It’s easy to spend a day wandering through Upper Montclair, the charming corner of town that sits below the beautiful homes of Upper Mountain Avenue. For those looking to spend a day in this vibrant neighborhood, we have curated a plan, incorporating a bit of nature, food and culture, shopping, and more. This list hits several local gems and can be followed by the hour or used as inspiration. The best part is that everything is walkable, allowing you to fit multiple activities into a few hours. Read on to get The Montclair Girl’s plan for a day in Upper Montclair.
9AM: Walk the loop at Anderson Park | 274 Bellevue Avenue
Get the day started with some exercise at Anderson Park. The park’s central asphalt oval is nearly a half-mile around, making it easy to clock a couple of miles to start off the morning. Or, choose to sit on one of the park benches with a book, watching the many dog walkers pass by. Anderson Park is small and quiet, which adds to its appeal. It’s close to the Upper Montclair train stop, making it a local favorite for those commuting in and out of the city and those who live in the neighborhood.
10:30AM: Refuel at Eagle Rock Cafe | 202 Bellevue Avenue
Next, walk up Bellevue to caffeinate at one of the most popular cafes in town. Eagle Rock serves a variety of coffee, tea, and seasonal drinks, as well as grab-and-go food items from Soj Foods. The cafe is also a coworking space with a few comfortable seating options indoors and outside, making it a great place to relax, recharge, and possibly send out a few emails between activities.
11:30AM: Check out the art gallery at Ria | 204 Bellevue Avenue
Just next door to Eagle Rock is a photo frame shop that doubles as an art gallery featuring rotating exhibits. Through the end of August, the gallery is hosting an exhibition called Consumed: a critical look at pop culture nostalgia. With this exhibit, artists have created pieces that examine the darker side of our obsession with pop culture. From beloved cartoon characters to iconic video games, each work provides a thought-provoking perspective on the role of pop culture in our current society.
12:00PM: Browse the neighborhood boutiques + shops
Upper Montclair is bustling with boutiques and shops that sell everything from chic clothing to craft food items. Here are just a few of our favorites:
CoCo an Experience | 206 Bellevue Avenue
A women’s boutique showcasing emerging lines and quality staples at inviting price points.
Dry Goods Refillery | 193 Bellevue Avenue
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An eco-friendly grocery store.
Grape Collective | 620 Valley Road
A beautifully curated wine and cheese shop.
Pink Bungalow | 211 Bellevue Avenue
A chic gift shop that has something for everyone.
The General Store | 198 Bellevue Avenue
A one-stop shop for giftable items with both a nostalgic and local feel.
1:30PM: Grab lunch at Marcel Bakery + Kitchen | 631 1/2 Valley Road
Upper Montclair has several lunch spots (Jackie’s Grillette and Mercado are neighborhood staples). We recently stumbled upon Marcel Bakery + Kitchen and had to add it to the list. While known for its baked goods, Marcel has a full menu of Mediterranean bites that are delicious and savory. Try the chicken shawarma bowl, either with a hummus or rice base.
2:30PM: Cap the day with il laboratorio del gelato | 598 Valley Road
This gelato shop is worth a stop for the flavor list alone. In addition to the classics, ice cream lovers may be surprised to find savory options like brown butter and cheddar cheese and those reminiscent of spices like basil and cardamom. If gelato isn’t your thing (if that’s even possible) or you’re looking for something sweet to take home, be sure to check out Vesta Chocolate right next door for artisanal chocolates.