Local Haunts: Mill No. 5, Lowell, MA
There aren’t a lot of places out there like Mill No. 5, and we love popping in when we get the chance. Located in Lowell, Massachusetts, on the fourth floor of a converted mill building, it’s the self described “experimental” space where local, independent businesses are given their chance to sell their wares in beautiful spaces rented for very reasonable rates.
And these spaces are beautiful: each storefront is taken from an actual reclaimed historic buildings, some hundreds of years old, and all masterfully restored. This gives the “alleyway” on the fourth floor the feel of an indoors, eclectic market space one might expect to read about in Harry Potter. From the creaky wooden floors to the stained-glass windows, everything old is given new life again in this cozy mill.
On weekends, Mill No. 5 fills both the fourth and fifth floors with themed marketplaces where New England area vendors of all stripes set up booths along the hallways, which allows for a trendy urban arts market experience without the hassle of a drive into Boston. Check out their event schedule here. On Sundays, you can get your fresh local produce rain or shine at the indoor Farm Market.
The incomparable Coffee & Cotton (CoCo for short):
Thinking of paying a visit? We recommend you stock up on your perfumes and soaps at Red Antler Apothecary (if you walk by their storefront, you’ll sniff out some of their divine scents), sample some delicious cheese at Mill City Cheesemongers, flip through some records at Vinyl Destination, or if you have time, take in an indie movie at Luna Theater (See their schedule here). But our favorite stop is to get lunch or a treat at Coffee and Cotton (we love their hanging Edison light bulbs and repurposed sewing tables!)
A note about visiting: There are some amazing businesses open weekdays (Coffee and Cotton, Red Antler Apothecary, Mill City Cheesemongers, Red and White Market, and others), but for the full Mill No. 5 experience, or if you are coming from far, come on a weekend when all the shops are open and the market events are happening. (We visited on a weekday this time, which explains the quiet scenes in the photos.) Check their website for full hours, directions, etc. http://millno5.com