Northampton, MA City Guide

Photo by Carey Baker

Today’s Northampton, MA, city guide comes from designer Mary Wiseman, who moved to Northampton from Beijing, China, five years ago. Living downtown, Mary keeps a sharp eye on this quaint city and its happenings while she develops instructional materials and online courses. Thank you for this wonderful guide through Northampton, Mary! — Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

Situated in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts (less than 2 hours west of Boston and 3 hours north of New York City), Northampton is bordered by the Holyoke Mountain range and the Connecticut River and has the feel and picturesque charm of a typical New England city with sophisticated and somewhat quirky twists.

Design devotees will enjoy working their way through town by shopping the mix of antiquarian establishments, bookstores, artisan shops, boutiques and galleries. You might even decide to jump on a bike for a spin through the valley’s Bike Rail Trail or walk along the path to see the sights. The adventurous might want to hike the nearby mountains, cross-country ski, canoe or kayak down the Connecticut River and maybe even float aloft the valley in a hot-air balloon ride. All this activity will leave you hungry, and Northampton eateries, bakeries, cafes and bars strive to serve you their finest. Choosing where to eat and drink might be the most difficult decision you have to make here.

Art, music, theater and dance have always played a significant role in Northampton. An eclectic selection of musicians from around the world frequents the Academy of Music, the Calvin Theater and the Iron Horse and Pearl Street Music Halls. Twice annually (spring and autumn), the Paradise City Arts Festival comes to town, showcasing the works of some of America’s most prominent craftspeople and artists. Check the Northampton Center for the Arts schedule to find performance dates for theater and dance. If you happen to be here for New Year’s Eve, Northampton celebrates “First Night,” a cornucopia of entertainment occurring simultaneously at different locations throughout the entire city.

On any second Friday (of each month, year-round, rain or shine), prepare to explore Northampton’s galleries and studios during “Arts Night Out.” Plan to stroll along, enjoying the various exhibitions and meeting the artists. Festivities usually begin around 5pm. During late spring and summer, Northampton is home to several outdoor farmers’ markets: Saturday mornings on Gothic Street and Tuesday afternoons behind Thorne’s Marketplace. Northampton’s Winter Farmers’ Market can be found indoors from November to April, Saturdays from 9am to 2pm in the Basement of Thorne’s.

Photo by Carey Baker

Boosting a population near 30,000, Northampton is also home to Smith College, one of five large colleges and universities located in the Pioneer Valley region. The influx of academic energy brings a youthful, cosmopolitan flavor to the city, which also means the area swells with parents and families during both Parent’s Weekend and graduation. Plan your visit accordingly. Northampton has been proudly voted one of the top 25 art destinations, one of the best 100 places to live and one of the top 25 places to retire in the USA, to name a few.

Check out this Google Map with all of the below listings.

Downtown Northampton Proper

Stay

The Hotel NorthamptonLocated in the heart of downtown, this lovely Colonial Revival hotel has preserved the majesty of 1927, the year of its construction. A member of the Historic Hotels of America, it has all the modern amenities you desire and the charm you crave. 36 King Street 413.584.3100. Reservations: 800.547.3529

Autumn InnThis New England Colonial Inn is conveniently located within walking distance to downtown Northampton and Smith College. Thirty-two relaxing and cozy rooms are available with standard hotel amenities. The inn is entirely nonsmoking. 259 Elm Street 413.584.7660

Eat

The RoostFor breakfast, you gotta have waffles or a breakfast sandwich (might I suggest The Williston) or a sticky bun. Snazzy gourmet lunch, dinner and snacks are available all day as are coffees, drinks and fabulous cakes and desserts. Vegetarian and vegan options always available. There is a great vibe here along with wifi, but no electrical outlets are available, so come with a full computer battery if you expect to roost and work. 1 Market Street 413.587.2625

Joe’s Pizza — People line up at this old neighborhood establishment for pizza, spaghetti and other Italian delights. There is a fully stocked bar and extensive beer and wine list. Opens at 4pm on weekdays and noon on weekends. 33 Market Street 413.584.3168

Paradise BarGrab some appetizers, sandwiches and much more while you watch sports on the many TVs. Burgers, beer and fries are served daily from 4 to 5pm for $6.95. 1 Bridge Street 413.586.2664

Thai Garden — Authentic Thai food. Cozy seating and take out. 2 Bridge Street 413.587.3336

LaVeracruzanaAuthentic Mexican food served in a basic, friendly setting. Great selection, beer and wine, and the TV is usually turned to soccer or Latino soap operas. Eat in or take out. 31 Main Street 413.586.7181

Fitzwilly’s — Began in 1974 as an exercise in comfort, quality food, great service and moderate prices, this is a place to come back time and again. Good food with seating at the bar and tables. 23 Main Street 413.584.8666

Ibiza TapasSmall authentic dishes from Spain served here along with a great wine list. Come for a snack or full meal. 7 Strong Street 413.303.0808

Sierra Bar & Grill — They have a wonderful wine and beer selection here and a full menu. Cozy seating in front and tables in back. I suggest you stop in for drinks and a little nosh. 41 Strong Street 413.584.1150

Dirty Truth — Draft and bottled beers from around the globe can be found here. Ask for a sample taste (or 3) before you commit to your draft brew. Nice eclectic menu of bar foods in good proportions — you might want to share — as well as brunch on the weekends. Check the art that rotates and hangs inside, as well. 29 Main Street 413.585.5999

Tunnel Bar — Martini heaven located underneath the old train depot. Inside you will find a dark atmosphere with lots of comfy leather chairs and a small bar if you prefer to sit and watch the bartender make drinks. Just down Strong Street on the left side, along the stone wall. You are there when you reach the arch and double wood doors. 125 A Strong Street 413.586.5366

Bishop’s Lounge — Bar with live music and a small dance floor. Check the schedule to see who’s playing. Music usually starts later — after 10pm-ish — and there might be a small cover charge. 41 Strong Street, upstairs 413.586.8900

Local Burger — Burgers, fries, shakes and more! It’s not fast food; it’s good food fast. Veggie burgers are also available. Be sure to have a plate of fried onion rings to share with the whole gang. Open late. 16 Main Street 413.586.5857

Zen — Sumptuous, Asian fusion cuisine is what you’ll find here. Weather permitting, reserve a window table; otherwise, sit upstairs or at the sushi bar. 41 Main Street 413.582.6888

Karma — Pure food; organic, raw juices; and music and entertainment. Even yoga is offered here. 48 Main Street 413.727.8143

Amanouz Café — Authentic Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as coffees and pastries. Breakfast here is lovely, and be sure to get some Turkish coffee. 44 Main Street 413.585.9128

Spoleto — Delicious Italian cuisine with great atmosphere and a full bar. Come for a cocktail and check out the posters. Weather permitting, seating outside. Reservations suggested, as it can get crowded. 50 Main Street 413.586.6313

Sweeties Candy — Quirky candies and a vast selection of chocolates, including vegan chocolate. 68 Main Street 413.586.4180

Go Berry — Fresh yogurt made with local ingredients. Healthy, comfy, wifi, good music and open from noon onward. 80 Main Street 413.586.9290

Jake’s — Basic and good for breakfast and/or brunch. 17 King Street 413.584.9613

Wiggins TavernStep back in time 200 years and enjoy the atmosphere, food and libations. This is a great place to cozy up in the wintertime. Dinner served daily and Sunday brunch as well. 36 King Street 413.584.3100

Bruegger’s Bagels — Bagels, coffees, drinks, sandwiches and salads. Opens M–F at 5:30am and Sat–Sun at 6am. Stop in for some fresh bagels or grab a bag of day-old for the gang. Probably the earliest place to get your morning coffee in Noho. 96 Main Street 413.585.0275

Pinocchio’s Pizza — Slices of thick and thin pizza (or buy the whole pie), eclectic variety, cash only, eat in (slightly cramped) great take out and always yummy. Wonderful folks who give great service run this place. 122 Main Street 413.586.8275

Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium — All the chocolate you can handle, from fudge and truffles to taffy, coffee, ice cream (during the summer months) and much more. The store is narrow, so take turns entering. While you wait outside, watch them whip up something in the front store window. 141 Main Street 413.584.5695

Bueno Y Sano — Burritos, quesadillas, tacos and salads. Open daily from 11am to 10pm. Eat in or take out. 134 Main Street 413.586.7311

Heavenly Chocolate — A collection of exotic chocolates, which have to be experienced to be believed. Get a few pieces to mix and match and fill a box full. 150 Main Street Thorne’s Marketplace 413.586.3800

Lhasha Café — I lived in China for fifteen years and never got to Tibet. So I stop here for Tibetan cooking, which is richly varied and comforting food. Lhasa Café has very kind service, indigenous music and a pleasant environment. 159 Main Street 413.586.5427

Herrell’s Ice Cream — Handmade ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbets made on the premises. Be sure to try the hot fudge and take an extra jar home with you. This is an ice cream lover’s heaven. On hot days, prepare to wait in line. All the famous people know the wait is worth it. 8 Old South Street 413.586.9700

Osaka — I think this is the best Japanese fusion menu in town with a sushi bar, hibachi tables and a full bar. Ask to sit at the sushi bar and watch the rolls being made. 7 Old South Street 413.587.9548

Caminito Argentinean Steak House Wood-fired grilling of hand-cut steaks. Only the best for meat lovers here. 7 Old South Street 413.387.6387

Northampton Brewery — This is the oldest operating brewpub in New England. Stop by for a brew and American food. When weather is permitting, sit in the rooftop beer garden. 11 Brewster Center 413.584.9903

Paul & Elizabeth’s — Specializing in natural foods, fresh fish and tempura. Open for lunch and dinner and Sunday brunch. You can’t go wrong here. 150 Main Street Thorne’s Marketplace #5 413.584.4832

Rao’s Coffee & Café — Gourmet coffees, teas, baked goods, sandwiches and soups. 150 Main Street Thorne’s Marketplace 413.586.2649

Postcard Café — Coffee and tea in the Booklink Bookstore on the second floor. 150 Main Street Thorne’s Marketplace 413.585.9955

Eclipse — Here you will find an eclectic menu featuring fresh, local ingredients, artfully prepared food, great wines and wonderful people watching. Open evenings, and you’ll probably find a small jazz quartet playing here. You might want to call for reservations or sit at the bar and eat. It’s all good. 186 Main Street 413.584.6006

Bakery Normand — Fresh bread, croissants, scones, cookies and cakes are available here along with coffee, tea and a cute little gift shop. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 7:30am to 5:30pm. 192 Main Street 413.584.0717

Sip — Fine coffee, artisan teas and wifi. Try their chai hot or chilled. 8 Crafts Street 413.727.3432

Taipei & Tokyo — Yummy Chinese can be found here to eat in or take out. 16 Crafts Avenue 413.582.1888

Haymarket Café — Offering a wide selection of drinks, baked treats from the café and a juice bar. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, wifi included and a downstairs seating area is available, as well. 185 Main Street 413.586.9969

Viva Fresh Pasta — European cuisine with the flavors of the Americas. Tapas, pasta, salads, desserts, etc. Get fresh pasta and sauces to go. 249 Main Street 413.586.5875

Bela’s — Eclectic vegetarian dining for lunch and dinner served Tuesday to Saturday. Open noon to 8:30pm. Cash only. 68 Masonic Street 413.586.8011

Woodstar Café — Fresh, healthy baked goods, coffees, teas and other treats. Good for breakfast, lunch or an any-time-of-the-day snack. Wifi and limited electric outlets. Outdoor seating available, weather permitting. 60 Masonic Street 413.585.9777

India House — The very best authentic Indian cuisine is served here in a charming atmosphere. Voted the best in the Pioneer Valley since 1984. 45 State Street 413.586.6344

Mama Iguana’sAuthentic Mexican foods served along with the largest selection of tequilas and mescals in all of New England. Come by to see the intriguing display of tequila bottles and have a drink or two and snacks at the bar. Opens at 4pm daily. 274 Main Street 413.586.0400

The Green Bean — Socially responsible breakfast & lunch menus created with locally grown food geared to people with varied diets. Vegetarian and vegan options available. Come early, as waiting is part of the experience and worth every minute. 241 Main Street 413.584.2326

Bistro Les Gras — Finest farm-to-table dining. Sustainable, French fusion cuisine served here along with lovely wines in a cozy atmosphere including a small bar. 24 West Street 413.320.4666

Green Street Café — Very, very, good food, service and libations. Menus change seasonally, and reservations are suggested. Full bar and impeccable service. 62 Green Street 413.586.5650

Hungry Ghost Bread — Organic artisan sourdough breads created with organically grown grains and baked in a wood-fired oven. You can’t go wrong here. Everything is unbelievably fresh. Look for the “Yes” flag flying, which means the bread is out of the oven and ready to go. They also have a variety of cookies, noodles, crackers, pastries and pizza. The smell inside is reason alone to stop by and watch the bakers in action. 62 State Street 413.582.9009

Photo by Alvin-San Whaley

Shop

Booklink Booksellers — New fiction, nonfiction, travel books and more — a little something for everyone. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.585.9955

25 Central — Young, hip women’s clothes, shoes and accessories. 150 Main Street Thorne’s Marketplace 413.584.8017

Cedar Chest — Soaps, gifts, makeup and so much more. Come and explore. Be sure to check out the upstairs. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.584.3860

Rebekah Brooks — Handmade contemporary jewelry and gifts. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.584.0905

StradaEuropean comfort footwear for women. Beautiful shoes and great service. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.584.6621

Monella — Modern, contemporary clothes for women. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.582.7900

Acme Surplus — Brand names for less. Stuff you use, stuff you need. New shipments daily. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.586.1122

Jackson & Connor — Classically modern apparel for men. They also have handsome jewelry, accessories and messenger bags. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.586.4636

Noteworthy — Stationery destination. Shop a hand-selected mix of greeting cards, gift wraps, specialty journals and boxed note cards. A paper lover’s delight. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.584.3879

Impish — Mischievously playful baby gear, stylish maternity wear, hip kids’ clothes and eco-friendly goods for the modern family. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.586.2511

Cornucopia — Whole foods, natural body care products, gourmet coffees and cool stuff. 150 Main Street Thornes Marketplace 413.584.3800

R Michelson GalleriesLocated inside an old bank, this is a must for all art lovers. Meander into the old vault to view the art, wander in the back area and don’t forget upstairs. There is usually some artist featured, as well. Custom framing and art restoration is also available. 132 Main Street 413.586.3964

Don Mueller Gallery — Showcasing a truly unbelievable selection of jewelry and art pieces. This is a shop within a gallery and an absolute must-see. 40 Main Street 413.586.1119

WM Baczek Gallery — Fine arts gallery. Pop in and have a peek. 36 Main Street 413.587.9880

The Artisan Gallery — This store is also like being inside an art gallery. Contemporary crafts, imaginative clothing, jewelry and accessories are all here. Come look at all the beautiful things. 162 Main Street 413.586.1942

Provisions — Fine wine, craft beers and specialty foods. Come get gourmet items for dinner and be sure to check what ice creams are in the freezer. 30 Crafts Street 413.727.3497

State Street Fruit and Liquor — Enjoy the generous selection of excellent wines, a wide variety of commercial and pub beers, gourmet-quality delicatessen, and the freshest in local fruit and dairy produce available year-round. Picnic tables out back and cafe tables in front to sit and enjoy a bite. 51 State Street 413.584.2301

Serios Market — Part little grocery, local veggies and fruits and complete deli with take out available. 66 State Street 413.584.2633

Fly By Night — Your place to shop for beautiful furniture, futons, tables, chairs, sofas, lamps and other home accessories. Pop in to see their collection. They take custom orders as well. Open 7 days a week, Mon–Wed 10am to 6pm; Thur & Fri 10am to 8pm; Sat 10am to 6pm; and Sun 12 to 5pm. 21 State Street 413.586.1464

River Valley Coop — The River Valley Market, a community-owned, full-service grocery store specializing in fresh, local and organically grown food. They have a deli and a selection of wine and beer. 330 North King Street 413.584.2665

Photo by Alvin-San Whaley

Collectors Galleries — Part antique store, part art gallery. Be sure to allow some time to soak it all in and strike a deal. 11 Bridge Street 413.584.6734

Sticks and Bricks — Revamped, revisited, re-done and all beautiful. These are the new antiques you are gonna want. If you have something custom you’d like, talk to Liz about your ideas. 9 Market Street 413.586.1560

Antique Center of Northampton — Antiques and more antiques. Be sure to check out the basement. 9 1/2 Market Street 413.584.3600

Metropolitan Books & RecordsA narrow store, located just above the Antique Center of Northampton, it is chock-full of books and records. A must-see. Look for Lucy hanging down on Market Street just at the door or in the antique store. She’ll see you, so don’t worry. 9 1/2 Market Street 413.586.7077

Stuart Solomon Antiques — Premier Stickley furniture, art nouveau and art deco period pieces. Absolutely stunning. Call to be sure you catch Stuart in his shop; it is worth it. 9 3/4 Market Street 413.531.7776

Whoo Space — Part gallery, part store, this pop-up shop always has something new. 11 Market Street 413.727.8173

Paper Paper — They have a little something for every paper crafter. Check out their classes. Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays. 15 Market Street 413.727.8173

Gabriel Bookstore — Well stocked and filled with books of all types, bought, sold and appraised. The book buyer is in the store on Fridays and Saturdays. 21 Market Street 413.586.5596

Birdstone Antiques — Call to see if the store is open; the owner has some strange hours to go along with the upscale, high-end antiques and treasures found here. 25 Market Street 413.585.0747

Different Drummer’s Kitchen — Everything the foodie wants. 34 Bridge Street 413.586.7978

Roz’s Place — Vintage and new clothing and accessories. 6 Bridge Street 413.586.4381

Retro Genie — Vintage clothing and accessories. Head downstairs to check out what’s new. 26 Strong Street 413.584.4364

Sid Vintage — Vintage clothing with an edge. 279 Main Street 413.582.9880

The Fashion Shop — Off the beaten path, just down King Street, past the Subway sandwich shop and left on Trumbull Street. This vintage shop is worth the effort. Stop in and see what’s in store. Be sure to venture upstairs. Vintage clothing, shoes and items for the home. 6 Trumbull Street

Raven Used Books — Here you will find a large variety of book genres, including academic books. 4 Old South Street 413.584.9868

Broadside Bookshop — Dedicated to good books, personal service and community involvement. 247 Main Street 413.586.4235

Faces — Fun, fashion, gifts, cards and homewares. A must for anyone who is curious and looking for the unusual. Kid friendly, but leave your drinks at the door. 175 Main Street 413.584.4081

Pinch — A vibrant and eclectic artisan gallery with a focus on the home and art to wear. 179 Main Street 413.586.4509

GazeboShowcasing a large and varied selection of intimate lingerie, sleepwear, daywear and playwear. Specializing in fit and post-mastectomy collections. 14 Center Street 413.584.5783

Harlow Luggage — Silver jewelry, leather goods, luggage, travel items and gifts. Brand names carried. 196 Main Street 413.584.5233

Unite — Urban styles and footwear brands you want. Be sure to look up and check out what’s hanging on the wall — exhibitions change regularly. 202 Main Street 413.585.5774

A Child’s Garden — Where toys are natural and spark the imagination. Books, toys, games, costumes and gifts galore. 204 Main Street 413.584.2242

J Rich Clothing for Men — Superb clothing for men. Be sure to admire their iron door. 22 Masonic Street 413.586.6336

ODE — Creative fashion and accessories for women.  263 Main Street 413.727.8026

The Mountain Goat — Specializing in outdoor gear, clothing and travel accessories.  189 Main Street 413.586.0803

Urban Outfitters — You know what’s here: men and women’s clothing, accessories and apartment ware. Come in and check out the building housing this iconic retailer. 109 Main Street 413.587.4091

Urban Exchange — The area’s largest brand name and designer consignment shop.  233 Main Street 413.585.8729

Happy Valley — Gifts, jewelry, household items, toys and much, much more. 229 Main Street 413.586.1661

Casa Del Sol — Apparel, jewelry, and crafts from Ecuador, Peru, Latin America and Asia. 207 Main Street 413.584.0109

Oh My Walk downstairs and into a world of sensual delights. 18 years or older only, please. 122 Main Street 413.584.9669

Guild Art Supply — Large selection of art supplies, journals, papers, paint and everything else for your artistic urges. 102 Main Street 413.584.6343

EssentialsA quirky selection of papers, cards, gifts, books and other stationery items. You have to visit to appreciate it. 88 Main Street 413.584.2327

Ten Thousand Villages — Preserving crafting traditions with gift items from around the globe. A fair-trade shop. 82 Main Street 413.582.9339

NBO Tickets — Buy all your tickets here for events in the area. 76 Main Street 413.586.8686

Silverscape Designs — Stunning gems and jewels from the finest artists all housed in a beautiful old bank. 1 King Street 413.584.3324

Backyard Bird — All the bird supplies you need with friendly, helpful staff. Get your bulk birdseed here. 17 Strong Street 413.586.3155

A to Z Learning — A really fun store full of toys, books and games for the whole family and all ages. A must-stop for kids and for those who live like kids. 57 King Street 413.586.1611

Birdhouse Music — Consignment, sales and rentals of musical instruments. 13 King Street 413.584.0404

Northampton-Florence/North West

Stay

Sugar Maple Bed and BreakfastLocated on the bike trail, the Sugar Maple has two comfortable guest rooms on the second floor, each with private bathrooms. This B&B is within walking distance to Northampton, using the bike trail or public sidewalks. 62 Chestnut Street, Florence, MA 413.575.2277

The Knoll Bed and BreakfastThis spacious 12-room house of country Tudor design was built in 1910 and has guest rooms on the second floor. The Knoll is situated on 17 acres of farmland and forest in the Florence residential section of Northampton. The Knoll sits well back from route 9, providing a peaceful atmosphere for a good night’s rest. This B&B is also within walking distance to Northampton. 230 North Main Street, Florence, MA 413.584.8164

Eat

Side Street Café — Serving lunch and dinner, these folks do it right. Simply prepared fresh foods that are delightfully created. They also have a beautiful beer and wine bar. Live music and outdoor seating (weather permitting) round out this experience. 42 Maple Street, Florence 413.587.8900

Cafe Evolution — This vegetarian cafe has some of the very best vegan foods in the Pioneer Valley. Order breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plus, their vegan baked goods are legendary in Western Massachusetts. Enjoy a full meal or a snack with coffee or tea and relax in the warm atmosphere. Open daily from 7:30am to 4pm; Thursday from 7:30am to 6pm; Friday from 7:30am to 8pm; Saturday from 9am to 9pm; and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. 22 Chestnut Street, Florence 413.586.0200

Ms. Flo’s Diner — Slide into a booth in this traditional diner and get ready to enjoy a great breakfast, sandwich or pie. The coffee flows from the friendly wait staff. 99 Main Street, Florence 413.584.3137

Cup and Top — Stop by for delicious soups, sandwiches, baked goods, organic coffee and teas. Open daily, 6am to 6pm. Weekends 8am to 3pm. 1 North Main Street, Florence 413.585.0445

Shop

Goldthread Herbal Apothecary — A full-service herbal dispensary specializing in custom formulas using the highest quality herbs (many are organically grown at their own local farm) crafted with the greatest care and attention to detail. Open Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 5:30pm and Saturday, 10am to 3pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. 1 North Main Street, Florence 413.587.0620

Kid’s Kloset — A fun, hip consignment shop for women and children. They carry top clothing brands, toys, books, puzzles, games, baby equipment and accessories. 22 Maple Avenue, Northampton 413.586.0333

Northampton-Pleasant Street/Southeast

Stay

Clarion Hotel1 Atwood Drive 413.586.1211

Quality Inn & Suites117 Conz Street 413.586.6549

Both of these chain hotels are located just off Interstate 91 and are part of the Choice Hotels chain. Each offers full amenities and heated indoor pools.

Eat

Sylvester’s — Serves breakfast at 7am daily followed by lunch. Walk into something wonderful! The baked goods are to die for, and the portions are very generous. This is the home of the graham cracker — really. 111 Pleasant Street 413.586.5343

Mimmo’s Pizza — The biggest slices of New York-style handmade pizza for the buck. Made to order. Grinders are available, as well. Sit inside to eat or carry out. 71 Pleasant Street 413.584.1711

Siam Square Café — Authentic Thai food made with only the freshest ingredients. Lunch and dinner served. Friendly service. Eat in or take out. Closed on Mondays. 84 Pleasant Street 413.582.6799

Photo by Carey Baker

Northampton Coffee — The very best single-origin coffees and espresso drinks and an extensive and exciting variety of full-leaf teas and botanicals. Homemade hot cocoa and chai, a variety of iced beverages, as well as chocolates and freshly baked pastries. I have friends from Rhode Island who always have coffee here when they visit. 269 Pleasant Street 413.587.8987

Shop

Webbs Yarn — A very comprehensive selection of yarns, needles, books, patterns and supplies for knitters, crocheters, weavers and then some. 75 Service Center Road 413.584.2225

Northampton Wools — A large selection of yarns, classes and accessories. 29 Pleasant Street 413.586.4331

Every Pet’s Dream — Providing for your animal friends with select, high-quality products. 94 Pleasant Street 413.586.5525

Northampton Bikes — Rent comfort and tandems; daily rates apply. Or check out what’s for sale. 319 Pleasant Street 413.586.3810

YES Computers — Apple headquarters for Apple products and service. 196 Pleasant Street 413.585.0007

Downtown Sounds — One of Northampton’s full-service musical-instrument retail stores. Come in and “play” with the instruments. 21 Pleasant Street 413.586.0998

Turn It Up — CDs, vinyl and more. Used, rare items and collectibles. 5 Pleasant Street 413.582.1885

Notable Locals

Liz Karney and Adam Dunetz moved to Northampton in hopes of creating socially responsible businesses. Adam, a restaurateur, with the help of his lovely and talented wife, Liz, own and operate both The Green Bean and The Roost. Liz creates custom furniture from her shop, Sticks and Bricks, where she builds from scratch, renovates and re-purposes furniture and housewares from old and reclaimed materials.

Lexie Barnes is a co-founding director of the Twist art fair showcasing all types of talented crafty artists.

Peter Laird is an American comic book writer and artist best known for co-creating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with writer and artist Kevin Eastman.

Andrew J. Crystal, President of the Board of Trustees at the Academy of Music, has been a civic leader for more than two decades. Andrew also served as chair or member of Northampton’s Planning Board. His lifelong appreciation for the performing arts drew him to his work at the Academy.

Geography Jerry is a beloved Northampton trivia man. He’s the man who comes up to kids and teenagers on the streets of Northampton and asks trivia questions about geography. I know, it sounds creepy; however, in general, he’s the best, nicest guy ever. Look for Jerry on the streets or on the bus.

Martin Jones, saxophonist, who can be heard playing regularly in downtown Northampton.

K

Having been born in Northampton, and visited many times, I enjoyed reading this. I do wish, however, that it was a little bit more of a curated list (i.e. Urban Outfitters and Bruegger’s Bagels). And what are your suggestions if visitors don’t want to shop? Hoping for a Northampton, Part II!

Annette

What a treat to find this in my blog feed! I’m a Smith alum and love the small-town feel of Northampton. My friends and I used to joke that it was like Stars Hollow from the TV show, Gilmore Girls. Definitely a hidden gem full of AMAZING eateries and cute places to shop.

Amy Holms

Great roundup of a sweet city! As a former Smithie, I can’t say enough good things about Northampton. And a visit to Herrell’s is a MUST!

sarah

you missed a stunner of a store – joia beauty on crafts ave. it’s a northampton standby and sells the most amazing bath and body products out there – from local retailers to kiehls, butter london, dr. hauschka, weleda and more.

http://www.joiabeauty.com

Sarah

Awesomely thorough. Webbs is NOT to be missed by all you knitters out there.

Sarah

love northampton! went to college at mount holyoke in nearby south hadley. a great weekend spot now, as i’m living in boston. my two favorites are haymarket cafe (for healthy, hippie vegetarian food and juices) and the tunnel bar (for a cool dimly lit atmosphere)

Sarah

Great list – lots of places to check out when I’m out that way. Also, I hate to be nit-picky but it’s actually Webs, not Webbs. Wouldn’t want any knitters to miss out on it.

Diana

Hurray for this post. I’m a MA native and love the scenery and artsy vibe in Northampton and the surrounding area. Thanks for reminding me I need to go back for a visit soon!

sue

I agree with K that a more curated list would be more helpful as it seems every restaurant has been listed. Northampton is an hour away for me and we like to visit, but to have to read 47 restaurants descriptions to choose the best is almost as easy as prowling around and looking at menus. Very happy to see that A2Z is on the list since toy stores don’t always make these lists. And WEBS (not Webbs) is the best yarn/fiber store ever.

Mary

K, I am working on an extended Northampton City Guide which includes more activities. Sarah, thanks for the tip on joy beauty. Heather, Green Street Cafe sadly closed after my guide was submitted to Design Sponge. And Sarah, the knitter, dully noted the spelling of Webs.

Sarah

The botanical garden and greenhouses at Smith College are great & free non-shopping things to do! Forbes Library too.

Debbie

Also there’s no “Paradise Bar” — I think you meant “Paradise City Tavern” or PCT for short. Nice to see my lovely town on Design Sponge!

sarah

thanks for doing this, so good to see my little city on d*s! i love living here, it’s a great place to be an artist and raise a family. i also just wanted to mention that there are so many little gems in the small towns surrounding northampton!

here’s a few of my picks for what you can do/eat/see in the surrounding towns just a short drive away ~
-hit the bookmill & lady killagrew in montague for lunch. pop over to the new store called LOOT, in turners falls.

-be sure drive through the scenic hilltowns, (ashfield/shelburne falls)

-end the day with amazing food and drink at hope and olive, magpie or the people’s pint all in nearby greenfield.

perhaps a western mass guide is in order!?

K

These comments make me wonder if one must be named Sarah to live in Northampton :) Looking forward to more, Mary!

Allison

Love this Northampton city guide! I loved living there as a Smithie, it’s a great city and a beautiful area…and the food, oh the food…so good. Oh, and a word of advice – stock up on your greeting cards at Faces, or at the very least, make your way to the back of the store and just read a few – most are hilarious.

Gina

Pizzeria Paradiso is one of my all-time favorite pizza restaurants, but I did not see mention of it here. Their Baked Pizza Bread appetizer is amazing in my opinion… I much prefer their pies to Pinocchio’s.

Mary

Debbie, thanks for the correction of Paradise City Tavern ;) Sarah, You mentioned Montague and Greenfield, and Shelburne Falls and there are a few other cities out west here worth mentioning. Design Sponge has done a Berkshires Guide which includes more of the very western area of Massachusetts, maybe a Pioneer Valley Guide ;) might be in order?!

joe

I’m from the area and would appreciate a more curated list. Great first try but it would be amazing to highlight the spots which reflect the Northampton personality. Thanks!

My

This makes me so happy! I’ve lived in Northampton for about 3 years now and I love it. Thanks Mary!

Akira

Great list, but be sure to include Moshi Moshi. It’s one of the best sushi places I have ever been. Also, Modern Myths if you enjoy comics, graphic novels or table games. And Jeph Jacques as a local, the artist and writer for the webcomic Questionable Content. I love Northampton and I miss the wonderful environment there.

John

Geography Jerry!!! Haha. I remember being 8 years old and my friends and I would always love getting quizzed by him. I saw him the other day when in town and he’s still at it 24 years later! By far one of the best notables in town

Ellen

It made my day to find a city guide for my former hometown! I lived in Northampton for 13 years. Now that I live in California, I can’t imagine going more than a year without visiting Northampton. It’s a truly special place, with a wealth of things going on in the arts, music, spirituality, alternative health, and, of course, academia. And all this in a town that’s small enough that you always run into someone you know on Main Street, set in a beautiful natural environment.

Thanks to others who mentioned WEBS. They are world renowned for their online store (www.yarn.com); going to the physical store in Northampton is like visiting the mother ship for knitters.

It’s worth mentioning that Northampton, aka “Lesbianville” is also known for having a large lesbian population. GLBTQ readers will be happy to know (if they don’t already) that Northampton is likely to be a welcoming place for them and heir families.

In a world with fewer and fewer independent theaters, it’s also worth mentioning the fabulous Pleasant Street Theater, and the Amherst Cinema across the river.

And of course there are many more notable locals, including several famous writers and musicians such as Tracy Kidder, whose book “Home Town” was about Northampton, and Leslea Newman, who wrote “Heather Has Two Mommies.” If you happen to be in town in late August, don’t miss the Transperformance, in which local bands masquerade (with great humor) as other famous bands, in the beautiful outdoor Pines Theater, to raise money for the Northampton Arts Council. You gotta love a town in which the mayor pretends to be Joan Jett for the arts.

As for other notable locals, don’t forget fabulous graphic designers Rob Stewart and Damia Cavallari (www.transitauthorityfigures.com), who have created beautiful and funny faux subway maps for several small cities, including their own hometown of Northampton.

I would love to see a Pioneer Valley guide! Be sure to include the the Apollo Grill in Easthampton, and the Peace Pagoda in Leverett (a remarkable Buddhist temple and stupa).

I could go on and on, but I’ll restrain myself ;) Thanks again for Northampton City Guide!

Truebluemeandyou

For those asking for a more curated restaurant list, Northampton is known for its eateries, so I’m not complaining – something for everyone! Also, I grew up here and LOVE shopping in Northampton. New Yorkers come regularly because the art galleries, handmade crafts’ galleries and stores are absolutely amazing and first rate without the NYC prices. Going to downtown Northampton fostered my creativity from an early age and I credit my success now to being exposed to art and crafts seen in those Northampton galleries.

Sarah

Great guide! I’d add Feeding Tube Records to the list, and second the inclusion of Roost and Hungry Ghost. I went to Roost multiple times the last time I was in town (which was only for a weekend) and I still miss their breakfast sandwich.

Emily

Yes! My town! Though, I agree, this would be much better if it were more curated. My personal favorites are Osaka for amazing sushi and hibachi, Sid Vintage (Alix, the owner, is a sweetheart and her shop is a gem), and East Heaven Hot Tubs & Paradise Spa- though not on the list, it is an indulgence well worth allowing oneself.

Cindy

So nice to see a great write up about Northampton! Been here 24 years. Fantastic place for women and to raise a daughter. We’re all very fortunate to live here. As a former nomad, I am always surprised to think of how long I’ve been here – I never get the old itch to move on. (Well maybe during Smith Parent’s Weekend and Graduation – no offense to Smithies but it can be hell to deal with..!) BTW did you mention the Bluebonnet Diner and Look Restaurant? Many an hour spent in their booths planning out the day…

Laura

A wonderful guide! I lived in Northampton while attending UMass in Amherst, and have such fond memories. This makes me want to go back for a visit!

Amy

Very exciting to see my town profiled here on the beloved Design Sponge! There are so many great places to eat, it is hard to choose, but any of the review sites will help you winnow down the selection.

Did anyone mention the wonderful walks around the Smith Botanical Gardens, including a visit to their greenhouses, an oasis during the winter…? We have a great network of bike trails, three farmer’s markets a week, outdoor concerts in the summer. This list goes on and on!

Steve Strimer

Do remember that Florence is a village of Northampton. Much to see, buy and eat there!

isabel

For events outside of retail shops (i believe one person commented on this), the Smith Art Museum is simply amazing. A small museum with an impressive array of art. Williams College (a little over an hour away) has two fantastic museums, and Amherst College sports the Mead museum. In Amherst (20 minutes from Noho) is the Emily Dickinson House and a couple of great eateries, such as, The Black Sheep and Amherst Chinese, plus a slew of new places. For green goods and fair-trade retail, stop in Claw Foot Tub and meet the effervescent owner, Mary Moore. Thanks.

jzzy55

Unless I missed it, you left out Main Street’s Skera crafts gallery (known for its handmade art clothing and accessories). Founder/owner Harriet Rodgers is a Main Street pioneer (not so many left now) — she and her shop deserve to be included in any list of unique shopping/browsing venues. Northampton IS Northampton because of people like Harriet.
People who want real restaurant reviews, not just an uncurated listing, should check out the Chowhound regional message boards. I don’t have a problem with Brueggers — ordinary food at ordinary prices, fair enough. And at least their bagels aren’t the huge doughy messes you find even in NYC nowadays.
Look Park is an old-fashioned park with many charms, including paved walking paths for those not up for hiking.
And Sarah B does nothing “dully.” Duly, perhaps!

jzzy55

Add to Florence: Fair Trade foods and locally-written/published books at Collective Copies; classy/casual/comfortable clothing at Herlihy’s (another long-time retail institution, in an updated incarnation), Wool & Dye Works (rug hooking and related arts — one of the only wool craft shops in the US!); and BookEnds, a well-stocked used book, CD and DVD shop.
Easthampton (10 minutes away): Tru Beer — beer tasting room & store with over 700 American Craft beers; Coco Restaurant, run by the former Cha Cha Cha owners, just back from 10 years cooking in Berkeley; New England Felting Supply — another unique and sensually delightful craft supply/teaching shop, run by Chris White, who literally wrote the book on modern felt crafts; KW Home, an eclectic-modern decorating and furniture shop run by Easthampton native Keith Woodruff.

Ellen

Thanks, Emily, for mentioning East Heaven. Enjoying an outdoor, rooftop hot tub on a cold winter night is a fabulous treat, as is sitting by the fire before/afterward. And their hot tub + massage packages are wonderful.

Another great Amherst restaurant is Chez Albert – the best and most authentic French food I’ve had in the U.S., outside of NYC. All the waiters I’ve had have spoken French, along with many of the patrons, so it’s almost like stepping into Paris for an evening.

A couple more non-shopping activities: Hike (or drive) to the top of Mount Holyoke on a beautiful day. The road is closed in the winter, but you can still hike to the top if you’re adventurous. And drive up to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield. It’s another great winter escape. Of course, if you’re into winter, there are plenty of places to cross-country ski nearby too.

Finally, another notable local: Hilary Price, creator of the Rhymes With Orange comic strip: http://www.rhymeswithorange.com/

Belaschick

Remember the off leash dog park. It is on the grounds of the old State Hospital.

Sara

You got the phone number wrong for Siam Square Thai Restaurant! It’s 413-582-1817. I ordered from that place too many times!!

Elena Rosenberg

I traveled to Northampton for the first time in October’11 to participate in the Paradise City Arts Festival. Had an amazing reception there. Enjoyed the cosmopolitan, art-loving, and quirky vibe of the place very much.

I’ve got another addition to your list of essentials — Northampton is home to the Young at Heart Chorus — http://www.youngatheartchorus.com/ – subject of one of the best documentaries. One of the most moving stories too.

Cait B

As someone who was born in Northampton and grew up there, I’m so excited to see it featured here! However, I agree that a curated list would be more helpful.

So, for those who might be interested, here’s my ideal day in town:

– Sleep in and get a late-ish start to the day;
– Park in the Thornes garage or get lucky and snag a spot in the Masonic St. lot (Note to out of towners – street parking is surprisingly difficult on most days, but the garage is cheap and easy!);
– Grab coffee or a smoothie and maybe a pastry at the Haymarket on Main St. to get energized;
– Walk up the hill on Main St. (stopping in at any shop that catches your eye) towards Smith College;
– Wander through the Smith College Museum of Art for a few hours until you can’t possibly absorb any more beauty;
– If it is still light outside, meander through the Smith College Botanic Garden before heading back down the hill;
– Assuming you’ve worked up an appetite with all that art and walking, stop in at Paul and Elizabeth’s for an early dinner (and get the vegetarian platter before they run out for the night! Seriously. It’s amazing.);
– Enjoy dinner, but don’t totally stuff yourself because after dinner you need to walk downstairs and get an ice cream at Herrell’s (but be prepared to live with the knowledge that there is no better ice cream on the face of the planet);
– Set out on Main St. again towards Pleasant St. (again stopping anywhere that catches your eye);
– Grab tickets at the Pleasant St. Theater for one of the awesome indie movies being shown (before they sell out);
– If you have time until show time, stop at Turn It Up! to find and listen to random music that you never knew you wanted or swing by Sweeties to stock up on candy;
– After the movie, grab a drink at one of the many bars in town (for example, The Dirty Truth has a good selection, but is surprisingly loud; Packard’s is an ok sports bar, but great for playing a game of pool; Tunnel Bar is pretty, but pricey; and Ye Ol’ Watering Hole is divey as divey can get); and then,
– Head home and pass out, completely satisfied with a day well spent!

Enjoy your time in town and be sure to check out Easthampton (Cottage St. is quickly becoming the place to be) and Amherst (Tabella’s is the perfect special meal) while you’re in the area!

Marilyn the nurse

Great list, we lived in Northampton for 1 1/2 years while my husband was attending graduate business school at UMass. Loved it so much, would have like to live there but at the time there were no jobs in his field. We go back every year for a visit. Love the area so much. Things have changed over the 48 years so this list is great to have to know where to eat and stay. Thank you.

Krista

YAY!! Everything good everyone has said about Northampton is true. Fantastic live music scene, great artists, superb people-watching, wonderful old architecture and all the culture of a city with a wonderful small-town vibe, surrounded by beautiful countryside. Haven’t checked out the Berkshires guide yet, but if you have extra time in the Northampton area, the Book Mill and Mass MoCA can be combined into a stellar day trip. I’m taking a friend from Minnesota there this weekend.
Thank you!

Jim

great overview. i would add Pleasant Street Theatre and all the music venues which are notably absent from the profile. There’s local music happening all the time at Sam’s Pizza and the Yellow Sofa. Thursday nights at Sierra Grille. Then of course there’s the Iron Horse which has been there since 1979. The historic Calvin Theatre and Academy of Music. Pearl Street and The Elevens. The Basment.

Jim

Much of this feels hasty and uninformed. Dashed off. NBO tickets is not the place to get tickets for all the area events. It is Northamoton Box Office, the ticket outlet for the Iron Horse Entertainment Group. They sometimes sell for other area festivals but it’s primarily the outlet for Iron Horse, Calvin Theatre, Pearl Steet, and Mountain Park. I think this is a good enhanced yellow pages kind of list but there is far more character that could be conveyed and actual inside info.

Em

Lovely article, you forget to mention Forget me not Florist located at the bottom of Crafts Ave. They are the only full service florist downtown. There design is beautiful and customer service is 100%!

LEAVE A COMMENT