The city of Montclair, New Jersey. There is a double rainbow covering the entire city skyline.

Is Living in Montclair, NJ, Right for You?

New Jersey

by Bridget Houlihan Posted on March 29, 2024
If you love the idea of finding a home in a small town that’s still close to the Big Apple, then living in Montclair, NJ, could be the right move for you. This popular suburb of New York City is a great place for professionals who want a little more space for their dollar but are still within easy commuting distance to all the jobs and amenities that the NYC metropolis can offer. Additionally, the lower taxes and great schools in this part of New Jersey are bonus attractions for families looking for a safe area to raise their kids.
Planning a move to Montclair? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Located right on the cliffs of the Watchung Mountains, Montclair is considered to be the arts and culture hub of northern New Jersey. Residents love its artsy, eclectic vibe. And living in Montclair, NJ, means you don’t have to go far to experience first-class dining options, see theater productions, or attend festivals. 

But is Montclair, NJ, a good place to live? And should you move there?

Where is Montclair, New Jersey?

The area of Montclair was originally called Watchung, or Wachtschunk, by the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. Settlers from Connecticut moved to the area in the 1700s and named the area — along with a few other small towns in the region — West Bloomfield. In 1860, to avoid confusion with West Bloomfield, NY, the name was changed to “Montclair” — which translates to “clear mountain” in French. 

Where is Montclair, NJ, though? It’s situated in northeast New Jersey and is only 10 miles from Newark. It’s not far from New York City, either — it's around a 40-minute drive, and lots of residents choose to commute into town to work, dine, or attend shows. Its stellar location means when you live there, you’ll have all the benefits of suburban life with easy access to big-city amenities. 

What Makes Montclair One of the Best Places To Live in New Jersey?

People from all walks of life love living in Montclair because it offers them the best of both worlds — more space for their dollar and a tight-knit, safe community, as well as two large cities within easy commuting distance. Folks in this part of New Jersey like to live an active lifestyle, and the natural beauty that surrounds Montclair gives them plenty of reason to get outdoors. And because it’s located on the cliffs of the Watchung Mountains, this area is also known for some amazing views of the NYC skyline. 

Want more proof? Montclair has an A+ rating on Niche, including an A rating for public schools and an A for access to outdoor activities. 

Q: Why is Montclair so popular?
Montclair is a popular place for those who love spending time outdoors, trying diverse cultural cuisine, and enjoying art and music festivals.

Cost of Living in Montclair, NJ

Montclair is considered an affluent suburb. The average home value is around $998,800, and the cost of living index sits at 135, which is higher than the New Jersey state average of 119.8 and the national average index of 100. The high cost of living in Montclair is also reflected in the higher average price tag on groceries, utilities, and transportation.

The high home values and cost of living are largely due to its proximity to New York City, as the distance from Montclair to NYC is only 20 miles (about a 45-minute drive). There are also commuter trains and buses that run directly from Montclair to NYC that take around 50 to 60 minutes. Given all the perks that the area has to offer, it makes sense that the cost of living would, in turn, be fairly high.

Q: Why is Montclair, NJ, so expensive?
Montclair has an expensive housing market that’s above the national average, and the cost of living is higher because of its proximity to NYC.

Montclair Weather

The weather in Montclair is similar to NYC, and the summers tend to be hot, humid, and wet, with highs that can reach the mid 80s and 90s. The winters are cold and can be snowy, with lows reaching into the 20s and 30s. You’ll definitely see all four seasons in Montclair, though, and residents love watching the changing of the leaves in autumn and seeing all the flowers and trees bloom in the springtime. 

Aerial view of Edgemont Park in Montclair, New Jersey. The park features a pond with fountains and a WWI memorial.
(Source: Amy Owens Team via Facebook)

Guide to Montclair, NJ, Neighborhoods

Is Montclair, NJ, safe and a good place to live? Residents certainly think so! It’s highly ranked for families as well as professionals, and there’s likely a neighborhood that will suit your specific needs. In fact, there are 12 neighborhoods in the Township of Montclair that include a lot of pre-WWII architecture, with lots of art deco/neo-gothic buildings that are reminiscent of areas in NYC. Here are some of our top picks.

Upper Montclair

This area of Montclair is ranked as the #1 best place to live in Essex County by Niche and is also the largest neighborhood of Montclair. A lot of the highly ranked Montclair schools are in Upper Montclair, making this an especially great place for families to settle down. It’s also home to Montclair State University, which contributes to the diverse population and prevalence of local restaurants, like the popular Koreander, Sushi Koshi, and Applegate Farm.

Residents love all the access to parks and greenspaces in this neighborhood, where you can spend time walking the dog, playing with the kids, or just enjoying a picnic. Brookdale Park (and dog park), for example, is always bustling with people, but Yantacaw Brook Park and the Bonsal Wildlife Preserve are also popular hangouts.

Frog’s Hollow

If you’re looking for another safe, tight-knit Montclair neighborhood, be sure to check out Frog’s Hollow. It’s one of the most diverse neighborhoods, with local restaurants offering different types of cuisine, such as Asian at the Ani Ramen House, Mexican at Tacoria, and French at the Faubourg Restaurant and Bar

The unusual name comes from when the area was largely marshland, and the bullfrogs could be heard all over. Today, you’ll find Crane Park, The Wellmont Theater, and the adjacent pedestrian plaza to be some of the most popular places for residents to visit.

Watchung Plaza Historic District

The Watchung Plaza Historic District features a variety of homes that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s even on the National Register of Historic Places. 

This neighborhood features lots of dining and shopping options, specifically along the busy Watchung Ave. There, you’ll find Basil Indian & Thai Grill as well as popular breakfast options at Bluestone Coffee Co. Residents also love to walk around the neighborhood and enjoy chats with friends in Watchung Plaza and Watchung Park. Need to commute to NYC? There are plenty of nearby train stations in this neighborhood, as well, to get you there in no time.

Q: Is Montclair, NJ, a wealthy town?
Yes, Montclair is considered a wealthy town. In fact, Upper Montclair is one of the wealthiest towns in New Jersey.


Looking for a walkable community that’s great for everyone — from families to working professionals to retirees? The Edgemont community of Montclair may be just the ticket. One of the most popular places to spend time outdoors in this neighborhood is at Edgemont Park. There, you’ll find a playground for the kids and a senior center for retirees, all in the midst of beautifully landscaped terrain that includes a pond.

The area is also close to the Edgemont Elementary School and the Watchung School. And you can easily spend the day at the historic Van Vleck House and Gardens before grabbing a bite and a drink at Tierney’s Tavern.

An outdoor seating area at the Valley & Bloom apartment community in Montclair, New Jersey.
(Source: Valley & Bloom via Facebook)

What About Apartments in Montclair, NJ?

There are a lot of rentals available in Montclair, and some of them are in beautiful historic buildings with modernized interiors. The median monthly rent in Montclair for all bedroom sizes is $2,725. Check out a few of our favorite complexes.

Valley & Bloom

The luxury apartments at Valley & Bloom are a great choice if you’re looking for caesarstone countertops, wall-to-wall hardwood floors, in-suite washer/dryers, and modern stainless-steel appliances. This pet-friendly Montclair apartment building offers studios, one-, and two-bedroom options that have large windows or a private balcony. And you can enjoy amazing views of the NYC skyline from the community rooftop lounge.

Two South Willow

Two South Willow apartments are located right next to the Wellmont Arts Plaza and within steps of all kinds of shopping and dining options on Bloomfield Ave. As a resident, you’ll have a beautiful modern space — with studio, one-, and two-bedroom floor plans available. You’ll also have access to a fitness center, covered parking, a rooftop deck with a grill and firepits, and a rooftop study for meetings or relaxing. 

Q: What is the average income in Montclair, NJ?
The average household income in Montclair is around $221,500.

Alister Montclair

The Alister Montclair is a luxury apartment complex that offers residents the amenities they’ve come to expect in NYC — but without the high price tag. Their studio, one-, and two-bedroom floor plans boast private patios and balconies, modern kitchens with quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances, oversized closets, washer/dryers, and modern lighting fixtures. This complex is also located right off of Bloomfield Ave., so you’ll only be steps away from amazing dining and shopping options!


If you’re looking for an apartment building that’s close to the Bay Street Train Station, then the Montclarion could have your name on it. Featuring one- and two-bedroom options, you’ll have hardwood flooring, luxe cabinetry, modern appliances, oversized windows, a washer/dryer, a patio or balcony, lots of closet space, and nine-foot ceilings. And the first level of the complex is retail space, which makes it easy when you need to pick up a few items. Additional community amenities include garage parking, an on-site fitness center, easy access to public transportation, and a rooftop patio to enjoy sunsets over NYC.

What About the Schools in Montclair, NJ?

There are a variety of highly ranked public and private Montclair schools available to send your kids to. These schools offer plenty of opportunities and support for kids to be involved in extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, or the arts. 

Top-Notch Public Schools in Montclair, NJ

  • Montclair High School
  • Morrs County School of Technology
  • Bergen County Academies

Fantastic Private Schools in Montclair, NJ

  • Newark Academy
  • Pioneer Academy
  • Bergen Catholic High School
  • Montclair Kimberley Academy

A senior man putts at the Montclair Golf Club in Montclair, New Jersey. Behind him are lush hills filled with residential homes in the area surrounding the golf club.

Top Things To Do in Montclair, NJ

Even though it’s just minutes from Newark, NJ, and just a short commute to NYC, there are a lot of things to do in Montclair, NJ, alone. Residents like the more laid-back, suburban lifestyle this community offers, and in Montclair, you won’t have to sacrifice walkable spaces or access to events, museums, outdoor facilities, and restaurants. Here are some of the top things you can do in Montclair.

Get Your Swing On

Who knew you could practice your golf swing and play a round with friends so close to the big city? The Montclair Golf Club is one of the top places to enjoy golf, tennis, and pickleball — or simply hang out in the pool. Afterward, you can stop by Eagle Rock Reservation to take in a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline.

Fill Up on Culture

Culture abounds in NYC, but did you know that there’s plenty of it right in Montclair, too? You can watch first-class theater performances at The Wellmont Theater or catch an indie release or a feature film at BTM Cinemas. And you can always check out the Montclair Art Museum to view local and national artists or the Montclair History Center to learn more about where you live. 

Join a Local Team

Although there are plenty of greenspaces and parks to walk or bike in, you can also be a part of a team sport in Montclair, which is a great way to meet new friends. The community has men’s adult softball, a volleyball league, open basketball gym, and even tennis lessons. There’s also a community band for all you musicians!

Tour the World Through Diverse Dining

Folks who move here from NYC are pleasantly surprised at the wide array of dining options available within the Montclair community. Whether it’s Brazilian food at Samba Montclair, Mediterranean at Greek Taverna, or the best of Cuba at Cuban Pete’s, there’s always a new cuisine to try in Montclair.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes you just want to do something a little different, so why not check out axe throwing at Bury the Hatchet or test your wits at the Amazing Escape Room? Both offer Montclair residents the chance to learn something new, have a good time, and perhaps find they have skills they didn’t know they had!

A family of four happily chats by the door of their PODS portable moving container. The container is already loaded up with furniture and moving boxes.

Moving to Montclair, NJ

If living in Montclair, NJ, is right for you, let the experts at PODS help you get there. You can load up your portable storage container on your schedule and even arrange to have packing and loading assistance, if you need help with the heavier items. When you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and drive it to your new home in Montclair, NJ. Need more time? Not a problem! You can always store your container at a secure PODS Storage Center and unload it when you’re ready.

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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