City Convenience Meets Small Town Charm
The City of Summit, New Jersey offers its approximately 21,000 residents the charm of a beautiful town and the conveniences of a larger city. Incorporated in 1899, Summit has a bustling downtown with boutiques, an array of international cuisine, coffee houses, ice cream shops and smoothie bars. Residents enjoy street fairs, classic car shows, the occasional running race that winds its way through the beautiful homes and downtown and a popular farmer’s market in the summer. In the heart of the city sits the train station offering access to Midtown Direct for busy professionals commuting into New York City, and just behind the station is the Village Green, a large grassy area where the city hosts numerous outdoor movies and community events.
Named in the list of 2021 Great Places to Live in New Jersey by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association, Summit was also featured in a New York Times article, Summit, N.J., a Place to Grow Into and Stay.
With an overall A+ rating in Niche, Summit was rated the second best place to raise a family in Union County:
Summit, New Jersey boasts one of the best public school systems in the state of New Jersey and in the country. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools Report, Summit High School was ranked #363 nationally and #16 in New Jersey. In addition, the high school had the distinction of being ranked #147 nationally in the category of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) High Schools.
The district has 5 elementary schools, a middle school, high school and two primary centers. In addition to the strong academic curriculum, there are numerous and varied sports options for students. Just some examples of the sports offerings include sailing, swimming, soccer, football, cross country, lacrosse, golf and wrestling. There are also over 50 different classes in music, visual arts, and theater.
Commuting To and From Summit
For busy professionals, Summit is a commuter hub conveniently located on the Midtown Direct train line. Trains to New York Penn Station take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, depending upon the time of day. There is also a bus route that goes to Newark Penn Station from Summit as well as easy access to major highways. Commuters looking to drive to New York City can take Summit Avenue to NJ 24 East and I-78 East. With light traffic, drivers can be in the City in 45 minutes.
In an effort to reduce the amount of congestion in its commuter lots, Summit has rolled out a Lyft ride-sharing program for its residential commuters with door-to-door service to and from the Summit train station. The program includes one roundtrip ride per day, Monday to Friday, and the city has indicated it will look at extending the program if there is enough interest.
For more specific information on commuting from Summit, New Jersey, see our Commuting page.
Parks & Recreation
In addition to ever-changing displays of outdoor sculptures and art on the Village Green, Summit is home to the Reeves-Reed Arboretum. The Arboretum is filled with winding trails and flower gardens and hosts many popular community events such as Daffodil Day with food vendors, family-friendly activities and visiting miniature goats. In the summer, residents go to the Arboretum to enjoy outdoor sculpture on display for Art in the Garden or a summer concert series called Sounds of a Summer Night.
In the center of town is Soldier’s Memorial Park. It’s the location of the annual Independence Day celebration and has running trails and a large playground. Not far from Soldier’s Memorial Park is Briant Park. Briant Park has a large pond which is home to many families of ducks, geese and the occasional great egret. There is a running path with a series of exercise stations, and the park’s newest edition is a gazebo. In summer, there are fishermen along the pond embankment, and many residents enjoy the grassy areas of the park with their dogs.
Another township favorite, the Summit Family Aquatics Center (SFAC) has a wide array of programs, from poolside yoga to lap swims. In the summer, there is a town swim team called the Summit Sharks which has an excellent reputation, and there are Family Float Nights so township residents can bring their favorite floaty and enjoy the SFAC till dusk.
Downtown Summit has trendy boutiques and a thriving restaurant scene – it’s become a real foodie destination. Just a sampling of the cuisines offered by the town’s many restaurants includes Greek, Japanese, Argentine, Asian fusion, Persian and Indian. On a warm day, residents can be seen lounging outside the many coffee bistros and ice cream shops or enjoying freshly-made smoothies. Boxwood Coffee, a local favorite, offers a regular open mic night and each year, the downtown merchants sponsor a Girl’s Night Out evening event with sales and fun in-store promotions.
There are several boutique gyms in Summit from barre studios to small group strength and training facilities. For a bit of relaxation, the downtown also has several day spas offering beauty and wellness treatments. If you’re an artist at heart, there are paint your own pottery or paint your own canvas studios, and for a broad array of classes, Summit is home to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey which has numerous exhibitions, art classes, and an on-going education series.
For families, Summit has a YMCA and The Connection, facilities that offer fitness, recreation, and swimming classes. During summer, the YMCA, The Connection, and several of the private schools in Summit offer a large selection of summer camps including day camps, sports camps, travel camps, and performing arts camps. For some indoor fun, the YMCA has an indoor rock climbing wall and there are also numerous gym, dance and art studios geared to preschool age children.