What should I do for six hours in Springfield, Mass?
March 13, 2012 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I will be in Springfield, Mass. for roughly 6 hours on Monday morning/afternoon. I have to catch an Amtrak train at 2. What can I do between 8am-2pm in Springfield, within bus-able (?) distance of the train station? (I'm car-less.) Is there a main street area to walk around? How should I spend this time?

Thank you in advance for your help. I am taking a Peter Pan bus from Amherst to Springfield early in the morning with a friend, but then have to wait around for the train. I'd ideally not spend this time in the train station.
posted by melodykramer to Travel & Transportation around Springfield, MA (9 answers total)
The Basketball Hall of Fame is about a mile away. The Dr.Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden is even closer. I got this from WikiTravel, which has more.
posted by mkb at 8:09 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Basketball HoF is closed on Monday.
posted by melodykramer at 8:13 AM on March 13, 2012

Best answer: I live in Springfield and that WikiTravel link is a little exaggerated.

There are not "hundreds" of shops and restaurants in the downtown area anymore. In fact several of the businesses that they specifically mention are no longer there, or are not within walking distance from downtown.

Unfortunately, besides the Hall of Fame, all of the Springfield Museums in the Quadrangle EXCEPT for the Seuss Garden are also closed on Mondays. The Springfield Armory Museum, which is in walking distance from the Amtrak station (albeit, probably a mile or so) is supposed to be open on Mondays, but, they suggest on their website to call ahead.

As unhappy as I am to tell you this, there just isn't much going on in downtown Springfield on Mondays at that time of day.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There are a couple of gyms around, including the Y, if you wanted to go for a run or something. In Tower Square, which is as bereft a mall/business place as you can imagine, you could find a coffee shop in which to drink coffee and read a book. You could eat lunch here or here. If you eat at Theodore's, you should have the deep fried pickles. They're very close together. My recommendation would be more for Theodores, but people do make a big deal out of the Student Prince.

Both are open for lunch.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:12 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. Seems like I'll be getting a one-day pass at the Y, swimming for an hour, and then maybe finding a coffee shop to whittle away the afternoon. :)
posted by melodykramer at 10:31 AM on March 13, 2012

Have fun! If you get really bored in the coffee shop, see if the library in the Quadrangle has some neat displays up. It's been several years since I've lived in Spfld but I used to love the book displays.

There's also a pretty huge flock of pigeons that's fun to feed because they're both greedy and bad ass.
posted by spunweb at 11:30 AM on March 13, 2012

I would also recommend Chef Wayne's. I've had dinner there a few times and it's wonderful. It's a block from the Amtrak station. Beware that unless things have changed, it's a cash-only establishment and has no liquor license.
posted by plinth at 12:48 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could hop a Peter Pan bus to Northampton and poke around there for a few hours. It's got coffee shops (Haymarket & Woodstar), restaurants (Mosaic is nice, cheap Middle Eastern--same street as Woodstar), vintage shops, and Raven bookstore. Smith College has a wonderful museum, arboretum, and lovely walks. Check Monday hours for all of the preceding as well as the Peter Pan bus schedule. The bus lets you off just a few blocks from Smith and in the middle of Northampton's downtown. Oh, get some Herrell's ice cream, burnt sugar. Herrell's is famous. Keep an eye on the time, though, so you get back to Springfield.

Another college town not far from Springfield is South Hadlley. Check if there's a local PTVA bus from Springfield to South Hadley where Mt. Holyoke College is located. On a nice day just walking around the campus is a beautiful experience. Stop in at their their gorgeous library. The town is small, but classic New England. Odyssey Books is a terrific book shop. The Old Hadley Cemetery a few blocks from the town green is also a classic--go to the very old section in back. There's a coffee shop and a couple restaurants. South Hadley is a little sleepy, but it might make a nice break from your travels. The bus line in the area is called the PVTA, so check whether any of them go frequently between Springfield and South Hadley, which is closer than Northampton.
posted by Elsie at 1:53 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know you've already marked best answers, but you may want to reconsider hanging out anywhere in Downtown Springfield for 6 hours. It's not very walkable, there's little to walk to, and you'll probably want to be as alert and aware of your surroundings, as you would in any high-crime area of a city. The bus ride's less than an hour, so if you and your friend aren't desperate for those extra minutes together, you can hang out in Amherst for longer, take a later bus and be stuck in Spfld for less time.
posted by Gable Oak at 3:48 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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