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Learn About Lowell Before Classes Start
The Lowell Folk Festival is just one of many fun summer activities in the city.
By Julia Gavin
The amount of activity in Lowell can be positively overwhelming, emphasis on the positive.
Lowell is chock full of activities for everyone, especially over the summer. Whether it’s a warm beach day or a stormy summer night, Lowell has something for everyone. Here are our picks for required summer activities, in no particular order. For other ideas and updates, follow us on
or visit Howl in Lowell’s
Lowell Folk Festival
: In a city full of of festivals, the Lowell Folk Festival is the headline event. The nation’s largest free folk festival takes over for the last weekend in July with music, food and traditional art demonstrations. Special events take place throughout the city, including this year's book-signings by many University-affiliated authors from
. The signings will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on July 28 and 29 at the UMass Lowell downtown bookstore, 151 Merrimack St.
Canal Boat Tour
: Students can see the city’s canals from many spots on campus, but you can get an up-close view through one of the Lowell National Historical Park’s boat tours of the nation’s largest canal system. Learn how the 5.6 miles of hand-dug canals powered the city’s mills and continue to support industry today. The tours run from late June to late August, weather and water permitting.
Hike in the
Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest
: Just a short distance from campus, nature lovers will feel at home in the 1,140 acre forest with six miles of trails, water views and old structures to explore. The main entrance is in Lowell, but trails can take you on a tour of both Dracut and Tyngsboro.
Explore Museums and Galleries
: The city of Lowell is home to more than a dozen
museums, galleries and artist communities
, all ready to share their history and creations. There’s a lot to experience, but you can see several in one day. Visit the
American Textile History Museum
in the morning, stop by Western Avenue’s
(first Saturday of each month) and wrap up the evening with art and live music at the
: With just a GPS or smartphone, some clues and a bit of curiosity, you can explore your city through the fun of geochaching. After you find your first caches, consider adding a new clue to bring other adventurous souls to town.
Cool Off with a Good Book:
You might not consider a library the perfect vacation spot, but be sure to stop by the
Pollard Memorial Library
to cool off during your downtown adventures. With lots of events and an interesting history – Jack Kerouac used to skip school and head to their stacks – it’s a good place to catch up on your summer reading.
Become a Film Buff:
While Lowell does have a large cinema, residents in-the-know get their movie fix with the
Lowell Film Collaborative
. With several screenings a month, the group wants to bring more film to the city by using non-traditional venues and partnering with community members to spread their love of indie cinema.
Ride the River:
The UMass Lowell
offers kayak rentals, classes and tours to introduce paddlers to the Merrimack River from late May through August. The sunset and full moon tours are especially popular.
Love Live Music:
It’s rare to walk through downtown Lowell on a summer evening and not hear live music. Between shows at
Lowell Summer Music Series
or concerts at the
, musicians in restaurants and buskers performing during
Fresh Air Fridays
, there’s a constant song in the air. If you’re looking for new music, be sure to check out the
by south campus for touring musicians on the rise. You can also check out several open mics throughout the city to hear new artists or even try out your own skills.
Catch a Foul Ball at a
With 38 home games each season, it’s easy to celebrate America’s favorite pastime with the Lowell Spinners, a Class-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. With theme nights, talented players and inexpensive student tickets, a baseball game at LeLacheur Park is a perfect summer evening.
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