Amherst, Massachusetts

Smarty Pants



Sunny Days: 190
60100 Affordability
90100 Schools
54100 Diversity
90100 Safety

I'm lucky to have been raised in the most beautiful place - Amherst, Massachusetts, state of my heart. I'm more patriotic to Massachusetts than to almost any place. -Uma Thurman

The Best Thing About Amherst?

Intellectual Community

Community, with a heavy dose of university culture, is at the core of Amherst. Despite being a town dominated by universities though, and thus possessing a high temporary population during the school year, Amherst is home to plenty of folks who live their entire lives in the area or simply stay for life after going to school here. There are tons of volunteer opportunities and political gatherings (extremely liberal so if that ain't your thing then steer clear), to the countless private meetup groups, to the community events sponsored by town hall and the chamber of commerce, to the weekend farmer’s markets, Amherst is a town defined by its strong sense of community.

Unlike many college towns, the university population and the rest of the populace are well-integrated and generally on friendly terms, lending a strong sense of local identity to a somewhat isolated area.

A note from a local about living in Amherst:
It's a very community minded place! I'll also echo the other person in this thread who gave the "vote blue" disclaimer. The place is DEEP blue, so a lot of the community orientation revolves around liberal politics.

For more reviews of what living in Amherst is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Amherst?


Housing in Amherst is widely agreed by locals to be problematic. The parts of town surrounding university campuses in particular have been known to suffer increasingly high prices for both home ownership and rental. More and more local housing has been purchased to accommodate the high student populations, but some students report being housed in hotels and bussed to school in the morning. Add into this the fact that apartment rental rates have also gone up in light of the work-from-home boom of the past several years, Amherst, while still less expensive on the whole than the most of the rest of the country, particularly nearby New York and Boston, the prices can be surprisingly high. Additionally, actually finding a place to live can prove a time-consuming and costly endeavor. For this reason, it is recommended to secure housing before moving to Amherst.

Here are some notes from a local about some cons of living in Amherst:
I will say the tax situation is annoying in Amherst where the property taxes are considerably higher than the surrounding areas, and almost twice as much as Eastern MA.

Health care options are fine but not fantastic, there are a few urgent care centers but the quality of care is hit or miss. The closest hospital is a 20-25min drive. If you need a specialist your best bet would be to drive out to Burlington or Boston, about 1hr40min away, granted Boston has some of the best hospitals in the world. When school is in session, traffic can be a bit much in certain areas of town but overall it's not bad. There is also a good public transportation system, PVTA, in Amherst/surrounding areas

Lifestyle of Amherst

Amherst prides itself on making a wide array of lifestyles happen here. Students will naturally find much to entertain themselves with in the local college party scene, but working professional adults can also make it work with diverse bar and restaurant options. Amherst prides itself not only on farm-to-table cuisine but also local, independently-owned options over chain restaurants at every opportunity.

Hiking and cycling in the nearby forests gives locals a chance to commune with the gorgeous New England scenery, while those interested in high culture have museums dedicated to national history, art, literature, and natural history, as well as live music spots and theaters. Community events sponsored by the local library also provide entertainment for Amherst’s younger residents.

Check out the Amherst calendar of events to see what happens here throughout the year:!/

Worklife of Amherst

As befitting a community-oriented city, much of the worklife of Amherst centers around giving back to the community. Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst provide work for professors, administrators, healthcare workers, and facilities workers, as does the local school district. The local service sector thrives due to the high number of locally-owned businesses. The agricultural sector employs countless workers, in part thanks to assistance from the universities’ respective agricultural science programs. And finally, the public sector, namely the public works department, the parks department, and the chamber of commerce, provide countless jobs for lifelong residents. If you are willing or looking to give back to your new home while you make your living, Amherst is the place for you.

Why You Should Move Here Now

The Beauty

The pristine natural beauty of western Massachusetts, vibrant public and private sectors of the economy, and friendly populace all add to the immense local charm of Amherst. If you're looking for a place to settle down and raise a family, a place to start over as a young single/couple professional, or a student hoping to start the next stage of your life, Amherst should make your shortlist.

Neighborhoods in Amherst

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Central Amherst

Young Professionals/Students

Central Amherst is both the center/downtown area of Amherst as well as the home of the University of Amherst. If you like your college towns with a college smack dab in the middle + you want to live in that vortex of energy then this is your neighborhood.

Central is known for being a downtown with tree-lined streets and a mix of older historical homes and newer condo/apartment options for young professionals and students. newer homes. Besides being a quintessential small-town downtown Central also is filled with a larger quantity of boutique shopping, great restaurants, cafes and even outdoor play spots, including the Amherst Common where a lot of community events happen.

The neighborhood has good public transportation for a small town, particularly for student destinations so you can survive for a bit without a car.

North Amherst


North Amherst is an interesting mix of families, who enjoy the historical and more recently built and reasonably priced homes here, and undergrad and graduate students/families from UMass Amherst, who live in one of several large apartment complexes.

North Amherst has its own Historic District which is a beautiful example of a traditional farming village. Locals love the mellow commercial district, which gives the area its own gravitational pull, separate from the Center of Amherst. The streets of North Amherst are wide and treelined, the sidewalks broad and kid-friendly, and the parks great for sports or just walking and picnicking.

East Village


East Village is also an historic district (lots of these in Amherst) that is primarily known as a quiet, residential neighborhood, filled with spacious single-family homes.

While close to the center of Amherst, East Village is "suburban" in the sense the homes are on large lots, the streets are quiet and completely kid-friendly, and you steer clear of the student racket if you choose to raise the kiddos here. The schools in the area are excellent(true for all of Amherst) and easy access to the city center when you need a night out makes it pretty perfect for a family looking to escape, but not too far.