“The best things in life are free.”
It’s a phrase that has been said time and time again. But does it hold up?
Well, in the Merrimack Valley–absolutely! There is an abundance of free things to do near Lowell, MA that you can explore on your own or with friends and family. Most of which offer educational experiences and outdoor adventures.
Today, let’s look at just a few of the many free things to do near you!
1. Lowell Heritage State Park
Let’s start our free journey at the Lowell Heritage State Park. Here, visitors have space for all their favorite outdoor activities, such as walking, running, and biking. You can also take in historical sites and exhibitions, go boating, or set up a nice picnic. Free parking is available near the Market Mills and Rynne Bathhouse.
2. The Nashua River Rail Trail
This 11-mile rail-trail travels through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, and Dunstable, next to the scenic Nashua River. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset and features spots for many activities, such as walking, running, biking, roller blading, and even horseback riding. Be sure to visit Mass.gov’s Nashua River Rail Trail page for information about parking.
3. Lowell Cemetery Tours
Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the Lowell Cemetery gives visitors a firsthand look at a classic Victorian, garden-style cemetery, where many of Lowell’s founding fathers and other notable figures rest. Local historian and Register of Deeds Richard Howe Jr. leads free walking tours in the spring and fall.
4. The Minute Man National Historical Park
The Minute Man National Historical Park is open all year round from sunrise to sunset. The park features many historical sites, such as the Old North Bridge, the Minute Man Statue, and scenic walking trails, such as the Battle Road Trail. There are no fees to visit or park. However, some programs or sites may have a separate fee.
5. Free Programs At The Walden Pond State Reservation
The Walden Pond State Reservation often hosts free family-friendly educational programs throughout the year. These programs include guided nature tours, arts and crafts, and self-guide StoryWalks on an easy, .5 mile family-friend trail. It’s important to note that while the programs are free, there is an $8 parking charge for MA license plates to support park operations.
6. Fee-Free Days At The Boott Cotton Mills Museum
Every so often, the Boott Cotton Mills Museum hosts fee-free days, allowing visitors to explore Lowell’s industrial history, including a working weave room, free of charge. This includes the upcoming first day of National Park Week (April 16, 2022) and the Great American Outdoors Act Anniversary (August 4, 2022), amongst other dates throughout the year.
7. First Friday Nights Free At The Discovery Museum
The Discovery Museum is a fantastic place to let your child’s imaginations run wild while learning various STEM-based activities and exploring nature in outdoor play areas. While there is an admission fee on most days, the museum offers free admission on the first Friday of each month from October to June from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. However, reservations are required to take part. It’s also worth noting that children under 1 and teachers are always free.
8. Western Avenue Studios & Lofts
The Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, Massachusetts is a mill-sized collection of artists and small businesses owners creating, showing, teaching, and selling their works. Visitors are welcome to explore and tour the property for free, including 8 different self-guided tours.
Annual Free Events In Lowell, MA
9. The Annual Lowell Folk Festival (July 29-31, 2022)
The Lowell Folk Festival returns in 2022. Most of Downtown Lowell becomes a massive celebration throughout the festival’s duration, including energetic live performances, street performers, and family-fun areas and activities. Best of all, there’s no charge to attend the festival. Food, beverages, and merch are available for sale from local vendors.
10. Free Fun For Kids at the Lowell Summer Music Series (June – August)
The Lowell Festival Foundation puts on the Lowell Summer Music Series at Boarding House Park every year. While the festival’s main draw is ticket concerts throughout the summer, it also features its annual Free Fun For Kids shows. These family-friendly shows are free on Wednesday and Thursday mornings throughout the series. Typically, children can receive free healthy snacks at 10 am, followed by a live performance at 11 am.