We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling 2022. (Sorry, we had to channel Taylor Swift there!) Sure you can attend a local NYE event, but why not start 2022 off on a unique and exciting foot? We’ve created a guide to unexpected things to do in Essex County to ring in the new year because after all, it’s a fact that the Montclair area has a little something for everyone, whether that is grabbing cocktails or participating in community activities. Read on to get inspired on ways to celebrate 2022 that do not include traditional activities like bar hopping.
Disclaimer: Please check with the business’s website for hours of operating.
Check out the Thomas Edison Museum
(Photo credit: @thomasedisonnhp)
Here, visitors can explore the home and laboratory of America’s greatest inventor. The Thomas Edison National Historical Park, located in West Orange, is a perfect historical destination in Essex County to visit. In addition to honoring Edison’s legacy with this activity, visitors can also take a walking tour of the trails on the grounds.
Experience The Wellmont Theater
(Photo credit: @thewellmonttheater)
This is a great activity for the live music-lover in the group. There is always something new coming to the Wellmont Theater from concerts to comedy shows. Check out upcoming shows happening in the new year here such as Whitney Cummings’ new tour and more.
Create a Dessert Crawl
(Photo credit: @plumbakerygf)
A bar crawl is a great way to see several bars in a day, but there’s no reason why the same adventurous spirit couldn’t be applied to, say, desserts. Pick a theme like ice cream or pie and plot a path through Montclair’s best offerings. Applegate Farm is a must-do, of course, for homemade ice cream. Plum Bakery in Downtown Montclair offers gluten-free baking classes. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Desserts in Montclair here for other ideas on how to dessert-hop in the area.
Plan a Photoshoot with Friends
Ready to start 2022 off with some new inspiration? Wander through the botanical gardens for a photo shoot at Van Vleck House & Gardens. We can’t help but notice how stunning the gardens are. This gem is open to the public most days from dusk until dawn and visitors can find more information regarding visits here.
Sign Up for a Jewelry-Making Class or Unique Plant Painting Party
(Photo credit: @theeclecticchicboutique)
Start the year off with some creativity with the local artisans at The Eclectic Chic Boutique. The Boutique and Gift Shop, located at 547 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, offers a creative outlet for all including custom beading classes starting at $45 per participant. Additional class options include raw gemstones wire wrapping, pearl knotting, and more.
Throw a private party at Mind Your Beads and Seeds for the opportunity to paint a personal planter to decorate your home within the new year. Reserving the “gift garden” is an enjoyable way to socialize with friends without going to a bar, but also is BYOB for those who wish to partake.
Tour Local Museums
History buffs are in luck because Essex County has countless self-guided museum tours that are never too crowded and cover all of our rich heritage. Check out the Montclair Historical Society website here for multiple tour options. If your group is into art, the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) offers diverse collections of American and Native American Art and you can find more information here.
Spend the Day Rock Climbing
(Photo credit: @gravityvaulthoboken)
A trip to The Gravity Vault’s first bouldering only facility, located in Montclair, is ideal for the active friend group. It’s a great way to kick off any fitness goals for the new year while having fun. The exciting experience is geared toward climbers of all levels. Check out the calendar here for classes and special events.
Take a Waterfall Hike
Weather permitting, explore a waterfall trail in the area to connect with nature this upcoming year. Hemlock Falls, within the South Mountain Reservation in South Orange, includes a dog park so even furry friends can join. See the complete guide to scenic hikes in the area here.
Visit a Local Treasure
Take in the history, beauty, and serenity at Kip’s Castle Park in Verona. With exceptional architecture and views of New York City, there is so much to see at this mountaintop estate. Today, visitors can tour the first floor and expect the park to be decorated for the holidays. Read on to hear about Montclair Girl’s morning well spent at the castle.
Garden lovers will want to check out another local treasure, just about 15 minutes away from Montclair. La Serra Gardens, located at 813 Union Blvd, Totowa, is a plant parents paradise. Add this stop to the itinerary for seasonal flowers, house plants, and more. See more information on the garden center here to stay updated on upcoming events.
See More: Your Guide to Glamping in New Jersey
Admire Our Skyline Views
(Photo credit: @themchotel)
Head to Montclair’s only rooftop, Alto located at 690 Bloomfield Ave, to catch the best skyline views. Order a round of mocktails and take in the good vibes on this heated roof. The space is open on New Year’s Eve from 4PM-1PM and New Year’s Day 3PM-12AM.
Celebrate the Season at the Turtle Back Zoo
Take a stroll through the Holiday Light Spectacular in West Orange, open until December 31. The experience merges family fun, animal characters, and holiday spirit. Enjoy treats including pizza and s’mores. If this isn’t your beat, there other another 35 holiday light pop-up events happening in the tri-state area, some through January.