Local Atmosphere

Location
Northampton, MA
Undergrads
2,643
Tuition
$41,460
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Northampton has a great vibe. Its very earthy, and gay friendly.

1 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Coming from a big city it is still hard to live in such a small town. There isn't much to do in Northampton because places close around 7 pm.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Small but has some fun places. It feels like we are very different from the students of the other colleges so not much interaction. But some people do well making friends on other campuses.

5 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: It's vibrant and it can get boring but that's what you need for a great academic experience!

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Local food and music, you just have to know where to look!

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Dara Kagan
Hometown
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Major
Government, with a minor in the Study of Women and Gender
View all previous student authors

Northampton is off-beat with a bustling cultural atmosphere and can be described as “bourgeois bohemian”: a predominantly liberal, white, and upper-middle-class suburb. It is not unusual to see middle-aged activists protesting on the street corners, waving signs and wearing Converse sneakers. Hippies and hipsters abound, and while chain stores such as Starbucks and Urban Outfitters have recently begun multiplying on Main Street, most of the stores are locally owned. There are thrift shops, used-book stores, coffee shops, and funky boutiques. The Calvin Theatre is popular with students and has showcased musicians such as Ziggy Marley, Belle and Sebastian, and Joan Baez and comedians like Dave Chappelle, Margaret Cho, and Roseanne Barr. More off-beat musicians play at the Iron Horse or Pearl Street Nightclub, which are also favorites with many students.

Northampton’s big-city aspirations are obvious by its nickname, NoHo, a takeoff of SoHo and NoHo in Manhattan. Despite these aspirations, the word most often used to describe the town is “quaint.” Some students coming from bigger cities find it difficult to adjust. Stores close early, and it is a little pricey for a college town. When students need things like snacks and toiletries, they often head to the Hampshire Mall to go to Wal-Mart. However, most students say they love Northampton—it is active and vibrant with a respected cultural community. And even though it’s considered a suburb, the surrounding rural setting makes NoHo seem like a bustling metropolis.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. NoHo is the birthplace of pizza-loving comic book legends the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
  2. The movie "Cider House Rules" was filmed at the Northampton State Hospital. Sadly, the main building of the hospital was recently demolished.
  3. Abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Ralph Waldo Emerson both gave speeches here.
  4. Northampton is home to Eric Carle, the author of the famous children's books, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and "Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar."
  5. President Calvin Coolidge practiced law here, working as a country attorney in the building that now houses Fitzwilly's Restaurant. Later, Coolidge also served as Northampton's mayor for two years before rising to the White House in 1923. The Calvin Theatre on King Street was named for him.
Notable Natives
  • Augusten Burroughs - author
  • Eric Carle - children's book author
  • Calvin Coolidge - 30th U.S. president
  • Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird - co-creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Dar Williams - folk singer
Points of Interest
  • Calvin Theatre
  • Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
  • Herrell's Ice Cream Shop
  • LGBT Pride March and Rally
  • Northampton Independent Film Festival (NIFF)
Shopping Centers
  • Hampshire Mall
  • Holyoke Mall
Movie Theaters
Amherst Cinema
28 Amity St.
Amherst
(413) 253-2547
Movie Theaters
CineMark at Hampshire Mall
367 Russell St.
Hadley
(413) 587-4237
Movie Theaters
Pleasant Street Theater
27 Pleasant St.
Northampton
(413) 584-5848
Major Sports Teams
  • Boston Bruins: NHL
  • Boston Celtics: NBA
  • Boston Red Sox: MLB
  • New England Patriots: NFL
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Boston: MA: 2 hours
  • New York City: NY: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 42 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 41 responses

  • 2% Painfully remote.
  • 2% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 32% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 61% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 2% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 42 responses

  • 0% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 17% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 83% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 43 responses

  • 26% No way.
  • 51% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 23% Totally.

Photos

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