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Essex County

Essex County

Essex County Overview

Essex County is located in Northern New Jersey offering a convenient commute to New York City. It’s home to many higher education institutions and features strong public transportation options. As the first county in the US to have its own parks department, Essex County has vast public parks that are located throughout its various municipalities. With almost 200 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the historically-significant county offers a wonderful place to live. Buying a home in Essex County is highly sought after by individuals of all backgrounds. The lively food and culture scene is displayed through its countless bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Young professionals and families gravitate towards this county due to its high diversity and numerous outdoor activities.

For individuals interested in selling a home in Essex County, the demand is always high. The extensive park network along with urban conveniences deliver a nice balance for potential buyers. Although there is a slightly higher cost of living, the county makes up for it with its transportation system and nicer neighborhoods throughout. There’s a versatile range of homes available ranging from quaint townhomes to new-construction mansions, making it ideal for any homebuyer. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home in Essex, each municipality has its own set of pros and cons to consider.

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Originally referred to as the “Second River”, Belleville was renamed in 1797. The township is actually the first city on the East Coast of the US to have its own Chinatown. Home to the Clara Maass Medical Center and Reformed Dutch Church of Second River, Belleville is filled with historical significance to explore. The New York City suburb features an urban-suburban mixed environment with numerous restaurants and coffee shops that reflect its ethnic diversity. Belleville attracts a lot of young professionals with its vibrant nightlife and low crime rates. The suburb also has many parks that provide outdoor sports and activities. From American Colonial homes to brick-clad townhouses, there are many properties available for individuals looking to buy.
The township is home to the Bloomfield Green Historic District which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With many of its residents serving in the Revolutionary War, Bloomfield has rich historical importance. Neighboring Glen Ridge, Montclair, and Newark, this township has incredible, noteworthy park systems. Brookdale Park covers 121 acres while Watsessing Park covers over 69 acres, providing endless outdoor recreational opportunities for its residents. Renowned for its strong public transportation options that include commuter rail, light rail, buses, and quick access to Newark and LaGuardia, Bloomfield provides that urban-suburban feel. There are a lot of restaurants and coffee shops to choose from, drawing in numerous young professionals.
Ranked by New Jersey Monthly as the fourth best place to live in Essex County, Cedar Grove was named after the cedar trees that used to cover its hillsides and valleys. Originally a small farming town, the township is bounded by North Caldwell, Little Falls, and Upper Montclair. There are several parks and recreational areas including Mills Reservation, a county park that consists of over 1557 acres of protected woods. Beautiful views of New York City can be found through its walking trails. The excellent public and private school choices attract a lot of young families. With wonderful public transportation systems in place, Cedar Grove boasts a dense suburban feel that’s shown through its bountiful coffee shops and restaurants.
This city derives its name from William IV, the Prince of Orange. Originally a part of Connecticut’s New Haven Colony in 1666, the City of Orange features numerous tree-lined streets and well-maintained homes despite its urban feel. Located by Glen Ridge, the township has a noteworthy public library that contains 200,000 volumes and great school options. Portions of the township are included in the Urban Enterprise Zone which encourages employment and investment, offering shoppers a reduced tax rate on qualifying purchases. There are countless parks and coffee shops to explore here, often attracting a lot of families and young professionals. From contemporary ranch-style mansions to traditional two-story single-family homes, individuals can choose from a wide array of property types.
Once known for the incredible shade trees that lined its residential streets, East Orange still has many towering trees located throughout the city. The East Orange Public Library has a collection of 344,000 volumes and once included three branch buildings of the original 36 Carnegie-funded libraries. The close proximity to Newark and many public transport choices make the city ideal for commuters. The New York City suburb provides an urban environment that happens to draw in a significant amount of families. There are five parks and a golf course that serve the city, with Paul Robeson Stadium hosting local sports and Independence Day celebrations. Individuals interesting in purchasing a home can find a diverse range of housing from affordable condos to Colonial-style homes.
The township was once home to the historic amusement park Olympic Park and has a lot of history starting from its origin. Irvington is a suburb of New York City that offers its residents an urban-suburban atmosphere with a strong rental market. The vibrant bar and restaurant scene attracts both young families and professionals. With new developments and economic opportunities, Irvington is on the up and up. From Victorian-style multi-family units to stone-clad single-family homes, there are endless property types to choose from.
Livingston has one of the state’s highest income communities and was named after William Livingston who was the first governor of New Jersey. With a history that dates back to 1699, the township is now home to a suburban neighborhood which is around an hour commute from New York City. With nationally-recognized public schools, a highly diverse resident population, and a continued tradition of community volunteerism, Livingston draws in a multitude of families. Bounded by Roseland, West Orange, Millburn, and the Passaic River, this township has considerable corporate residents that help boost the local economy. Most residents commute to work from here but there many shopping and dining areas located within Livingston. It is also home to several performing arts organizations and has a thriving fine arts scene with numerous working artists across a variety of mediums. With more than 470 acres of wooded park, residents can enjoy outdoor recreation with city amenities.
The diverse, family-friendly community features a downtown area known as “Maplewood Center” or “the village” that’s filled with high-end boutiques, fine dining, and other great amenities. The Maplewood Center won New Jersey Monthly magazine’s Downtown Showdown in 2015. Maplewood is infamously home to a gayborhood and promotes both diversity and progressivism. With well-known architecture designed by famous landscape designers and architects lining the streets, there are also incredible performance venues and vibrant arts and culture scenes. Maplewood has been described by the New York Times as one of several “least suburban of suburbs, each one celebrated by buyers there for its culture and hip factor, as much as the housing stock and sophisticated post-city life.” The dense suburban environment has so many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. The top-rated public schools also attract a considerable amount of families.
Home to the South Mountain Reservation, Millburn has been ranked as the 53rd best place to live in the state by New Jersey Monthly. As one of New Jersey’s highest-income communities, the township was actually an agricultural settlement before it became a Victorian residential community in the 17th century. Neighboring Chatham, Florham Park, and Springfield, Millburn has fishing and kayaking available on the Rahway River. This township is home to Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Greenwood Gardens, and the South Mountain Reserve. Many commuting families reside here due to its proximity to Manhattan and direct train service available. Ranked by Niche as one of the best places to live in the state, Millburn provides a sparse suburban feel with an incredible selection of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.
This township has a long celebrated history of diversity which has attracted many towards the community. As a popular home for New York City commuters, Montclair features a multitude of parks and nature reserves. With over 153 acres of parkland spread across 18 parks in addition to another 124 acres of county parkland consisting of five parks, residents can enjoy extensive outdoor activities including hiking, tennis, skating, and swimming. Montclair is renowned for its historic architecture with six historic districts and 92 individual landmarks that have been listed on the Register of Historic Places. The township has an urban-suburban environment with a plethora of shops and restaurants to choose from. The great-rated schools draw in a lot of families and young professionals to the area.
As the most populated city in New Jersey, Newark is one of the nation’s major shipping, air, and rail hubs. Originally settled by the Puritans in 1666, the city is one of the oldest in the nation. Located at the mouth of the Passaic River, the waterfront area is an integral part of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Newark is divided into five political wards that each contain neighborhoods and communities that range in character from quiet suburban enclaves to bustling urban districts. Home to the oldest park in the US and the nation’s largest collection of cherry blossom trees, this city is known for its high cultural and racial diversity. With a lot of outside residents commuting here for work each day, Newark is one of the state’s largest employment centers ranging across various industries. The incredible historically-significant architecture and sculptures that line the streets are worthy of exploration. The city also has a well-known performing arts scene with thriving museums, libraries, and galleries. A wide array of parks serve the city, lending a beautiful balance between nature and city life.
Nutley is a township in Essex County and was once ranked by New Jersey Monthly as the 38th best place to live in New Jersey. Bordering Belleville, Bloomfield, Lyndhurst, and Clifton, Nutley has great park systems available. Their parks provide residents with football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, roller hockey, soccer, and other outdoor recreational opportunities. The New York City suburb provides an urban-suburban environment where most of its residents own their homes. The abundance of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops makes this an ideal place for young professionals. With good school systems available and a low crime rate, families also gravitate towards this township.
Ranked by New Jersey Monthly as the number 1 place to live in Essex County and the third best place to live in the state, Verona is a beautiful township with a history dating back to 1700. The temperate climate provides slightly cooler summers compared to New York City. Home to the world’s oldest and largest flag manufacturer, the township also has noteworthy parks and trails for providing great outdoor activities for its residents. Its public school district has been awarded three times with the Best Practice Award and was also named a “Star School” by the New Jersey Department of Education. With convenient, easy public transportation for commuting to Manhattan, Newark, and other boroughs in the state, Verona offers a wonderful option for individuals interested in buying a home.
Officially named the Township of South Orange Village, the suburban township was originally part of a territory that was purchased from the Lenape Native Americans in 1666. With a significant number of landmarks listed on the State and National Historic Registers, South Orange has a lot of history to discover. It is one of only a few villages that has retained gas light street illumination and has an incredibly-distinct architecture that’s highly varied. From single-family wood-framed houses to Tudor-style homes, the township also has a central business district with a lively restaurant and retail scene. Residents can enjoy community swimming pools and greenways for cycling and walking. Home to the Baird Center, there are numerous performing theaters and great arts and culture activities to attend. The urban-suburban feel attracts a significant amount of young professionals while the highly-rated schools also attract families.
With many scenes of the show, The Sopranos, filmed here in West Caldwell, the township has popular culture significance. Bordering Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland, this municipality features a dense suburban feel. Many retirees live in West Caldwell due to the wide array of amenities and outdoor recreational opportunities. With a low crime rate, top-rated public schools, and a good selection of parks available, the township is also very family-friendly. The close-knit community is made possible by free concerts, local parades, and other local events. From brick-clad townhomes to traditional two-story houses on larger lots, there’s a great variety of housing to choose from.
Located at the peak of the Watchung Mountains, West Orange has a stunning vantage point over the valleys to Manhattan. Thomas Edison was actually one of the numerous residents that lived here. His laboratory is currently a National Park and delivers incredible historical significance to the area. The township includes two large parks and many nature reserves that offer great outdoor activities. Residents can also fish and kayak on the Rahway River. The dense suburban feel and high ethnic and economic diversity bring a lot of young professionals. The town motto in West Orange is “Where Invention Lives”. With great school options and safe neighborhoods, West Orange is also a wonderful option for families. Individuals interested in purchasing a home can find a great variety of properties ranging from American Colonial-style homes to newly-constructed two-story houses.

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