Are you looking for your next fall adventure? Or maybe just a relaxing outing with your friends and family?
One of the best parts about living or visiting the Greater Merrimack Valley area is that there are many unique and exciting things to do and places to visit. So whether you seek a quiet, scenic stroll, taking in our area’s natural beauty, or a night out on the town, tasting the local flavors, there’s a little something for everyone.
So, before the end of the season, here are just a few of the fun things to do in the Greater Merrimack Valley during the fall.
1. Learn More About The Local History
The Greater Merrimack Valley is rich in local history, especially when it comes to early industrial history in New England and the United States and the American Revolution eras. Visiting these sites in the fall is a joy to experience and may bring additional context to students learning about local history in school.
LNHP Boott Cotton Mills Museum
If you want to get a firsthand look at early industrial life in the United States, Lowell National Historic Parts Boott Cotton Mills Museum is the place to visit. Here, you’ll be able to get an up close look at 1920s weave rooms with operating power looms. The museum also includes interactive exhibits and video programs to help you further understand the Industrial Revolution and how this era played a major role in local history.
The Concord Museum
The Concord Museum is one of the area’s best spots to experience colonial and revolutionary Massachusetts history. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to browse Revolutionary War artifacts, such as Paul Revere’s lantern. The museum also places an importance upon ideas that are still relevant today, such as liberty, independence, and environmental preservation.
2. Get Outdoors Before The Winter Arrives
While there are plenty of outdoor activities to experience during the winter in the Merrimack Valley, you may find yourself wanting to get outside and explore the fall scenery before the snow covers it all. Here are a few spots to try out for your next walk, hike, or biking outdoor adventure.
DIY Lowell History Trail
Want to experience both nature and history at the same time? The Lowell “Pop-up” History Trail is a short, beginner-friendly walking trail. The trail stretches from the Boott Cotton Mills Museum to the NPS Visitor Center, allowing you to take in the scenery and local history at your own pace.
The Nashua River Rail Trail
If you’re looking for a scenic, long-stretching walking trail, the Nashua River Rail Trail is definitely worth checking out for yourself. This trail is a former railway that stretches 11-miles. Along the way, you’ll venture through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable. There’s also plenty of opportunities to fish, bike, and hike along the way.
3. Take In Local Historical And Community Artwork
With the beauty of fall all around us this time of the year, you may feel inspired to visit one of local art museums and galleries to take in the work composed by historical figures and local artists alike.
New England Quilt Museum
A truly unique art experience can be found at the New England Quilt Museum, where visitors can experience world-renowned exhibitions showcasing the craft of quilt making. The museum explores both past and present of this art form, including rare, preserved antique quilts. Before leaving, be sure to visit the museum’s store to browse their large collection of quilts for sale and other unique handcrafted items.
deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum
Hosting more than 50 works across 30 acres of land, the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum is a one-of-kind experience in the Merrimack Valley area. Here, you’ll have a wonderful outdoor adventure featuring modern contemporary and site-specific sculpture installations to take in at your own pace. The interior museum also features rotating exhibits and a museum store.
Are you looking for a more informal art experience? Then you will definitely want to check out Gallery Z, an artist cooperative location and cafe where you can view a rotating collection of art from local artists. In addition, Gallery Z also features live music, short story, and poetry performances alongside a cafe and espresso bar featuring coffee, beverages, breakfast-all-day, sandwiches, flatbread, and more.
4. Enjoy Seasonal Dining At Local Restaurants And Cafes
With so many local restaurants and cafes providing unique dining experiences in the Merrimack Valley, it’s practically impossible to run out of new spots and seasonal menus to try! If you’re on the lookout for incredible places to eat, here are just a few of your options.
Brew’d Awakening Coffeehouse
A must-stop for coffee lovers in the Lowell, MA area. Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus features a vast menu of coffee brewed and served using a variety of expert methods. Coffee options also stretch from traditional iced coffee to nitro cold brew to their Iced Insomniator coffee (4 shots of espresso with a bit of chocolate). The cafe also offers smoothies, baked goods, and even handcrafted cocktails (21+) in a cozy, welcoming setting. Brew’d also hosts live events, such as poetry open mic & slam nights.
With locations in Andover and Burlington, MA, the Chateau offers a family-friendly, casual dining
experience within an extravagant setting. The 70+ year old restaurant features a full Italian/American menu, which includes pasta dishes, burgers and sandwiches, fried seafood, and much more. In addition, the Chateau also offers family-style to-go boxes, Thanksgiving to-go boxes, and catering options.
If you’re looking for a cultural dining experience, Panela is a must-stop. The restaurant features a vast selection of Colombian plates created by Chef Vivian, using traditional flavors and ingredients for lunch, dinner, and brunch. This lively restaurant also hosts many exciting events, such as live music, art, sports, and Salsa nights every Thursday.
5. Hit The Arcade or Go Bowling!
If you’re looking for a fun outing with the whole family, the Merrimack Valley area has plenty to offer as far as attractions and other family-friendly activities.
Dave & Buster’s
This hybrid restaurant, sports bar, and arcade is a nationally known great experience for the whole family, featuring 40,000 square feet of fun. The arcade features the latest, state-of-the-art games, where you can test your luck, collect tickets, and choose your favorite prizes at the end. And the sports bar and restaurant feature plenty of cocktails and drinks for the adults and pub-style, comfort food that everyone can enjoy.
Wamesit Lanes Family Entertainment Center
Wamesit Lanes is a Merrimack Valley entertainment center that truly has something for everyone, including ten pin and candlepin bowling, indoor golf simulators, a full arcade, bocce, shuffleboard, and, if you can believe it, even more! The location also features a full restaurant, serving American cuisine, and a patio area, complete with fire pits and bocce courts. Private group reservations are available for birthday parties and other special events.