Nestled in the Connecticut River Valley, Amherst (pronounced Am-erst) is a student dominated town, so much so that the locals like to say of it “Only the ‘h’ is silent!” Indeed, the young and politically active citizenship is the town’s most notable feature. Not only are there three colleges in town—Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst—but those schools are connected to two other area universities in what’s known as the Five Colleges: a network of schools connected by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, which provides public transportation throughout the entire area for a fee included in students’ tuition. Amherst has a quaint downtown district with historic storefronts, old fashioned lamp posts and bike racks galore. It’s famous as the home of poet Emily Dickenson, and for annual festivals such as the Apple Harvest Festival, Sustainability Festival, and Taste of Amherst.
With 50 percent of the population aged 18 to 24, students should have no trouble finding college-friendly accommodations near campus and around town.
Amherst College and UM Amherst both sit in the heart of downtown. To the northeast of UM Amherst, students often find housing in the Olympia/Village neighborhood adjacent to campus. The Wildwood Conservation Area offers nearby trails and greenspace, while all the perks of on-campus living are only a short walk or bike ride away.
Further north along N Pleasant Street a number of complexes dot the Mill River area. Students in this area enjoy the Mill River Conservation area, as well as easy access to Hwy 116 which offers the most direct route through town.
Nearer to Amherst College, students may look for housing along Hwy 9, which runs south east out of town. Wentworth Farm offers green space in this college-oriented neighborhood, and amenities like the Amherst Farm Winery make it a fun, niche place to live.
For those looking for a little more distance from campus life, the Hickory Ridge area maintains accessibility to campus without being a stone’s throw from the library’s front door. Particularly around E Hadley Road, student can find housing that gets them away from the hustle and bustle of campus without leaving them stranded.