UMass Amherst, located in Amherst, Massachusetts, is one of the country’s top public universities with a large population of close to 24,000 undergraduate students. Set on nearly 1,450-rural acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, the campus is also close to major urban centers-combining the best of both worlds. Sports are a big part of campus life with 21 NCAA Division I teams. UMass is part of the Five College Consortium, which includes nearby Amherst, Hampshire, Smith, and Mount Holyoke.
Visitor Information:Tours originate from the Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center located at 1 Campus Way, Amherst, MA 01003. Please note that these walking tours cover about a mile, rain or shine - so be prepared for the New England weather!
Transportation: The closest airport is Bradley International Airport, 45 miles south of the University. Many people fly in and out of Boston’s Logan International Airport, 90 miles from UMass. Amtrak has stations in Northampton (20 minutes) and Springfield. (30 minutes) The Peter Pan Bus travels to Springfield, Boston, and New York. Buses leave from outside the Fine Arts Center, at the Haigis Mall bus stop.
Stay: You can’t get more convenient than the Hotel UMass, located in the heart of the UMass campus, just minutes from downtown Amherst. Over by Amherst College’s campus, many consider the Lord Jeffery Inn the nicest place to stay in the area. Other good options include the Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn.
Coffee: You’ll always find students at work on their laptops at popular Rao’s Coffee, everyone’s favorite downtown coffee house. Amherst Coffee is a hip espresso and cocktail bar in a historic building in town. A unique spot, Freedom Café on the UMass campus is a non-profit coffee shop “operated entirely by volunteers committed to end human trafficking and rescue its victims.” Also on campus, there are numerous other spots to grab a quick coffee, for a full list click here.
Breakfast: By far Amherst’s number one breakfast spot, nothing beats the Lone Wolf for their challah French toast, pancakes and all sorts of egg sandwiches and omelets. We hear the Chama Wrap has legions of fans. If you have time for the 15-minute drive one alum, now a parent of a current student always heads to his favorites Jakes and Sylvester’s in Northampton, perfect if you’re visiting for an extended weekend.
Lunch: Mingle with UMass students at the award-winning Berkshire Dining Commons, recently named number one for best campus food in the 2017 edition Princeton Review. (Most of the vegetables that are served in the Dining Commons are grown by students in the Agricultural School.) Downtown on Main Street, The Black Sheep, is so much more than just a deli and bakery; serving as a community anchor hosting Monday night dinners, teacher lectures, and weekly musical events. Crazy Noodles is good for a quick Asian fusion fix, a mix of Thai and Vietnamese known for its excellent curry’s, noodle soups and stir-frys. The surprise here is that Italian pasta is also on the menu, so you can follow your pork wontons with spaghetti marinara if you so desire. In the mood for Mediterranean? Pita Pockets is the place for delicious falafel, kebabs, and hummus. Over in Northampton Paul and Elizabeth’s in Thornes Marketplace specializes in fresh fish and tempura. Try the tempura lunch or noodle special, or a more traditional salad, sandwich or wrap, many with a creative flair.
Casual: Popovers (served with house made apple butter) reign at Judie’s Restaurant, an Amherst institution featuring an extensive American menu. One alum insisted we go to Antonio’s Pizza, a must every time he visits campus. At Pan-Asian Fresh Side try the tea rolls, the bite-size house specialty. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more keep students and locals coming back to lively, fun Mission Cantina, wildly popular so you may have to wait for a table. In the mood for BBQ? Over in nearby Sunderland, load up on platters of chicken or ribs at Bub’s BBQ. Go hungry to enjoy all the sides from the cold and hot bar such as collards, dirty rice, beans, and potato salad.
A Step Up: An Amherst mainstay, Johnny's Tavern, a seasonal American is one of the first places students reserve when their parents are coming to town. Upscale and elegant, New American 30 Boltwood is located in the Lord Jeffrey Inn. Cajun and Italian influences fill the menu at Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar, with a bonus of a well-crafted and interesting cocktail list. Some say Blue Heron serves the best food in the valley, head 5 miles north of Amherst to Sunderland to sample from the restaurant's eclectic New American menu, all sourced from local, sustainable and mainly organic farms nearby.
Worth The Drive: The Alvah Stone is a special place, and if you have time worth the 20-minute trip. Set on the banks of the Sawmill River in a 1834 grist mill adjacent to the Montague Bookmill, a used bookshop and art gallery whose charming motto states “ Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” In nice weather dine on the lovely outdoor deck overlooking the river.
Late Night Snack: The donuts are huge and homemade at Glazed Doughnut Shop, open till midnight during the week, and 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Join the students in debating what flavor is the best- the Boston Cream, Chocolate Oreo PB or Vanilla Chip.
Local Attractions: Amherst is a fun college town with lots to do. There’s great hiking at Sugar Loaf Mountain or The Notch in Mount Holyoke Range State Park. Students love to visit Atkins farm in the fall for cider donuts. Poetry fans allow time for The Emily Dickinson Museum, which includes The Homestead, where Emily Dickinson was born and lived most of her life, and The Evergreens, home of the poet’s brother and his family. The Beneski Museum of History on the Amherst College campus features displays on extinction, evolution and the Connecticut River. Smith College, in neighboring Northampton, a charming town for a wander, has an excellent art museum that's worth a visit.
Views From a College Counselor: Stuart Nachbar of Educated Quest remarks on his recent visit to U Mass –Amherst. Unique among flagship state universities, UMass-Amherst is the largest school within a Five College community, including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, that has more than 30,000 undergraduates. Students enrolled at any one college can take courses, join student organizations and attend most events at the others. There’s no need to have a car to travel between the campuses. A free bus picks students up and takes them around day or night. This is one of the nicer and more livable student-oriented communities in the United States. To see Stuart’s full profile of U Mass-Amherst click here. Be sure to click on the extended profile link at the bottom of the page to see a comprehensive guide that includes facts on SAT and ACT mid ranges, comparable colleges, curriculum, the alumni network, safety on campus and costs—just to name a few.
This is UMASS
— Quotes From Campus —
UMASS FAST FACTS
Sam the Minuteman
Maroon, White and Black
Average - 1300
Average - 27
Large - 21,340 Undergraduates
243 Whitmore Admin Building, 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
NCAA Division I
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