Situated just west of downtown Lowell,
the Highlands neighborhood stands as an urban residential community known for its religious and cultural diversity. Residents bask in the neighborhood's historic beauty with most homes
built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the affordable housing attracts everyone, from families to business professionals. The Highlands neighborhood also has a vibrant student
community thanks to its close proximity to UMass Lowell.
Residents live just 25 miles northwest of Boston, but the neighborhood has its own share of attractions and employment hot spots like Mount Pleasant Golf Club and Cross Point Towers, a high-rise office complex housing the city's leading businesses. Choose from diverse housing options ranging from upscale country homes along wooded streets to historic rowhouses and sprawling apartment complexes.
Schools in Highlands Lowell
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
The Highlands' dining scene has become famous for its diverse selection of affordable eateries representing cultures from all over the globe. Whether you crave Indian, Japanese or Vietnamese cuisine, you're sure to find something to love near downtown, along Western Street or around Middlesex Street.
Stop by Connector Cafe & Grill to feast on home-style specials such as sweet potato hash and grilled turkey tips for a unique breakfast or a satisfying lunch. This place has a huge paleo menu as well as gluten-free options and other dishes for guests with special dietary needs. Don't leave without trying the paleo muffins made extra healthy with almond flour, coconut and a spread of fruits and veggies. If the grilled mahi mahi is on special, order it right away for a meal that makes your taste buds tingle.
For authentic Japanese eats, stop into Sushi Yanagi. You can't go wrong with culinary masterpieces like the diamond roll and yummy girl roll, and the bento boxes come with enough food to feed even the hungriest Lowell native. Try the lychee martini and the fried ice cream for a special treat.
Udupi Bhavan stands out as a vegetarian favorite with its pleasant mix of authentic Indian dishes like vegetable samosas and spicy curries. Be sure to stop in for the lunch buffet to sample all of the restaurant's creative vegetable-based dishes. Vegan and gluten-free options abound, and the whole experience gets even better with the tasteful Indian music played in the background.
Although most locals head downtown for an eclectic nightlife scene, savvy residents know that the Highlands' humble scattering of bars and grills make for a great night of kicking back with a cold beer.
History & Culture
The growth of the Highlands began when wealthy citizens of Lowell began building prestigious homes in the area during the 1850s. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, immigrants began populating the area to work at the mills. Although the closing of the mills brought significant job losses throughout the Great Depression, new businesses like Wang Laboratories began revitalizing the neighborhood.
Although the Highlands area now houses modern homes and businesses, you can still take a walk through history by exploring the Tyler Park Historic District, the Wilder Street Historic District and the Jerathmell Bowers House. Also check out the nearby Lowell National Historic Park to stroll through the well-preserved mills and museums. You find a strong art scene in the nearby Acre neighborhood with numerous galleries, and annual events such as the Lowell Folk Festival and Winterfest create a sense of community within the city.
Commuting residents enjoy easy access to Lowell and the rest of the Boston metro area via the Lowell Connector and Northwest Expressway — both of which meet Interstate 494 and the southern edge of the neighborhood. The Highlands area provides an abundance of free street parking, but you may have a small hunt ahead of you when visiting the busier retail areas. For a quick ride into downtown, feel free to call Uber or a taxi service like Yellow Cab.
The Lowell Regional Transit Authority buses make a few stops in the neighborhood, and the MBTA commuter rail station provides a quick commute on the Lowell Line. Although you find no bike lanes in the Highlands, you can cruise down a number of bike-friendly roads, many with special markings for bikers. Some locals choose to run their errands on foot, but you have the easiest time navigating this scattered neighborhood by car.
The cost of living in the Highlands neighborhood falls well below average for the Boston metro area, and it also stands as an affordable area of Lowell. If you choose to rent, be ready to pay around $1,051 for a one-bedroom
apartment. Gas prices hover around 11 percent above the national average, while public transportation remains cheap with a bus ride into downtown costing around $1. When you go out for a drink, expect to pay around $5 or $6 for a cold beer.
The shopping scene in the Highlands keeps it simple with plenty of services and amenities, a few boutiques and a scattering of national fashion stores. For more high-end boutiques and artsy finds, take a short drive into downtown. If you're up for some bargain hunting, find a trove of hidden jewels without leaving the neighborhood at retail hot spots like Eastgate Plaza Shopping Center and Middlesex Street.
Whether you want to pick up some high-end beading supplies or a finished jewelry piece, stop by Lush Beads to browse a huge selection of glass beads, bracelets, necklaces and headbands with a whimsical touch. The store owner offers beading classes for all levels, and you can even order custom jewelry for weddings and other special occasions.
Walking into MIRA Boutique & Threading Salon transports you to the most exotic corners of India with its selection of traditional Indian women's wear. Also discover a charming collection of Indian jewelry at reasonable prices.
When you need to pick up your bread and milk, stop by Hannaford Supermarket for all your grocery staples, or explore the spices and imported goods at Jay Ambe Indian Grocery. For fresh produce during the growing season, take a short drive to the Lowell Farmers Market.
When you want to relax on a day off, make your way to one of the Highlands' charming public parks. Callery Park remains the community's most sports-centric park with two baseball fields, one softball field and several tennis courts. Stop by to watch a little league game while eating a picnic on the bleachers. For a more intimate atmosphere, stop by Tyler Park, a small wooded square where you can walk your dog or jog on the paved walking paths. This family-friendly park also hosts special events like summer concerts and movie screenings.