About Upper Montclair, NJ
The township of Montclair, NJ is located in Essex County and the last population count in 2017 places it at just short of 40,000. However, there is a census-designated area called Upper Montclair that can actually be described as more of a neighborhood than a city or township. One article describes Upper Montclair as one of four distinct Montclair districts. This district is considered to be an unincorporated area with a population of slightly more than 11,500 lying within Montclair.
Upper Montclair has been rated by the Niche website as #1 Best Places to Live in New Jersey and has earned an overall A+ rating from Niche.
The Village Green website describes Montclair as “the perfect intersection of a vibrant urban center and delightful suburban living.” It is strategically located on the Midtown Direct Train Line, which provides a relaxing commute to New York City for those who do not want to deal with the traffic and parking headaches involved in a daily drive to work in the big city.
Montclair’s diverse culture provides a wide variety of fantastic restaurants and recreational opportunities that enable an excellent suburban lifestyle for families. The township also boasts a few famous residents that include baseball player Yogi Berra, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and George Walker, a Pulitzer Prize winner for music.
The majority of residents living in Upper Montclair - approximately 81% own their homes and 19% rent.
The median income in the entire township of Montclair is $123,516 which is more than double the median income throughout the United States. However, in Upper Montclair, the average annual income is closer to $190,000. The percentage of Upper Montclair residents living below the poverty level is 3.32%.
The level of education completed by Upper Montclair residents is very high. The distribution of adults having achieved at least a Master’s degree (if not higher) is approximately 46%. Then adults with a bachelor’s degree make up 39% of the neighborhood’s residents. Additionally, the percentage of adults possessing an associate’s degree or having completed some college is 9%.
Approximately 45% of the Upper Montclair area households have children under the age of 18 living in the home. Additionally, an estimated 65% of households are occupied by married couples living together. There are approximately 8% of households led by single women, and nearly 25% of homes are occupied by unrelated individuals. Elderly people living alone comprise close to 9% of households in Upper Montclair. Those living alone are included in the statistic for unrelated individuals.
The largest employment industries in the general Montclair area include professional, scientific and technical services at 16.6%; education at 15.9 %; and healthcare at 12.9%. Other employment opportunities include finance, retail, information technology, and manufacturing.
The Upper Montclair area receives a B- rating for ethnic and economic diversity from Niche.
Commuting from Upper Montclair, NJ to NYC
The standard commute time to New York City by train, via the Midtown Direct Train Line, is 30 minutes, which is less than the 45-minute standard drive to New York City from Upper Montclair. Additionally, the Montclair area boasts what is called a “jitney” shuttle service from some parking areas to main train stations to relieve parking problems at the stations.
Upper Montclair boasts a wide choice of unique and highly rated restaurants that reflect many ethnic choices. TripAdvisor rates several of the restaurants in the immediate area of Upper Scarsdale as the Top Ten. Those restaurants include:
With 81% of Upper Montclair’s residents owning their homes, the median home value is $726,200. Those who rent are paying an average of $2,900/month. The most popular neighborhoods are in the areas of Grove Street and Gordenhurst Avenue.
Here are a few basic statistics for the real estate market in Upper Montclair:
Average Days on Market: 28 days
Average Price per Square Foot: $306
Percentage of Asking Price: 2% more than list price; “hot” homes may sell for 9% more
Median Sales Price: $769,000
Median Home Value: $726,200
Median Rent per month: $2,900/mo.
Median Home Size: 3,000 sq. ft.
Percentage of Single Family Homes: 78%
Percentage of apartments: Approximately 14%
Montclair Public Schools is the public school system serving Upper Montclair, and more than a quarter of this district’s schools are located in Upper Montclair. Bradford and Northeast Elementary Schools are two of those schools.
Then Buzz Aldrin Middle School (that was renamed for the famous astronaut in 2016) is also located in Upper Montclair.
Montclair Public Schools has implemented an award winning magnet system using specific theme studies for elementary and middle schools in the system. In a magnet system, particular schools offer a special curriculum emphasis such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), global studies, environmental science, and courses for gifted students. These schools accept students living in areas throughout the district, which means students who want to attend these schools for their specialized curriculum can do so regardless of neighborhood boundaries.
Montclair High School provides a diverse and academically challenging curriculum and has 25 Advanced Placement classes as well as small learning communities. Those learning communities include the Center for Social Justice, STEM and the Civics and Government Institute. The high school also offers visual art and performance instruction through its School for Visual and Performing Arts.
Upper Montclair also boasts three private schools. Those are Lacordaire Academy Elementary Division, Lacordaire Academy and St. Cassian School, all of which offer instruction in the Catholic tradition.
In addition to K-12 education, Upper Montclair is the site of Montclair State University, which offers bachelor degrees in more than 40 disciplines and master’s degrees at least 30 courses of study.
Most child-oriented activities available in Upper Montclair are centered in the general Montclair area, which provides 175 acres of open space and at least 20 public parks. Children will enjoy hours of exploring a huge weblike playground at Edgemont Memorial Park with slides of many shapes and sizes.The park is the site of a fabulous Fourth of July picnic celebration where families can relax while listening to musical entertainment.
Additionally, if you want to give your children a history lesson, you can take them to visit the World War I Memorial at Edgemont that dates back almost a century.
Branch Brook Park is in Newark, NJ, just a few miles from Upper Montclair. The park features hiking trails, ponds, lakes and streams as well as sport venues. Families can enjoy the blooming of thousands of cherry blossoms during springtime.
If you want to instill some art appreciation in your kids, you can stroll the Montclair Art Museum that features more than 12,000 art pieces that date back as far as the 18th century, but also include more contemporary art.
If any of your children have an interest in baseball, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center provides a walk through baseball legend Yogi Berra’s life and legacy.
The Clary Anderson Arena features skating rinks and spaces for family or group events.
Things to Do
Shopping and Groceries
The four districts of Montclair offer lots of shopping, eating and browsing enjoyment.
For example, Upper Montclair streets offer leisurely browsing through high-end boutiques. Montclair Center is a popular commercial hub featuring antique shops, bookshops and art galleries. The Walnut district hosts a Saturday morning Farmers Market where shoppers can meander through a wide selection of locally produced fruits, vegetables and homemade cheeses as well as check out the pickle bar. Then Watchung Plaza boasts its trendy shops.
When you need to do your weekly grocery shopping in Upper Montclair, try Kings Food Markets. Kings Food in this location features several unique departments for discerning home chefs and home decorators. Those include the following:
Custom hand-cut cheese
Mezze bar featuring Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food
Montclair Area residents can also find the bulk food store Lazzaroni if they like to shop for some of their food on the wholesale market. Health food fans can also find a Whole Foods Store in Montclair on Bloomfield Avenue.
Articles about living in Upper Montclair, NJ
5 Things To Look For If You’re Moving From The City (2019) Walkable Suburb reviews the general area of Montclair in terms of livability, especially in terms of the ability to appreciate many of its qualities on foot.
Maplewood, Montclair, and Glen Ridge: Why these three suburban areas are tops for ex-New Yorkers (2016) This article by the real estate website Brick Underground compares several New Jersey suburbs in terms of their livability and qualities that may attract those considering a move to the suburbs. The piece includes the general area of Montclair.
Our Favorite Downtowns: Montclair (2015) New Jersey Monthly provides a brief rundown of attractive facts and advice about some of Montclair’s best aspects.
If You’re Thinking of Living in Montclair (1982) Although this New York Times article was written in 1982, it still provides a flavor of why people would be interested in living in any area of Montclair today.