell.

There’s something about this city — one of the first true American factory towns — that makes it unlike any other place on earth.

Jack Kerouac wrote about it. Death Cab for Cutie named a song after it. Charles Dickens, Bob Dylan, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Wahlberg and Ricky Gervais were all inspired by it.

Now you’re here. And we think that’s just another reason to put Lowell on the map.

Between hitting the books and exams, you’ll need a breather. From live music and trivia nights to free pool, cheap beer and the best places to shop, eat and play, howlmag.com has got you covered.

We’re your local online source for arts & entertainment news and event listings. We set a high standard for our readers’ performance, and that involves giving you more information than you can possibly handle. Kinda like college.

Here are all the tools you’ll need to conquer this mad, one-of-a-kind city. Have a great semester.


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

howl music
Three Days Grace. Photo by John Knowles.

FREE LIVE MUSIC

  ~ Under 21

119 Gallery
119 Chelmsford St. | 978-452-8138 
A breeding ground for new performance, this rotating art gallery and creative space also hosts live original music just about every weekend.
119gallery.org

Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus
61 Market St. | 978-454-BREW
An eclectic downtown coffee shop oozing with great java, food and creative energy. Here you’ll find a poetry open mic and slam the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and live acoustic performances on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
 www.brewdawakening.com

Life Alive
Downtown’s best place to score delicious vegetarian dishes and smoothies also hosts live music every Thursday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
194 Middle St. Phone 978-453-1311 www.lifealive.com

UnchARTed 
66 Merrimack St. | 978-495-0917
A young and fresh multimedia art space specializing in solo and group shows for emerging artists. Doubles as a performance venue for live music.
unchartedstudios.tumblr.com

   21+

The Back Page
15 Kearney Sq. (rear) | 978-455-4418
Low lighting, great cocktails and not a bad seat in the house make this nightclub along the Eastern Canalway a great spot for catching stellar rock, blues, jazz, funk and soul acts.  
backpagelowell.com

Blue Taleh
15 Kearney Sq. (front) | 978-453-1112

This sushi bar with a stellar drink list hosts jazz and blues musicians on Wednesdays, and, if you’re in the mood for a melody, the piano bar is known for its weekend sing-a-longs.
bluetalehlowell.com 

Garcia Brogan’s 
131 Middlesex St. | 978-446-0005
A Mexican-Irish hybrid restaurant and bar with two spacious rooms, an outdoor patio and bands every Friday and Saturday night.
garciabrogans.com

Gemstones
105 Market St. | 978-458-1288

Upstairs from The Blue Shamrock bar, this club is a popular spot for rock, metal and hardcore bands.
gemstones.com 

Hookslide Kelly’s
19 Merrimack St. | 978-654-4225

The star of this downtown neighborhood bar with booths, a pub-style menu and WiFi, is a big back patio where you can catch live music outdoors.
hookslidekellys.com

The Last Safe & Deposit Company
160 Merrimack St. | 978-555-1234

Downtown’s newest live music club, owned and operated by an award-winning musician and producer, opens this fall and should pull in some very worthy local and national touring bands.
thelastsafe.com

Voices Rock Club
731 Lakeview Ave. | 978-453-3001

Pool tables, darts, cheap drinks and a stage outfitted with a slammin‘ sound system make this bar a favorite stop for tattooed rockers and neighborhood characters.
voicesrockclub.com

Ward Eight
280 Central St. | 978-454-7600 
Originally the Farragut Hotel, Abraham Lincoln stopped here when he gave a speech in Lowell on Sept. 16, 1848. These days, the prohibition-era themed bar has plenty of craft beer on tap, an outdoor patio and some amazing local bands on weekends. 
wardeightlowell.com

The Worthen House
141 Worthen St. | 978-459-0300
Built in 1834, this may be the city’s oldest tavern but it serves up some of Greater Lowell’s best new bands. While you sit at the bar and sip on a cold $2 PBR draft, look up and you’ll glimpse one of the last antique belt-driven ceiling fan systems in the country.
worthenhousecafe.com

 guide hotday
 Hot Day At The Zoo. Photo by Lindsay Nolin.

  ~ Open mic 

The Back Page, Wednesdays 9 p.m.

The Worthen House, Wednesdays 9 p.m.

Ward Eight, Thursdays 9 p.m.

  ~ Karaoke

Garcia Brogan’s, Sundays 9 p.m.

Blue Shamrock, Mondays 9:30 p.m. 

Ward Eight, Wednesdays 9 p.m. 

Voices Rock Club, Thursdays 8 p.m. 

Best hidden music scene

Take it underground, literally. The Ant Cellar is a basement venue drawing great local bands in for free, all-ages shows on weekends. Follow them on Facebook to find the party. If you’re in a band and want to play, contact the men behind the curtain at theantcellar@yahoo.com

Dance clubs 

Brian’s Ivy Hall 
74 Merrimack St. | 978-455-3999
Big open dancefloor and a stage where DJs spin and girls shake it like a Polaroid picture. Expect to see a fair share of bros and “yeah dudes” but there’s also plenty of average Joes just looking to get their groove on. Check their Facebook page for 18+ dance events. 
briansivyhall.com

Cappy’s Copper Kettle
245 Central St. | 978-735-4866

Undisputedly the city’s best time-warp bar, hosting an oldies dance party every Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. with a very mixed crowd — think Deer Hunter meets Friends. Yes, it’s weird. But fun. Call a friend from the four-walled pay phone booth inside the bar and tell them to join you.

Savanna Palace
25 Market St. | 978-454-9555

An old-school New York lounge vibe on the inside with a comfy seating area, dancefloor and two-tier stage where DJs do their thing.
savannapalace.com

The Crown
74 Middlesex St. | 978-710-9020

Downtown’s newest bar and nightclub with DJs spinning deep house, hip-hop and breakbeat. Expect to pay a cover charge on weekends.
thecrownlowell.com

The Smokehouse Tavern  
98 Middle St. | 978.441-2278
A Texas barbecue joint by day that turns into one big dance party after 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. If the cast of Jersey Shore came to Lowell, this is most likely where they’d rock their graphic tees and stripper shoes all night long while bumping and grinding to some of the area’s best DJs.
villagesmokehouse.com

 guide blacker
 Sarah Blacker. Photo by Lindsay Nolin.

ESCAPE THE DORM

Get high (on adrenaline)
Skydive Pepperell
Pepperell | 978-433-9222
For the thrill seeker: Skydive Pepperell allows you to jump from a perfectly good plane at 13,000 feet in the air.
skyjump.com

Swing like Ted Williams 
Kimball’s Farm
Westford | 978-433-9222
Flex your batting muscle at Kimball’s Grand Slam batting cages. After you’ve had your fill, work on your putt at the fun center’s 18-hole mini golf course, take a bumper boat for a spin or  brush up on your air hockey game at the arcade. Top it all off with the farm’s homemade ice cream.  
kimballsfarm.com

Channel your inner thespian
Merrimack Repertory Theater
50 E. Merrimack St. | 978-654-4MRT
There’s really not a bad seat in the house at the newly renovated Merrimack Repertory Theater where an intimate stage spotlights quality and affordable plays.
mrt.org

Laugh until it hurts
Cobblestones of Lowell
91 Dutton St. | 978-970-2282
Some of the most hilarious comics north of Boston hit up Cobblestones’ upstairs lounge beginning in the fall. Check their website and the Howl calendar for times, details and to make reservations for you and some friends. 
cobblestonesoflowell.com

Shoot some stick
Maxamillians Billiards 
Tyngsboro | 978-649-0400
There are nights when you want something a bit more relaxed. This is why pool was invented. Maxamillians is Greater Lowell’s largest pool hall with everything you need whether you’re channeling your inner Minnesota Fats or just want a quiet night out with friends. 
maxamillians.com

Get your Lebowski on
Brunswick Lanes
647 Pawtucket Blvd | 978-454-0476
Every Friday $10 gets you two hours of Cosmic Bowling, shoe rental, prizes, contests and more.
bowlbrunswick.com

Become a college hockey fan
UML River Hawks Hockey
Tsongas Center 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way | 978-454-0476
To hell with major league ticket prices. Returning after their best season ever in Lowell’s Division 1 hockey history, The UMass Lowell River Hawks will give you plenty of reasons to have a blast at the ice rink.
goriverhawks.com

Sunday morning jam session
Root Note Studio
Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson St. | 443-797-2669
Break in your musical chops with local players in a laid-back and informal jam hosted by Liz Lawrence of Root Note Studio on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Open to the public.
liz-lawrence.com

Take the broke student’s version of “The Fighter” movie tour 
The award-winning boxing biopic starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams is based on the real-life story of retired Lowell welterweight champ Micky Ward. Explore the grittier side of the city by following historian and local blogger Dick Howe’s convenient map connecting the dots to all the local places that appeared in the movie.
richardhowe.com

Hunt ghosts
New England Ghost Project
Join Greater Lowell’s own zany team of paranormal investigators, The New England Ghost Project, as they hunt for sprits at houses, landmarks and other places rumored to be abuzz with supernatural activity. 
neghostproject.com 

Run with zombies
Panic in the Dark
The freaks come out at night at Panic in the Dark, a creepy 5K obstacle run at Shedd Park on Nov. 2. Try to out race flesh eating zombies before you become dinner, then join the “Brain Bash” after party with live music, prize giveaways and a complimentary beer voucher for participants 21 and older. Race is open to all ages. Check online for fee schedule.  
panicinthedark.com 

guide tsongas
Tsongas Center. Photo by Tory Germann.

  ~ Concert Venues

Lowell Memorial Auditorium
50 E. Merrimack St. | 978-937-8688
You know you’re in Lowell when Willie Nelson rolls into town and invites you and 2,000 other people to join him on stage for an end of the night sing-a-long. Acts like Phish, B.B. King, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Louis CK have all held court in the excellent sounding main hall.  
lowellauditorium.com

Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell 
300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way | 978-934-5760  
The city’s largest concert venue has drawn some big-name acts including Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, Tool and Black Sabbath, to name a few.
tsongascenter.com

  ~ Comics & Games

Larry’s Comics
66 Lakeview Ave. | 978-459-5323
The 5th largest comic shop in New England, Larry’s is a favorite meet-up spot for the evil genius set and hosts weekly fantasy card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering and Heroclix tournaments. 
larryscomics.net

Tabletop Arena
103 Market St. Phone | 617-396-7104
Another retail store and gaming destination where you’re free to debate whether Star Wars is better than Star Trek. 
tabletoparena.com

  ~ Movies

Chunky’s Cinema Pub
150 Bridge St., Pelham, N.H. | 603-635-7499
Grab a group of friends and head to Chunky’s Cinema Pub where you can slide into a reclining Lincoln Town Car chair, order some food, cold beverages and watch all the new releases. Check the theater’s website for free movies every Thursday. 

www.chunkys.com

The Lowell Film Collaborative
A grassroots indie organization bringing classic, cutting-edge, foreign and art-house films to pop-up locations all around the city. Check their website for events and schedules. 
lowellfilmcollaborative.org

The Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack St. | 978-674-4120
See some of the newest and best independent cinema from around the world on the 2nd Thursday of every month.  

pollardml.org

Showcase Cinema 
32 Reiss Ave. | 978-551-0050
See new releases for half the price ($7.50 for most flicks) every Tuesday.
showcasecinemaslowell.com

  ~ Trivia
In a city filled with students, professors and self-proclaimed nerds, it’s no wonder you can find several trivia spots to show off what you’ve learned in school.

Garcia Brogan’s, Monday 8p.m.

The Old Court (Lowell’s first and longest running pub trivia), Tuesday 8p.m.

The Smokehouse Tavern, Wednesday 8 p.m. 

guide eyeformation
Eyeformation. Photo by Tory Germann.

ART FIX

119 Gallery
119 Chelmsford St. | 978-452-8138
You’ll always find new and innovative art on exhibit at Gallery 119, and great live music filling up the studio space on weekends. 
119gallery.org

Whistler House Museum of Art
243 Worthen St. | 978-452-7641
Born in Lowell on July 11, 1834, James McNeill Whistler established himself as a painter in Paris and London, developing a distinctive style known for muted colors and simple forms. His masterpiece is largely credited as “Whistler’s Mother” (“Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1”) and his work later provided the inspiration for Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. New exhibits are shown regularly at the museum’s Parker Gallery.
whistlerhouse.org

Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Ave. |  978-710-8605
The best place to find a glass blower, mad hatter or metal smith. With more than 200 creative minds spread over five floors of an old mill building, Western Avenue Studios now holds one of the largest concentrations of working artists in the northeast. And on the first Saturday of every month, the artists open their doors for you to explore.
westernavenuestudios.com

  ~ Gallery & Museum Directory 

119 Gallery
119 Chelmsford St. | 978-452-8138

ALL(Arts League of Lowell) 
307 Market St. | 978-221-5018

American Textile History Museum
491 Dutton St. | 978-441-0400 
 

Ayer Lofts Gallery
172 Middle St. | 978-970-3556

Boott Cotton Mills Museum
115 John St. | 978-970-5000 

Brush Art Gallery & Studios
256 Market St. | 978-459-7819

Loading Dock Gallery
122 Western Ave. | 978-656-1687

Lowell Gallery
14 Jackson St. | 978-656-1687
 

millWORKS Gallery
219 Jackson St.

New England Quilt Museum
18 Shattuck St. | 978-452-4207

UML University Gallery
71 Wilder St. | 978-934-3491

UML Dugan Gallery
883 Broadway St. | 978-996-2886

UnchARTed Studios
66 Merrimack St. | 978-996-2886

Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue | 978-710-8605

Whistler House Museum of Art
243 Worthen St. | 978-452-7641

Zeitgeist Gallery
167 Market St. | 617-285-1610

FOOD & DRINK

food tremonte myers
Tremonte. Photo by Jennifer Myers.

 ~ Delicious juice bars

Life Alive
194 Middle St. | 978-453-1311
Maybe drinking isn’t your thing, or maybe you’re not 21 yet. Never fear, there are plenty of places in Lowell serving up live music and delicious non-alcoholic beverages on the weekends. Check out free acoustic sets every Thursday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and kick back with one of Life Alive’s 14 homemade smoothies like the Chai Alive (chai, banana, ice cream and almond milk) or the Elvis Alive (peanut butter, cocoa, banana and ice cream) and the Love Alive (blueberry, strawberry, bananas, dates and almond milk) to name a few.
lifealive.com

Little Delights
132 Merrimack St. | 978-455-0040
Lowell’s best cupcake bakery scores a big win with their creative house blended shakes like lychee, avocado and honeydew. 
little delights   

Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus
61 Market St. | 978-454-BREW
The Howl Street Team’s favorite local coffee shop also serves up tasty fresh fruit in a glass. Especially worth sipping are the peach juice smoothie, acai & mango smoothie and the Curious George (chocolate, peanut butter and banana).
brewdawakening.com

guide mango cook
Green Mango Fusion. Photo by Anne Cook.

  ~ 10 Meals under $10

El Potro
124 Merrimack St. | 978-455-2840
A popular Mexican cantina in Somerville famous for its kitsch decor, mariachi band and bottomless chips and salsa opens a new location in downtown this fall. Try one of the filling huraches (toasted cornmeal patty topped with meat and veggies) for around $5.
elpotromexicangrill.com

Viet Thai
368 Merrimack St. | 978-446-0977
This no-frills restaurant is a downtown staple. The service is fast and friendly and the food is fantastic for the prices. The Tom Yum Soup (a hot and sour soup with your choice of beef, chicken or shrimp) is hands-down the best you’ll find anywhere for just $3.50. The Com Bo Nuong rice plate with grilled sliced beef, cucumber and tomatoes is hearty and satisfying for $6.25.
vietthailowell.com

Marko’s Mediterranean Grill
90 Thorndike St. | 603-557-0048 
You’ll find this restaurant on wheels parked daily at The Lord Overpass. The salad with meat, described as “a power meal at its best,” is $7. The oversized vegetarian falafel sandwich is $5. 
markos

Arthur’s Paradise Diner
112 Bridge St. | 978-452-8647
The epitome of old-school, this landmark establishment has its priorities straight. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and Arthur’s has been serving perfect, greasy food at low, seemingly inflation-proof prices for more than 75 years. You can’t say you’ve been to Lowell without trying Arthur’s famous Boott Mill sandwich — a toasted bulkie roll baked fresh daily and piled high with home fries, egg, cheese and your choice of sausage, ham, bacon or corned beef hash. Some cholesterol junkies order the works. This gut-buster will only set you back $5.25. Hours: 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday. Cash only.

Time Out Cafe
72 Merrimack St. | 978-735-4514
A cheery downtown cafe that makes amazing panini sandwiches (like the Havana, tender pork, cooked ham, swiss cheese and pickles) ranging from $3.50 to $7. But you can’t beat the deli style half sandwich and bowl of soup (chicken noodle, cheddar broccoli or pasta fagioli) for $5.50. Add a nutritious banana or papaya shake for $3. 
timeoutcafeandeatery.com

Delicia’s Bakery
11 Kearney Square | 978-735-4514
A Brazilian bread house, Delicia’s serves up savory jumbo sandwiches like the X-Galinha packed with grilled chicken, egg, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, corn, peas and potato sticks for $5.99.
deliciaslowell.com

Olympos Bakery
216 Broadway St. | 978-452-3366
The pastry offerings at this family-owned Greek and Italian bakery will make your mouth water. But if you’re really living on the cheap, you won’t regret spending $3.50 on the classic grilled ham and cheese (or tomato and cheese) made with bread baked fresh in-house daily. They also make their own pizza for $1.30 a slice. 
olymposbakery.com

Etsogo
16 Merrimack St. | 978-323-7878
If you’re looking for a hearty meal to fill you up, you don’t have to look farther than the lunch boxes at this downtown sushi shop, served with miso soup, a salad, 3 pieces of fried shumai, 4 pieces of California Roll, white rice and your choice of a Tempura Combo (chicken, shrimp or veggies), chicken or pork katsu (breaded and deep fried) or a Teriyaki Combo (chicken, beef, shrimp or salmon) all for $8.95.
etsogo.net

Courthouse Deli
155 Middlesex St. | 978-323-4460
Sandwiches are a serious business at this downtown deli where stacks of choice meats and toppings are piled sky high between slices of fresh baked breads, ranging from $3.95 to $7.95.
courthousedelilowell.com

Elliot’s Famous Hot Dogs
37 Elliot St. | 978-458-3179
Snappy Kayem dogs made of pork, beef and spices on a toasted buttered bun are a tasty deal for under $2. Order two with the “works, extra heavy” or smothered in chili and you’ll get a satisfying meal for under $5.


guide girlssip
Fuse Bistro. Photo by Tory Germann.

  ~ Best places to share a drink with friends

Garcia Brogan’s
The “Cactus Bowl” is a beverage made for sharing. A giant concoction of both dark and light rum, this Mexican and Irish hybrid bar adds triple sec, grenadine, a splash of pineapple juice and as many long straws as you need.

Worthen House
 Rumored to be an old haunt for Edgar Allan Poe — definitely a stop on Kerouac’s list — this downtown institution that still fires up a cool antique ceiling fan system serves $8 pitchers for all domestic beer and $14.50 pitchers for New Castle, Sam Adams and Heineken. 

Hong & Kong
32 Alpine Lane, Chelmsford | 978-256-6321
A throwback to the days of Chinese theater style restaurants, the Hong & Kong is filled with red booths, dark wood ornately carved with snapping dragons and serpentines, and  the dim glow of lanterns. You won’t find a cooler, kitsch-filled spot for sharing a scorpion bowl.
hongandkongrestaurant.com

 ~ Six cuisines to add to your palate (and where to do it)

Babylon
25 Merrimack St. | 978-710-4278
This Iraqi restaurant serves up authentic, delicious and healthy middle eastern cuisine like fatoosh salad, vegetarian grape leaves and hummus. You’ll also find a nice selection of marinated meat dishes including tender lamb and chicken at affordable prices.

Green Mango Fusion
19 Hurd St. | 978-710-7516
Worlds merge at this downtown Asian fusion restaurant that has a menu influenced by many places around the globe including Thailand, Cambodia, Latin America and even the U.S.A.  The signature green mango salad drizzled with Thai sweet and spicy dressing and the delicious curry dishes are worth the visit.  
greenmangofusion.com

Hong Cuc
507 Dutton St. | 978-441-0110
Quite possibly the best Vietnamese sandwich shop anywhere. The BBQ beef banh mi (Vietnamese baguette) reaches worship status and their creative drink selection with options like the aloe juice and mango bubble drink and kiwi slush make this lunch spot a  necessary stop on your to-do list this semester. 

Tepthida Khmer 
115 Chelmsford St. | 978-453-1694
Lowell has the second largest Cambodian population in the country outside of Long Beach, Calif., and with that comes a fantastic cultural flavor. There’s several great Cambodian restaurants in the city but we love this one for its friendly service and great food like the seafood pineapple fried rice, beef loc lac (cubed beef tenderloin caramelized with savory black pepper sauce), butternut catfish curry, pumpkin custard and more.
tepthida.com 

Oasis Grill
912 Gorham St. | 978-452-0833
Unbelievable Brazilian barbecue. The food tastes homemade, the bar is cheap and best of all, you can pay by the pound, which means a huge lunch for around $7.

Priya Indian Cuisine
1270 Westford St. | 978-454-7777
The decor in this windowless basement restaurant located inside a strip mall, once home to a rock and roll night club, is interesting to say the least. The owners of Priya made make-shift windows with pictures of outside scenes on them. Mind over matter? Besides the less-than-fancy interior, service is first-rate and the food is undeniably the star of the show. The lunch buffet is amazing and under $10. For those trying Indian for the first time, you absolutely can’t go wrong with the chicken tikka masala — a Howl street team favorite.

  ~Best delivery that isn’t pizza

Eggroll Cafe 
110 University Ave. | 978-970-3411
Mango bubble tea and steak and cheese eggrolls. Has a better snack combination to fuel exam-cramming sessions been invented? No. Delivery until 9 p.m.
eggrollcafe.com

 ~ Where to find food at midnight

Club Diner
145 Dutton St. | 978-452-1679
If you’ve found yourself out in downtown right until the bitter end, then this historic dining car is most likely your next stop after bars close. From home cooked meals like meatloaf and baked chicken to breakfast, this is the place for late night food action and people watching. Open until 3:30 a.m.

Wings Over Lowell
26 Market St. | 978-441-9464
Started by two guys who were once in college like you and looking for hand-cooked wings made of real meat and sold at affordable prices, this popular franchise offers a huge menu packed with variety of  meaty wings meals (including boneless) with nearly 20 different sauces to choose from. Open until 1 a.m. They deliver and you can order online.
wingsover.com

Suppa’s Pizza and Subs
94 University Ave. | 978-970-3961
Fat food for a fat appetite. Suppas portions are huge. Their 2-foot subs are legendary, including the cheese stick (a deep fried cheesesteak) and the buffalo fat chicken (jalapeno poppers, spicy french fries, thick strips of buffalo chicken and mozzarella cheese smothered in sauce). Delivery until 1 a.m.
suppaspizza.com

China Star
369 Broadway St. | 978-454-7578
Affordable, clean and delicious, this restaurant offers some great dishes for sharing with friends including two lobsters with ginger and scallions, roast duck and asian-style barbecue. Open until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday, and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Romeo & Juliet Cafe
16 South St. | 978-453-9468
Some of the best Brazilian food and pastries you’ll find in Lowell. Service is as warm and inviting as the food. Try the famous Ex Tudo burger. This big beef patty is loaded with the works including cheese, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, corn, peas and stick potatoes. A great late-night destination spot, but with very limited seating so you might want to grab your food to go. Open Friday and Saturday until 3 a.m.

guide owl
Owl Diner. Photo by Jen Myers.

  ~ Best greasy spoon for a delicious morning-after date

Owl Diner
244 Appleton St. | 978-453-8321
Arguably the most famous diner in Lowell, the Owl has established itself as a tasty and dependable family run institution. An Appleton Street landmark since 1951, in this classic diner car you’ll find a friendly atmosphere with waitresses who call everybody “Hon,” 32 omelets all named after Lowell streets and thick cuts of grilled ham that are out-of-this-world good.

  ~ Best burger you’ll ever eat

Ward Eight
Besides great craft beer and a crazy-good grilled cheese selection, this bar makes a burger worthy of Holy Grail status. We recommend the signature Ward Eight — a thick and juicy patty seasoned to perfection, topped with bacon, caramelized onions and melty blue cheese mixed with a cheddar cream ale sauce.

  ~ Heaven for vegetarians 

Life Alive 
Homestyle hippie-cooking that’s so delicious even your carnivorous friends will want to follow you here on a regular basis. Dishes with names like The Rebel, The Goddess and The Hot & Healthy Bachelor are packed with fresh steamed veggies and to-die-for sauces guaranteed to make your belly happy. Demi-sized bowls are under $6.

  ~ Best sushi bar 

Blue Taleh
Fresh, top-quality sushi is sliced and diced right before your eyes at this downtown Thai and Japanese restaurant that’s stylish without being pretentious.

guide jenna
Ward Eight. Photo by Tory Germann.

  ~ Bars for beer lovers 

Cobblestones
91 Dutton St. | 978-970-2282
A casual downtown bar that’s serious about beer, with an impressive selection of craft brews and draught beers that change with the seasons. They also serve several made-in-Massachusetts labels including Harvard Lager, Slumbrew, Happy Sol and Blue Hills Black Hops, to name a few. 
cobblestonesoflowell.com

Lowell Beer Works
203 Cabot St. | 978-937-2337
With nearly 15 house-made brews on tap, the outdoor patio at this beer stop offers an excuse to sit outside while the weather permits and try them all. 
beerworks.net

The Old Court
29 Central St. | 978-452-0100
If Lowell had a Cheers, The Old Court would be it. No place does Guinness better than this bar, where owners Jerry Murphy and Finbarr Sheehan actually hail from Ireland.
oldcourtirishpub.com

Ward Eight
280 Central St. | 978-454-7600 
Guilt-free drinkers are welcome at this popular downtown watering hole that serves up about 30 different specialty brews and offers more than two dozen on tap — including beers by Lowell nanobrewery Enlightenment Ales. Selections change weekly and bartenders are happy to pour samples so you get the brew that best suits your tastebuds.  
wardeightlowell.com

  ~ Bar Food too good to be true (but it is)

The Whipple
394 Lawrence St. | 978-453-4111
This hole-in-the-wall bar serves up the best home-cooked meals at unbelievably cheap prices. The baked chicken meal is Thanksgiving on a plate — chicken the size of your head with real mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and cranberry sauce for under $6. Every day of the week regulars line up for lunch, stuff their faces then walk away with brown bags bulging from takeout that’s made to taste just like mom’s. 

Captain John’s
333 Westford St.| 978-458-0752
This Lowell dive is famous for being a favorite former hang-out of retired welterweight boxing champ, Irish Micky Ward — maybe you’ve seen The Fighter movie, the one starring Mark Walhberg and Christian Bale that swept up a bunch of Oscars. Watch the movie again and you’ll see CJs has a prominent role in the film. It’s where Micky met the love of his life, Charlene. Besides checking out a no-frills Highland neighborhood landmark, this bar has the best fried seafood plate outside of the beach. Seriously, don’t let the gritty interior fool you. The seafood arrives fresh off the boat from Gloucester and Boston almost every other day of the week. All the food is hand-breaded and made with care by a brother and sister team whose family has owned the joint for years.    

  ~ Bars to drink at when you’re nearly broke

Worthen House
Yes, we already mentioned this Lowell institution is a great place to share a pitcher with friends. But the $2 PBR drafts are just another excuse to get out an visit one of the city’s oldest — and friendliest — dives, whether your kicking it with friends or flying solo. 

The Acre Pub
282 Fletcher St. | no phone.
No frills here, but an authentic Lowell experience. Right on the outskirts of Downtown, you’ll be able to buy a couple beers for under $5 and meet some characters. 

guide drinks

  ~ Best martini bar

Centro Restaurant
24 Market St. | 978-453-4630
It’s no shocker that martinis don’t make for a cheap night out, but if you’re going to live large, this friendly and stylish downtown restaurant and bar serves up a full list of amazing drinks with a complimentary sidecar. Think of it as two for the price of one.
centrolowell.com

 ~ Best bars to watch the game

Hookslide Kelly’s
19 Merrimack St. | 978-654-4225
This downtown watering hole has two large, fully stocked bars with more than two dozen flat screen TVs. The outside beer garden also has a TV so no matter where you go in Hookslide’s, you can’t miss the action of the game.

Major’s Pub
197 Market St. | 978-458-9482
Merging the needs of the die-hard sports crowd and that of that of the casual fan, there’s plenty of room to sit around the bar and yell at the plasma TVs or catch the action from a table while hanging back with friends. Even if your team is losing, the super friendly bar staff and the beer will give you something to cheer about. 

TreMonte Pizzeria
112 Middle St. | 978-453-1110
New to downtown this summer, TreMonte has several big flat screens crowning the horseshoe-shaped bar for sports fans. While you’re getting your game face on, you might want to keep up your energy by sampling the restaurant’s staple — delicious stone fired pizza.   

 ~ Best hangover cures

 Vic’s Waffle House
 283 Old Main St., Tewksbury | 978-640-9610
Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and packed with flavor, waffles are served just about every which way you can think of at Vic’s. We highly recommend The Elvis, with bacon, bananas, peanut butter and honey.  

Jimmy’s Pizza Too 
480 Chelmsford St. | 978-446-0345
A cheesesteak chased by a can of Coke at this place always makes us feel a little bit better. And they deliver.

Cobblestones Bloody Mary
91 Dutton St. | 978-970-2282
We think there’s some truth to grandma’s old adage that the best cure for what ails you is to have more of it. Cobblestones makes one of the best Bloody Mary’s around, good enough to whip you back into shape. 

guide occrowd
Old Court. Photo by Tory Germann. 

  ~ Surefire places for treats, craft brews and wine to go

Market Street Market
95 Market St. | 978-735-4532
A neighborhood and independently owned “everything” shop in downtown Lowell, Market Street Market stocks its shelves and coolers with an awesome selection of specialty beers and wines. Here, you’ll also find a nice variety of homemade soups and deli sandwiches, farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, deserts and prepared dinners to go.

Tutto Bene
58 Prescott St. (rear) | 978-459-9463
This place just feels like venturing into a little nook of Italy. A great place to try wines form around the world with many bottles priced under $20. The staff is knowledgeable and can help find something for any budget. 

  ~ Best Un-guilty pleasure

Pure Froyo
108 Merrimack St. | 978-710-7603

Your go-to spot for a tasty heaping of frozen yogurt, which has half the calories of an equivalent portion of ice cream. This downtown froyo bar has dozens of toppings to choose from so you can keep it healthy with fresh fruit and nuts or drown it in chocolate sauce and cake pieces to be as bad as you want to be. 

 ~ Places to take your parents (or, you know, have them take you)

Athenian Corner
207 Market St. | 978-458-7052
Where else in Lowell can you enjoy savory grilled Greek dishes like lamb kebobs and spanakopita while you watch a young woman bearing her navel and balancing a sword on top of her head? Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights sit back and take in live traditional Greek music and belly dancers with your dinner at this landmark downtown restaurant.
atheniancorner.com 

LaBoniche Urban Bistro & Wine Bar
143 Merrimack St. | 978-458-9473
Classy without being stuffy, this chef-owned French bistro is featured in a scene in the Ricky Gervais comedy The Invention of Lying. From grilled pizza and gourmet burgers to entrees like pan roasted trout and duck with raspberry and roasted peaches, the food is a hit and on weekends you can find some great live music at the wine bar. 
laboniche.com

Centro Restaurant
You can almost picture Mad Men’s Don Draper saddled up at this Mediterranean bistro’s sleek bar with an Old Fashioned in hand. Another chef-owned restaurant, you can see entrees like the hearty Mac & Cheese with spicy steak tips, chicken sauteed with peaches and  grilled wild atlantic salmon with eggplant caponate being prepared by skilled hands in the open-air kitchen.
centrolowell.com

Cobblestones
A seafood lover’s paradise, no other restaurant in Lowell can rival Cobblestones raw oyster bar, fresh fish offerings and succulent crab and lobster dishes. 
cobblestonesoflowell.com

Cavaleiro’s 
573 Lawrence St. | 978-458-2800
This Portuguese restaurant located in Lowell’s Back Central neighborhood serves up steak like nobody else. An 8 oz. filet mignon served on a hot stone is ready to be cooked at the table. While cooking your steak to perfection, try their award-winning sangria. 
cavaleirosrestaurant.com

Ricardo’s Cafe Trattoria
110 Gorham St. | 978-453-2777
Every Thursday through Saturday, Ricardo’s serves up a side of live jazz with food that deserves its reputation as the best Italian fare in the city.
ricardoscafetrattoria.com

guide sweetlydias
Sweet Lydias. Courtesy Photo.

  ~ Happy Endings

Delicia’s Bakery
11 Kearney Sq. | 978-453-3169
A mouth-watering selection of cakes and pastries are made fresh daily in the kitchen of this downtown Brazilian bakery. The decadent dessert flan never disappoints.    

Donut Shack
487 Westford St. | 978-937-0178
Best. Doughnuts. Anywhere. Get the marshmallow filled.

 
Little Delights Bakery
There’s something to be said for variety and Little Delights is saying it — in the form of cupcake flavors like dirty tiramisu, tuscan cream, death by chocolate, caramel apple and green tea. New flavors are introduced regularly and the bakery also whips up delicious one-of-a-kind cakes for any occasion.
littledelightsbakerylowell.com

Sweet Lydia’s
160 Merrimack St. | 978-888-7616
Nothing beats the nostalgic combo of melted marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers — unless you add in even more yummy goodness like toasted coconut, caramel, fresh raspberries and peanut butter. Revenge on your diet never tasted so sweet at this downtown shop that puts a new twist on an old campfire favorite.  
sweetlydias.com

Top Donut
700 Aiken St. | 978-459-6113
Chain coffee shops are a dime a dozen, but make it a point to stop in this crazy-popular locally owned doughnut shop and experience what all the hype is about. The glazed and cream filled doughnuts, as well as the apple fritters have a cult following.  

  ~ CALENDAR ~

guide kidkoala

20 things to do before finals week

September

9/5 Comedian Amy Schumer at Lowell Memorial Auditorium 
9/6 Crave: The ultimate dinner theater, 7 p.m., 119 Gallery. $10 suggested donation. 
9/6 Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and Twenty One Pilots at Tsongas Arena, 7 p.m.
9/7 Take the train to Boston for “Boston Calling” featuring Vampire Weekend, Local Natives, The Gaslight Anthem, The Airborne Toxic Event, Bat For Lashes, Deer Tick, Okkervil River, Lucius and You Won’t.
9/7 Western Avenue. Open Studios
9/7 Second Annual Brew Fest at Athenian Corner, 207 Market St. 
9/14 Pick your own apples at Parlee Farm  

9/15 Vegan Southeast Asian cooking glass,  
9/27 Rock Allegiance Tour featuring Volbeat, HIM, All That Remains and Airbourne at Tsongas Arena, 7 p.m.
9/29 Jack Kerouac Road Race, 12 p.m., The Old Worthen. 

October

10/4 Witch’s Woods Haunted Hayride & Halloween Screampark opens for the season. 79 Powers Road, Westford.
10/5 Cheer on the UML River Hawks at their first game of the season, 7 p.m., Tsongas Center.
10/8 A Day To Remember’s House Party Tour with special guests All Time Low and Pierce The Veil at Tsongas Arena, 6:30 p.m.

10/10 Annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! Festival kicks off with traditional pubs tour, 5:30 p.m. at The Worthen followed by music and readings at Cappy’s Copper Kettle with the legendary David Amram, 8p.m. 
10/12 Visit Salem. The spookiest town in the country is a train ride away and full of witches, warlocks and more during the month-long Haunted Happenings festival.
10/17 Lemers, Downtown Boys, Dust Witch, Anti-Friend Hut at 119 Gallery

November
11/2 Panic in the Dark 5k nightmare obstacle run 
11/9 Mrs. Mannerly comedy at MRT., 4p.m. Just how far will students go for a perfect score? $15. 
11/23 Annual City of Lights Parade

December

12/19 Texmas Eve, an annual rockin’ holiday hoedown at The Worthen. 


SHOPPING

shopping full page copy
Photo by Tory Germann.

  ~ Art supplies

Van Gogh’s Gear
307 Market St. | 978-970-2100
Whether you’re a novice or pro, this downtown shop is fully stocked with everything you need including easels, paints, charcoal, pencils, pads, brushes and gadgets galore. Show your ID and take advantage of the student discount.
vangoghsgear.com   

  ~ Beauty

Eyeful Beauty
33 Middle St. | 978.710.5775
A trendy but laid-back salon with award-winning stylists specializing in cutting-edge looks. Stocks great organic hair products, including the Kevin Murphy line.
eyefulbeauty.com

Salon City
173 Market St. | 978.458.1132
Amazing and affordable massages, manicures and pedicures from a friendly staff. An Aveda concept salon. 
saloncitytoday.com 

Indigo Salon and Day Spa
165 Merrimack St. | 978.667.6580
Salon owner Lori Contarino is known for giving fantastic cuts. Sells Bumble & Bumble hair care and Suki skincare.
indigosalon-dayspa.com

Unique You Salon
216 Central St. | 978-446-1422
Salon owner Rose Agbede specializes and cares for all types of hair but her full-service salon is downtown’s go-to spot for braiding, dreadlocks, weaves + extensions and the latest and greatest styles for black natural hair. 
uniqueyousalon.com

Empire Beauty School
231 Central St. | 978-735- 4216
For the budget conscious, visit a stylist in training and receive a haircut for $9 and a blowout for $7.  
empire.edu/massachusetts

  ~ Bicycles & Bike repair

guide persona
Persona. Photo by Tory Germann.

City Bicycle
181 Market St. | 978-446-3949
Need some wheels? City Cycle has an excellent selection of old-school vintage bikes made in the U.S. and Europe, ranging from city cruisers to racers. Of course, you’ll also find brand-spanking new models along with accessories for cheap transportation around Lowell. Shop owner James Hill also offers full service repairs whether it’s changing a flat tire or giving your two-wheeler a tune-up with the works. 

Persona
51 Market St. | 978-710-7869
Besides a sweet selection of skateboards that hang like works of art on the shop’s back wall, this downtown urban clothing store is adding affordable and customized fixed-gear bikes to the mix this fall.
persona.com   

  ~ Books

Pollard Library
401 Merrimack St. | 978-674-4120
E-readers like the Kindle, Nook and iPad have sort of made cutting down trees a necessity of the past. But really, is there anything quite as satisfying as the feel of those dry, crisp, papery pages between your fingers? The Pollard Library — which Jack Kerouac credited for opening his world beyond Lowell before he was old enough to go “on the road” — is stacked with reading material, holds book sales throughout the year and has a very knowledgeable and friendly staff to help you navigate.
pollardml.org

  ~ Clothes

BackRoom
167 Market St. | 978-828-9353
Channel the fab 50s, mod 60s or groovy 70s. You’ll find all that and more inside this cozy vintage clothing shop tucked in the back of Zeitgeist Art Gallery. Owner Jan Zawodny buys, trades and consigns designer retro garments and accessories spanning five decades and each piece is lovingly handpicked for your pleasure. 
backroom.com

Burlington Mall
No car? No problem. You can still make it to the mall for a day of shopping by picking up a city bus (Route 14 – Burlington Mall/Lahey Clinic) at the Gallagher transportation terminal that will drop you off at the mall’s main entrance. 

studentguide citylife walking
Photo by Tory Germann.

Humanity
128 Merrimack St. | 978-458-7467
We like to think of this fab downtown women’s clothing boutique as the broke girl’s Anthropology. Shop owner Franky Descoteaux covets indie brands from around the globe along with items form local designers. Best of all, you’ll look en vogue without breaking the bank.
humanitylowell.com 

Kohl’s 
265 Chelmsford St. | 978-250-0054
You’ll find clothes for girls and guys at this discount megastore along with regular sales and it’s easily accessible by bus (look for bus info in the City Life portion of the guide). 

Marshall’s 
211 Plain St. | 978-454-4124
For those with champagne taste on a beer budget, you can’t beat Marshall’s or it’s sister store T.J. Maxx, where you can land super deals on designer brands like Seven For All Mankind, Betsy Johnson, Free People, Calvin Klein, BCBG Generation and more. Find T.J. Maxx at 288 Chelmsford St. in neighboring Chelmsford.

Persona
51 Market St. | 978-710-7869
Downtown’s premiere skateboard retailer also sells casual street wear for guys with a full range of hoodies, T-shirts, jeans and a stacked selection of sneakers from classic Chuck Taylors and Vans to Nike, Reebok, New Balance and more. 
persona.com

Target
181 Plain St. | 978-703-2021
When it comes to fashion for girls and guys, Target is miles apart from some of the other discount megastores. The store often collaborates with top designers like Jason Wu, Isaac Mizrahi and Philip Lim, and the GO International line has churned out some snazzy $20 to $40 frocks that look like they cost much more.  

24-hour drug stores & pharmacies

CVS
336 Bridge St. | 978-452-7165

Walgreens
54 Plain St. | 978-453-7538

  ~ Flowers & gifts

Eastern Photographic
5 Webber St.| 978-937-0101
Homemade cards say it best and this Highlands’ neighborhood photo shop has everything you need for personalizing greeting cards, calendars, posters and collages.   
easternphoto.com 

Found
33 Middle St. | 978-654-5059
A fun and funky place to explore and find one-of-a-kind items, antiques and collectibles from different decades including artwork, pop culture, jewelry, mid-century furnishings. 

Rogers Toy Co.
150 Middle St. | 
Find party games in a pinch and plenty of nostalgic toys like Star Wars action figures, Sea-Monkeys, virtual pets and super soaker water guns.

The Flower Mill
96 Merrimack St. | 978-677-6894
The stunning blooms at Johanna Hall’s sweet-smelling shop are perfect whether you’re snapping up a single flower to brighten someone’s day or in need of an artistic and thoughtfully designed arrangement for a special occasion. 

guide books
Photo by Tory Germann. 

  ~ Groceries

Bangkok Market
179 Chelmsford St. | 978-452-5852
Looking to stretch a dollar as far as it will go? Want to add some new flavor to your culinary adventures? Then put this Asian market on your to-do list. You can actually walk out the door with 7 limes for $1 and a week’s worth of noodles, rice, fruits, veggies and more for around $15.

Agway Winter Farmer’s Market
24 Maple Road, Chelmsford | 978- 256-9991
Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year for farm-fresh pickings. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from Nov. 2 to Feb. 22, stock up on a huge variety of homegrown offerings including breads, pastries, seafood, organic grass-fed meats, eggs, dairy, seasonal produce, pasta, tea, maple syrup, honey, beauty products, candles and much more.  
chelmsfordagway.com/farmers-market

Hannaford
777 Rogers St. | 978-446-7862
A superstore known for its sizable organic and international food sections.   

Pailin City Asian Supermarket
6 Branch St. | 978-459-7280
Get a taste of Cambodia without the jet lag. Another great Southeast Asian market to explore, Pailin offers tasty fixings like Banana leaves stuffed with sweet sticky rice, dragon fruit, prahok (fermented fish paste that’s a staple in most Cambodia dishes), fresh tumeric and ginger root.  

Palika Bazar
1290 Westford St. | 978-441-1505
One of the best-kept secrets of the Drum Hill section of  Lowell is this Indian grocer tucked in the back of a strip mall. There’s a good selection prepared dishes to go, plenty of spices, teas, cosmetics and food products — not to mention the fresh cooked $1 samosas at the counter.  

Parlee Farms
95 Farwell Road, Tyngsboro | 978-649-3854
Pick your own apples and sample some homemade apple cider doughnuts while you’re at it.

Market Basket
331 Fletcher St. | 978-458-6952
Located on the outskirts of downtown, this locally-owned supermarket is easy to get to, has a little bit of everything and is known for having some of the lowest prices in town. 

Silva’s Market
40 Perry St. | 978-453-4643
A small Portuguese market that sells homemade bread made fresh daily and Torresmos (marinated pork with chili peppers, wine and garlic).  

Trader Joe’s
262 Daniel Webster Hwy, Nashua, N.H. |  
It’s a farther venture out of Lowell but the 15-minute drive up Route 3 into southern New Hampshire is worth the trip for organic, interesting and yummy food items like pumpkin butter, wasabi cheese and dark chocolate cherry soy ice cream. You’ll discover  grass-fed meats, amazing vegetarian offerings and their famous Charles Shaw wines for under $4 a bottle — all of that and more  in a super friendly shopping environment.

guide vinyl
Photo by Tory Germann.

  ~ Music

Garnick’s 
54 Middlesex St. | 
A family-owned landmark shop and a cool throw-back to the days of juke boxes and turntables. The interior has a garage sale vibe with vinyl stacked in bins and piled in 
crates along the floor. While you’re combing through the stash, chances are that one, or all, of the brothers who run the joint will chat you up about “the good old days” of Lowell.

University Music
A mom and pop music shop selling instruments and accessories, and offering lessons, rentals and repairs.  

Vinyl Destination 
250 Jackson St. 
Be on the lookout for this brand new indie vinyl shop opening in Mill No. 5 this fall. Shop owner David Perry, a veteran award-winning music journalist, is mad about music and will offer clean, high-quality records to new vinyl converts and serious collectors alike.  
vinyldestinationlowell

Whitsett Guitar Works
181 Market St. | 978-454-1601
A full service guitar repair and restoration shop in downtown and one of only 32 guitar shops worldwide selected by Fender to be an authorized “Fender Custom Shop.”
whitsettlowell 

 
  ~ Thrift 

Abbey’s Treasures
70 Gorham St. | 978-455-9941
Second hand furniture, antiques, clothing and gently-used wares. 
abbeyslowell 

CITY LIFE

citylife fullpage scenic copy
Umass Inn & Conference Center by Tory Germann. 

  ~ Neighborhoods

Whether it’s the grand mansions of Belvidere or Pawtucketville’s riverwalk, there’s more to Lowell besides the downtown. To help you navigate your way around the city, here’s Howl’s greatest hits list for each enclave.

Cetralville

Jane Toppan’s House:  In 1902, nurse Jane Toppan (aka ‘Jolly Jane’) confessed to killing 31 people with poison, some of whom she crawled into bed with and held while they died. She even killed her foster sister by serving her a cocktail of mineral water and strychnine. Over the course of her 10-year killing spree, it is believed her victims may have totaled as many as 100. She grew up in the house at 182 Third St.  

The “Res”: The George McDermott Reservoir high atop Christian Hill is an oasis in the midst of an urban jungle and offers the best views in the city. It is here where neighbors spot deer and pheasants, gather, walk, talk, and play catch with their kids. In the winter it is a hotspot for sledding.  

Jack Kerouac’s Birthplace, 9 Lupine Rd.: It was here, on the second floor of this brown two-family home, where the author who would become the voice of a generation with the 1957 publication of “On the Road,” was born in 1922. One of the most seminal figures of the Beat Generation, Kerouac fans — some from as far as Italy — still pilgrimage to the Mill City to see the his hometown, which itself is a prominent character in many of his works.

Pawtucketville

Lowell Heritage State Park, 160 Pawtucket Blvd.: This green space and walkway along the Merrimack River attracts thousands of visitors and locals each year to walk, bike and rollerblade. It also includes the Sampas Pavilion, home to many concerts and ethic festivals and the UMass Bellegarde Boathouse, which during summer months, offers canoe and kayak rentals. 

The Lew House, 89 Mount Hope St.:  This was the home of Adrastus and Elizabeth Lew (married in 1844) and a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves making their way to Canada. The Lews’ grandson, Harry “Bucky” Lew was the first black professional basketball player in 1902. 

canal reflection
Canal reflection of Mill No. 5 by Tory Germann. 

Downtown

Lowell National Historical Park, 246 Market St. (Visitors’ Center): Lowell was the first planned industrial city in America. Learn its story here. The park offers mill tours, trolley tours and the very popular canal boat tours. Everyone should hit up a canal boat tour at least once and you have until Columbus Day weekend to scratch that off your to-do list.  

Arts League of Lowell (ALL) Gallery, 307 Market St.: Formed in 2003, this artist co-op recently moved into its permanent home into the historic Gates Block on Market Street. Also in the same building is Van Gogh’s Gear, the city’s premier art supply store. 

Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson St.: Sure to become an iconic city centerpiece, this major reuse project inside a historic textile mill is anything but run of the mill. An architectural marvel, the fourth and fifth floors are being transformed into an indoor streetscape — think Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley meets Dickens’ Victorian England — lined with salvaged antique building pieces including the doors of Dr. Suess’ former home. Coming soon, Mill No. 5 will be filled with indie retail shops, arts, entertainment and innovative start-ups. Overheard recently on Jackson Street: “a day in the life of Mill No. 5 is like hearing the guitar solo from Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing for the first time while having your first kiss with the girl (or guy) you’ve had a crush on for 10 years.” We can’t wait for that.

The Highlands 

“The Fighter” Crack House, 38 Smith St.: A piece of Hollywood history in the heart of Lowell. In the 2010 Micky Ward biopic “The Fighter,” Micky’s brother Dicky Eklund spent a lot of time hanging out at this house on Smith Street in the shadow of the “Torrent” Firehouse, getting high and into trouble.   

Cambodiatown, Middlesex and Branch streets: In 1979 Cambodian refugees began arriving in Lowell in droves, fleeing persecution and war in their homeland. Today, Lowell boasts the second largest Cambodian population in the United States after Long Beach, California. Many settled in the city’s Lower Highlands neighborhood. Here you can find a wide variety of Cambodian markets, restaurants, jewelry stores and other businesses that cater to the Cambodian community.  

Clemente Park, 823 Middlesex Street: The park, named for beloved Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente, has been claimed by the city’s Cambodian community in recent years. Nearly every night in the summer you will find dozens of Cambodians playing volleyball here, while older Cambodian ladies keep them well-fed, selling snacks like homemade egg rolls. 

Tyler Park, 700 Westford St.: This oasis, designed by famed landscape architect John Charles Olmstead (Central Park, Golden Gate Park, Boston’s Emerald Necklace), is a quiet spot tucked off busy Westford Street, ringed by Victorian homes. 

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        The Donut Shack. Photo by Tory Germann.

South Lowell

Lowell Cemetery, Lawrence Street: A sprawling, 172-year-old garden-style cemetery. Notables buried in this beautiful space include Sen. Paul Tsongas and “Annie” Richmond, a married girlfriend of Edgar Allan Poe. You may forget you are in a cemetery and think of it more as a public art museum once you see some of the elaborate monuments like the 25-ton Italian marble Ayer lion.  

Edson Cemetery, 1375 Gorham St.: It is in this 46-acre cemetery that you will find the grave of Jack Kerouac. 

Back Central

Rotary Park Community Garden, 22 Richmond Ave.: Two years ago, this site adjacent to Rotary Park, was an overgrown, ugly eyesore. As part of the City Manager’s 2012 Back Central Neighborhood Initiative, the city partnered with Lydia Sisson and Francey Slater of Mill City Grows to redevelop it into a 9,000-square-foot urban farm. 

South Common, Highland Street: A 22-acre public park that includes a public swimming pool, lots of shade trees and is close to the Gallagher Terminal train station. 

The Acre

The Worthen House, 141 Worthen St.: Lowell’s oldest tavern and restaurant, the building was built in 1834, two years before the Town of Lowell became the City of Lowell; it became a tavern in 1898. Did Edgar Allan Poe write “The Raven” here? Maybe.  We do know he definitely drank here. As did Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, Jimmy Breslin and Ed McMahon. A great place to step back in time, check out the belt and pulley driven fan system (one of only four left in the U.S.), grab a cheap beer and a hot dog boiled in beer and relax. 

Whistler Park, 243 Worthen St: The pristinely manicured park adjacent to the Whistler House Museum is an oasis in the heart of the Acre, the most “urban” of the city’s neighborhoods. It is a great place to stop, sit and think or study. By moonlight it is quite romantic under the trellis, a prime rendezvous spot. Be sure to also visit the museum. The house, built in 1823, is the birthplace of famed American artist James McNeil Whistler (1834). 

The Round House, 58 Wannalancit St.: The city’s most unique architectural gem, this round house was built in 1872 by Jonathan Bowers for his daughter’s wedding reception. He used granite from the quarry he owned in Tyngsboro.  It is one of only three round houses in Massachusetts and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Drive or walk by and take a peak but be respectful as it is private property. 

Cote’s Market, 175 Salem Street: For nearly 100 years, the market opened by Joseph Elphege Cote has provided homemade, affordable comfort food first to the French Canadians who were living in the Acre’s “Little Canada” section and later to every other group who began their American journey in the Acre. The beans are famous. The cretons (pork spread) is legendary. Still family owned, the service is warm and welcoming. Cote’s is a proper home away from home, especially for home-sick college students.  

The North Common Amphitheater: Two years ago, Acre neighborhood group leader Dave Ouellette brought community groups together that helped secure grant funding to refurbish the ampitheater that had fallen into disrepair. Today it is a fully functioning performance space, its stone seats painted in what neighbors call the Welcome Rainbow, greeting visitors with “hello” in dozens of different languages.  A great place to hang out and practice your Shakespearean monologues. 

Belvidere

The Worcester House, 658 Andover St.:  The City’s Belvidere (“Beautiful to Behold”) neighborhood is home to many impressive and stately homes. The Worcester House, built by Eldad Worcester in 1802 on what was once a 65-acre farm, is the oldest on Andover St.  

Kittredge Park, 68 Nesmith Street: This 1.4 acre park, named for Captain Paul Kittredge who was killed in action in France in November 1918, includes a playground and gazebo. It was one of U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas’ favorite places. Even when he was running for president in 1992, Tsongas could often be seen in Kittredge Park on Saturday mornings weeding the grounds. 

Rogers Fort Hill Park, 53 Park Avenue East: In 1669, Chief Wannalancit of the Pawtucket tribe of the Pennacook  Nation  built a fort at the top of the hill as protection from the Mohawks. The land was deeded to the city as a park in 1885. Today the hill offers a place for an easy hike without leaving city limits and some of the best views in the city. If you look closely, you will find the remnants of the Fort Hill Zoo, which operated here from 1917-the late 1940s. 

Shedd Park, Rogers Street: The 56-acre Shedd Park was donated to the city by Freeman Shedd in July 1910, with the specification that it be used to build a playground and park. 
Shedd was born in Lowell and went off to fight in the Civil War at the age of 17 in 1862, quickly becoming a military hospital steward, assisting at the Battle of Gettysburg.  When he returned to Lowell, he worked at a drugstore where he met Eli Hoyt. They began producing and peddling Hoyt’s German Cologne. In 1875, the young and successful businessmen built and moved into the “twin mansions of cologne.” Built as mirror images of each other, the homes still stand at 386 and 396 Andover St. They shared a front veranda, inner garden and summer house. 
Today, hardly a day goes by that Shedd Park is not packed with visitors at the playground, tennis courts, ball fields and waterpark. During winter, it’s the place for sledding.

studentguide citylife hafners sign
Haffner’s. Photo by Tory Germann.

  ~ On the street & underground

Kerouac Park
75 Bridge St.
Set under a canopy of weeping willows, the memorial to Lowell’s native son is defined by tall granite pillars inscribed with excerpts from Kerouac’s  writings. 

The Grotto
357 Pawtucket St. 
Tucked  behind the Franco American School, this hidden gem is mentioned in Kerouac’s Dr. Sax and was also paid a visit by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan in the 1975 documentary Renaldo and Clara. 

Riverwalk & North Canalway
Starting behind Boarding House Park at the Foot of John Street and stretching a few miles past scenic bridges and canalways, this path is great for jogging, biking or walking. 

Ed McMahon Bench
33 Kearney Sqaure
“Heeeeeeere’s Johnny.” Lowell native and comedian Ed McMahon is most famous for the line he used to intro Johnny Carson for years on The Tonight Show. In 1996, he was honored with a bench in front of Middlesex Community College, marked with a star. 

The Electric Donkey
215 Dutton St.
Yeah, Boston has the Citgo sign but Lowell has got the infinitely cooler electric donkey. Around since 1925, Haffner’s filling station began in Lawrence and Lowell. And the animated iconic donkey on the famous neon sign does exactly what it claims to do: “It kicks.”

Mike “The Sausage Guy”
Need a quick meal in-between classes? Mike Laiberte’s push cart can be found on the corner of Central and Middle streets, where he serves up fast and delicious street food with a side of witty banter. 

John Street Parking Garage
Sometimes it’s good to change your perspective on the world. Ride the glass elevator up to the roof of this downtown parking garage and view the beauty of the city from higher ground. We recommend sunset when the old mills are backlit with a fiery glow. 

Busk Stops
Take your acoustic music or performance art to the streets, or be an admiring spectator, at one of downtown’s spots on Market, Merrimack, Middle and Central streets. Busking stations are designated by sings.  

  ~ Outdoor Adventure

Canal Tour
The history behind building the city’s 5.6 miles of canals seems to unfold like a Martin Scorsese film (think Gangs of New York with Boston accents). For about $6, a boat tour of  the canal ways is fun and will give you a new appreciation for Lowell. But hurry, the boat tours close for the season after Columbus Day weekend. 
Late Night Bicycle Gang

Lowell-Dracut-Tygsboro State Forest
Spanning three cities, this 1,140-acre forest has six miles of trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
A 6.8 mile stretch of pavement over a former railroad track links Lowell to Carlisle and makes for a decent dose of nature no mater the season. Park for free (or take the bus) at the Crosspoint Towers lot on Industrial Ave. A large storm drain marks the start of the trail. 

White Water Rafting
From April through May, you’ll find an urban whitewater gem, where you can plunge over class III to IV rapids. The Concord River rafting trip by Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust and Zoar Ourdoor includes passage through an 1850’s lock chamber that puts you smack in the center of downtown Lowell. 

UML Outdoor Adventure Program
Part of the campus recreation center, this program seems to remain one of the university’s best kept secrets with endless opportunities for students to do cool, fun stuff for cheap throughout the seasons including, hiking, surfing, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, snowboarding, surfing and more.

kerouac

Did You know…

Lowell was America’s first planned industrial city.

By 1850, the city’s textile mills produced enough cloth annually to encircle the earth twice.

Moxie soda was created here in 1876 and was the first mass produced soft drink in the U.S. 

The Ymittos Candle Co., 279 Dutton St., is a huge Hollywood movie supplier and manufactured candles for Pirates of The Caribbean, Lincoln and The Lone Ranger.

The Aiken Street bridge holds the record for longest lenticular truss bridge in the country at 155 feet, and also ranks first place for most lenticular spans — a whopping five.

Johnny Depp visited Lowell to learn more about Jack Kerouac

Led Zeppelin, The Doors and the Allman Brothers (when Duane was still alive) and countless other big bands all played in Lowell at the former Commodore Ballroom, also known as Mr. C’s  

  ~ Famous People Born in Lowell

Jack Kerouac, writer

Bette Davis, actress

James McNeill Whistler, painter

Ed McMahon, entertainer

Olympia Dukakis, actress

Paul Tsongas, politician

Michael Chiklis, actor

Micky Ward, pro-boxer and junior welterweight champion

  ~ Getting Away

Lowell Regional Transit Authority
The LRTA city bus system gets you just about anywhere you want to go in Greater Lowell for around $2
lrta.com

Commuter Rail
The MBTA makes it a snap to travel between Boston and Lowell. A round-trip ticket from Lowell is $17.50 and from Boston’s North Station, you can pick up trains to Salem, Mass. and popular beach destinations along the north shore like Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester and Newburyport. 
mbta.com

Buses to New York City
You can catch a one-way Peter Pan bus from Lowell to NYC for about $50. For the frugal, Bolt Bus still provides one way tickets to the Big Apple departing from Boston’s South Station for under $20. But be sure to check schedules and book tickets in advance if you’re thinking of exploring New York with friends. Ever since the Department of Transportation suspended the popular Fung Wah and Lucky Star bus lines for safety violations, the sudden halt on cheap $15 bus tickets to Manhattan has put Bolt in demand with seats filling up fast. Reserved seating will guarantee you a spot.      
boltbus.com | peterpan.com

If you haven’t received your free printed copy of the Howl Student Guide, grab one at any of the following locations on Tuesday Sept., 10 : Brew’d Awakenings Coffeehaus, Eggroll Cafe, Humanity Clothing Boutique or drop the street team a line ~ hello@howlmag.com ~ and we’ll make sure you get one.  

                                                                                                            

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About The Author

HOWL Street Team

Exploring everything from food and shopping to arts and entertainment so you can experience the best of what Greater Lowell has to offer.