One of the most vibrant, eclectic areas of New Jersey is South Orange Downtown. This area has something for everyone, from foodie-centric restaurants to boutique shops and cinemas. According to a ranking published by Niche, South Orange was rated as one of the most incredible places to live in America for 2019.
There are two New Jersey Transit rail stops on the line that serves South Orange. Penn Station may be reached on the Morristown line for a fee and approximately 30 to 40 minutes. In July 2002, the Jitney service launched with two buses and one route. It costs $2.00 cash each way or you can purchase the 12 Month Jitney Pass. Most neighboring towns also offer jitney service to South Orange train station for their residents. Also offering direct service into the city is the New Jersey Transit bus line. Driving into the city can be completed in as little as 25 minutes during non-commuting hours. South Orange is very close to Newark International Airport which makes it attractive for professionals who may need to travel for work.
Events and Activities
South Orange won New Jersey Monthly’s Hot Town Showdown in September 2017, offering a trendy, active downtown with delicious food and a wide range of activities. In the heart of downtown is the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) with world-class theater performances, music, and the occasional poetry reading. The South Orange Village Center hosts music performances as part of the Downtown After Sundown summer concert series. All summer long, Wednesday evenings are the time to be at Flood’s Hill in South Orange. Enjoy fun and family friendly programming throughout the year, particularly in the summer. In July, as the days get longer, music is abundantly available featuring a variety of bands and musicians as well as free concerts, food trucks, creative activities, and kid-friendly games. Come see the popular films in August; bring a blanket, your loved ones, and your friends, and enjoy the show! South Orange Summer Nights offers three months of free arts events for everyone to enjoy. If you love food and beer, there is a Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival every October in Seton Village, with live entertainment, an amazing selection of food trucks, as well as a Diwali Fest.
South Orange and Maplewood (known among locals as SOMA) share a school district. More than 7,200 children are served by the School District of South Orange and Maplewood’s ten schools, which include one high school, two middle schools, two elementary schools, one early learning center, and five preschool sites primarily funded by the PEEA and utilizes a lottery system to help determine placements for the school year. SOMA has launched a FREE and FULL DAY preschool program with the goal to reach “universal pre-k” which means working towards offering every 3 and 4 year old a seat. To check out the lists of schools and their contact information, visit the SOMSD Schools page and SOMSD Preschool Program FAQ’s for more information about preschool programs. Seton Hall University is located in South Orange which offers a number of programs and degrees.
With a 415-seat auditorium and a five-screen movie theater, the ultramodern South Orange Performing Arts Center first opened its doors in 2006. Residents can join the community pool to stay cool during summer. Of course, South Orange is close to the South Mountain Reservation, and Carter Park is well known for its kids’ playground. The Reservation is a nature preserve with a total area of over 2100 acres. Residents of South Orange and neighboring communities enjoy the paths, footbridges, and breathtaking 25-foot Hemlock Falls cascade at the Reservation, which is traversed by the Rahway River.
There are many parks and outdoor recreation in South Orange. Along with a pool and playground, Cameron Field also offers baseball and softball fields. The Orange Lawn Tennis Club, which was established in 1880 and has 10 grass and 10 artificial-turf courts, as well as the hiking and biking trails in the South Mountain Reservation, a 2,000-acre preserve with a dog park run by the county, are some of the outdoor activities available to residents. The Duck Pond is surrounded by a wonderful walking trail at the intersection of Meade Street and North Ridgewood Road. If you’re looking forward to being healthier in spirit, mind, and body, Maplewood has its Family YMCA that also serves South Orange.
South Orange has its South Orange Chamber of Commerce. The South Orange Chamber of Commerce is a civic, non-profit organization made up of residents, business owners, and professionals who offer their resources, expertise, and abilities and who offer leadership skills as part of the foundation for a vibrant, thriving community. Two commercial areas are located on the main streets that go through the Township of South Orange Village: South Orange Avenue Business Corridor and Irvington Avenue Business Corridor.
According to the survey conducted by Niche, one word or phrase that best describes the people who live in South Orange is friendly and very diverse. Even the locals recognize the village’s diversity as an asset. Diversity is South Orange’s most alluring characteristic. There is a nationally recognized non-profit organization committed to ending racial segregation in housing practices and civic engagement while creating a distinctive suburban community. It’s the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. This created initiatives that highlight the benefits of living in a place where all facets of community life are integrated and racially inclusive.
Larger lots and more eminent architecture can be found in South Orange. Listed on the national and state Registries of Historic Places since 1997, Montrose Park is home to some of the most stunning homes. Grand Colonial Revivals, Tudors, and Victorian homes line roadways that are illuminated by gas lanterns and are situated on deep, lushly landscaped plots. Compared to other cities in the nation, South Orange claims to have the most operational gas lighting.
According to an article from the New York Times, this is what residents have to say about what they love about South Orange:
“It’s like getting a city, with a backyard,”
“We were assured we’d fit right in, that everyone would have their Brooklyn or
“great cross-section of society,”
“we’ve made more friends in one year in South Orange than in our 10 years in New York,”
“going to be exposed to all sorts of humanity, and that’s important to me.”
“When we moved into the house, people came over with baked goods, and introduced their kids to our kids,”
“It’s a sort of community feeling that has been mostly lost. I wasn’t so much like that myself, but they made me feel like I belonged.”
“There’s a lot of charm and character here,”
“It’s not your cookie-cutter kind of place.”
“It’s like living on top of a mountain,”
“You think you’re in Vermont.”
“The huge majority of houses in South Orange were built in the time frame when there was the best construction in America,”
“You get a lot of house for your money here.”
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