• How to Have a DAY in Montclair, New Jersey

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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 day of fun. Keep reading to find out how to have a DAY in Montclair. 

    montclair new jersey

    {Photo credit: @montclairgirlblog}

    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. 

    Read More: Secret Entrances and Exits To + From Hoboken

    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 {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 guaranteed to be styled to perfection, centrally located in the beat of downtown Montclair. 

    Shopping Around

    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.

    Envy {609 Bloomfield Avenue}

    envy by mg montclair

    {Photo credit: @envybymg}

    Fans of the Real Housewives of New Jersey must pop into Envy by Melissa Gorga located at 609 Bloomfield Avenue for a glamorous shopping experience and perhaps a chance to meet Melissa herself.

    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 you unique to write about {and wear} home.

    Valley Girl {602 Valley Road, Upper Montclair}

    valley girl montclair

    {Photo credit: @valleygirlmontclair}

    So, this might be a bit of a distance from the city center, but is worth the trek. For those ladies looking for something trendy + chic, Valley Girl is the place to shop as it boasts clothing from tops, outerwear, bottoms, as well as jewelry + accessories.

    Things to Do

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

    Pay a Visit to the 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, built in 1894} throughout the city.

    Take a Stroll Through Edgemont Memorial Park {274 Valley Road}

    This patch of greenery over in Montclair is a great place to take a gorgeous walk through {with a cup of coffee from one of the great local coffee shops}. Spend some time with nature after a visit to the MHC in this green oasis.

    Go to the Essex Fine Arts Gallery {13 South Fullerton Avenue}

    Discover the work of local artists at the Essex Fine Arts Gallery. This artistic haven houses the artwork of locally based artists + various other accouterment {think jewelry, fair trade gifts, and more} to collect upon your visit.

    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. 

    Brazilian Food at Samba Montclair {7 Park Street, Montclair}

    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.

    Hours 

    Lunch: Monday – Saturday: 11:00AM-3:00PM; Sunday: brunch +  dinner 12:00PM-8:00PM

    Dinner: Monday-Thursday: 5:00PM- 9:30PM; Friday +  Saturday: 5:00PM-10:00PM; Sunday: 12:00PM- 8:00PM

    Israeli Comfort Food at MishMish Cafe  {215 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair}

    mish mish montclair

    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 {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 + treat to go – everything that churns out of the open kitchen will delight taste buds. 

    Hours 

    Monday-Saturday: 10:00AM–4:00PM

    Sunday: 10:00AM-4:00PM

    Peruvian Food at Costanera Cocina Peruana {511 Bloomfield Avenue}

    peruvian food montclair

    Prepare to gain a whole new appreciation for Peruvian food at Costanera. It’s one of three restaurants owned by the highly celebrated and impressively trained executive chef, Juan Andres Placencia. The menu will transport guests to the coastal country of Peru as they dine on the freshest seafood, flavors, and spices. Every meal is so well seasoned, diners will be hit with flavors and textures that work so well together – especially for those who order a more traditional stew.  Perfect for pescatarians and carnivore lovers, diners will be sure to return in order to keep making their way through the impressive menu.

    See More: How to Have a DAY at Liberty State Park

    Hours: 

    Thursday to Monday: 12:00PM-3:00PM

    Monday, Thursday, Sunday: 12:00PM-10:00PM

    Friday + Saturday: 12:00PM-10:30PM

    Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday

    Manhattan Juice Bar {446 Bloomfield Avenue}

    This juice bar is small but mighty — with delish juices, vegan and vegetarian {+ some meat} dishes, and wraps/salads. Their best menu item, however, is the peanut butter chocolate chip energy balls and the off-menu quinoa bowls.

    Hours: 

    Monday to Saturday: 8:00AM-8:00PM

    Sunday: 9:00AM-8:00PM

    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 Holsteins, the site of the infamous last scene of Sopranos, right down the road in Bloomfield, NJ
      • Pick up some delightfully-smelling soaps from Dolly Moo Body, a local shop that has a national online presence, right on Glen Ridge Avenue

    So much to do, so little time!

     

    Have you explored Montclair yet? Let us know in the comments! 


    Written by:

    Joanna was born in New York City and proudly grew up in Hoboken above her family's butcher shop, Truglio's Meat Market. Although an Uptown Hoboken Girl at heart, she now lives in downtown Hoboken with her fiancé, Matthew. After graduating from Montclair State University, she began a career in Fashion Retail Marketing. Outside of her current role as Brand Marketing Manager at Ann Taylor, she loves to travel both near and far - yet always looking forward to coming back home to enjoy the institutional local gems of Hudson County, while discovering new ways to shop local along the way.


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