Only three other cities in Massachusetts are larger than Lowell, with its estimated population of just over 108,000. Like many of the cities in Massachusetts, education is extremely important in Lowell, as it is the home of the research university, University of Massachusetts Lowell. The university is home to roughly 17,000 students, and has been climbing the university rankings consistently for the last several years.Lowell was a very important city during the industrial revolution, and was for many years one of the most important industrial cities in the country. The city fell into a long depression when the manufacturing industry began to decline, but the eventual arrival of new industries in the city helped revive the economy, although the total recovery took decades.
Lowell is subject to some of the housing cycles that affect many college towns. This means that August and September are the worst times to look, as this is when the new students arriving in town are booking up every apartment available. By the same token, this means that the months of April through July are when the students leave town, leaving available apartments for people moving to the city.
When you discuss accommodations with a Lowell landlord, be sure to let them know why you're moving to town. They recognize that several of the people moving to town are students, and are apt to have more options for accommodating students such as allowing roommates or consignors to help apply jointly for the apartment.
Most people in the Lowell area choose to drive in order to get around the city and the surrounding communities. If you prefer to rely on public transportation, you have a few options, including the Lowell Regional Transit Authority. If you're attending the University, you can also get on the MBTA Commuter Rail system, or the Merrimack Valley Transportation Authority busses.
There are several local museums that celebrate the arts, history and culture of the region, including a quilting and a textile museum. There are a number of great restaurants found along Merrimack Street, including ethnic selections like the Mambo Grill and La Boniche. Market Street is home to more restaurants, and some great bars like the Brewery Exchange.