Amherst is one of several attractive towns in the Pioneer Valley, a hub of intellectual, cultural, and gastronomical opportunities, whose beautiful setting in the Connecticut River Valley extends a four-season invitation to engage in outdoor activities.
Museums & Galleries
The Museums10 collaborative showcases the area’s 10 museums, from the Emily Dickinson Museum to the still-inhabited colonial Historic Deerfield, from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art to the Beneski Museum of Natural History. Galleries featuring local and national artists and crafters are found throughout the Pioneer Valley, as are venues hosting concerts, festivals, lectures, conferences, and exhibitions.
Live Music & Performances
The Pioneer Valley is a major stop for the music and performing arts scene. Catch live music, theater, or dance at performance venues, such as the Iron Horse Music Hall, Calvin Theater, Pearl Street, the Parlor Room, the Academy of Music, and the Shea Theater, to name a few, as well as concert halls at the Five Colleges. The Amherst Cinema Arts Center screens live theater, ballet, and opera performances in addition to first-run art films and movie classics, the Tower Theaters in South Hadley shows mainstream and independent features, and Cinemark in Hadley offers the latest blockbusters.
Dear Reader: With more than 20 independent bookstores to choose from, it’s easy to indulge your inner bookworm here. Whether you’re looking for used or new books, author talks or poetry readings, cafes with books or bookstores with cafes, you will find the perfect launchpad for literary adventures. For a quick tour, consider Amherst Books, Raven Books, Broadside Books, and Booklink Booksellers in Northampton, Grey Matter Books in Hadley, The Montague Bookmill in Montague, and The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley.
Restaurants & Coffee Shops
The Pioneer Valley has a cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Let your taste buds be your guide as you choose among farm-to-table and fine dining spots, an expansive selection of international fare, award-winning pizza parlors, Italian red-sauce joints, pub grub, and delis. Bakeries, cafes, coffee and tea shops offer laid-back spots that will soon become your favorite hangout.
Farms & Farmers Markets
The Pioneer Valley’s fertile soil and sheltered location provide an ideal combination for local agriculture. Vegetable and dairy farms dot the countryside, and farm stands and farmer’s markets offer the fruits of the harvest.
Outdoor enthusiasts—you’ve arrived in the right place. You can boat on the Connecticut River, hike the Mount Holyoke Range and other local summits, bike or cross-country ski on the 11-mile Norwottuck Rail Trail that connects Amherst to Easthampton, take a dip at Puffer’s Pond…or just appreciate the area’s natural beauty from your dorm room.
Five College Consortium
UMass Amherst connects with Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges to form the Five College Consortium, which sponsors cooperative programs. Take advantage of the Five College cross-registration system, which enables you to take classes at the other campuses at no additional cost, as well as attend events and concerts, use the libraries, join a club, audition for a play, and grab a meal using your meal card. Bus service between the campuses is free.
UMass Transit Services provides free and frequent bus service on campus, to downtown Amherst and nearby towns, and to the Five College campuses. All buses have bike racks.