The Northampton Area

A Smithie's Guide to Downtown Northampton

Not far from the wrought-iron gates of Smith College are the busy sidewalk cafés, shops and eateries of Northampton. This lively town of 30,000 combines small-town ambiance with big-city offerings and is a bustling hub of activity, both day and night.

With its clubs, galleries, shops, great food and good coffee, Northampton provides perfect places for celebrating the end of midterms or your roommate's birthday. Try indulging in a Thai, Indian or Mexican meal. Take a study break and order one of Joe's famous pizzas or go dancing at one of several downtown clubs. Or catch a show at the Calvin Theatre: one night jazz musician Wynton Marsalis may be performing, the next, comedian Margaret Cho.

You don't have to empty your wallet to have fun in Northampton. For the price of a cup of espresso or an ice cream cone, you can sit in a café and watch the world go by. You can browse through the town's many craft and fine art galleries or stop to listen as street musicians deliver their sidewalk music.

If you like to shop, Northampton's stores have almost everything you need: wall hangings and Doc Martens, the traditional and the trendy, the sublime and the eccentric. There are bookstores galore, packed with new ideas and old favorites. Thornes Marketplace, a 100-year-old department store that has morphed into a 30-store indoor shopping arcade, and other shops carry art supplies, running shoes, CDs, clothes and everything else you'll need for life at Smith.