Montclair is considered one of the most desirable towns to live in in the New York metropolitan area.
The township celebrates its diversity and its schools, parks, restaurants, and arts-and-culture scene have long been a draw. Montclair is known for its charming older homes on tree-lined streets and vibrant commercial corridors. Recent mixed-use developments downtown have also added more luxury apartments to the mix.
Many who work in arts, entertainment and journalism make their homes in Montclair, which has a lively night life, first-class art museum and a 10-day film festival that features local luminaries.
The Montclair Museum has an extensive collection of American and Native American art and sponsors a variety of community and educational programs. There are a host of cultural and educational offerings at Montclair State University, at the township’s northern border, which also is home to a hockey arena and a minor-league ballpark, the Yogi Berra Stadium (named for the late longtime Montclair resident) is the home of the New Jersey Jackals
The township has about 40,000 residents in six-square miles but has a whopping six stops along NJ Transit’s Montclair-Boonton line, offering direct service to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan. There also are bus lines to the Port Authority terminal. The Garden State Parkway borders the township, with an exit on Watchung Avenue.
The Upper Montclair neighborhood is on the western side of Essex County’s Brookdale Park, a 121-acre oasis for passive and active recreation, featuring walking paths, a dog park, sports fields, tennis courts and even an archery field. The neighborhood has its own shopping district with restaurants, boutiques and more (including a hub of charging stations for electric vehicles) near the intersection of Valley Road and Bellevue Avenue. The former train depot near the crossroads is home to De Novo, a lovely European-inspired gastropub or check out T.S. Ma Chinese cuisine.
Bloomfield Avenue and Church Streets downtown also have robust offerings for shopping, restaurants and theater. You can find varied cuisine including Thai, Italian, Mediterranean, Ethiopian and more. The Wellmont Theater, right off Bloomfield, is a venue for live performances – and anchor for a new pedestrian plaza. Outpost in the ‘Burbs is a preeminent stage for folk music.
Watchung Plaza and Walnut Street also have plenty of retail and food offerings as well. The Corner is a good spot for breakfast or lunch. Further up Walnut Street is the popular Irish pub and eatery, Egan and Sons on Walnut Street, or visit the nearby beer garden at the Montclair Brewery. Montclair has many verdant parks, including Mountainside, home to one of three town poos and tennis courts. Most notably, the park includes the 6.5 acre Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, which attract thousands of visitors each spring to see an unparalleled variety of the flowers.
Montclair has 18 public tennis courts, four skating rinks and a private swim club within its borders. Its public schools are respected, and it is also home to the private Montclair Kimberley Academy.
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