This is Hampshire

  • Amherst, Massachusetts is often ranked one of the best college towns in the U.S.
  • We’re located in an area called the Pioneer Valley, a cultural mecca where you can still see the stars at night.
  • Local amenities include 63 bookstores, 35 concert venues, 30 museums, 220 bike trails, and almost 70 pizza places.
  • Several hiking trails and small mountains are located across the street from Hampshire’s campus!
  • The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority also travels to the nearby towns of Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke, Hadley, South Hadley, and even Springfield- and most routes are free to college students.
  • Visit Campus
  • Apply to Hampshire
  • Request Information

This is Viva, a rather sedate young man and perhaps the most unflappable student ever to attend Hampshire College. We wanted to know, would he be impressed that two recent independent surveys named Amherst, Massachusetts one of the best college towns in the United States? Viva was not impressed.

So we explained in addition to being a charming historic town, Amherst lies within the Pioneer Valley, known for its vibrant culture, arts, and music, as well as its natural beauty. Amherst is connected to these surroundings via one of the largest private bus systems in the country, which provides free transport to the college students living here, all 27,000 of them. As a member of the Five College Consortium, Hampshire students have access to 2,200 faculty teaching 5,300 classes each year, over 1,000 student organizations and activities, performances, lectures, screenings, and events, and more than 9 million books in 28 libraries, one of them 26 stories tall.

If you are not busy with your studies, you might patronize any one of more than 50 music venues, theater stages, and cinemas-- both first run, as well as the more artsy variety. On a sunny afternoon, you might partake of local ice cream, visit the home of Emily Dickinson, and enjoy a lap or two of rollerskating. There are also 19 art galleries and 30 museums, one of them especially for children.

Feeling a bit peckish? Why, then, choose from scores of pizza parlors, delis, coffee shops, and fantastic restaurants, many of which deliver. You can shop for records, books, comics, clothing, and more. And there are quite a few very nice places to get your hair cut.

Prefer outdoor leisure? There are enough rocks, rivers, and trails to keep you busy all the year round. And, of course, if ever you yearn for a big city adventure, Amherst is a mere two hours from Boston and three from New York. And did I mention there's lots of local history? In the end, Viva was impressed.

It is not too early to train your sights on this prospect right now.

Video TranscriptBack