“Where the Suburb Meets the City”
With its thriving arts community, funky business districts, and easy access to Manhattan, it’s no wonder Montclair attracts so many NYC expats looking to escape the city, but not their hip, cultured lifestyle. Here, you won’t find cookie-cutter cul-de-sacs or pre-fab McMansions. Instead, century-old trees bloom next to Victorian and Colonial homes that are just as eclectic and charming as the town’s 40,000 residents.
Montclair has five lively commerce areas sprinkled around town, giving most residents walkable access an abundance of shopping, dining, and nightlife options. With over 100 eateries serving everything from kid-friendly fare to world cuisine, Montclair’s restaurants rise to city standards and satisfy even the most sophisticated tastes. For some retail therapy, hop into any of the locally owned boutiques for an array of clothing, toys, furniture and antiques or visit popular favorites like Anthropologie, the Gap and Urban Outfitters.
Home to Stephen Colbert, Patrick Wilson, Frankie Faison and a slew of other artists, writers, and entertainers, Montclair is a cultural oasis. There’s a world-class art museum (MAM), an independent movie house, and The Wellmont Theater – a concert venue that’s hosted the likes of B.B. King, Lauryn Hill, DNCE, and Sarah Silverman. The Wellmont also anchors a $135 million renovation project that will create a new arts and entertainment district featuring a pedestrian plaza and 30,000 sq. ft. of retail space. You can also fill your social calendar with Montclair’s rich tapestry of cultural events. Whether it’s The Montclair Film Festival, The Montclair Jazz Festival, The African-American Heritage Parade or the newly launched Montclair Literary Festival, this vibrant and colorful town has something for everyone.
For nature-lovers, Montclair’s 21 public parks and nature preserves offer over 300 acres of lush, open space. Most notably, there’s Brookdale Park, a mini-Central Park also designed by The Olmsted Brothers. Here, visitors have access to a 1½-mile fitness course, various sports fields, a running track, and 11 tennis courts. There’s also a dog park, an archery range, a rose garden, and a brand new playground designed with both “big kids” and “little kids” in mind. The park hosts annual festivals, “fun runs,” free concerts, and the town’s beloved Fourth of July fireworks. And, beyond Brookdale, Montclair has even more to offer! Outdoorsy types can stroll through the Presby Iris Gardens, hike Eagle Rock or Mills Reservation, explore the Bonsal Wildlife Preserve, or take a dip in one of three community pools. Or you can cheer on minor league baseball’s New Jersey Jackals at the family-friendly Yogi Berra Stadium.
Montclair’s award-winning magnet school system identifies elementary and middle schools by themes: global studies, science & technology, Montessori, university, STEM, environmental science, and gifted & talented. Similarly, Montclair’s high school offers a diverse and challenging curriculum, a competitive athletics program, and over 100 clubs that support everything from the arts to STEM to social justice.
For those making the daily 12-mile trip into NYC, Montclair is a commuter’s paradise. New Jersey Transit’s Montclair-Booton line zips passengers to Penn Station in 32 minutes from any of the town’s SIX train stations. Several bus companies also transport passengers directly to Port Authority.
Want to check out Montclair for yourself? Plan a weekend getaway at The George Inn, a boutique hotel owned by makeup maven and Montclair resident Bobbi Brown (opening March 2018) or the MC Hotel, a trendy spot with a rooftop lounge and unparalleled views of the city (opening Fall 2018). Wherever you stay, you’re sure to fall in love with everything this “urban suburb” has to offer.