Nestled in the picturesque Pioneer Valley, Amherst, Massachusetts, is a charming town that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or someone who simply enjoys the vibrant atmosphere of college towns, Amherst has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you through a curated list of things to do in Amherst, MA ensuring you make the most of your visit to this New England gem.
Things To Do In Amherst MA
- Visit Amherst College and Emily Dickinson Museum:
Begin your journey through Amherst’s rich history by exploring the beautiful campus of Amherst College. Take a guided tour to learn about the institution’s prestigious past. Nearby, the Emily Dickinson Museum offers a glimpse into the life of the renowned poet. Explore her homestead and The Evergreens, two historic houses that provide a fascinating insight into 19th-century New England life.
- Explore the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art:
Perfect for families and art enthusiasts alike, the Eric Carle Museum celebrates the beauty of children’s book illustrations. Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of picture books and enjoy the rotating exhibits that showcase the work of beloved artists.
- Hike the Notch Visitor Center Trails:
For those craving outdoor adventures, head to the nearby Mount Holyoke Range State Park and explore the trails around the Notch Visitor Center. Hiking enthusiasts will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley and an array of flora and fauna. Don’t forget your camera!
- Stroll through Amherst’s Farmers’ Market:
If you happen to visit on a Saturday morning (May through November), don’t miss the Amherst Farmers’ Market. Experience the local culture by browsing through stalls filled with fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts. Engage with local farmers and artisans to get a taste of the community spirit.
- Dine at Iconic Restaurants:
Amherst boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering something for every palate. From cozy cafes to upscale dining establishments, explore the town’s gastronomic delights. Visit Antonio’s for mouthwatering pizza slices, or savor farm-to-table cuisine at The Lone Wolf. Top off your culinary journey with a visit to Herrell’s Ice Cream for a sweet treat.
- Attend a Performance at the Amherst Cinema:
For a cultural evening, catch a film or live performance at the Amherst Cinema. This independent cinema features a carefully curated selection of films, documentaries, and live events, providing a unique entertainment experience.
- Discover the Museums at the University of Massachusetts Amherst:
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is home to several museums that cater to different interests. Explore the University Museum of Contemporary Art or the University Gallery, each offering thought-provoking exhibits and collections.
- Enjoy a Relaxing Afternoon at Puffers Pond:
Escape the hustle and bustle by spending a tranquil afternoon at Puffers Pond. This scenic spot is perfect for picnics, kayaking, or simply unwinding by the water. Embrace the serenity and natural beauty that this hidden gem provides.
- Take a Literary Walk at Amethyst Brook Conservation Area:
Immerse yourself in nature and literature by exploring the trails at Amethyst Brook Conservation Area. This scenic area is known for its serene ambiance and is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a reflective literary walk. Bring along your favorite book and find a quiet spot to enjoy the natural surroundings.
- Attend Events at the Jones Library:
The Jones Library, located in the heart of Amherst, is not just a repository of books but also a cultural hub. Check the library’s event calendar for author talks, book readings, and community events. It’s a fantastic opportunity to engage with the local literary scene and meet fellow book enthusiasts.
- Shop at Thorne’s Marketplace:
Indulge in some retail therapy at Thorne’s Marketplace, a historic shopping center in downtown Amherst. Browse through unique boutiques, specialty shops, and art galleries. Whether you’re looking for handmade crafts, vintage finds, or contemporary art, Thorne’s Marketplace has it all.
- Experience Amherst’s Art Walk:
If you happen to visit on the first Thursday of the month (April through November), don’t miss Amherst’s Art Walk. Local galleries, shops, and cafes participate in this community event, showcasing the work of talented artists. It’s a wonderful opportunity to appreciate local art and engage with the creative community.
- Savor Local Brews at Amherst Brewing Company:
Beer enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Amherst Brewing Company. Sample a variety of craft beers brewed on-site, and pair your drinks with delicious pub fare. The laid-back atmosphere and diverse beer selection make it a popular spot for both locals and visitors.
- Participate in Amherst’s Annual Events:
Check the local events calendar for annual festivals and celebrations. Events like the Amherst Block Party, Taste of Amherst, and the Apple Harvest Festival offer a chance to experience the town’s vibrant community spirit, culinary delights, and local talents.
- Take a Day Trip to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art:
If you have more time and want to explore beyond Amherst, consider a day trip to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in nearby Amherst. Dedicated to the art of the picture book, the museum showcases the work of renowned children’s book illustrators, making it a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.
- Discover Amherst’s Street Art:
Stroll through downtown Amherst and keep an eye out for vibrant street art. From murals to quirky installations, the town’s artistic flair extends beyond galleries. Capture Instagram-worthy moments and appreciate the dynamic blend of creativity and community expression.
Amherst, Massachusetts, may be a small town, but its charm lies in the wealth of experiences it offers. Whether you’re fascinated by history, the arts, or outdoor activities, Amherst invites you to explore and create lasting memories. Plan your visit wisely, and you’re sure to fall in love with this quintessential New England town.