Amherst is a lively college town that exemplifies the typical New England atmosphere, and the richness and volume of culture in Amherst and nearby Northampton contribute to a truly unique college experience. Amherst Center, which has many quality restaurants, cafés, and shops, is within walking distance of campus and is also accessible by bus. Northampton, only a short bus ride away, offers more quirky shops and lots of live music. The area is known for hosting a wide variety of concerts, where attendees often come from great distances. In recent years, artists such as Phish, Bob Dylan, and Guster have come to the area, just to name a few. Additionally many up-and-coming musicians and rap artists come through, as well as a wide variety of EDM DJs. UMass Amherst has a very prominent music club called MASS EDMC, which promotes and hosts various DJs like Tiesto. The local museums and galleries are not to be missed, and there are plenty of bars and a few clubs in the area. During the spring and fall semesters, Amherst gets crowded and takes on the likeness of a metropolis due to the presence of all the students from UMass as well as the four other local colleges. However, during summer and winter breaks, Amherst could pass for a rural farming community.
In terms of outdoor activities, there are many opportunities in Berkshire County. One of the most popular spots is Puffers Pond, where students go to hang out, swim, or even jump off a cliff! Bicyclists enjoy the Norwottuck Rail Trail, a path that spans 10 miles from Belchertown to Northampton. For golfers, there are three courses, the most popular being Cherry Hill, since it is owned by the town and is therefore the most affordable. The Mt. Holyoke Range State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities from climbing Mt. Tom to snowmobiling.