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 Bloomfield, we are heading to the town of South Orange also located in Essex County. The town features a mix of history and modern-day living with a quaint, small-city feel.
South Orange has a vibrant community around its train station and consists mainly of houses rather than apartment or condo buildings. The family-friendly and walkable downtown is consistently ranked among the best in the state. 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 South Orange, 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 South Orange — 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.
South Orange commuters have easy access to trains and buses into New York City.
South Orange residents have access to both The South Orange Train Station and The Mountain Train Station, offering an approximately 25-minute commute to New York City’s Penn Station. These stations ensure that there are multiple speedy and direct routes to Newark and Hoboken where the PATH transfers you to the heart of New York. South Orange also has a Jitney Bus Service which allows residents to travel to various other transit stations with ease.
NJ Transit Bus Routes 92 and 107 pass between South Orange and Irvington, Newark, Newark Liberty Airport, Union City, and New York (to the Port Authority Bus Terminal). Other nearby mass transport options are the Lakeland Bus and the Community Coach that travel straight to NYC or Atlantic City from nearby stops.
South Orange is situated near Routes 24, 124, 280, I-78, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Garden State Parkway take a mere 5-10 minutes by car, enabling residents to traverse the state with ease.
Where to Eat + Drink
The restaurant scene can’t be beaten, offering first-rate fare in a range of homey and high-class settings.
South Orange has a diverse mix of restaurants and popular watering holes. Local eateries range in ambiance from local diners to fine dining. We’ve compiled just a sample of some of the varied cuisine options that you’ll find here.
Bistro d’Azur | 14 Academy Street, South Orange
This French BYO bistro will make you feel like you’re in the South of France. Chef Richard Krug specializes in French Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-influenced dishes.
The Fox + Falcon | 19 Valley Street, South Orange
Right in the heart of downtown South Orange, this Team HG fave is known for its welcoming atmosphere and its artisanal cocktails. The Fox + Falcon has a chill atmosphere, TVs to watch the game, and a really fun trivia night. The outdoor heaters and tents bring a welcoming and cozy vibe from the inside to the outside. The outdoor space is a great spot for enjoying the hot soba noodles paired with a signature drink from the bar. Like the hot spiced cider.
Village Hall | 101 South Orange Ave
Part of the Landmark Hospitality Group just opened this fall. This large space can accommodate corporate gatherings, family parties, and celebrations of any size. The Hall features a Biergarten and an outdoor patio.
Things to Do
^ South Orange Performing Arts Center
South Orange has a vibrant community with seasonal festivals, concerts, and more. They are proud of the unique experiences in the area you can experience. South Orange is known for its impressive independent theater scene populated by a thriving network of artists.
The Baird Community Center | 5 Mead Street, South Orange
The Baird Community Center is the community’s recreational and arts hub, housing the Pierro Gallery, art classrooms, an indoor theater, multiple tennis courts, a basketball court, and numerous additional amenities.
Seton Hall Basketball | 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange
The campus is beautiful and the Seton Hall Pirates have ended up in the March Madness Basketball Tournament before. The former St.Peter’s coach who helped get Jersey City’s small Jesuit school nationally known – has returned to his alma mater in South Orange. He is sure to keep delivering top-notch basketball with all-star recruits.
South Orange Performing Arts Center | 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange
Conveniently located right next to the South Orange train station The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) has become a cultural centerpiece for the town and the greater region with film festivals, first-rate movies, comedians, concerts, and theatrical performances. The Center features a state-of-the-art, 415-seat theater, and 5-movie screens operated by Clearview Cinema alongside a community space that seats 150 people.
Where to Shop
South Orange offers a blend of Americana with an eclectic range of shops, boutiques, and cafes lining the main streets. You’ll find lots of independently owned shops, restaurants, barbershops, and salons in town. The Township of South Orange Village has a large downtown area with brick sidewalks and Victorian gas lamps.
Top Rated Schools
^ Columbia High School
The School District of South Orange is shared with Maplewood and includes The Montrose Early Childhood Center, seven elementary schools (Clinton, Jefferson, Marshall, Seth Boyden, South Mountain, Tuscan Elementary, and South Mountain), The South Orange and Maplewood Middle Schools as well as Columbia High School. All of these schools live up to their reputation for academic excellence and boast a long list of impressive accomplishments. Columbia High School is known as one of the most academically progressive high schools in the state of New Jersey and has been recognized nationally for its academic excellence with a Blue Ribbon award from the US Department of Education.
The South Orange-Maplewood Adult School emphasizes continuing education classes and building community in a diverse range of subjects for adults desiring to enrich their experience and expand their minds. The district also offers a highly praised children’s camp during the warmer months called the South Orange-Maplewood Community Summer Program.
Seton Hall University | 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange
One of the country’s leading Catholic Universities, Seton Hall offers more than 90 majors and is nationally renowned for its business and law programs. You may be familiar with their top-notch basketball program, which has been in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Coach Shaheen Holloway (who led St. Peter’s to their epic 2022 NCAA Cinderella story) is back at his alma mater and sure to bring in top recruits.
Kid’s Corner — Parks + Playgrounds
One of the most enviable features of South Orange is its extensive community parks and facilities.
Meadowland Park + Cameron Field | South Orange
The largest park in South Orange is Meadowland Park which holds the historic Cameron Field. The amenities include nine baseball diamonds and little league pitches, 19 tennis courts, three soccer areas, a duck pond, playgrounds, a sculpture park, and winter sports areas, including a famous sledding hill.
South Mountain Reservation and Fairy Trail
Located near South Orange, this reserve boasts 2,110 acres of land along the Rahway River and nearly 20 miles of walking and hiking trails. The half-mile fairy trail is open year-round beginning at the Locust Grove picnic area and is a doable walk for small children. Along the footpath, habitats of sprites are nestled amongst the trees. Local artists helped create these miniature homes along the Rahway Trail.
Real Estate Corner via The Giordano Group
The South Orange real estate market is in high demand, just like all Northern NJ Suburban towns. The most popular style of home is colonial. There are currently 11 active homes on the market. In the last 4 months there were 38 homes sold vs. 71 from this same time frame last year. Although the number of sales in South Orange and most suburban towns are lower in the winter months, the average sales price has stayed strong and continues to increase. The average sales price in Q4 of 2022 was $873,647 which is a 13.9% increase vs Q4 in 2021.
If you’re interested in learning more about South Orange or any neighboring towns in Essex County, you can give Darren and The Giordano team a call, shoot them an email at email@example.com or download their app for real-time updates on the market at your fingertips.
Stay tuned for the next town in our North Jersey series, coming soon.