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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Northampton, MA

10 Things to Know Before Moving to Northampton, MA Written by Zach Spanton

Northampton, nicknamed “The Paradise City,” is the capital city of Hampshire County and is quickly rising to prominence as one of the best places to live in Massachusetts.

This city is home to only about 30,000 people and is the 60th largest city in Massachusetts. Northampton is a great place to live, as it houses prestigious educational institutions, vast dining options, beautiful green spaces, and a vibrant artistic community. The cultural richness and welcoming atmosphere attract many young professionals, families, artists, and political activists to this area.

Let’s discuss ten things to know before moving to Northampton, MA!

1. Ample employment opportunities

Numerous employment opportunities exist in Northampton due to the city’s diverse and robust economy with thriving healthcare, education, wholesale, retail, and hospitality industries.

The unemployment rate in Northampton is 2.70%, lower than the national average of 3.6%.

As a Northampton resident, you’ll have easy access to some of the best jobs in the country. Smith College, MachineMetrics, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and CleanSlate Centers, are some of the top employers in this region.

2. Enjoy delicious cuisine at Jake’s or Wiggins Tavern Restaurant

There are a ton of local restaurants for you to sample, whether you want a casual place for breakfast or a romantic dinner for two.

Delicious burgers, chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, and salads can all be found at Jakes, a restaurant well-known for its brunch and lunch offerings. Both the cuisine and the service in this restaurant never fail to impress. Also, the Wiggins Tavern Restaurant serves delicious omelets, French toast, bacon, sausage, and fresh salads at affordable prices. 

3. Northampton’s cost of living is higher than the national average

Northampton’s cost of living is 5% higher than the national average. The utility costs are 13% higher than the national average, and groceries are also 7% higher than the national average; a carton of eggs costs $5.10, and a loaf of bread costs $2.50.

The city’s median home price is $413,353, which is almost as high as the national average of $428,000. Living in Northampton may be considered a little expensive; however, compared with other cities in Massachusetts and the New England region, Northampton is a cheaper option, as it is 8% cheaper than Massachusetts.

4. The crime rate is lower than the national average

With a crime rate that is 16% lower than the national average, Northampton is a relatively safe place to live.

The violent crimes here are 17% less than the U.S. average, making the residents’ odds of becoming victims of a violent crime 1 in 321 and the odds of becoming victims of a property crime 1 in 63.

Some parts of Northampton are very safe to live in; many people consider the northeastern part of the city one of the safest places to live. This is something to bear in mind while making the move to Northampton.

5. Warm summers, freezing winters

Summers in Northampton tend to be warm and wet, while winters tend to be very cold and covered in snow. The average annual temperature ranges from 17°F to 83°F, with the warm season lasting about four months and the cold season lasting about three and a half months.

In Northampton, the months of May through September are the most pleasant, while January and February are the coldest.

The city gets 47 inches of rain and 41 inches of snow annually. You should come prepared for these seasonal changes.

6. Enjoy some family time at Lampron Park or Agnes Fox’s playground

A large part of what makes Northampton such a great place to live in is its abundance of green spaces and parks. Lampron Park is a great place to take the kids because it is close to downtown Northampton and has a playground and lots of grassy areas for family picnics.

The Agnes Fox Playground is another fantastic alternative. There’s a basketball court, a play area, and a playground for the kids here. This park serves as a calm retreat for residents. Enjoying Northampton’s beautiful outdoors with your family is a wonderful experience.

7. Don’t miss out on the Pulaski Day parade and First Night Northampton

Northampton is known for having year-round events and festivals that everyone can enjoy. The Pulaski Day Parade and First Night Northampton are two of the city’s most well-attended and widely celebrated events.

The Pulaski Day Parade is an annual event honoring Polish culture and history. General Casimir Pulaski, known as “the father of the American cavalry,” is celebrated with a parade and a public holiday every October 11th.

Northampton also hosts an annual New Year’s Eve celebration known as First Night Northampton. This event features performances of dance, music, storytelling, magic, and comedy. This is always a really exciting time for residents.

8. There are six public schools in this city

Having easy access to some of the top educational opportunities in the country is a major perk of living in Northampton, and the Northampton Public School District stands out as exceptional. There are 9 public schools here, including 2 preschools, 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school, and 3 colleges.

Northampton is home to Smith College, a leading women’s liberal arts institution. Good schools can also be found in neighboring cities within reasonable commuting distance. There is no shortage of educational opportunities in Northampton.

9. Visit The Smith College Museum of Art or Black Birch Vineyard

There’s always somewhere to go and something fresh to do in Northampton. The Smith College Museum of Art is open to the public and features works by American and European artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. There’s also easy access to Smith College’s Botanic Garden.

You can visit Mount Holyoke, a popular tourist destination due to its miles of hiking paths and breathtaking vistas, and the Black Birch Vineyard is known for its excellent wine; you might want to stop by to taste some really good wine.

10. You also get to enjoy Japanese and Italian dishes

Some of the finest international restaurants can be found in Northampton. Northampton has you covered, whether you’re a fan of Japanese or Italian cuisine or are simply curious to try something different.

Sushi, chicken, and beef Teriyaki, Alaskan rolls, and sashimi are just some of the outstanding Asian cuisine available at Osaka, a Japanese sushi restaurant. Homestead is an Italian restaurant that serves authentic, handmade pasta. You’ll feel right at home in Northampton if you’re a foodie, thanks to the abundance of appealing dining options.


Northampton is a wonderful city to call home. You will love living here because of the great restaurants, excellent schools, low crime rates, and exciting events. You should, however, weigh the pros and cons before deciding to make the move to Northampton, MA. 

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