If you are thinking of moving to Montclair...
Montclair, with a population of about 38,000 people, is known for its diverse population, vibrant restaurant scene, and its lively arts and music community. The town has an urban “where city meets suburbs” feel nestled in a lush suburban setting.
Founded in 1868, Montclair has always been a commuter town, only 12 miles west of the city and with its train line as a vital part of the community. Many of its homes were built in the first half of the 20th century, so the housing stock is full of Victorians, Tudors, and Colonials with their characteristic hardwood floors and period details, with most having been updated to modernize bathrooms and kitchens and add central air conditioning. The town is known for its quiet, tree-lined streets and parks.
Four bustling business districts full of coffee houses, bistros and shops have made this one of the more popular destinations for New York transplants looking to New Jersey for more living space without having to give up the pleasures of a walking town and its amenities.
Upper Montclair Village
Upper Montclair village, referred to by locals as “Uptown,” has a number of restaurants, as well as retail establishments, salons and markets. These include the essentials, a Starbucks and a Dunkin Donuts, plus Williams Sonoma and a Gap, but also a fish monger, Gus and Co Seafood, a spectacular bakery, the Little Daisy Bakeshop, an artisanal coffee purveyor called Javalove Roasters, an olive oil specialty shop, Olive That!, the Montclair Charbroil Diner, Marcel Bakery and Kitchen, and delis, bagel shops, hardware store, supermarket and just about anything else you could ever need.
There is also a train station and bus service into the city. The train station is home to the wildly popular DeNovo European Pub where the food is fabulous and the bar is always busy.
Upper Montclair village is bordered on its west side by the spectacular 15-acre Anderson Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame. Anderson Park is host to Art in the Park, an arts and crafts festival, twice a year.
About a mile down the road from Upper Montclair sits Watchung Plaza, with another train station, and a small green with tables and benches. In addition to its traditional hardware store, Chinese food takeout (the Wah-Chung) and post office, Watchung Plaza in recent years has seen the opening of a number of cafes and shops, including the recently expanded Blue Stone Coffee Company, a favorite brunch and lunch spot where the owners roast their own coffee beans, Local, an artisanal coffee shop, and the beloved Watchung Deli, known by residents as the skinny deli (for its size, not its low calorie food). Be sure to check out the beloved Watchung Booksellers, and Da Pepo, next door.
Bloomfield Avenue is the major street running through downtown, with turn of the last century buildings that house a variety of shops, bistros, and ice cream stores, as well as an Anthropology and Urban Outfitters, and an independent film theater with six screens, the Clairidge. Bloomfield Avenue has two streets running into it, Church Street and Glenridge Avenue, that have become restaurant destinations. Across the street from Whole Foods, you'll find downtown's restaurant row, anchored on one end by the wonderful brunch spot, Toast, and the new Jack's Seafood Shack on the other. Across the street is the venerable Montclair Art Museum,
Glenridge Avenue has become another bustling destination in downtown Montclair, with a number of new restaurants and boutiques. Try the wonderful MIsh Mish Cafe, headed by a Chopped Champion, if you're in the mood for Mediterranean food, or the new Crosby Gastro Pub, if you want a crowd. Check out DollyMoo for hand-crafted skincare balms, creams, scents and bath salts.
The Music Scene
Montclair has a diverse and rich music scene, with three major venues, and a number of smaller establishments that feature bands and musicians regularly. The Wellmont Theater , in downtown Montclair on the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Stret, seats 2500 and hosts a variety of musicians and comedians and serves alcohol. The famed Outpost in the Burbs, run by a nonprofit organization, has since its inception in 1987, produced more than 500 concerts by internationally known folk artists—Judy Collins, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Richie Havens, J.D. Souther, Dar Williams. For more local color, the tiny but very lively Ruthies BBQ serves amazing food and hosts live music on weekends.
Montclair Film is a community-based film nonprofit most well known for organizing the annual Montclair Film Festival (MFF) held in late spring. The festival showcases new works from American and international filmmakers, and has year-round events.