There is not much in Amherst outside of the College. Amherst is the epitome of a college town. Main Street is right next the College, and there you’ll find CVS, Starbucks, Fleet Bank, as well as various local shops. The people are, by and large, nice to a degree that stupefies most students from New York City, and you can’t walk down the street without a complete stranger nodding and saying hello. The place visibly caters to both UMass and Amherst students. Testimonials to this are the numerous restaurants and pubs on Main Street, and the various sales and special offers that every business owner puts out on the store window. In September, they hang signs that say “Welcome students!!!!!!,” complete with all the exclamation points.
Northampton is a 30-minute free bus ride away. It’s a town bigger than Amherst and, as such, it is bubblier and livelier. The selection of bars and general hangouts is broader in Northampton than in Amherst, and there are also dance clubs for those who like to get down every once in a while. All in all, Amherst students will generally opt to stay on campus on weekends for two main reasons. First, the drinking age is 21, and Massachusetts cops take the law nitpickingly seriously. Second, and more importantly, the best parties usually happen at the College. Students from Smith and Holyoke (which are, and just simply stating facts, all-girl schools) flock over here for parties, and there is usually is a respectable representation of UMass students, as well. Amherst seniors do go out to bars in town, but the fact remains that nobody ever comes to Amherst because of the town itself.