Guide to Northampton, MA | Eat, Stay & Play

Academic and artistic with a great range of eateries, the city of Northampton, MA, is accurately nicknamed “The Paradise City.”

By Cathryn McCann

Jan 25 2022


Downtown Northampton, MA

Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

With a college-town atmosphere, a booming cultural scene, a growing bicycle network, and a prime location on the Connecticut River, Northampton, MA, is well worth the drive for those seeking a great getaway. Here are some of our favorite places to eat, stay, and play in this hip Western Massachusetts city.

Guide to Northampton, MA: Things to Do

Enjoy the Arts

For dance, film, music, art, or live theater, check out the offerings at the Academy of Music Theatre, a grand building that opened in 1891 as the first municipally owned theater in the United States. Over the years, it’s been a favorite stop for touring productions and big-name performers.

Guide to Northampton, MA
Academy of Music Theatre | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Treasure-Hunt for Books

Bibliophiles will love Raven Used Books, a downtown landmark since 1993, which has shelves filled with books from every conceivable literary genre, plus academic and scholarly titles from the Five Colleges community. Meanwhile, Broadside Bookshop on Main Street is the go-to for all the newest popular titles.

Guide to Northampton, MA
Raven Used Books | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Do Some Boutique Shopping

The retail cornerstone in Northampton is Thornes Marketplace, whose specialty shops offer everything from books and gifts to health items and food. For something reimagined, repurposed, and entirely one-of-a-kind, pay a visit to Sticks and Bricks, a store and showroom on Market Street. Among the other popular shopping options are Pinch (creative handcrafted items) and Essentials (home goods, stationery, gifts, and more).

Guide to Northampton, MA
Sticks & Bricks | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Explore a Garden 

Founded over a century ago, the 12,000-square-foot Lyman Conservatory at the Botanic Garden of Smith College is a living museum of plants native to New England as well as specimens from around the globe. Check out its specialty gardens, such as the Palm House (aka the Jungle Room), the Succulent House, and the Camilla Corridor.

Guide to Northampton, MA
Lyman Conservatory at Smith College | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Guide to Northampton, MA: Restaurants

The Roost

For a cozy, rustic hangout with café fare, baked goods, coffee, and craft beer, try the Roost on Market Street.

Guide to Northampton, MA
The Roost | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Amanouz Café

At this Mediterranean eatery, the broad menu (kebab, shawarma, tabbouleh, etc.) doesn’t sacrifice quality. Don’t miss the sweet-savory bastilla, a filo pie with chicken, almonds, and cinnamon.

Wiggins Tavern

For fine dining (filet mignon, pan-seared salmon, baked stuffed shrimp) or a Sunday brunch in a historical building (over 200 years old), Hotel Northampton’s Wiggins Tavern is the place to go.

Guide to Northampton, MA
Wiggins Tavern | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Bistro Les Gras

This farm-to-table French restaurant makes everything from the condiments to the charcuterie in-house, while entrées draw on local produce, seafood, and meat.

Hungry Ghost Bread

You’ll want to load up on fresh bread and pastries at Hungry Ghost, where owners Jonathan Stevens and Cheryl Maffei and their bakers turn out flavorful, crusty-chewy loaves — from French to rosemary to spelt to anadama.

Guide to Northampton, MA
Hungry Ghost Bread | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Guide to Northampton, MA: Hotels

Autumn Inn

Situated within walking distance of downtown, Autumn Inn has several different types of rooms — double beds, queens, kings, suites — and a relaxing atmosphere. Perks include an outdoor pool and select pet-friendly rooms.

Hotel Northampton

A member of Historic Hotels of America, this elegant institution is located just off Main Street, in the center of town. There are 106 well-appointed guest rooms and luxury suites here, plus two on-site restaurants.

Guide to Northampton, MA
Hotel Northampton | Guide to Northampton, MA
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Elm Street Inn

Mere steps away from the Smith College campus, the Elm Street Inn is a 1780s saltbox with wide pine floors and individually decorated guest rooms that mix historical and contemporary touches.

Have you ever been to Northampton, MA?

Northampton, Massachusetts | Could You Live Here?
Where to Eat in Northampton, Massachusetts
Winter in Northampton, Massachusetts | Photos