Local Area

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Local Area


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4 College Freshman

Local Area: Locals are very friendly and businesses always welcome students. However, without a car, your shopping and food options are limited to the town of Amherst and the stops along the PVTA bus line. Amherst is a typical small town with a great charm to it, but if you're from a large city, you may not find the town meets your needs or expectations.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Local Area: Amherst town is beautiful. Seriously. The entire area. Everything you could want is decently close by and if I could live here forever I probably would.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Local Area: towns folk are very accommodating and kind to us college students.

3 College Freshman

Local Area: The town of Amherst definitely has a very college-town feel, which is reasonable, considering there are like 50,000 college students living in the area. No matter what, however, you're still in the middle of a small town in western Massachusetts, so you'll have to temper your expectations accordingly. The food around here is good, but not great. There's a large mall nearby, so shopping is pretty good, and a free bus system runs through all of the colleges in the area.

3 people found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Local Area: Amherst itself is a nice little town with many families and college professors/staff, as well as a lovely library and town green with many local activities each week and weekend. The greatest boon to attending Amherst, however, is the Five-College Consortium -- the ability to take classes at any of the other four colleges in the region (three liberal arts colleges and one state university, all with very different offerings), and to have such easy access and proximity to the other college campuses and towns. Northampton in particular, which houses Smith College, is a more bustling alternative to Amherst with better music venues and nightlife.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. The streetlights chirp when they show green, so that the blind may utilize them.
  2. The nickname of poet Emily Dickinson was 'the Belle of Amherst.' She was born in this town, and attended Mount Holyoke Seminary, which is now Mount Holyoke College. Her former home is open to visitors.
  3. Massachusetts law states that cars must stop and yield to pedestrians showing intent to cross the street.
  4. The town is named after Jeffrey Amherst, a general in the British army in the 1750s.
  5. The student population in the town, including Amherst College and UMass students, is half as large as the population of the entire town.
Notable Natives
  • Emily Dickinson - poet
  • Calvin Coolidge - 30th president of the United States
Local Slang
  • It's icky outside.: It's cold outside.
  • Mad: Very; "This steak is mad good."
  • Shady: Dubious; "That store looks a little shady."
  • Sketchy: Something to look out for, usually refers to guys or girls who are overly sexually aggressive; "This guy is so sketchy."
Points of Interest
  • The Big Y
  • Frat Row at Umass
  • Hadley
  • Hampshire Mall
  • Holyoke
  • Holyoke Mall
  • Northampton
Shopping Centers
  • Hampshire Mall
  • Holyoke Mall
Movie Theaters
Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main St.
(413) 584-8435
Movie Theaters
Pleasant Street Theater
27 Pleasant St.
(413) 586-0935
Movie Theaters
Tower Theaters
19 College St.
South Hadley
(413) 533-3456
Major Sports Teams
  • Boston Bruins: hockey
  • Boston Celtics: basketball
  • Boston Red Sox: baseball
  • New England Patriots: football
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Boston: MA: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • New York City: NY: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 13 responses

Very poor
  • 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 19 responses

  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 32% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 58% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 5% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 5% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 18 responses

  • 67% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 33% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 0% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 17 responses

  • 12% Totally.
  • 29% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 59% No way.


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