23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Northampton (MA)

Northampton, the county seat of Hampshire County, is located in Massachusetts, United States.

Northampton, known as a countercultural and artistic center, had a population of 29,571 after the 2020 census.

This city has so much value for music and academics, featuring many educational sites and entertainment venues.

Northampton is filled with an intriguing history and mind-blowing cultures; you must brace yourself and prepare to explore.

There are many places to visit, such as the Beer Can Museum, Thornes Marketplace, the Smith College Museum of Art, Paul and Elizabeth’s, Raven Used Books, the Botanic Garden of Smith College, the Calvin Coolidge House, and more.

Are you planning an exploration of Northampton? Here are the top things to do in Northampton, MA.

Things to Do in Northampton, MA

1. Explore The Botanic Garden of Smith College

Botanic Garden of Smith College
Credits: Leslee_atFlickr / Flickr
Botanic Garden of Smith College

The Botanic Garden of Smith College, located within the Smith College Campus in Northampton, is a garden filled with flora and fauna.

The Garden was established over one century ago by Laurenus Clarke, the first president of Smith College.

He wanted to transform the entire campus into a gorgeous botanic garden with essential plants that can also be used for aesthetic and scientific purposes.

The Botanic Garden of Smith College contains a Church Exhibition Gallery and Lyman Conservatory of 12,000 square feet, including indoor and outdoor facilities.

There are educational exhibits and different kinds of gardens, such as the Capen garden, systematics garden, and rock garden.

The Garden is open to everyone, encouraging them to explore and learn more about plant life. If you’re a nature buff, exploring this Garden is one of the best things to do in Northampton, MA.

Address: 16 College Ln, Northampton, MA 01063, United States

2. Look Memorial Park

Look Memorial Park
Credits: Magicpiano [CC BY-SA 2.5], Wikimedia Commons
Look Memorial Park
Add a visit to Look Memorial Park to your list of fun things to do in Northampton, a park of more than 150 acres of land.

Look Memorial Park was founded in 1930 in honor of Frank Newhall Look, the Prophylactic Brush Company’s chief executive from 1877 to 1911.

Mrs. Fannie Burr, who contributed to funding its construction and made an account for its maintenance, donated the Park to the city.

The Park is run and maintained through grants, visitor fees, and gifts only without any funds from tax sources.

Look Memorial Park is open throughout the year. It has been a favorite place for many families as they create new exciting memories.

You can decide to take a walk around the Park, go on an incredible ride on the steamer train, or stop by sweet shoppe for a treat.

Address: 300 N Main St. Northampton, MA 01060, United States

3. Elwell State Park

Elwell State Park
Credits: Cherries / Shutterstock

Elwell State Park is a place every nature lover would cherish in Northampton, featuring gorgeous lush green areas between the Connecticut River.

There are many outdoor recreational activities to do here, including jogging, biking, walking, and other outdoor activities.

The Park consists of well-paved trails spread throughout, offering stunning views of the Park and the river.

The river is also open for those who would like to go boating out on the waters and also do some fishing within the shores of the river’s corners.

Elwell State Park is perfect for a peaceful picnic, listening to music, reading a novel, and enjoying the scenery.

Address: 400 Damon Rd, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

4. The Smith College Museum of Art

Smith College Museum of Art
Credits: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism / Flickr
Smith College Museum of Art

The Smith College Museum of Art can be found in a beautiful four-story building on the Smith College Campus.

The Museum was founded in 1879 and is packed with numerous unique artworks which attract about 35,000 visitors annually.

It features more than twenty-seven works that showcase the different kinds of art forms and cultures from different eras and regions.

The Smith College Museum of Art is open to both locals and tourists as they get to browse through the numerous exhibitions from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Museum showcases mostly European and American artworks, including masterpieces by Gustave Corbet, Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, and more.

The Smith College Museum of Art is committed to connecting people to art through the preservation, presentation, research, and collection of art.

The artworks are used exclusively for teaching and learning, creating an environment for an important discussion that motivates imagination and ideas.

Address: 20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063, United States

5. The Forbes Library

Forbes Library
Credits: cmh2315fl / Flickr
Forbes Library

For those who would love to learn more about the life lived by a previous President of the United States, add a visit to the Forbes Library to your list of best things to do in Northampton, MA.

The Forbes Library, a public library donated to the city in 1894, has grown and expanded over the years.

The Library has undergone a series of renovations featuring a beautiful section for adults and children plus computer terminals for the entire public.

It is home to multiple community events like knitting classes, book clubs, class competitions, writing workshops, and talk shows.

The Forbes Library features the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library Collection, which consists of archives about President Calvin Coolidge, the United States 30th president.

The Library is open for visitors to stop by and explore all the educational materials it features relating to history, science, and biographies.

Address: 210 Main Street Northampton, MA 01060, United States

6. The Norwottuck Rail Trail

Norwottuck Rail Trail
Credits: Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos / Flickr
Norwottuck Rail Trail

The Norwottuck Rail Trail, a popular destination for bikers seeking an adventure, officially opened in 1992.

The Trail extends approximately 11 miles across four towns, including Belchertown, Hadley, Amherst, and Northampton.

It is also a component of the lengthy Mass Central Rail Trail and a trail frequently used by residents as a commuter trail.

The Norwottuck Rail Trail is lined with many beautiful nature supplements, making it a perfect place for nature lovers.

Address: 446 Damon Rd, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

7. The Beer Can Museum

Beer Can Museum
Credits: Patrick Giblin / Flickr
Beer Can Museum

Are you searching for a place filled with rich and unique history? Add a visit to the Beer Can Museum to your list of top things to do in Northampton, MA.

The Beer Can Museum began in 1942 with five friends who visited a local bar for some drinks as they were about to get deployed in World War II.

After the drinks, each of them placed a beer can on the Wall and vowed to come back for another drink. After some years, the Wall carried an extensive collection of different cans of beers with labels.

This local pub is known as “Ye Ol’ Watering Hole and is worth a stop as it houses more than four thousand beer cans.

Many cans are arranged according to their alphabetical order with a unique story surrounding them, just like the original World War II Vet friends.

None of the beer cans are sold or bought; however, those interested can come in and see beer cans from 1935.

Address: 287 Pleasant St Northampton, MA 01060, United States

8. The Calvin Coolidge House

Calvin Coolidge House
Credits: Jeremy T. Hetzel / Flickr
Calvin Coolidge House

The Calvin Coolidge House is a double-family home constructed in 1901. The House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This historical attraction was occupied by the former President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, from 1906 to 1930.

Many buildings close to the House were erected within the same period but were one-family homes of middle-class locals.

It is known as one of the historically significant buildings in Northampton, built in the Colonial Revival style.

The Calvin Coolidge House did not belong to Coolidge even though he lived there for nearly thirty years.

The House is open to the public, offering more profound insights into how Calvin lived his life in Northampton.

Address: 19 Massasoit St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

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9. Jake’s

Credits: Jake’s / Facebook

Jake’s was established by Alexander Washut and Christopher Ware, two childhood friends, due to their love for cooking and vision of owning a food firm.

The restaurant offers a variety of American meals with unique twists, offering customers nothing but the best.

They ensure something for everyone by offering vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options through their well-crafted menu.

Jake’s prepares all the meals in their kitchen using locally grown ingredients. Jake’s Market also offers fresh farm produce, pantry staples, and their signature creations.

Some meals served in the restaurant include Shrimp and Grits, Breakfast Sandwiches, Pork Belly Eggs Benedict, Biscuit and Gravy, Huevos Rancheros, Pork Belly Benny, French toast with Apples & Pecans, and more.

Make sure you try out their signature Spicy Pork Sandwich or Jake’s Burger and buy some of their butter sauce before leaving.

Address: 17 King St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

10. Historic Northampton

Historic Northampton
Credits: John Phelan [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Historic Northampton
Historic Northampton was established for researching, collecting, promoting, and preserving the lasting culture and history of Northampton.

This non-profit organization interprets and emphasizes the history of the community.

The organization offers visitors opportunities to meet and interact on issues concerning the community, the lifestyle of the early generation, and how the town has evolved.

Historic Northampton preserves the city’s history through educational programs, public projects, exhibits, and more concerning the past and present.

The Museum features two other historic buildings: the Shepherd House and the Nathaniel Parsons House.

You can visit the two-story Isaac Damon House erected in the 1800s as a Federalist House and explore the exhibits displayed.

Address: 46 Bridge Street Northampton, MA 01060, United States

11. Pulaski Park

Pulaski Park
Credits: kelly taylor / Flickr
Pulaski Park

Pulaski Park, a beautiful park, is one of the popular parks in the city. A visit to Pulaski Park should be on your itinerary of fun things to do in Northampton, MA.

Pulaski Park is located next to the Academy of Music as a one-acre Park with many natural resources and beauty.

The Park served as a venue for public auctions in the 18th century and a site for horse traders.

In the early 19th century, the land space which was conserved as greenery was owned by Judge Joseph Lyman.

Pulaski Park features several benches, walkways, and a playground for children to have fun. At the same time, adults can sit and enjoy the scenery.

The Park hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as food tastings, musicals, dancing, and more for people to watch.

Whenever you want to relax and spend some time alone to reflect on a quiet and peaceful scenery, Pulaski Park is your place.

Address: 240 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

12. Paul and Elizabeth’s

Paul & Elizabeth's
Credits: Paul & Elizabeth’s Restaurant / Facebook
Paul & Elizabeth’s

Are you planning a memorable family dinner? For a fantastic experience, visit Paul and Elizabeth’s in Northampton, MA.

Paul and Elizabeth’s is a family-owned and operated restaurant established in 1978 and has consistently served the public ever since.

The restaurant offers a friendly and welcoming ambiance through the beautifully decorated interiors and outstanding customer service.

They offer an impressive food menu featuring dishes inspired by Japanese style with touches of macrobiotic culinary skills.

Paul and Elizabeth’s offer the best vegetable and herb risotto cake, Atlantic salmon, shrimp tempura, coconut carrot cake, fruit pie, and more.

The moment you walk into the restaurant, you will be welcomed by the cheerful staff and the pleasant aroma from the kitchen.

Address: 150 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

13. Cinema Northampton

Cinema Northampton
Credits: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Cinema Northampton is a place you can stop by during the summer season in Northampton for a free outdoor film. 

The outdoor Cinema was founded in 2012 to provide free movie screenings to the community.

You can’t leave Northampton without seeing an outdoor movie here at night. Luckily, the Cinema has become a monthly phenomenon.

Cinema Northampton screens films produced locally from their program known as Focus, organized every month.

The Cinema is highly rated and has organized filmmaking projects for the community where netizens get to write, produce, and edit short films within a week.

Cinema Northampton earned the Best Overall Excellence in PEG award and has been honored with best website awards for three years.

14. Brown Fine Arts Center

The Brown Fine Arts Center places Smith College’s arts on the map by visually showcasing the wonders of art.

The Brown Fine Arts Center was built using glass, zinc, metal, and brick, echoing the Center’s rich history.

The Center invents a modern gateway on campus with a design that exceeds the typical features of 1970s structures.

These 1970s buildings have been successfully modified into an extensively upgraded center that combines the fine arts within the campus.

Address: 33 Hawley St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

15. The Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries

Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries
Credits: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Regardless of if you’re an art fanatic, visiting Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries is a must-do in Northampton, MA.

Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries showcases beautiful artworks, including neoclassical and contemporary works.

You will find a diverse collection of sculptures, oil paintings, prints, egg tempera, and more. Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries is currently the biggest commercially operated gallery in Western Massachusetts.

A large collection of artworks showcased at Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries is now displayed in many popular museums in the country, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Fine Art at R. Michelson Galleries features some of the major memorials in America made by their sculptors, including the National Anne Frank and Washington D. C.

Do well to stop by their children’s book exhibition of fine art collections and browse through the works showcased.

Address: 132 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

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16. The Academy of Music

Academy of Music
Credits: Barbara Brannon / Flickr
Academy of Music

The Academy of Music, located along Main Street, is one of the most visited attractions in Northampton.

The Academy was built from one man’s dreams, Edward H. R. Lyman, a native of Northampton and a philanthropist.

He wanted to create a cultural center in Northampton, his hometown. The Academy of Music Theatre was founded on May 23, 1891, with a seating capacity of one thousand persons.

After a year, he handed over the Academy to the community of Northampton, making it the United States’ first municipality-operated theatre.

The Academy of Music is a favorite place for locally and internationally recognized theater performers, dance crews, film producers, music artists, and more.

The theater has been a place for many famous performers, including Sarah Bernhardt, an iconic French actress, and Harry Houdini.

Address: 274 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

17. Tuesday Market

Tuesday Market
Credits: Wellnhofer Designs / Shutterstock

Tuesday Market is one of the best places to visit in Northampton, MA, whenever you want to prepare a fresh and tasty meal. 

Oona Coy and Ben James founded Tuesday Market as an outlet for the public to purchase local produce.

This Market also aims to support local farmers and business owners while encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

You can shop for the freshest meats, mushrooms, vegetables, bread, maple syrup, cheese, tinctures, honey, and teas.

Tuesday Market offers you an opportunity to meet and interact with residents to learn more about the people’s way of life.

Address: 1 Kirkland Ave, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

18. Brew Practitioners Brewery

Brew Practitioners Brewery
Credits: Nitr / Shutterstock

This Brewery is a perfect place for you to unwind in Northampton. Brew Practitioners Brewery is a fantastic craft beer brewery that offers a vibrant atmosphere.

Brew Practitioners Brewery is housed in a historic building with a gorgeous beer garden in the facility’s backyard.

They are open every day of the week except on Saturdays and Sundays. Don’t miss their open Mic Nights on Wednesdays and Trivia nights on Thursdays.

This Brewery has been in business for six years after it was established by some childhood friends who came together with one dream.

They offer an impressive selection of beers, including Yellow West Coast, Red Amber Ale, Black Beer Stout, Practice Beer, Orange Pale Ale, and More.

Address: 36 Main St Florence, Northampton, MA 01062-3152, United States

19. Thornes Marketplace

Thornes Marketplace
Credits: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism / Flickr
Thornes Marketplace

If you’re looking for what to do in Northampton, MA, go shopping in Thornes Marketplace.

Thornes Marketplace is characterized by a beautiful exterior that showcases the old-school elegance of the city with a combination of contemporary and old designs.

The Market features numerous local merchants offering various products.

You can shop for several kinds of clothing, home decorations, beauty products, books, accessories, and more.

Thornes Marketplace offers various dining options that serve delicious treats through bars and restaurants.

There are shops like Le Bonnton, Cedar Chest, Booklink, Captain Candy and Heavenly Chocolate, Herrell’s, and more in the marketplace.

Address: 150 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

20. The Northampton Downtown Historic District

Northampton Downtown Historic District
Credits: cmh2315fl / Flickr
Northampton Downtown Historic District

Northampton Downtown Historic District is undoubtedly known as the Center of Commerce, consisting of the major business regions in Northampton.

Northampton Downtown Historic District is one of the best places to visit in Northampton, MA, if you want to immensely explore the city.

Right from the early days, this district has been one of the most important parts of the city, extending through railroad tracks.

The Northampton Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

You will find several businesses in the district, such as boutiques, jewelry stores, galleries, bookstores, eateries, candy stores, and more.

The Northampton Downtown Historic District offers you the genuine cultural feelings and buzz of the community.

Address: 15 Merrick Ln, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

21. Building 8 Brewing

Building 8 Brewing
Credits: somchaij / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for what to do in Northampton, MA, visit Building 8 Brewing, for excellently crafted beers.

Building 8 Brewing is one of the region’s latest and most outstanding craft breweries, offering patrons an amazing experience.

The Brewery is nicely designed, offering a calm and friendly ambiance with a stylish tasting room where visitors can sample some of their beers.

They offer drinks like All That Haze, Gravity Check IPA, Just the Haze, Peach Kettle Sour, Schwarzbier, The Dark One, Western Devil, and more.

Building 8 Brewing is an excellent place to hang out with your family and friends for birthday parties, reunions, and get-togethers.

The staff is friendly and welcoming, always ready to attend to customers ensuring they are well served and satisfied.

Address: 320 Riverside Dr, Northampton, MA 01062, United States

22. Beryl

Credits: Kwangmoozaa / Shutterstock

Beryl, a beautiful store in Northampton, has existed for more than forty years, from 1978.

The Beryl has undergone many modifications and upgrades, although the main aim of its foundation never changes.

Maya MacLachlan, the current owner, has managed the store for the past nine years with the hope of offering customers the most beautiful items in the future.

They offer an excellent collection of unique gifts, home items, and jewelry made by hand and from scratch.

The Beryl also offers repair services for jewelry, including rebranding old pieces and the recreation of customized jewelry.

Address: 40 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

23. Raven Used Books

Raven Used Books
Credits: Alvin Kho / Flickr
Raven Used Books

Raven Used Books is one of Northampton’s most popular bookstores, established in Downtown District Northampton.

The store offers a wide range of educational books, including cookbooks, art, children’s books, and more.

They also offer an extensive collection of western religion, philosophy, science, history, black studios, and radical studies.

The bookstore is well arranged and organized, so you don’t have to spend a long time searching for any book, and the staff is always ready to assist.

Raven Used Books is committed to providing a lively and friendly environment open to everyone as they get to find something unique.

Address: 4 Old S St #1, Northampton, MA 01060, United States

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Plan Your Trip to Northampton

Northampton is a great place for everyone, especially history lovers, art fanatics, and those who need an amazing entertainment experience.

Whether you decide to visit Northampton alone or with your family and friends, you will certainly have a great time.

Make sure you explore all the attractions on our well-curated list and be certain of having nothing but a blast.