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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! 

montclair new jersey

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 {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. 

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.

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.

Read More: How to Spend a Day in Westfield

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.

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.

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.

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 accouterments {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}

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.

Israeli Comfort Food at MishMish Cafe  {215 Glenridge Avenue}

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 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

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. 

Puerto Rican Food at Cocina Candela {706 Bloomfield Avenue}

cocina candela montclair

A true hidden gem, Cocina Candela is one of the best Latin restaurants in town. The food at Cocina Candela is made by a conscientious chef who works with fresh, organic, no antibiotics, grass-fed meats. If you’re visiting for dinner, come hungry, as the portions are large. There’s also weekend brunch and a dessert menu that features coconut water {served in a coconut!}.

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. The best menu item, however, is the peanut butter chocolate chip energy balls and the off-menu quinoa bowls.

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.
    • 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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