New Jersey is home to hundreds of communities, many of which have vibrant downtowns and main streets with a plethora of restaurants, salons, and shops. These centers are characterized by their walkability and family-friendly vibe as well as the public transport options, local businesses, and community events. Finding the perfect spot for a family dinner, an afternoon stroll, or night out on the town all comes down to location. We’ve done the work and looked at numerous towns across the region to pick out the best ones. Read on for a guide to some of the best downtowns and main streets in North Jersey.
Denville is a picture-perfect small town with a sweet and charming downtown. Broadway Avenue is the heart of this community and the key to their stomachs. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, head over to Beignets and grab some donuts. For those with allergies, Mo’Pweeze Bakery is a great spot offering cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more all free of the top 10 allergies. Just last month Downtown Denville announced its events for 2023. Come collect eggs from downtown businesses in April at their Spring into Denville event. The summer features four events with live music, food, and events throughout the downtown. There will also be Halloween and winter holiday events. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below.
Dining Options: Beignets, Church Street Bagel, Mo’Pweeze Bakery, A Taco Affair, Pasta Shop
Exercise: Pure Barre, Renzo Gracie, Prana Yoga Studio
Events: Holiday Shopping Open House, Sidewalk Sales, National Night Out, Downtown Denville After Dark
Shopping: Furniture Revival Studio, Faith & Begorra, California Beach Hut, Write on Gifts, Dash of Thyme
Wellness: Moxie Salon + Beauty Bar, Tracy’s Nails, The Urban Muse
About a mile and a half, Washington Street, Hoboken’s main street is full of cafes, bakeries, sit-down restaurants, hair salons, clothing stores, and workout spots. View views of the Manhattan skyline, this pedestrian and bike-friendly city is the perfect spot for date night, birthday celebrations, and just about anything. Of course, Frank Sinatra’s hometown is known for its Italian food and spots like Sorellina, Sirenetta, and Grimaldi’s. Summers in Hoboken come with a variety of good music, free exercise activities, and of course food. On most Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the summer, there are free yoga classes at Pier A Park. On Mondays and Tuesdays, you can also stop by Southwest Park for concerts and family fun. On Wednesday nights, there are movies under the stars at Pier A Park – and that’s only halfway through the week. If you have room on Thursday, stop by Sinatra Park for a concert featuring rock, jazz, Latin, folk, and more. Parking can be a challenge, but no need to worry. Nine NJTransit lines and branches pass through Hoboken Terminal and can connect visitors from Manhattan, Montclair, Millburn, Cranford, Hackensack, Westwood, Morristown Rutherford, Clifton, Belmar, and so many more. Plus, the view from the terminal is phenomenal and allows easy access to both Hoboken and Jersey City.
Dining Options: Prato Bakery, Bluestone Lane, O’Bagel, Bwe Kafe, Toastique, The Brick
Exercise: Hoboken Pilates, SoulCycle, Club Pilates, Brazen Athletics
Events: Concerts in Sinatra Park, Fitness and Yoga a Pier A Park, Movies Under the Stars
Indoor Activities: Hoboken Historical Society, Hoboken Fire Department Museum
Shopping: Little City Books, Alba Boutique, Luna Rose Decor, Wicked Scents, AxD
Wellness: Drybar, Massage Envy, Wellness Lab, 718 Beauty Bar, Spesh, Salon Gotto, Alley Spa
Read More: The Best Brunch Spots in Montclair
Madison’s quaint and historic shopping district along Main Street showcases over 50 businesses offering flavorful cuisine, gift shops, second-hand clothing, and haircuts. Diners can sample Mexican, Colombian, Japanese, Thai, French, Italian, and Mediterranean. Noon Tea Creperie is an excellent spot for crepe cakes, egg waffles, boba tea, and a variety of other drinks. If you’re in need of a gift, The Pink Pear has books, candles, games, honey, coffee, and home decor. The Morristown Line of NJTransit passes through Downtown Madison connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Hoboken, South Orange, Chatham, Morristown, Hackkettsotwn, and more. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below that might just fit your fancy.
Dining Options: Nahm Thai & French Cuisine, Jungle Juice, Butter & Jam, iL Goccino Ristorante, Sunday Motor Co Cafe, Noon Tea Creperie
Exercise: Mind Over Movement, Club Pilates, Intrepid Gym
Indoor Activities: Museum of Early Trades and Crafts
Shopping: Home Sweet Home, The Snooki Shop, Tons of Toys, The Pink Pear, The Chatham Bookseller
Wellness: Polished Nail Lounge, Kennedy’s Barber Club, Standz Salon, NJ Advanced Acupuncture
In 2021 Maplewood was voted 17 out of 25 for the coolest towns in America which makes sense as this village is bursting with charm and has a downtown full of flavors. You can enjoy Margherita Pizza at Arturo’s, smoothies at Green Point Juicery, and fresh-baked cookies at The Able Baker. Every fall Maplewood hosts the Art Walk and Music Fest. Maplewood Avenue, Baker Street, and Highland Place are shut down to vehicular traffic and customers can buy ceramics, jewelry, and more. The event also features dancers, live music, and a children’s corner. It will take place this year on October 15th. Dickens Village, held in December brings various scenes to life from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Visitors can peek inside the little houses and look at fireplaces, stockings, and antique toys.
The Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch of NJTransit pass through Maplewood and connects residents and visitors to Manhattan, Hoboken, East Orange, Summit, Morristown, Bernardsville, Denville, Hackettstown, and more. You can find a variety of restaurants, bakeries, home decor stores, and more here. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below.
Dining Options: The Able Baker, Ani Ramen, Arturo’s, Village Trattoria, Palmer’s, Green Point Juicery, Chutzpah Kitchen, Strawberry Fields, Scratch Taco
Exercise: The Core Place, Baker-Street-Yoga, Wolfpack Maplewood
Events: Maplewoodstock Music and Art Festival, Art Walk and Music Fest, Dickens Village, Sunset Saturday Music Series
Indoor Activities: Greens Indoor Golf & Cafe, Maplewood Memorial Library
Outdoor Recreation: Memorial Park, Richard G Walter Park, Memorial Playground
Shopping: Meus, Maplewood Mercantile, Word’s Bookstore, Brave Floral, Perch Home, Toy Division, Baker Street Market, The Tenth Muse Gallery
Wellness: Victory Hair Salon, Anthony Garubo Salon, Hands-on Massage and Facial Spa, CHOP Salon
Just over a mile long, Montclair’s main street, Bloomfield Avenue, showcases a variety of restaurants, bakeries, wellness centers, clothing stores, movie theaters, bookstores, and exercise spots. Here you can try flavors from all over the globe like Italian, French, Greek, Spanish, American, Soul, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Colombian, Brazilian, Cuban, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, and Indian. If you need a gift for someone or yourself, check out DollyMoo for bath bombs and soy candles, Parcel for handmade decorations and apothecary, and Lulu Lemon for a new pair of leggings. During late April and early May, the Montclair Film festival features fiction, non-fiction, world cinema, and student films drawing over a thousand attendees. In June, Montclair hosts a notable Pride Festival featuring music, food, and more. Not only is Montclair pedestrian-friendly, but a block-long on-street bike lane was installed on Glenridge Avenue. The long-term plan here would be to connect this section to the Essex Hudson Greenway project once it begins.
The Montclair-Boonton Line passes through Montclair connecting residents from Manhattan, Hoboken, Newark, Little Falls, Wayne, Montville, Netcong, and more. Those looking to reach downtown should get off at the Bay Street or Walnut Street Stations. While Bloomfield Avenue may be Montclair’s downtown, it’s not the only walkable business district. You can find a variety of restaurants, shopping stores, recreation, and exercise spots in Upper Montclair, Watching Plaza, Walnut Street, and the South End. Montclair truly offers so much and it can be a challenge to decide what to do and where to go. To give you some inspiration for your visit, we have compiled a list of downtown spots below.
Dining Options: Ani Ramen, Raymonds, Leone’s, Bareburger, Tacoria, Plum Bakery, Samba Montclair, Sweet Kitchen, Nami Nori
Exercise: CYCLEBAR, Row House, Anytime Fitness, Montclair YMCA, Club Pilates
Events: Montclair Pride Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Winter Wonderland
Indoor Activities: Doin’ Dishes, The Claridge, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Public Library, Studio Montclair, Wellmont Arts Plaza
Shopping: Giftbar, Parcel, Anthropologie, DollyMoo, East Side Mags, Montclair Book Center
Wellness: Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, Bangz Salon & Wellness Spa
Since the birth of this nation, Morristown has been at the crossroads of culture, commerce, and community. This vibrant and diverse town has over 100 businesses in its downtown and so much to offer. Patrons travel the streets of Morristown and sample American, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Italian, Irish, French, German, Polish, Greek, Mexican, Thai, and Japanese food. The Morristown Green, situated in the center of the downtown serves as a fantastic spot for picnics and getting take out. NJTransit’s Morristown Line passes through Downtown Morristown connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Hoboken, Orange, Millburn, Summit, Denville, Netcong, and more. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below that are sure to make you come back.
Dining Options: Millburn Deli, The Godfather of Morristown, End of Elm, Beanie’s Ice Cream, Stack Creamery
Exercise: The Yoga Way, Powerflow Yoga, Ride+Reflect
Indoor Activities: AMC, Mayo Performing Arts Center, The Morristown and Morris Township Public Library, Morristown Masonic Center Museum & Library, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum
Shopping: Athleta, Merzatta, 23 South, Elliott’s Flower Shoppe, Apricot Dried Fruits & Nuts
Wellness: Laboratory Hair Studio, Bloom, Massage Heights, Salone Pisani, Blowout Salon
Ridgewood has a charming downtown that offers Eastern European, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Szechuan, Korean, Iranian, Mediterranean, and American cuisine. Grab some Korean fried chicken from Don Chicken and head over to Van Ness Square. This is a great spot to eat your takeout and soak in the beauty of the area. This walkable community offers a lot of parking for shoppers interested in purchasing clothing, olive oil, stationery, and more. The Main and Bergen County of NJTransit passes through Downtown Ridgewood connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Hoboken, Clifton, Ramsey, Rutherford, Waldwick, and more. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below.
Dining Options: Park West Tavern, Green Fusion, Felina, Sook Pastry, Datendog, From Scratch
Exercise: Real Hot Yoga, Old Branch YMCA
Indoor Activities: Ridgewood Public Library, BTM Warner Theater, Pinot’s Palette
Shopping: Suite Paperie, Olive R Twist Olive Oil Co, Majestic Yarn, Victor’s
Wellness: Salon Toujours, Hiro’s Day Spa, 21 Godwin, Cozy Nails, Namaste Organic Spa
Rutherford’s main street, Park Avenue features a variety of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. Lining the block are restaurants serving Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Iranian, Italian, French, German, Greek, Mexican, and American cuisine. If you’re craving a handmade Danish then you must stop by Varrelmann’s Bake Shop, an authentic German bakery. If you are looking for a pretty quiet downtown, Rutherford is the spot. The Bergen County Line NJTransit passes through Downtown Rutherford connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Garfield, Ridgewood, Allendale, Ramsey, and more. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below that are sure to make you come back.
Dining Options: Dumpling Dojo, Suprema, Fiorentini, Varrelmann’s Bake Shop, Ondubu, Greek Town Gyros
Events: Labor Day Street Fair
Indoor Activities: Williams Center for The Arts, Board & Brush, Rutherford Public Library
Shopping: Soldato, Goffin’s Hallmark Shop
Wellness: Substance Salon & Barberspa, Michele’s Station Square Hair Salon, Fond & Faye
(Photo credit: @southorangedowntown)
South Orange has a walkable vibrant downtown community boasting a variety of flavorful cuisines. Here you can enjoy gluten-free empanadas from Miti Miti or fresh-made juice from Dancing Blender. There are a plethora of spots for outdoor recreation. Just north of downtown are several baseball fields. tennis courts, and a basketball court. During the summer, residents can soak up the sun and swim laps at the Peter S. Conner Memorial Swimming Pool. Since 1991 the South Orange Farmers Market has been providing the community with local produce and products from nearby vendors. The market will return on June 7th this year and last till October 26th. Their Downtown on Display program partners with downtown businesses to curate unique events that highlight what South Orange has to offer. Small businesses are also able to showcase their products and services during Small Business Saturday and the Holiday Market.
The Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch of NJTransit pass through Downtown South Orange connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Hoboken, Summit, New Providence, Morristown, Bernardsville, Denville, Hackettstown, and more. The architecture of the buildings, churches, and businesses add a charm like no other, especially the South Orange station which is perfectly located in the downtown. Here are a variety of hair salons, shopping stores, wellness centers, restaurants, cafes, and exercise studios. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below.
Dining Options: The Order, Miti Miti, The Dancing Blender, Village Trattoria, Grid Iron Waffle Shop, Walia Ethiopian Restaurant, Bay Leaf, Sonny’s Bagels, Jackie & Son, Elitist Coffee
Exercise: Three Birds Yoga Studio, D&I Fitness
Events: South Orange Farmers Market, Pride Month Celebration, Halloween Spooky Spiotta, Holiday Tree Lighting, Holiday Market, Live Music, Seton Hall Welcome Back Week, Small Business Saturday Street Fair
Indoor Activities: Bow Tie Cinemas, South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange Public Library
Shopping: Victor’s Florist, Rocky’s Crystals & Minerals, Pet Wants, Kitchen a la Mode
Wellness: Oranges Spa, Rock Spa Club, YK Salon, Gladys Nails, 7’s Barbershop
See More: A Guide to Exploring Princeton
View this post on Instagram
Summit has a walkable downtown with a variety of restaurants, nail salons, hair salons, clothing stores, and gift shops. If you’ve always wanted to eat inside a train car, then Summit is the place. For nearly a century, the Summit Diner has been serving American comfort food to thousands of people. Here you can order their famous corn beef cabbage and a slice of cheesecake for the road. Every Sunday starting April 23rd, Summit Farmers Market offers a variety of fresh baked goods, tomato sauce, jam, produce, pizza, and more. During the summer, you can listen to a variety of artists from numerous genres at the Summit Street Sounds. This event takes place Thursdays and Fridays from 5-8PM in June and July. The Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch of NJTransit pass through Downtown Summit connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Hoboken, Orange, Millburn, Chatham, Morristown, Denville, Dover, and more. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below that are sure to make you come back.
Dining Options: Summit Diner, Pizza Vita, Boxwood Coffee, The Committed Pig, Summit House, Bake Bakery, BarBacoa, Batavia Cafe, Zappia’s
Exercise: StrechLab, The Bar Method, LoYa Loft of Yoga, Vita Athletics, Summit YMCA, The R3finery
Events: Summit Farmers Market, Summit Street Sounds, Summit Has Pride
Indoor Activities: Pinot’s Palette, Summit Public Library
Shopping: Bluemercury, Paper Source, Fleet Feet, Wool & Grace, The Papery
Wellness: Drybar, Blow In Blow Out, Joinus Nails, Place Vendome, Bellissima Waxing + Spa
Come shop, dine, and stroll through the streets of Downtown Westfield. Grab a slice of pizza from Casa di Pizza or a burrito from Tinga. Spend hours walking down East Broad Street and Elm Street shopping at Gap, Urban Outfitters, The Town Book Store, Bluemercury, and J McLaughlin. If you’re looking to curate photos for your Instagram feed, Selfie Stations NJ is the perfect stop and has so many interactive backgrounds to choose from. Every Tuesday night in July and August Westfield holds its Sweet Sounds Downtown Music Festival where residents, visitors, shoppers, and diners can enjoy free music and various outdoor venues. The Raritan Valley Line of NJTransit passes through Downtown Westfield connecting residents and visitors to Manhattan, Newark, Union, Cranford, Plainfield, Somerville, Lebanon, and more. To give you some inspiration when you visit, we have compiled a list of spots below that are sure to make you come back.
Dining Options: Orgreen Poke, Chutzpah Kitchen, Chez Catherine, Fresh Bui, Surreal Creamery, Bareburger
Exercise: Club Pilates, The Bar Method, YogaSix, OsteoStrong, Barre3, 908 Athletics
Events: Sweet Sounds Downtown Music Festival, AddamsFest
Indoor Activities: Yestercades, Westfield Historical Society, Westfield Memorial Library, Selfie Stations NJ
Shopping: Fleet Feet, Beyond Trends, Hope Chest, The Town Book Store, Urban Outfitters
Wellness: Salon Visage, Radiant Waxing, Blende, Foot & Body Massage Spa