If you’re unsure whether to leave the city behind, Montclair is the perfect intersection of a vibrant urban center and delightful suburban living. Located in the heart of Essex County and on the Midtown Direct train line, the diverse culture, great restaurants, and array of recreational activities make Montclair an ideal place to raise a family. The township has its share of famous residents as well. Famed astronaut and inspiration for Buzz Lightyear, Buzz Aldrin, legendary baseball player Yogi Berra, and Music Pulitzer Prize winner George Walker were all raised in Montclair, and their influence still contributes to the town’s bohemian feel.

If you’re thinking about a move to northern New Jersey, here are 5 reasons to move to Montclair, NJ:

1. Montclair has a unique, magnet school system.

Education is always top of mind for parents in New Jersey. Montclair has a unique, highly-rated magnet school system. Initially developed in the 1970s to desegregate public schools, the program evolved over the years into a variety of schools with specialty curricula. Today, the magnet school system contains ten different elementary and middle school magnets. Parents can tour any of the desired learning communities and rank them based on preference. Some of the magnet themes include global studies, science and technology, and the arts. Typically, families receive their first or second choice.

2. Montclair is on the Midtown Direct Train Line.

With an average commute time of 30 minutes, residents working in New York City can hop on the Montclair-Boonton Midtown Direct train from one of many different stations in Montclair and travel to New York Penn Station. To alleviate the stress of parking at the station, daily commuters have access to a convenient jitney service that runs on weekdays. The township has seven NJ Transit rail stations including one at Montclair State University. As an alternative, residents can take advantage of multiple commuter bus stops situated around Montclair. A bus trip into New York City takes approximately one hour during peak travel times.

3. Montclair has four distinct districts.

Residents have no shortage of things to do in Montclair with its four main districts: Montclair Center, Walnut Street, Watchung Plaza, and Upper Montclair. Montclair Center, which stretches across ten blocks, is a popular commercial destination with an eclectic mix of antique shops, art galleries, and bookshops. Residents gravitate to Walnut Street to sample a variety of local eateries like Egan & Sons and Le Salbuen, and there are several Zagat-rated restaurants such as Fascino, Leone’s, and Samba. On Saturday mornings, Walnut Street hosts a farmer’s market, one of the first of its kind in New Jersey, offering a selection of locally sourced fruits and vegetables, fresh cheese, and a pickle bar. Watchung Plaza invites residents to explore trendy local shops while Church Street or the streets of Upper Montclair are the perfect places to spend an afternoon browsing high-end boutiques.

4. Montclair offers culturally-rich, family-friendly activities.

With its thriving arts scene, Montclair boasts a variety of activities to delight the senses and energize the mind. For example, residents can:

  • wander the fragrant private gardens and landscaped grounds at Joseph Van Vleck Sr.’s charming Italianate villa, the Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • examine over 12,000 art pieces dating from the 18th century to the present in the Montclair Art Museum (MAM)
  • explore the life and legacy of baseball legend Yogi Berra at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center

In the spring months, film lovers and aficionados can look forward to a variety of screenings and symposiums during Montclair’s signature film festival. Just before the school year begins, the township organizes its annual jazz festival featuring live performances by world-class artists.

5. Montclair has several parks and lots of open green space.

Montclair possesses over 175 acres of open space and approximately 20 public parks. Favorite spots include Edgemont Memorial Park where children can spend hours traversing a giant web-like playground that includes slides of all shapes and sizes or visit the renowned World War I memorial conceived by Charles Keck in 1924. The park hosts an annual Fourth of July picnic where families unwind and enjoy live musical performances. For spectacular views of the New York City skyline, families can trek the nature trails and footpaths at the nearby Eagle Rock Reservation, and Brookdale Park Dog Park also offers a pleasant retreat for residents and their favorite furry friends.

Interested in learning more about the Township of Montclair, New Jersey? I would love to assist you. My team offers a town tour service which includes an introduction to the town as well as homes currently on the market. Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email victoria@victoriacarter.com.

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