29 Things to Do in Amherst, MA: Museums, Nature, Drinks & More

Emily Dickinson House museum Amherst Massachusetts

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Looking for fun things to do in Amherst, Massachusetts? Located in Western Mass, Amherst is one of many towns and small cities along Route 91, which runs north to south across the state to connect with Vermont and Connecticut. Other nearby towns include Deerfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield.

If you’re just visiting the area, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Amherst and nearby for a great weekend getaway.

If you’re taking a day trip from Boston, it’s about a 2-hour drive without traffic, so get an early start and plan for a jam-packed day!

Top Things to Do in Amherst Mass

Amherst Town Hall

Amherst Town Hall is a beautiful historic building that you’ll want to see on your visit to the city.

The red brick, sandstone, and granite structure was built in 1889 and still stands proudly over downtown Amherst.

On a clear sunny day, it’s a beauty against a bright blue sky!

Red brick Amherst Town Hall Massachusetts

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Also known as The Carle (125 W Bay Rd), this museum is named for founder and children’s book author Eric Carle. 

You might recognize that name from the childhood favorite The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

The museum is both accessible for children and nostalgically engaging for adults, making it a perfect stop for families and one of the fun things to do in Amherst for anyone.

Sign for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst Massachusetts

The Emily Dickinson Museum 

The Emily Dickinson Museum (280 Main Street) is made up of the home and birthplace of poet Emily Dickinson, as well as the house next door that belonged to her brother and his family. 

The museum has a beautiful garden, offers poetry readings, and contains many authentic artifacts that are sure to attract literary aficionados. 

Emily Dickinson House and Museum welcome sign Amherst Massachusetts

The University Museum of Contemporary Art 

The UMCA (Fine Arts Center, Presidents Dr) is part of UMass Amherst, which has been collecting contemporary art for over 60 years. 

They have permanent collections, temporary exhibitions, cultural experiences, educational programs, and more to entertain visitors. 

The Beneski Museum of Natural History

Enjoy a day filled with learning about fossils and dinosaurs, geology and mineralogy, and space at The Beneski Museum (11 Barrett Hill Dr). 

It’s the perfect history museum for students of all ages as well as history buffs and science lovers. 

The Mead Art Museum 

Enjoy a morning of fine art at the Mead Art Museum (41 Quadrangle Dr), which holds the fine art collection of Amherst College. 

As an added bonus, admission is free, which makes this a prime stop for those on a budget! 

The Yiddish Book Center 

Home to a vault of nearly a million recovered, restored, and preserved Yiddish books, this institution is a stunning example of the importance of cultural and religious preservation. 

The Yiddish Book Center (1021 West St) provides visitors with insight and understanding of centuries of cultural history. 

Entrance to the Yiddish Book Center Amherst Massachusetts

Amherst Cinema

Looking for something fun to do in Amherst this weekend instead of sitting around binging yet another Netflix series?

Check out Amherst Cinema (28 Amity St), a wide-serving nonprofit theater facility that offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy screenings of independent films, old classics, new modern movies, live production, and more.

Its central location also keeps you near plenty of delicious spots to eat.

Hello, date night!

Amherst Cinema sign Amherst Massachusetts

Amherst Coffee + Bar

Right in the Amherst Cinema building, you’ll also find the lovely Amherst Coffee + Bar (28 Amity Street). 

They sell coffees, beers, ciders, and wines and select tea and pastries for guests to enjoy.  

It’s an accessible, central location which makes it perfect for a quick stop or for an enjoyable afternoon. 

Amherst Coffee in Amherst Massachusetts

Lehrman Stadium

Depending on the time of year, check out a game at Lehrman Stadium at Amherst College.

Did you know Pratt Field (62 Orchard St) is one of the oldest college NCAA football sites in the whole U.S.?

Drop that factoid into your date night chat.

The Black Sheep

The Black Sheep (79 Main Street) deli is an iconic spot that’s been in Amherst since the mid-80s. 

They offer gourmet deli sandwiches, including specialty sandwiches, vegetarian sandwiches, a build-your-own, or breakfast sandwiches. 

They also have music on weekends. 

The Black Sheep deli building in Downtown Amherst Massachusetts

LimeRed Tea House

If you haven’t tried craft bubble tea yet, then LimeRed Tea House (50 Main Street) should be one of the Amherst spots on your list!

Fresh local farm milk and real fruit flavoring make for a delicious treat for you to drink. 

Plus, it’s an iconic spot for locals in Amherst — and all of Massachusets. 

LimeRed in Amherst Massachusetts

Monkey Bar

If you’re hoping to find live music, DJs, dancing, karaoke, and an overall party spot, then the Monkey Bar (63 N. Pleasant Street) is the go-to spot for college students.

I love the alley street art!

Metacomet-Monadnock Trail 

One of the best outdoor things to do in Amherst Mass — especially for experienced adventurers — is the 14-mile Metacomet-Monadnock trail in Mt. Holyoke Range State Park.

Park at the Notch Visitor Center at 1500 West Street.

The hike takes about 7 and a half hours, with plenty of foliage and plant life to enjoy on the way. 

Download the trail map and follow the white markers along the way.

Don’t worry, you could easily do just part of the trail instead!

Norwottuck Rail Trail 

If you’re looking for an alternative to a 14-mile trail on foot, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is an 11-mile trail for biking and riding. 

It’s fully paved and is open for biking, walking, and rollerblading. 

Free parking is available for trail users on Station Road in South Amherst.

Puffers Pond 

Puffers Pond is also home to Puffers Falls (a small dam), which is conveniently close to the center of Amherst, just three miles away. 

The pond is the largest open body of water in Amherst and is an opportunity to enjoy the water in nice weather.

Folks go for swimming, fishing, kayaking, picnicking, and more. 

You can also enjoy a short walk to the falls to sit on a rock and enjoy the views.

Note the pond is sometimes also referred to as Factory Hollow Pond, just in case you see that on a map.

Amherst Farmer’s Market 

Between April and November, take a Saturday morning to stroll through the Amherst Farmers Market (Spring Street). 

Enjoy fresh produce, local food, music, and other goods as you take in the vendors. 

Farmer’s markets are always a favorite activity for me; I love seeing what’s in season locally wherever I go…and there are usually free samples to enjoy along the way!

Vegetable at Farmer's market.

Sunset Farm

Enjoy a day in the fresh air and sunshine while you stroll through the fields at Sunset Farm (20 Brigham Lane), harvesting your own strawberries or lettuce.

The small, family-owned farm allows visitors to pick their own crops, depending on the seasons, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

It’s rare to be able to enjoy a farm experience right in a city center, but Western Mass is special in this way!

Sweetser Park

Enjoy a perfect little picnic at Sweetser Park (Lessey Street). 

It offers plenty of grassy space for you to bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, with a waterfall for your viewing pleasure. 

There are also statues and a daffodil garden decorating the local grounds and plenty of delicious restaurants right nearby.

Sweetster Park in Amherst Massachusetts

Hitchcock Center for the Environment 

Take a moment to learn about nature, biodiversity, and the natural flora and fauna of Amherst at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment (845 West St). 

It has plenty of interactive activities if you’re looking for something fun to do in Amherst with children! 

In fact, if you’re local there are classes and summer camp sessions that are perfect for the kiddos. 

Living buildings at Hitchcock Center for the Environment at Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts

Amherst College Wildlife Sanctuary 

Take in the 500-acre plot of land that is maintained by Amherst College for recreation as well as research. 

The Amherst College Wildlife Sanctuary has plenty of diverse wildlife and tons of land — some of which is unmanaged and inaccessible.

There are both hiking and biking trails here.

In fact, the Norwottuck Rail Trail runs through the sanctuary!

Things to Do Near Amherst

Hop in the car and head a few miles to these fun spots near Amherst.

Unfortunately, public transportation isn’t great out here, so you’ll need your own car to maximize your options.

Black Birch Vineyard, Hatfield

Located just a bit outside Amherst, the Black Birch Vineyard (108 Straits Road, Hatfield) offers authentic signature wines for guests to enjoy from the serene comfort of their farm-style vineyard. 

These locally grown wines can be joined inside the barn-style tasting room or out on the patio for fresh air. 

Merlot grapes in a vineyard.

Central Rock Gym, Hadley

Central Rock Gym (165 Russell Street, Hadley) is the perfect space to learn a new hobby or get in a bit of exercise while you’re visiting Amherst. 

With thousands of climbing terrain and bouldering space, its massive interior facility offers an exhilarating workout. 

All in Adventures Escape Room, Hadley

If you and your friends are up for a challenge, try to solve your way through the All in Adventures Escape Room, located just outside Amherst (367 Russell Street, Hadley). 

You’ll have 50 minutes to solve puzzles as a detective, treasure hunter, and more.  

Lara’s Labyrinth and VR Lounge, Hadley

Step into the metaverse with a VR Lounge experience (451 Russell Street, Hadley) and escape room. 

With over 50 games, including multiplayer games, it’s guaranteed to be a fun time for adults, probably more than kids.

Be sure to make a reservation prior to your visit.  

Botanic Garden of Smith College, Northampton

The Botanic Gardens (16 College Lane, Northampton) offer a beautiful collection of trees, shrubs, flowers, and plenty of other foliage for visitors to enjoy while strolling the campus grounds. 

Expert horticulturalists are on-site, flowers bloom in different parts of the year, and events are occasionally held for visitors. 

Find full accessibility information here.

The Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton Massachusetts

Northampton Brewery, Northampton

The Northampton Brewery (11 Brewster Court, Northampton) is a delicious option if you’re willing to drive a few miles outside of Amherst. 

With a large interior and exterior space, they have a rooftop beer garden, patio seating, and inside seating for visitors to enjoy a fresh beer on tap or one of the delicious menu items. 

This is one of my favorite spots in Northampton for a casual, fun lunch!

Northampton Brewery building Northampton Massachusetts

Kev’s Barnyard Flea Market Co-op, Granby

Kev’s Barnyard Flea Market Co-op (185 W. State Street, Granby) offers a fun, unique assortment of merchandise for shopgoers looking to enjoy finding items they didn’t even know they wanted. 

With plenty of vendors and parking spaces, you can swing by any day between Wednesday and Sunday. 

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield

The Basketball Hall of Fame (1000 Hall of Fame Avenue, Springfield) is just a short drive from Amherst, but an enjoyable thing to do near Amherst for those willing to make the trip!

Relive the most epic moments in NBA history and retell the stories of where you were when you saw Wilt Chamberlain, Scottie Pippen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or the many other Hall of Famers play their best.

It’s a great day out for the whole family if you have any kiddos who love to shoot hoops!

Where to Stay in Amherst

Check out the Inn on Boltwood (30 Boltwood Ave) for an ideal location in the heart of Amherst (book on ExpediaHotels, or Booking).

The Amherst Inn (257 Main St) offers a quaint stay with easy access to everything you’ll want to do while in town.

The Comfort Inn & Suites (400 Russell St, Hadley) is just a 5-minute drive from the center of Amherst and offers all the amenities you’d expect from a reputable hotel chain (book on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking).

Amherst Inn Amherst Massachusetts

Final Words

Did this list of fun things to do in Amherst inspire you to try something new?

Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “29 Things to Do in Amherst, MA: Museums, Nature, Drinks & More

  1. Ken Samonds says:

    Another interesting thing…the stained-glass windows of Grace Church (on the Common) which were made by the first stained-glass maker in America, William Gibson.

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