Local Area

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Local Area


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3 College Sophomore

Local Area: Northampton is a nice liberal artsy town with lots of independent boutique stores. There are many of other towns around, but once you leave Noho, it's pretty dull from there. Even Amherst isn't as interesting as Noho. Boston is quite far away (about 1.5 hr drive).

3 College Junior

Local Area: I personally enjoy the town of Northampton, but I suspect if I lived here full-time and wasn't spending almost 100% of my time with schoolwork, it might get a little boring. There are a few fun places to go out at night, and the stores are all really nifty. There is a wonderful variety of places to eat, all within walking distance of campus. Student deals are common, and I usually feel pretty safe walking around downtown. Main street is a great place to visit to get off campus for a while, but there isn't much else in NoHo as far as I can tell. There is also an incredible level of poverty in the area, and it seems the town tries to cover it up as much as possible to maintain Northampton's trendy, nifty vibe. I wish the town were a little more honest about that sort of thing.

8 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Local Area: It's a big change from bigger cities, but it's a cute town.

4 College Junior

Local Area: Northampton is a great town with lots of energy. The town is super queer-friendly and full of fun shops and restaurants. You feel safer walking around than in a lot of big cities. Biking around is easy: there are bike lanes on big roads and a bike path that goes to Florence, Easthampton and Amherst. The PVTA is free to the 5-Colleges and stops in between.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Local Area: I love Northampton, which is a cozy little town. There are lots of nice little shops. Also, there is Harrell's ice cream and Go Berry (frozen yogurt)!!! There is also bubble milk tea shops and Italian dessert shop. People can see many different types of restaurants. There is also a CVS in the town. However, if we want to go to a mall, we need to take a ride of the PVTA bus, which takes around 45 minutes to get to the nearest big mall (Holyoke mall). It also takes around 45 minutes to get to Walmart.

4 people found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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.
(413) 253-2547
Movie Theaters
CineMark at Hampshire Mall
367 Russell St.
(413) 587-4237
Movie Theaters
Pleasant Street Theater
27 Pleasant St.
(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 52 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 53 responses

  • 2% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 55% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 40% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 2% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 2% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 53 responses

  • 83% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 17% 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 53 responses

  • 19% Totally.
  • 53% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 28% No way.


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