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Once an industrial powerhouse, Lynn, Massachusetts has remade itself into a place with impressive artistic and culinary offerings.
In the late 19th century, the North of Boston city of 90,000 was home to one of the country’s largest shoe production companies, which went on to help form General Electric.
More than 125 years later, industry is still a big part of Lynn, but it’s accompanied by more recent and aesthetic contributions, many of which can be found in the Lynn Central Exchange Cultural District.
Within the district, there are galleries, performance halls and restaurants, giving guests plenty to see during a visit.
Here’s a look at what they might encounter.
A sample from Lynn’s own Raw Art Works via Facebook
Lynn’s cultural district is located within the central business district in the city’s downtown area, which is accessible by public transportation. Once you’re there, the Lynn Museum & Historical Society is a good first stop to learn a little bit about the city. Founded in 1896, the museum now showcases a variety of exhibitions, in addition to hosting programs for children. Conveniently, maps of the Central Exchange Cultural District are also available at the museum, and it’s always a good idea to grab one before doing some exploring.
With a map in hand, the Raw Art Works gallery is an excellent first stop, being just a few minutes’ walk away. Inside its doors and throughout the city, Raw showcases creative works made by Lynn’s youth, incorporating paint, film, fabric and more. The gallery itself is open to visitation, and the budding artists also participate in a number of downtown events, which are definitely worth seeing.
One of many fine works from Raw Art Works’ BASH 2014 auctions via Facebook
Along with produced art, Lynn’s Central Exchange has established itself as a spot to take in the performing arts. The Lynn Auditorium seats 2,100 and hosts shows throughout the year, including Celtic music, rock, kids’ shows and a cappella, to name just a few of the offerings. Seasonal performances like The Nutcracker and Swan Lake make their way to the Lynn Auditorium, too, which you learn more about here.
If you’re up for dinner and a show, Art After Hours is the place to go. Since beginning in 2011 with theatrical productions, Art After Hours has packaged up good food, good drinks and all manner of entertainment into a series of lively evenings, drawing recognition from The Boston Globe, Channel 5’s Chronicle and quite a few other publications. The Art After Hours shows take place from time to time, so when you make plans to see one, it’s smart to scope out in advance.
Cannibal: The Musical Dress Rehearsal at Arts After Hours via Facebook
Of course, culinary contributions make any cultural district more appealing, and Lynn’s Central Exchange delivers in that regard, too. Rossetti Restaurant is a top-notch spot for Italian and American cuisine, as well as cocktails. Just a few blocks from Rossetti is The Blue Ox, another excellent food and drink location that’s routinely rated as one of the best in town. The “Sin” burger, a winking reference to Lynn’s former nickname, is mighty tasty, and there are some excellent appetizers as well.
Local greens with prosciutto, a spring special at The Blue Ox via Facebook
During the warmer months, Lynn’s waterfront area is nice for a stroll. Lynn Shore Drive, where the beach hugs Nahant Bay, is scenic, while the nearby promenade is good for leg stretching, too. Nature lovers can also spend some time in Lynn Woods, where hawks, owls, foxes and many more animals make their home.
Friendly though those critters may be, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere for your own sleeping accommodations in the region. Fortunately, there’s no shortage, and you can explore them in full here.
Photo at the top via Lynn Cultural District on Facebook