Trending and Artsy
Located 15 miles west of New York City, Montclair is an established community of almost 38,000 residents and has an upbeat, artsy feel. It is a diverse and welcoming town with architecture reminiscent of Colonial and Victorian times. Add several shopping centers into the mix and you have a small-town feel that people love to call home, but with all the modern conveniences. From certain vantage points in Montclair, you can even get a view of the New York City skyline.
Montclair has a bustling downtown that was used as the location for the popular television series, The Sopranos. There are numerous art galleries and the highly-regarded Montclair Art Museum offers classes and programming for families, children, and adults. The restaurant scene is one of the best in northern New Jersey and in February 2016, four Montclair restaurants made NJ Monthly's 30 Best New Restaurants List.
Not surprisingly, Montclair homes are in demand as described in an article that appeared in the New York Times in June 2016, Bidding Wars in the Suburbs.
With an overall A+ rating in Niche, Montclair rates highly for diversity and nightlife and its public schools:
The Montclair public school district is unique in that it is a magnet school system. In addition to a core curriculum, the schools in the district have different themes and teach courses related to the area. Parents rank the schools in order of preference when they first enter the school system and students are assigned a number. A computer program tries to match up preferences and assigns the school to the student; there is also a waitlist should a family not receive their choice and want to try to change schools. There is a gifted and talented program and some of the themes include global studies, environmental science, and creating connections with the community.
Approximately 6600 students attend the 11 schools that comprise the Montclair public schools. Seven of the schools are dedicated to elementary school grades while there are three middle schools and Montclair High School. Also, Montclair is home to Montclair State University. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report High School Rankings, Montclair High School was ranked #63 in New Jersey and earned a silver medal for state testing scores and the college preparedness of its students. The high school was also ranked #1813 nationally.
For complete information on the Montclair public schools, visit the district website and our Schools page.
Commuting To and From Montclair
For Montclair residents that need to make their way into New York City, there is NJ Transit bus service into Newark Penn Station and New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal. Also, there is NJ Transit train service via the Montclair-Boontown Line. In the evenings, a convenient Montclair Jitney service in the area of the NJ Transit Bay Street station helps to shuttle residents to and from the station, and there are also Zipcars at the Montclair State University Transit Station.
For residents that prefer to drive into New York City, assuming light traffic, it takes about 45 minutes to get to the heart of midtown.
For more specific information on commuting from Montclair, New Jersey, see our Commuting page.
Parks & Recreation
Montclair abounds with beautiful parks. There are 18 parks throughout the township which encompass 150 acres of land. County parks offer an additional 123 acres for residents to use. With four ice-skating rinks – two outdoor and two indoor – three swimming pools open to the public, and 18 public tennis courts, Montclair is family-friendly and packed with recreational options.
If you love gardens, Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, nicknamed Rainbow on the Hill, has some 10,000 irises in 1500 varieties. The Gardens celebrate their 90th year in 2017, and people come from throughout northern New Jersey to enjoy the beautiful irises. A little-known part of Montclair is the Montclair Hawk Lookout. It's a sanctuary of the New Jersey Audubon housing a platform on the First Watchung Mountain, and people come to watch the hawks at the 2nd oldest hawk watch in the nation.
Van Vleck House & Gardens, formerly a private estate, is open to the public 365 days a year and offers the community educational programs and activities on the beautiful grounds. At the end of the summer, residents look forward to the Montclair Jazz Festival which takes place in Nishuane Park.
Foodies love Montclair. At the end of 2016, four restaurants in Montclair were named to NJ Monthly’s “30 Best New Restaurants” list. And for ice cream lovers, Applegate Farm is in Montclair with homemade ice cream and sweet treats. In addition to the restaurants, downtown Montclair offers a great art scene. The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) has Free First Thursday Nights, a program that offers free admissions and many activities to enjoy the first Thursday of each month. The Yard School of Art at MAM also provides classes for all ages.
In 2015, the Wellmont Theater reopened in downtown Montclair. It's a great venue for concerts and shows. Another favorite of the locals is the Alexander Kasser Theater. It often features works by local playwrights, and for sports enthusiasts, Montclair is home to the New York Bulls II, the second tier of the United Soccer League. Games are at the Montclair State soccer facility and there are hot dogs, snacks, and drinks making for a great day out with the family.