Approximately 30 miles northwest of Boston, Lowell is a city of a 110,000 people on the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers. Lowell played an important part in the nation's industrial revolution (evidence of this is its several canals that still exist), the high point of its boom being the late 19th century. Today, much of that area has been deemed an historical district. It is home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell and has a sizable Asian-American population, many of whom escaped the persecution of 1970's Cambodia. Meeting venues in Lowell reflect its industrial past, along with a few celebrity touches.
The closest international airport is in General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), 30 miles to the southeast. It is connected to every major American city. Lowell is connected to the airport by changing from a T metro line to a commuter train. Several shuttle companies can take groups to Lowell.
Convention venues in Lowell include the modern-looking, riverside Paul E. Tsongas Arena, named after the former Massachusetts senator (born in Lowell). The arena has seating for 8,000 persons in 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, while another venue, the stately Lowell Memorial Auditorium has seating for 15,000 square feet of exhibit space.
Immediately in Lowell is the 95-room UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, with 12,051 square feet of meeting space. Hotel venues in Lowell's vicinity include the recently renovated, 227-room Holiday Inn Tewksbury-Andover, with 5,520 square feet of meeting space; the 214-room Radisson Hotel & Suites Chelmsford-Lowell, with 20,000 square feet of meeting space; the 120-room Courtyard Boston Lowell/Chelmsford, with 890 square feet of meeting space; and the 114-room Best Western Plus Chelmsford, with 1,250 square feet of meeting space.
Two unique event spaces speak of Lowell's industrial background, the American Textile History Museum and the New England Quilt Museum, while two others, the Whistler House Museum of Art (once home to James MacNeill Whistler) and the Brush Art Gallery & Studios, proudly boast its artistic heritage. The former has the house itself, as well as a courtyard, gallery and adjacent park, for events; the latter, with lots of gallery space, is in a former silk mill.
As for dining, there is good variety. In the 1859 Yorick Building, Cobblestones of Lowell has a function room for 100 persons, a clubhouse also for 100 and the Ornate French Room that still contains a secret stairway dating to the building's time as a speakeasy. In the suburb of Chelmsford, its sister restaurant, Moonstones, has two private dining rooms and two semi-private ones. Back in Lowell, other excellent choices include Fortunato's, with an Italian menu and space for groups of up to 50 and 100 persons, respectively, in two rooms; the France-inspired La Boniche, and the large, formal Village Smokehouse, which has recently opened a private function room for groups.
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