Updated: Jan 16, 2021
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Northampton Massachusetts, is best known for its progressive and prestigious Smith College. The students here are very active in demonstrating their support for human rights, woman's rights, BLM, LGBTQ, and many other issues. It is also a very beautiful campus, with some of the best minds attending and teaching. Northampton in my opinion is a city/town of expression, creativity, and art.
When talking about Northampton we need to keep in mind that there are 3 very different areas to the city/town for instance, Downtown/proper Northampton is full of locally owned restaurants and shops, store front apartment buildings, and a lot of political activity on the streets. Downtown/ Proper Northampton prides its self in locally owned businesses. People come from all over in the summer time to see some of these places.
Next we have Florence or Floho area, which is a small village outside of the greater city limits. This is where you will find apartment rentals for a little bit cheaper than some of the Boston like prices in greater Northampton. This part of the town makes it a melting pot as people from all backgrounds and ethnicities live in this section. Florence is very quiet, but there are still enough little things to do around the area, and it is only a 5-10 min drive downtown, or a 15 min bus ride.
The greater Northampton area has King street, and when the locally owned shops don't have what you need, the big stores will. I like to break this area down by king street which is more North, and South street. Many homes behind king street are multifamily rental properties. This is where a lot of the customer service reps, servers, and students live in town. The demographic is early twenties- mid thirties along king street. Going towards South street/ route 9 closer to Williamsburg, Leeds, and Haydenville is where you find your bigger homes.
I feel like the best thing about Northampton is that it is a place where the most unlikely of friends meet. You will go to a bar and see a lawyer, a construction worker, a barista, and a college student hanging out together. Northampton Massachusetts is a true melting pot of ideas and friendships.
The only draw backs about the town is the rising cost of rent and living. Over the past five years some of Northampton's most iconic places have either moved or gone out of business. The live music scene and nightlife has died down significantly even before Covid. It is just a matter of time before all of these things return, but it is something of note worthy.
I really hope that this helps give you some insight into my personal favorite place in the valley.