Home Food + DrinkBars Your Guide to Cranford, New Jersey, by The Giordano Group

Your Guide to Cranford, New Jersey, by The Giordano Group

by Hoboken Girl Team
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Each month, The Hoboken Girl and The Giordano Group highlight one town in Northern New Jersey to share some of the best places to eat, drink, and socialize. We outline the different commuting options and some fun, family-friendly activities while also giving you insight into the competitive Northern NJ real estate market. This New Jersey real estate series will showcase what makes each town cool, unique, and vibrant. So while you may not be looking to move, we all know stalking Zillow houses is the best hobby — and The Giordano Group is here to make it that much easier.

After visiting Madison, we are heading to the town of Cranford in nearby Union County. At just 4.8 square miles and about 18 miles southwest of Manhattan, Cranford features a mix of history and modern-day living with a quaint, small-city feel.

The town has created a vibrant community around its train station that blends new apartments on one side of the tracks with more historic buildings on the other — plus, its family-friendly and walkable downtown is consistently ranked one of the best in the state and even the country. And with so many fun things to do, shops to check out, and restaurants to try, you’ll understand why it’s such a great place to live. Read on for your guide to Cranford, NJ.

About the Giordano Group

Darren Giordano and his team of realtors have over a decade of experience in Hudson County and Northern New Jersey, achieving the Platinum Level of Excellence every year since 2016. They closed over $300,000,000 over the last decade.

To learn more about the market value for homes in Cranford— or if you want to find out the current market value of your home in Hudson County, text CMA to 201-723-3300 to get in touch with the Giordano Group, and click here or download the North Jersey Homes app to stay ahead of the market anytime.


The Commute


Downtown Cranford has a prime location. The township is right off the Garden State Parkway, and commuters have easy access to trains and buses into New York City.

By Train


Cranford’s train station is the hub of the town. Cranford falls on the NJ Transit Raritan Valley train line, which goes to Penn Station in New York City (often with a transfer in Newark) and Newark Penn Station. The Raritan Line only takes about 49 minutes to NYC, though most trips require a brief transfer in Newark. Cranford is only 10 miles (roughly 20 minutes) from Newark Penn Station and is 7 miles away from Amtrak at Metro Park.

By Bus

For access to NYC, NJ Transit provides bus service on the 112 and 113 routes between Cranford and the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal — and bus ride is usually quick and reliable. The 59 and 66 routes provide bus service to Newark, and the 56, 57, and 58 provide local transit throughout town. As we said, Cranford is a super accessible town.

By Car

Only 18 miles southwest of New York City, Cranford is usually a 30-minute drive from Hudson County (depending, of course, on traffic). Cranford is known for being particularly commuter-friendly for drivers. The Garden State Parkway passes through the town with both exits 137 and 136 taking you downtown. Routes 78 and 22 are also conveniently nearby.

Where to Eat + Drink


^ The Thirsty Turtle is just one of many local bars you can try out.

Cranford has a diverse mix of restaurants and popular watering holes. Local eateries range in ambiance from local diners and dives to fine dining. We’ve compiled just a sample of some of the varied cuisine options that you’ll find here.

8Thai | 103 Miln Street

This Thai-French BYO fusion restaurant adds to Cranford’s vibrant dining scene. Diners can expect to see the usual Thai suspects as well as fusion dishes with varying spice levels. Pro Tip: We recommend the drunken noodles. 

Garlic Rose Bistro | 28 North Avenue West


This casual bistro features an eclectic menu complemented by the wonderful spice – yes, you guessed it: garlic. This casual eatery with a full bar and garlic-related décor obtains its signature flavor from Gilroy, California, the “garlic capital of the world.” Owners estimate using 30,000 pounds of it per year. Need we say more?

Track 5 Coffee | 5 Eastman Street


This local coffee shop draws crowds for a reason. Aside from the pumpkin drinks such as the classic pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin cream cold brew (which are available year-round), this shop offers an incredible selection of treats like biscotti, scones, cookies, and granola. The creative drinks are consistently top-notch — plus, the rustic + cozy ambiance makes this a shop you’ll want to keep visiting.

Vine and Oak Tavern | 100 South Avenue East

Believe it or not, this upscale tavern was once the site of a Wells Fargo bank. This elegant spot is a great date night location featuring American comfort food with a Mediterranean/Italian twist. Dishes include house-made pasta, wood-fired pizza, steaks, seafood, sushi, and more.

Things to Do

Downtown Cranford is home to various annual events — including its Film Festival, Summer Sounds concert series, a weekly farmer’s market, the Taste of Cranford, and the yearly Rubber Ducky Race in Hanson Park — to name a few. Recently, Cranford was dubbed a Halloween Capital with its multitude of fall events, including a scarecrow stroll and ghost walks. Here are our picks for some unique experiences in the area that you can experience any time of year.

Cranford Dramatic Club Theatre | 78 Winans Avenue

Established in 1919, this theatre is known for producing live musicals, plays, and family programming events featuring lots of local talents.

Cranford Theater | 25 North Avenue West


Cranford is one of the few towns that has a vibrant local movie theater right downtown. The theater dates back to the 1920s and you can see new releases, classic films, and even special events during the holidays. Check the website for various seasonal events.

Crane-Phillips House Museum | 124 North Union Avenue


This museum, which is located in a quaint Victorian cottage dating back to 1791, features a collection of artifacts from Native Americans, the American Revolutionary War, American Civil War, 19th-century tools, a Victorian parlor, and a Victorian girl’s bedroom circa 1870. It’s maintained by the Cranford Historical Society and is home to programs, tours, events, a library, a speakers bureau, and more.

Cranford Canoe Club | 250 Springfield Avenue

There is nothing like taking a canoe or kayak down the Rahway River and discovering why Cranford was once called “The Venice of New Jersey.” When the weather is warm, this is a great local activity to appreciate the beauty Cranford has to offer.

Where to Shop

Cranford’s shopping is largely made up of independently-owned shops and restaurants rather than chain outlets. You will also find barber shops, salons, and galleries along the tree-lined downtown.

Augusta Mae Boutique | 35 Alden Street

Augusta Mae has become a local favorite spot in the heart of Downtown Cranford.  The boutique has a collection of affordable and cute clothing, jewelry, + accessories as well as some great upscale consignment finds.

Hickory & Hill General Store | 21 North Avenue West

This store features a variety of home decor, gifts, clothing, and accessories — all created by small businesses.

Dreyer Farms | 831 Springfield Ave


The family-run farm is the last working farm in Union County. The team carries produce and flowers and are a great choice for some local pies to bring to the upcoming family gatherings. It’s open from mid-March to Christmas.

Witch Baby | 11 Eastman Street

Also located in Summit and Red Bank, Witch Baby’s flagship shop is here in Cranford. Fittingly, it carries occult-driven bath and beauty products so you can connect with your spiritual side.

Top Rated Schools


^  Cranford High School

The Schools

Cranford has a public school system that consistently ranks among New Jersey’s top education programs. Cranford’s public school district serves students in Pre-K through 12th grade. With seven schools in total, Hillside Avenue School (K-8) and Orange Avenue School (3-8) cover both elementary and middle schools. There are also four other elementary schools — Bloomingdale Avenue School (K-2), Brookside Place School (K-5), Livingston Avenue School (3-5), and Walnut Avenue School (Pre-K-2). These all feed into Cranford High School (9-12).

Plus, Lincoln School provides alternative education programs. Saint Michael’s School is a private Catholic option, available through eighth grade.

Union County College | 1033 Springfield Avenue


Cranford is also a college town. The main campus of Union College, New Jersey’s oldest community college is located in Cranford. In addition to its wide range of classes offered for full- and part-time students, the campus is also home to a theater company, The Tomasulto Art Gallery, as well as the William-Miller Sperry Observatory.

Kid’s Corner — Parks + Playgrounds


^ The Rahway River, which runs through the 4.8 square miles of town, is responsible for Cranford’s improbable nickname, “the Venice of New Jersey.”

Cranford is very family-friendly and hosts a weekly storytime with the fire/police department at the gazebo in the spring and fall, as well as seasonal themed scavenger hunts ranging from fairies to scarecrows. Cranford is also home to 15 local parks that range in size and have a variety of amenities.

Nomahegan Park | 1033 Springfield Avenue


Located beside the Rahway River and Nomahegan Lake, this 100-acre county park offers scenic trails, sports fields, and a playground.

Rahway River Parkway


This park runs right along the Rahway River and was designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm. The Cranford section of the parkway flows through 9 of the parks located in town — including Lenape Park, Nomahegan Park, Hampton Park, McConnell Park, Hanson Park, Sperry Park, Crane’s Park, Droescher’s Mill Park, and Mohawk Park. Part of this park system also falls on the developing 3,000-mile bike route from Maine to Florida known as the East Coast Greenway Trail.

Real Estate Corner via The Giordano Group

The Cranford real estate market is hopping, just like all Northern NJ Suburban towns. The most popular style of home here is colonial. There were 190 sales YTD, which was down from 236 at the same time last year (a common trend we are seeing). There are only 18 active homes for sale as of November 7th.

The town’s YTD median home-sale price in 2022 is $619,500, up 7.9% percent from $574,000 in 2021. The total average sales price is $629,970 YTD, and the average days on market is still tight at 24 days. If you’re interested in learning more about Cranford or any neighboring towns, you can give Darren and The Giordano team a call or send them an email at darreng@kw.com.

Stay tuned for the next town in our North Jersey series, coming soon.

read more button

Become a local expert in no time.
Enter your email address to stay in-the-know. No spam, promise.
Thank you for subscribing!

also appears in

0 comment