"Northampton and the Five College Area" Northampton by sarahandgareth
Northampton Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 52 photos
With five colleges and thousands of students/former students (and hundreds of faculty) in the area, it's no real surprise that the area around Northampton has so many cultural opportunities, with small movie theatres, many music venues, bookstores, art galleries, beautiful campuses, and a wide selection of decent restaurants. Downtown Northampton, in particular, has a large number of eating locations, and three or four bookstores within a few hundred yards of each other, as well as the lovely Smith College campus (including its unique botanic gardens) at one end of town. The entire area is lushly green, with great biking and hiking possibilities (including Mount Tom, which can be seen from the Smith campus, as well as a lovely converted railway line now used for biking/running).
On the downside, and perhaps linked to the presence of all those college graduates, the stores in Northampton have a tendency to run to the pricey end of the spectrum: while there are lovely artsy stores, some featuring locally-made crafts and paintings, the prices don't encourage casual purchases! Perhaps paradoxically, there's also quite a grungy vibe in parts of downtown, with Northampton having its share of local characters. Leave your intolerance at home, though: Northampton is famously, and proudly, tolerant, and the lesbian/gay population is more out here than in many a large city.
- Pros:Lots of culture, lots of things to do
- Cons:A bit expensive, a tad grungy
The Norwottuck Rail Trail is an old railway line linking Northampton with Amherst, and which has been converted for use... more travel advice
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