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How to Have a Day in Montclair

by Joanna
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Don’t get us wrong, we love Hudson County, but sometimes — you just need a little break from the hustle and bustle. If you’ve been thinking of spending an afternoon or evening outside of the area while still staying relatively close to home, Montclair is the ideal spot. This suburbs-meets-city town in Essex County has been dubbed “the Brooklyn of New Jersey.” Known as a buzzing center for the arts, culture, and amazing locally-owned small businesses. There are many reasons to venture to Montclair for a change of scenery or a day of fun. Keep reading to find out how to have a day in Montclair. 

Head over to our sister site, TheMontclairGirl.com for more Montclair, Bloomfield, + Essex County content! 

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Getting There

In under 30 minutes by car awaits new neighborhoods to discover on foot. There are also direct NJ Transit trains from the Hoboken Terminal and Penn Station running to Montclair’s various stops. To be at the center of great restaurants, shops, and happenings around town, visitors will discover charming pockets of neighborhoods by hopping off at the Bay Street, Walnut Street, and Upper Montclair station stops. 

Where To Stay

If you’re looking for a complete 24- or 48-hour change of scenery, don’t pass up the opportunity to spend a weekend at The George, located at 37 North Mountain Avenue. This chic boutique inn is owned and curated by makeup mogul and creative director, Bobbi Brown and her husband Steven Plofker, also Montclair residents. Each room is styled to perfection, centrally located in the beat of downtown Montclair. 

Where To Shop

There are endless local and antique shops to check out in Montclair, with a particular slew of other boutiques right in that area off Bloomfield Avenue, so definitely pop around shop till ya drop.

 

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Dem Two Hands | 61 North Fullerton Avenue


Before you leave Montclair, pay a visit to Dem Two Hands. This women’s boutique is home to unique bohemian pieces, accessories, and more. Visitors will surely find something unique to write about (and wear) home.

Hauss Freya | 205 Glenridge Avenue 

 

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Houss Freya is a local apothecary shop and is exactly what anyone would need to start making space for new intentions. This is the shop for all things energy healing. It sells a variety of crystals, balms, candles, oils, stones, and so much more. The building that Houss Freya now occupies, an old church, has lots of history behind it.

Moss & More | 42 Upper Montclair Plaza 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 Moss + More is the one-stop shop for all things plants, plant care tips, workshops, and more. The knowledgeable staff can assist patrons in finding the perfect plant for the type of living environment

Parcel | 608 Bloomfield Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Parcel, located at 608 Bloomfield Avenue, is a quirky, artistic paper shoppe full of colorful curiosities and enough vintage ephemera to make your head spin with creative ideas. Opening the small cubbies of vintage toys, grazing through shelves of stationery, and spinning wheels of ribbon or racks of greeting cards make customers feel as though they are on a treasure hunt. The treasures include a variety of paper goods and tools for wrapping and crafting, which are sprinkled with vintage objects throughout. 

White Rabbit Black Heart | 219 Glenridge Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The ever-changing window displays draw shoppers in, and the eclectic selection of goods keeps them coming back. White Rabbit Black Heart is owned by Montclair local Paul Giordano, who invites patrons to “stop by and create a great story,” the store’s motto. The interior is stocked with jewelry, candles, and cards representing over 30 different women-owned businesses across the U.S. and U.K

Read More: How to Spend a Day in Westfield

Things To Do

There is no shortage of activities to do in Montclair. Whether looking to learn more about the city’s history or spend some time with nature, there’s something for everyone here.

Charmed Beading | 41 Church Street 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This DIY spot is a fun way to spend some time. The studio is stocked with all of the materials to make your own one-of-a-kind creation: options include necklaces, earrings, bookmarks, and keychains. 

Eagle Rock Reservation | Eagle Rock Avenue & Prospect Avenue

ways to disconnect new jersey picnic eagle rock
Technically, Eagle Rock is only partly in Montclair: it also made up of land that is in West Orange and Verona. But, it’s a great place to learn more about Montclair’s early history, see some local flora and fauna, and check out the incredible views of NYC. 

Montclair History Center | 108 Orange Road

montclair history center house

^ The Charles S. Shultz House that the MHC is in charge of! Photo credit: Facebook

Get a glimpse of Montclair’s rich history over at the Montclair History Center (MHC). The MHC is dedicated to studying, preserving, and appreciating the local history. Also, the MHC is also the parent organization that manages four historic houses (like Clark House and Library, which was built in 1894) throughout the city.

The Clairidge | 486 Bloomfield Avenue 

The Clairidge is the home of Montclair Film and the go-to spot for movies in Montclair. The theater was built in 1922 and renovated in 2020/2021 and reopened in 2021. Stop by to see whatever’s on the big screen, or just enjoy the updated-vintage aesthetic. 

Van Vleck House and Gardens | 21 Vleck Street 

ways to disconnect new jersey van vleck gardens
The Van Vleck House and Gardens was a family estate for three generations dating back to the late 1800s. Now, it’s a museum and garden at the center of Montclair. The six-acre grounds are free to visit and open daily. The museum has an ever-changing selection of art on display. A stop here is serene and refreshing.  

 

Where To Eat

The booming restaurant scene is one major reason to plan a visit to Montclair. We’ve rounded up three must-try restaurants for visitors to dine in to enjoy the most out of this bustling suburban-meets-urban city. 

Pro Tip: Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten a bottle on your way, you can place an order to local wine shops such as Merit Fine Wine & Liquor who will deliver directly to your table at a Montclair restaurant for just a $1 dollar fee and no minimum spend. 

Halcyon | 114 Walnut Street 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This modern, upscale-casual restaurant boasts a seasonal, seafood-focused menu and an upstairs lounge space. There’s also a full-service raw bar and a cool, calm atmosphere. 

Egan & Sons | 118 Walnut Street 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Egan + Sons was founded in 2005 and is a comfortable, classic pub that has upscale vibes. The bar and restaurant’s two founders are from Ireland and Montclair respectively, and the result is a unique fusion of the two locations. The indoor and outdoor dining areas here make it versatile — diners can experience the modern feel and classic Irish decor inside or choose to dine in the heart of Montclair outside on the patio. 

Luigino’s Parmigiana | 173 Glenridge Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Luigino’s Parmigiana is a “funky traditional” Italian spot drawing influence from Luigi’s Southern Italian roots. With big open windows, faux fruits hanging from the ceiling, and olive wood furnishing, the space is light and organic. This fusion of the old + new is present on the restaurant’s menu, too. There’s a choice selection of traditional Italian dishes (including an entire section dedicated to the namesake, Parmigiana) to more explorative Roman-style pizzas + paninis. Perhaps the most exciting, though, is the “Dalla Dispensa” portion of the menu, which includes an array of specialty meat and cheese boards.

MishMish Cafe | 215 Glenridge Avenue

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Enjoy a consistently delicious taste of the Mediterranean at this casual neighborhood spot. Serving high-quality and locally sourced food, Chef Meny Vaknin of Israel has been the winner of the Food Network’s Chopped (twice!), so diners know they’re in for a great culinary experience. Taking ingredients from across the Mediterranean, the menu offers classic and authentic Israeli comfort food such as shakshouka options galore, that will never compromise health for flavor. Ideal for brunch, dinner, or just to pop in to for an amazing coffee drink and treat to go – everything that churns out of the open kitchen will delight taste buds. 

See More: How to Spend a Day in Morristown

Samba Montclair | 7 Park Street

samba montclair

Authentic Brazilian food that will save you the nine-hour flight to São Paolo. This cozy and rustic farm-to-table restaurant is dimly lit and spot on with authenticity and is an ideal place for a variety of dietary needs. As guests dine on vintage tables, there is promised to be something on the menu for everyone. The entire menu is gluten-free with options for carnivores, pescatarians, and vegans. The meal kicks off with pão de queijo {aka cheese balls} and a basket of gluten-free bread. Aside from a pretty impressive list of vegan options, we recommend trying one of the infamous fish or beef entrées.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More HG Tips + Sights to add if you have some time:

    • Drive on Upper Mountain Avenue to peep all the amazing mansions.
    • Visit the Montclair Art Museum for a cultural experience.
    • Head to Brookdale Park for a picnic.
    • Visit Holstens, the site of the infamous last scene of Sopranos, right down the road in Bloomfield.
    • Pick up some delightfully-smelling soaps from Dolly Moo Body, a local shop that has a national online presence, right on Glen Ridge Avenue.

For more articles on Montclair and Essex County, head over to our sister site,

The Montclair Girl and follow @themontclairgirl on Instagram!

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