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Northampton (Massachusetts)

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Northampton is a city in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts with a picturesque and vibrant downtown, consisting of numerous art galleries, restaurants and quirky shops sprinkled among coffee shops and performing arts venues. It is home to prestigious Smith College and the Clarke School for the Deaf. Northampton lies only 15 miles north of the City of Springfield (Massachusetts), and 6 miles west of Amherst, another bohemian college town.

View of main street

Understanding[edit]

Northampton is nationally known for being a bohemian college town and LGBT mecca. It is home to Smith College, a prestigious women's college. This small city of 30,000 is populated in large part by artists, intellectuals, political activists, hipsters, and a sizeable LGBT community. Because alternative lifestyles are so much the norm in Northampton, it is regarded as one of the most accepting places in the United States.

Liberal politics are an important part of Northampton's scene. It is with good reason that Northampton was named the "Most liberal medium-size city in the country." [1].

Long-time residents nickname Northampton "Hamp," while newer residents tend to call it "NoHo." Another nickname for Northampton is the "Paradise City," after Opera singer Jenny Lind remarked that Northampton was "The Paradise of America."

Northampton celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2004. The Town of Northampton (originally named Nonotuck) was granted its Charter in 1654; the City of Northampton was incorporated in 1884.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

From the east: Take the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) to exit 4, and get on Route 91 North. Take exit 18 and turn left.

From the south: Take Interstate 91 North to exit 18. Turn left at the light.

From the west: Take the Massachusetts Turnpike east to exit 4. At exit 4, get on Interstate 91 North, to exit 18. Turn left off the exit.

You can also take Route 9 directly into town from east or west; or take Route 2 to I-91 South, exit 20, then left at T-intersection.

From the north: Take Interstate 91 South, exit 20, then left at T-intersection.

By bus[edit]

Peter Pan Bus Lines, [2] has frequent service from Boston and New York to Northampton. All buses run through Springfield first.

Megabus [3] runs bus service twice a day between New York and Hadley, which is just across the river from Northampton. Ticket prices can be as low as $1.00, so it's worth it to check their schedule as far ahead as possible. The travel time is shorter as well, because you don't have to make a transfer. Booking is online only.

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, or PVTA, [4], provides local bus service throughout the Pioneer Valley, from Northampton and Amherst south to the City of Springfield, and as far north as South Deerfield.

By train[edit]

Amtrak trains run up and down the Eastern Seaboard to Springfield. You can take a bus or cab from the train station to Northampton (20-25 min).

By plane[edit]

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut is 25 miles from Northampton with easy access onto I-91 North.

Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts is 90 miles from Northampton, and can be reached by taking the Mass Turnpike.

TF Greene International Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island is 92 miles from Northampton, and can be reached by taking the Mass Turnpike.

Get around[edit]

Like many cities in the Pioneer Valley, Northampton is a very bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly city, and has several easily accessed bike paths [5] [6]. One can also take a PVTA bus around town and to other cities (e.g., Springfield) and towns (e.g., Amherst) in the Pioneer Valley.

  • Zipcars[7] are available for rent by the hour.
  • Northampton Bicycle, 319 Pleasant Street, Phone: +1 413 586-3810, [8]. Bike rentals by the hour or longer.

See[edit][add listing]

  • galleryTK, 114 Main Street, 2nd floor, above Ultragal, [9]. W,Th, Su 2PM-9PM, F-Sa 2PM-10PM. Not-for-profit gallery, started by Hampshire College students, specializing in contemporary art and new media.
  • Peanut Gallery, actually located in the Eastworks [10] building in Easthampton, 10 minutes outside of Northampton. Peanut Gallery [11] also specializes in contemporary art, exhibiting the work of unknown and established, local and far away (Tokyo, Belgium) artists side by side. Peanut Gallery is also connected to a store called Peanut [12]. The gallery and store also overlap, featuring one-of-a-kind fashions made by artists and artistic printed matter.
  • Smith College Museum of Art, Tryon Hall, Main St., Phone: +1 413 585-2760, [13]. Tu-Sa 10-4PM, Su 12PM-4PM. Second Fridays 10AM-8PM (4PM-8PM free admission).
  • East Heaven Hot Tubs & Paradise Spa, 33 West St., Phone: 414 586-6843, [14].
  • Michelson's Gallery, Main Street, This gallery has a lovely permanent collection which includes a Dr. Seuss exhibit (great for kids and adults) with many original sketches and paintings, works by John Lennon, Leonard Nimoy, and others.

Events[edit]

  • First Night, Northampton celebrates the New Year with events all over downtown.
  • Four Sundays In February, escape the winter gloom with four events of fun.
  • Smith College Spring Bulb Show, a reminder that spring is just around the corner.
  • Pride March, a celebration of Northampton's large lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community.
  • Paradise City Arts Festival, every May and October, a nationaly renown arts and crafts event.
  • Northampton Sidewalk Sales, an annual event in summer with all sorts of wares and food
  • Three County Fair, One of the country's longest-running county fairs, a tradition that marks the end of summer.
  • Northampton Independent Film Festival
  • New Century Theater In the summertime, New Century Theater [15] comes to Smith College and puts on a season of plays. Excellent performances! They also have children's theater [16].

Do[edit][add listing]

  • The Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center Street, +1 413 584-0610. Has musical acts nightly, usually focusing on lesser-known artists. It is also has a restaurant with a full menu and full bar.
  • The Calvin Theater, 19 King Street, +1 413 584-1444. Features bigger name artists.
  • Pearl Street, 10 Pearl Street, +1 413 584-7771. Features more youth-oriented acts.
  • Broad Brook Conservancy/Fitzgerald Lake, northwest of downtown Northampton, [17]. 591 acre conservation area owned by the City of Northampton and co-managed by the Northampton Conservation Commission and Broad Brook Coalition.
  • Northampton Bike Trail, 2.7 mile long linear park from Stoddard St/back of the Stop and Shop on King Street to Look Park/Bridge Rd/JFK school, [18].
  • Norwottuck Rail Trail, more than 10 mile long linear park from Woodmont Street off of North Street in Northampton to Belchertown via Hadley and Amherst, [19].
  • Pleasant St. Theater, (closed recently) Pleasant St off Main Street. This is a very small, independent theater with two screens. It shows independent films and foreign films.
  • Look Park, Off Route 9, This park has a zoo, mini golf, tennis, picnic areas, playgrounds, a waterpark for small children, and a duck pond with paddle boats. It is also home to the Pines Theater, Noho's outdoor theater and concert hall.
  • Scottie'sOn Route 9. Driving range, also serves burgers, fries, ice cream, etc. Has clam bakes weekly.
  • Village Day Spa On Main St. in Florence. Adorable little salon and spa, relaxing getaway for a massage.
  • Academy of Music Theater, 274 Main Street. Classic nineteenth century theater located in the heart of Northampton, showcasing local acts in the performing arts, including music, dance and theater.  edit
  • Northampton Airport, 160 Old Ferry Road. Local airport that hosts a number of flying programs, including summer camps, pilot training, and air sight-seeing tours.  edit
  • East Heaven Hot Tubs by the Forbes Library features a roof-top hot tub tht is open year-round.
  • Valley Ghost Tours, [20]. Northampton's only Haunted History Tour. Features funky local history, visits to haunted sites, and lots and lots of ghost stories. This family friendly walking tour is about 1.5 miles long and lasts around 90 minutes. $10-15.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Thornes Marketplace 150 Main Street, +1 413 584-5582, [21]. An old department store that was converted into several unique boutique stores and restaurants.
  • The Hempest 177 Main St. The largest selection of natural fiber clothing and accessories in the country. Ask about the endless benefits of hemp and you'll be blown away.
  • Faces, 175 Main Street, +1 413 584-4081. This store has clothes and apartment or dorm housewares, but is most noted for its large bizarre toy section and huge selection of cards you would never find at Hallmark.
  • Webs Yarn Store, 75 Service Center Road, +1 800 367-9327, [22]. One of the largest and most remarkable yarn stores in the country, noted for its size and its diversity of offerings for spinning, weaving, knitting, and crocheting.
  • Sweetie's, Main St. Noho's favorite candy shop. All sorts of candies and chocolates, pay by weight.
  • Synergy, Main St. Great shoe shop!
  • The Mountain Goat, Main St. Great for outdoorsy apparel and shoes.
  • Raven, Right off Main St, best used bookshop in town!
  • Unite Footwear Main St, cutting edge of fashion and trends.
  • Flowers A La Carte In Thornes Marketplace, Main Street, great place for fresh flowers.
  • Turn It Up Pleasant St off Main St, great selection of used CDs and vinyl records. Also some VHS and DVDs. You can listen before you buy.
  • Harlow Leather Main St, upscale travel store. Luggage, leather goods (wallets) bags and purses. Also a good place to buy travel items like money belts and toiletry cases.
  • Newbury Comics, 38 Pleasant Street. Amherst's store has recently moved to a spot in downtown Noho. This location is bigger and more open, and as always, they have great prices for CDs and DVDs.  edit
  • Shop Therapy, Main Street, [23]. A division of the larger Provincetown store, home to all sorts of interesting merchandise for the "alternative lifestyle." They have interesting clothes, jewelry, incense, and other paraphernalia.  edit
  • Urban Outfitters, 109 Main Street. Local division of the chain of stores, located in a beautiful old bank building on Main Street. Large selection of men's and women's apparel and home goods.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

This little town is full of restaurants, you can pretty much find anything you crave.

Budget[edit]

  • Amanouz Cafe, 44 Main Street, +1 413 585-9128. Moroccan place, very tasty and inexpensive.
  • Bueno y Sano, 8 Old South Street, 7. Bueno y Sano, Main St, A mix of El Salvadorian, Mexican, and healthy foods. Known for big burritos, great vegetarian options, and the barbecue chicken burrito.  edit
  • GoBerry, 80 Main Street, [24]. New frozen yogurt place on Main Street, serving all locally produced foods. Pick a flavor of yogurt and load it up with fresh berries, candies, or whatever you like!  edit
  • The Green Bean, 241 Main Street, [25]. daily 7AM-3PM. Interesting breakfast options, mainly scrambles and sandwiches (vegan options available). Great sandwiches for lunch. Small, but delicious menu, specials generally available. Not really a quiet spot, but good food served quickly.  edit
  • Herrell's, 8 Old South Street, '+1 413' 586-4837, [26]. Mo-Th, Su noon-10:30PM, Fr-Sa noon until midnight. A fantastic ice cream shop, Herrell's invented the idea of "smooshing" in toppings on a cold stone (since taken up by Cold Stone Creamery.) They make their own delicious ice creams, so even without the toppings they're great. The burnt sugar and butter is a favorite but all are quite good. They can be mixed into milkshakes too and the hot fudge sundaes are said to be fantastic. Worth a special trip.  edit
  • Jake's, Breakfast-Brunch. Your typical diner (with diner coffee) but everything else is delicious. Try banana pancakes or waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.

Midrange[edit]

  • Bela, 68 Masonic Street, +1 413 586-8011. Vegetarian restaurant, wholesome and delicious. Try the Harvest Burger!.
  • Haymarket, 185 Main Street, +1 413 586-9969 . Many vegetarian and vegan options, plus delicious smoothies: try 9-1-1.
  • India House 45 State Street, +1 413 586-6344. If you like Indian food, this is your place.
  • Karma, 48 Main Street, 413 727-8143. New vegetarian/vegan/raw food restaurant and smoothie bar. Very unique menu- try the Noodle Dishes- "noodles" made out of zucchini and other vegetables with delicious sauce options. Quite the variety of smoothies and juices available.  edit
  • La Veracruzana, 31 Main Street, +1 413 586-7181. Authentic Mexican food.
  • Lhasa Cafe, 156 Main Street, 413 586-5427, [27]. Authentic Tibetan cuisine, family owned, specializing in Yak dishes, but plenty of other options available for those not so daring! Great, unique food!  edit
  • Local Burger, 16 Main Street, 413 586-5857, [28]. A restaurant that embodies its name! Local Burger offers a variety of specialized burgers, including turkey, veggie and portobello, in addition to beef. Serves only fresh meats from local farms.  edit
  • Mama Iguana's, 274 Main Street, 413 586-0400, [29]. Mexican Restaurant owned by Spoletos serving traditional Mexican dishes, tapas, and the widest selection of Tequilas and Mescals in the region. Try the flavored Margaritas or Mojitos!  edit
  • Mimmo's, 71 Pleasant Street, +1 413 584-1711. Largest pizza in the world (or at least the Pioneer Valley...or Noho).
  • Mosaic Cafe, 78 Masonic Street, 413 585-1155. Delicious Mediterranean food, a number of vegetarian options. Try the stews, salads or crepes. Dine inside (a bit crowded) or outside on the patio.  edit
  • Mulino's Restaurant, 41 Strong Ave, 413 586-8900. Located right above Sierra Grille. Delicious Italian food, nice atmosphere.  edit
  • Paul & Elizabeth's, 150 Main Street, +1 413 584-4832.
  • Pizerria Paradiso, 12 Crafts Av., +1 413 586-1468. A pizza place run by the same people who own Spoletos, so you can expect not just your standard pepperoni, but also carmalized onions with white sauce or calimari pizza.
  • Sylvester's, 11 Pleasant Street, +1 413 586-1418. Named after, and located in the house of, Sylvester Graham, inventor of the Graham cracker. Very popular place, especially for breakfast. The house and surroundings are beautiful; some feel the food can be hit or miss, but most seem to walk away satisfied.
  • Teapot Restaurant, 116 Main Street, +1 413 585-0500, [30]. Offers a mix of Chinese and Japanese cuisine, but serves surprisingly good sushi nonetheless.
  • Osaka, 7 Old St. South, +1 413 587-9548. Regularly voted the best sushi restaurant and the best japanese restaurant in the Pioneer Valley, Osaka has great service, innovative sushi ideas, and, best of all, GIANT boats to eat your sushi off.
  • Side Street Cafe This cafe is technically in Florence, a section of Northampton. Has great sandwiches, veggie-friendly, and soups. Great quality food and atmosphere.
  • The Sierra Grille, 41 Strong Ave., 413 584 1150. daily 3PM-1AM. Unique "choose your own" style menu in which you pick a protein, a sauce, and two sides- large variety of options, and always a large list of special items- also offers appetizers, salads and panini. Great atmosphere, live Jazz on Sunday nights, delicious food. Call ahead if you want to get a seat!  edit
  • Thai Garden, 2 Bridge Street, 413 587-3336, [31]. Large menu offering a wide variety of Thai specialties.  edit
  • Zen, 41 Main Street, 413 582 6888, [32]. Go to Zen when you're feeling Asian food, but can't make up your mind! Zen's large menu of Pan-Asian Cuisine has quite the variety of options- many delicious Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes.  edit
  • Viva Fresh Pasta, Main Street, [33]. Sun 4PM -9PM Mon - Thurs 11AM - 3:00 & 4:30 - 9PM, Fri -Sat 11AM - 10PM. This small but cozy Italian place has excellent fresh homemade pastas and other traditional Italian favorites with a Valley twist. Try the sweet potato ravioli!  edit

Sprlurge[edit]

  • Eastside Grill, 19 Strong Ave. +1 413 586-3347. This is where the locals go when they want to impress someone.
  • Spoletos, 50 Main Street, +1 413 586-6313. A fairly expensive restaurant but worth the prices. You won't be disappointed.

Delivery[edit]

  • Delivery Express, [34] has menus for several Northampton restaurants on their website, including many of those listed above. As their name implies, they deliver orders from these restaurants.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Northampton Brewery, 11 Brewster Court, +1 413 584-9903. The Pioneer Valley's first brewpub, serving food this is as good as the beer is.
  • Northampton Coffee and Tea, 269 Pleasant Street, +1 413 587-8987. Lovely, quiet, unpretentious, the best coffee in the Valley (fresh every hour), yummy treats. Free NYT on the tables each morning.
  • The Dirty Truth, 29 Main St., Phone: +1 413 585-5999, [35]. Bar featuring 40 quality beers on tap.
  • Toasted Owl Tavern, 21 Main St., Phone: +1 413 585-5088, [36].
  • Woodstar Cafe, 60 Masonic Street, Phone: +1 413 585-9777. A popular place to get good coffee and great baked goods (inc. GF and vegan!) while enjoying free WiFi.
  • Diva's Nightclub, 492 Pleasant Street, +1 413 586-8161, [37]. A GBLT nightclub with various theme-driven nights:
    • Tuesday: The Haven [38] (Goth, Industrial, Darkwave), Ages: 18+. The longest-running Goth/Industrial night in the area. (Goth/Alternative dress)
    • Wednesday: FM, 18+. The night starts out with Karaoke; and around 11PM, DJ Otis spins dance. There are drag shows on alternate weeks.
    • Thursday: 1980Something, 18+. 80's night - mostly new wave with some synthpop and goth/alternative thrown in. (80's/Goth/Alternative dress encouraged)
    • Friday: Sexyback, 18+. Hip-Hop night.
    • Saturday: Escape, 21+. "Be yourself"
  • Tunnel Bar Located across from Pearl St Nightclub, underneath The Depot Restaurant. A swanky cocktail bar located in a beautifully restored tunnel under the old railroad depot. Leather armchairs and expensive, but tasty, martinis and traditional cocktails.
  • Packard's Only bar that allows 18+, but only on the first floor. Serves food. Second and third floors have pool and foosball.
  • Cup and Top Cafe, 1 North Main Street, 413 585-0445, [39]. Great little cafe in Florence (a part of Northampton) serving coffee, specialty drinks, shakes, smoothies, breakfast and lunch! Supports a number of local farms and other entities.  edit
  • The Roost, 1 Market Street, (413) 587-2625, [40]. Mon-Sun: 8 am-11 pm. Good coffee, really fresh food. Service varies from friendly to "I'm a barista, and you're not!" Free wi-fi, natch.  edit
  • Starbucks, 211 Main Street. Typical Starbucks. Limited seating, and usually full, even though there are so many other coffee places in town.  edit
  • Sip, 8 Crafts Avenue, 413-727-3432, [41]. M-F 6:30 am-6:00 pm, S&S 8:00 am-6:00 pm. Quiet, sunlit cafe with fabulous coffee, some baked goods, and sandwiches. Good place to get away from the music and crowds.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Autumn Inn, 259 Elm Street, +1 413 584-7660, [42]
  • Best Western Valley Inn & Suites, 117 Conz Street, +1 413 586-1500, Toll-free: +1 800 941-3066, Fax: +1 413 586-6549, [43].
  • Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Exit 18 off I-91, +1 413 586-1211 [44].
  • Hotel Northampton, 36 King Street. Phone: +1 413 584-3100, [45]. In the center of town: by far, the nicest place to stay. The staff is always friendly and accommodating. The building itself is historic.

Bed and breakfast[edit]

  • Sugar Maple Trailside Inn, 62 Chestnut Street, Phone: +1 413 585-8559, Fax: +1 413 585-8559, [46].
  • The Knoll Bed & Breakfast, 230 N. Main Street, Phone: +1 413 584-8164, [47].

Get out[edit]

  • Amherst, a nearby college town with bars and restaurants in a small downtown
  • Montague Bookmill [48] in Montague, about 8 miles north of Amherst, is a huge used bookshop complex in a circa 1842 water mill, complete with a waterfall. The spot also has a nice cafe, restaurant, record store and art gallery. A great spot for dinner, a snack or a just to browse.
  • Hiking the Seven Sisters in the Mt. Holyoke Mountain Range, 380 Amherst St, South Hadley, MA, 01033-9720. A beautiful Scenic Hike that gives you a complete 180 degree view of the Connecticut River and the many farmlands in the area. Located at the westernmost end is the Mt. Holyoke Summit House a great place to rest and have a picnic. There is also an area off Route 47 where you can drive up or park and hike up the road for anyone who has kids or issues hiking you can still get to the top and enjoy the view!
  • The Mt Holyoke Range State Park [49] in South Hadley is a great place for hiking and fall foliage. Mount Holyoke itself in adjoining J.A. Skinner State Park [50] has a restored 1850s Summit House at its peak with great views of the surrounding area. You can park at the bottom and hike up or drive all the way up.
  • Sugarloaf Mountain in nearby Sunderland, about 5 miles northeast of Amherst, has a spectacular view of the valley and a small viewing pavilion modeled on Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house. It's also offers a short but strenuous 20 minute hike, or a quick drive to the parking area at the summit. The summit also has picnic areas.
  • The New England Peace Pagoda [51], a traditional Japanese style pagoda in a tranquil and beautiful Japanese garden. It was the first Nipponzan-Myōhōji Peace Pagoda to be built in the US, completed in 1986, is in the neighboring town of Leverett, to the north.
  • Puffers Pond, State St, Amherst Ma, 01033-9720. Located along Mill River, Puffers Pond used to be home to the Norwottuck Indians, a tribe who had settled along the river banks. This historical landmark is now used by the town for swimming and fishing. There are beautiful trails surrounding the pond and make for a great day of site seeing and taking in some fresh air. At the end of one of the paths is a Mill River Park, an open field with a playscape and swimming pool. Off to the left are tennis courts and basketball courts.


Routes through Northampton
Greenfield  N noframe S  HolyokeSpringfield


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