Huntsville natives have probably heard about Lowe Mill, the largest privately owned arts facility in the United States. As an art lover and placemaking appreciator, I have visited Lowe Mill countless times and am here to give you my checklist for a successful Lowe Mill visit.
With over 152 working studios, several galleries and lots of hallways, Lowe Mill can be intimidating to first timers and returners alike. As a self-proclaimed Lowe Mill aficionado, here are my tips for how to have a stress-free, enjoyable experience at Lowe Mill.
1. Visit during an event or open studio night
Lowe Mill already has plenty to explore, but you can get the most out of your visit during events like their Saturday Artist Market or their Concerts on the Dock Series.
Last weekend, I brought company to visit Lowe Mill during their Cigar Box Guitar Festival featuring live music, festivities and an outdoor artist market. Events like this make the venue even more lively and exciting, plus you have even more activities to occupy yourself with.
- Outdoor Market: Saturdays 11AM-4PM | Local vendors set up shop outside with all kinds of artisan and second-hand goodies for sale
- Open Studio Night: Saturday, July 29 | All 150+ studios open their space for visitors
2. Come hungry
No need to plan your meals before visiting—Lowe Mill has many unique dining options for you to fuel up on site. Dine in or take your lunch to-go to enjoy on the lawn.
Dining options include:
- Happy Tummy | Studio 1020 | a quaint pizza shop (OG’s remember when they were a sandwich shop)
- Chef Will The Palate | Water Tower 1 | vegetarian cuisine with Mexican- and Asian-inspired twists
- Poftà Bunà International | Studio 100 | Mediterranean and Eastern European foods with a Romanian influence (located at the main entrance, you can’t miss this fresh, casual dining spot)
3. Schedule a class or activity (like a visit to the Cat Lounge)
If you’re planning ahead, look into signing up for an art class or making a reservation at the cat lounge. (Elizabeth Hobbs / Hville Blast)
This is something I always forget to do, and then wish I’d done as soon as I step foot in Lowe Mill. Check out the countless art classes offered and other events by the studios in Lowe Mill to pick up a new skill and flex those creative muscles.
You also can’t miss the cat lounge, Cattyshack. The only cat lounge in Huntsville, and one of few in the state, Cattyshack is a nonprofit dedicated to finding homes for shelter cats. Their Lowe Mill studio is a cozy lounge full of cats ready for eager cat lovers to show them love, and hopefully foster or adopt or them. For a small donation fee, make a reservation for your party to pop in the cat lounge during your next visit.
4. Take home an art piece or other goodie
I love browsing for unique art pieces like these collage pieces and mixed-media sculptures. (Elizabeth Hobbs / Hville Blast)
What would a visit to Lowe Mill be without taking home a souvenir? I always challenge myself to find one neat art piece to take home with me to support the local artists while bringing home a memory.
Recently, I’ve brought home collage pieces by Mixed Media (Mary Anna Brown) and plant cuttings from Pure Joy Plants. Just peep in the windows as you browse the halls, strike up a conversation with the artists and purchase something that inspires you.
5. Get a drink or treat
I love stopping by these shops on the Craft Coffee Trail. (Elizabeth Hobbs / Hville Blast)
Maybe you’re visiting Lowe Mill to get some stamps on your Craft Coffee Trail card, or you just find yourself craving caffeine while you’re exploring the building. Either way, you have to check out Lowe Mill’s coffee and tea shops.
I usually go for a “Clockwork Professor” tea from Dragon’s Forge for my stroll and a jar of the “Birthday Cake” tea leaf blend from Piper and Leaf to take home.
- Dragons Forge Café | a magical, fantasy-themed shop with themed drinks, eclectic goodies and tea parties available for reservation (it feels like stepping inside a story book)
- Piper and Leaf | family-run tea shop offering refreshing, gourmet tea blends
- Pizzelle’s Confestions | decadent and beautiful fine chocolates, ice cream, and coffee (find them on the Craft Coffee Trail)
- Ravenwood Meadery | sample house meads on tap or mead cocktails at North AL’s first meadery
6. Check out Vertical House Records
Vertical House is always my first stop at Lowe Mill. (Elizabeth Hobbs / Hville Blast)
As an audiophile, I can’t visit Lowe Mill without stopping by Vertical House Records. Browse new and used records, CDs and cassettes and check out their clothing and merch pieces.
Whether or not you own a record player, Vertical House is an iconic hip spot in Huntsville worth browsing.
7. Swing on the wooden swings
Let’s be honest, did you really visit Lowe Mill if you didn’t swing in the iconic swings? No matter your age, you can’t leave without taking a mini swing break on the wooden swings on the second floor.
8. Take advantage of the photo-ops
Picture-perfect: don’t be shy to take some cute photos while you’re there. (Elizabeth Hobbs / Hville Blast)
It’s hard for me to keep my camera away when I’m exploring Lowe Mill. Every inch of the building seems to have some sort of art or décor that make it photo-worthy. With murals, art galleries, cool chairs and an overall aesthetic, retro feel, you’re guaranteed to walk out with some cool photos.
My favorite photo spots are the open galleries, the moon bench, the swings, and the mirror in Pure Joy Plants.
9. Give yourself time and have fun!
The biggest tip for enjoying Lowe Mill is to take your time. Don’t rush yourself—you want to have plenty of time to fully appreciate the artwork, take in your surroundings and maybe talk to a studio owner and watch some art be produced. I always give myself at least a few hours for Lowe Mill visits.
- Address: 2211 Seminole Dr SW, Huntsville, AL 35805
- Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 11AM-7PM
- Website | Instagram | Facebook