Lowell is subject to some of the housing cycles that affect many college towns. This means that August and September are the worst times to look, as this is when the new students arriving in town are booking up every apartment available. By the same token, this means that the months of April through July are when the students leave town, leaving available apartments for people moving to the city.
When you discuss accommodations with a Lowell landlord, be sure to let them know why you're moving to town. They recognize that several of the people moving to town are students, and are apt to have more options for accommodating students such as allowing roommates or consignors to help apply jointly for the apartment.
Most people in the Lowell area choose to drive in order to get around the city and the surrounding communities. If you prefer to rely on public transportation, you have a few options, including the Lowell Regional Transit Authority. If you're attending the University, you can also get on the MBTA Commuter Rail system, or the Merrimack Valley Transportation Authority busses.
There are several local museums that celebrate the arts, history and culture of the region, including a quilting and a textile museum. There are a number of great restaurants found along Merrimack Street, including ethnic selections like the Mambo Grill and La Boniche. Market Street is home to more restaurants, and some great bars like the Brewery Exchange.