Skip to Content

20 Towns similar to Montclair, NJ

Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey.

The town Montclair was founded in 1868. The etymology of Montclair is derived from French, meaning clear mountain. Montclair is 12 miles west of Manhattan, which is a 30-minute drive.

Towns similar to Montclair are rich in history and have many buildings preserved and valued for their heritage. They have diverse communities and a vibrant, artistic scene. These towns also possess many beautiful parks and recreation centers.

Montclair is also home to Montclair State University. Many of these towns are known for their universities like Princeton, University Heights, Hoboken, and Lafayette.

20 Towns Similar to Montclair (New Jersey)

Park street, Montclair, New Jersey.

Montclair has about 100 different buildings listed on the National and State Register of Historic Places, and it boasts a vibrant art scene, a handful of art venues, and the Montclair Art Museum. There are approximately 20 public parks and recreation areas. There are also incredible views along the Hudson River.

1. Astoria (Oregon)

Astoria-Megler bridge in Astoria, Oregon.

Astoria is a port city founded in 1811, and it is the oldest city in the state of Oregon. It was the first community established west of the Rocky Mountains. The city is situated on the south bank of the Columbia River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean.

See also  Hiking to Monkey Rock in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

The Oregon Film Museum commemorates the legacy of film and film production. The Film Museum resides in the former Clatsop County Jail, and this was an actual, historical jail that ran from 1914 -1976. The National Register of Historic Places acknowledges the Clatsop County Jail.

The National Register of Historic Places is a series of locations, districts, monuments, buildings, objects, and sites acknowledged by the United States government for their overwhelming worth and contribution to society for their historical significance. The Register protects the property listed, and they qualify for tax incentives.

The Liberty Theater is in the town center of Astoria. This Theater upholds 1920s vaudeville-style movies and performances. Its preservation of old burlesque is one of the finest examples along the pacific.

2. Brooklyn Heights (Brooklyn)

Residential neighborhood in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

Brooklyn Heights is a residential neighborhood once called Brooklyn Village, and it was chartered in 1834. The neighborhood has numerous low-rise-styled buildings, distinctive brownstone rowhouses, and a handful of mansions.

In 1965 Brooklyn Heights was safeguarded from extensive development by forming Brooklyn Heights Historic District, the first historic district created in New York City. The district was listed by the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

The Center for Brooklyn History (initially called the Brooklyn Historical Society) is an exhibition hall, library archive, and academic institution constructed in 1863. It promotes, secures, and nurtures the study of Brooklyn’s 400-year past story. This building is a National Historic Landmark.

3. Cape May (New Jersey)

Shopping area in downtown Cape May, New Jersey.

This area was first claimed by the Kechemeche division of the Lenape tribe, who first encountered European settlers around the 1600s. Its location is found on the peninsula, the southern point of New Jersey.

See also  Kayaking on Lake Tahoe, Nevada – Everything You Need To Know

Cape May is acknowledged as the United States’ oldest seaside resort as Cape May 1 began accommodating holidaymakers and sightseers from Philadelphia in the mid-1700s. It’s a highly sought-after holiday destination to this date.

In 1976 the whole town of Cape May was formally selected as a National Historic Landmark for its exceptional value and contribution to society. Known as the Cape May Historic District- this is the only entire city in the United States privileged with this title. The preservation and protection of Cape May is the responsibility of the United States government.

Cape May city comprises approximately 600 Victorian-style homes, which appeal is appreciated by many visitors. The Victorian gingerbread buildings and the carpenter gothic style reflect the 1830s picturesque aesthetic of English architecture. The architecture is a revered quality of Cape May.

The Cape May Diamonds are clear quartz pebbles carried on the Delaware tide and washed up on Sunset Beach and other beaches. These pebbles are another sublime feature of the Cape May landscape that attracts tourists and are sold as souvenirs in novelty shops.

Culture plays an important role in the lifestyle and promotion of Cape May. The town holds a jazz festival, a film festival, and a theater founded in 1988. Cape May is also the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) hometown, founded in 1970. The Center for Community Arts (CCA) promotes African American heritage and culture.

Cape May Lighthouse was constructed in the year 1859 and still functions today. There are 199 steps to reach the height of the Lighthouse. The view of the Lighthouse encompasses Cape May City, Wildwood, Cape May Point, and Cape Henlopen in Delaware.

See also  15 Towns Like Dillon, Texas

The Lighthouse was registered by the National Register of Historic Places on November 12, 1973.

4. Carroll Gardens (Brooklyn)

Brownstone houses on street of Carrols Garden.

The neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, stretches to about 40 blocks; it was named after Charles Carroll, the sole Roman Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll Gardens was a settlement of Irish and Norwegian immigrants in the 1800s.

Currently, Carroll Gardens is made up primarily of Italian Americans, and this is evident in the businesses and culture of the Gardens. There are numerous memorials offered to the Virgin Mary in front of many homes, which heightens the atmosphere of Italian American culture.

A fresh proliferation of French nationals and descendants have made Carroll Gardens their home; because of this, it is referred to as Little Paris or Little France. The Carroll Gardens Historic District began development in the 1870s and was created by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1973.

5. Forest Hill (Newark)

Newark Public Library, Newark, New Jersey.

Forest hill is a community within the city of Newark in Essex County in New Jersey. The architectural style of Forest Hill ranges from the Colonial revival to, Bungalow/Craftsman, Beaux-arts, Victorian, Gothic revival, Spanish revival, and Queen Anne. Forest Hill is situated on a crest amid the Passaic River and the valley of the Branch Brook.

From 1870 to 1920, affluent families constructed stately, elegant homes. Along with the property development, there were also numerous social and literary clubs. Forest Hill is well maintained and preserved by the National Registers of Historic Places as of 1990.

The Historic District of Forest Hill is a quick shuttle to Manhattan, and standing tall within a square mile, there are 1 200 prominent buildings. It has several buildings recognized for their historic worth; this includes Sydenham House, Tiffany factory, and the Newark Public Library. There are tours offered by the New Jersey Historical Society that detail the avenues of the Historic District.

See also  20 Towns Similar to Newport, Rhode Island

The National Historical Register acknowledges the Castel of Forest Hill. This long-admired property is styled in historic Tudor and customary European persuasions and covers one-third of an acre. This property elevates Newark’s neighborhood from Italian marble floors and solid oak paneled doors.

6. Glen Ridge (New Jersey)

Map showing Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

Glen Ridge’s borough is in Essex County in New Jersey and was charted in 1895. Glen Ridge possesses old town charm as over 70% of the buildings were built before 1920. There are approximately 2 200 homes, with a population of about 7000.

The architecture of Glen Ridge includes Carpenter Gothic, Medieval, and High Victorian, the Queen Anne Cottage, American Georgian, Shingle Style, and the Prairie Home Style. The Historic Preservation Commission safeguards these impressive, exceptional, and aged buildings. The town formed the Commission.

Glen Ridge is a town of many varied legacies. However, the principal trademark inherited by the city from the founding members is that of gas lamps. In the United States, there are about 3000 gas lamps in operation, and Glen Ridge has 665 lamps.

7. Hoboken (New Jersey)

Pier a park in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Hoboken is a city along the Hudson bank, and it is located across Manhattan. Initially, Hoboken was an island, and it was inhabited by the Lenni Lenape, who are responsible for naming the island Hobocan Hackingh- this means land of tobacco pipe. Europeans settled in the 1600s.

The Elysian Fields of Hoboken was a recreational grassland that was the first recorded baseball game site. The Elysian Fields stretched along Hoboken’s northern riverfront. The final professional baseball game was played in 1873, as the extensive parkland was commissioned for development housing.

See also  Camping at Jones Lake, BC – Everything You Need To Know

Stevens Institute of Technology is an independent research academy in Hoboken, established in 1870. It is one of the oldest universities focusing specifically on technology and the first college committed entirely to mechanical engineering.

The university was built on Castle Point and is still in operation today. Two alumni have been awarded the Nobel Prize- Frederick Reines (class of 1939), in physics, and Irving Langmuir (Chemistry faculty 1906–1909), in chemistry.

Castle Point is the highest location of Hoboken. It is an escarpment that projects out over the river. Edwin Augustus Stevens was an inventor, engineer, and entrepreneur who built a 40 room Mansion on an area flanking to the point.

Steven’s bequest the land be used for the Stevens Institute of Technology.

8. Ironbound District (Newark)

A view of Passaic River, Newark, New Jersey.

The Ironbound District is a community in the city of Newark in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. Ironbound District is an extensive, diverse community that is deeply integrated. The district extends four square miles of sustained, well-kept roads, buildings, and houses.

The region was once known as Dutch Neck, Down Neck, or just the Neck, owing to the shape created by the bend of the Passaic River. The Ironbound District is dynamic and rich in history and culture. The multi-ethnicity comprises Spanish, Portuguese, Latin Americans, Polish, Lithuanians, Germans, immigrants, and descendants.

Ironbound got its name from the railroads and forges that helped build the industrial neighborhood. Balbach Smelting & Refining Company was the second greatest metal processing company in the United States until it shut down in 1920.

See also  15 Towns Like Greenwich, Connecticut

Ironbound’s heritage of poverty is evident in the neighborhood’s design and style of its buildings and homes.  The residents of Ironbound were in dire need of assistance, which resulted in the formation of the Bethel Mission in 1850. Saloons were the principal recreation spot before the advent of television or the radio.

In the 1930s, the Spanish Catholics constructed immense catacombs beneath the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The catacombs contained realistic wax figures of saints and martyrs, and there were no burials. The floorings, walls, and ceiling are lined with mosaics and murals.

Ironbound’s environment is vibrant, with many festivals and different facets of culture to enjoy. The Riverfront Park and Waterfront is parkland and recreation along the Passaic River. Activities such as riverboat tours and kayaking are enjoyed over the summer.

The festivities celebrate different cultures throughout the year; the Portugal Day Festival, Ecuadorian Day Festival, and Brazilian Day Festival.  The Portugal Festival or Dia de Portugal is enjoyed on June’s first or second weekend, and it is a massive festivity that draws about half a million visitors.

The Ecuadorian Day Festival is celebrated on the first or second weekend of August on Ferry Street. Prominent businesspeople and politicians attend this universally respected and recognized holiday, and about a quarter-million people come to the Festival.  The Brazilian day Festival is on the first or second weekend of September and attracts about 200 000 people.

9. Lafayette (Indiana)

Tippecanoe county courthouse, Lafayette, Indiana.

Lafayette is a city and administrative center of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. It was founded in 1825 on the southeast shoreline of the Wabash River. It is a two-hour drive southeast of Chicago. Lafayette is home to Purdue University.

See also  20 Towns Similar to Ann Arbor, MI

Purdue University was established in 1869 and named after John Purdue. Purdue intended to secure an establishment that promoted science, technology, and agriculture. Most of Lafayette’s economy is developed around the academic and industrial events of Purdue University.

The Tippecanoe County Courthouse is situated on the city square and was acknowledged by the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It belongs to the Downtown Lafayette Historic District, which the United States government recognizes for possessing exceptional historical value.

The courthouse was constructed between 1881 to 1884. It is a magnificent structure two and a half stories tall, built of Indiana limestone, with varied architectural styles of Second Empire, Beaux-Arts, Baroque, Rococo, Georgian and Neo-Classical. It was an immensely expensive undertaking.

The Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art is a public exhibition hall that secures the largest arrangement of Indiana art worldwide. The museum boasts over 100 pieces from the famed Indiana Hoosier Group, Regionalism, antiques, and other collectibles. The Haan Mansion is a member of the American Alliance of Museums.

The Jerry E. Clegg botanical garden is a noteworthy point of interest for visitors to Lafayette. This trail along Wildcat Creek is composed of prairie and oak savannah ecosystems. This garden attempts to reacquaint plants native to Lafayette to preserve the indigenous ecology.

10. Lambertville (New Jersey)

New Hope bridge in Lambertville, New Jersey.

Lambertville is located alongside the Delaware River. The settlement was named in 1810 after John Lambert, a United States senator and acting governor of New Jersey, who opened a post office that hallmarked the commencement of the town.

Lambertville has a handful of estates assigned on the National Register of Historic Places. The James W. Marshall House (1970), the Delaware and Raritan Canal (1973), the Lambertville house (1978), and the Kalmia Club (2012). Almost the whole city was assigned as the Lambertville Historic District in 1983.

See also  Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, BC - Everything You Need to Know (Pictures Incl.)

Lambertville City Hall was built in 1870 and has served as the City Hall since 1950. The New Jersey Historic Trust now upholds the former stone house of A.H. Holcombe. The Hall is described as elegant, and its architecture is styled on Second Empire.

Lambertville is characterized by drawing a miscellaneous assortment of artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Lambertville is renowned for its numerous art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants. The arrangement of dining prospects includes informal, eclectic, and upmarket.

11. Madison (New Jersey)

Madison main street, New Jersey.

The borough, Madison, is known for its historic railway station. Madison is called the Rose City to its namesake, President James Madison. It is frequently referred to as a college town as it encompasses three universities: Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and College of Saint Elizabeth.

The first Madison Public Library, the James Library, opened on Memorial Day in 1900. This beautiful building was constructed of granite and limestone, and it was gifted by Daniel Willis James, a businessman and philanthropist. James filled the library with 5000 books and developed the commercial James building across the street to finance the library.

The library was turned into a municipal building in 1958. Currently, the building is home to the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts. This building is cataloged on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum was created in 1969, and in it is an assortment of 8000 tools and artifacts employed in New Jersey before 1860. The building is styled in Romanesque revival. Madison is also the hometown of Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, possibly the most prominent Shakespearean organization in the United States.

See also  16 Towns Like Cape May, New Jersey

12. Maplewood (New Jersey)

Aerial view of Maplewood, New Jersey.

Residents of Maplewood consider their town an extension of Brooklyn. It is fashionable, vibrant, contemporary, and diverse. Although Maplewood is a suburb, its vibe and the overall feel is city life.

Annually there is Maplewoodstock, a concert it hosts numerous live bands and showcases small business stalls. Generally, Maplewoodstock takes place the weekend closest to July 4.

13. New Canaan (Connecticut)

Downtown area of New Canaan, Connecticut.

New Canaan, a town in Connecticut, is an hour’s train ride from Manhattan is belongs to the gold coast. The gold coast is a stretch of affluent waterfront estates. It is also referred to as Lower Fairfield County or Southwestern Connecticut.

New Canaan has many varied styles of architecture; however, it focused mainly on the modern design initiative that carried the style from the late 1940s to the 1960s. Approximately 80 homes were designed in the modern character, and 60 remain today.

The Harvard Five were responsible for the modern form of the buildings. They were a group of students and teachers that belonged to the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The Harvard Five that is Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John M. Johansen, and Eliot Noyes broke away from tradition and reinvented aesthetics in buildings.

An excellent example of the modern aesthetic in New Canaan is Phillip Johnson’s Glass House. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is responsible for a few buildings’ designs. The 1997 movie The Ice Storm is set alongside New Cannon’s modern designed homes.

14. Princeton (New Jersey)

Downtown area of Princeton, New Jersey.

Princeton borough, formed in 1696 and incorporated in 1813, and the Princeton Township was formed by Quakers in 1838.  The two settlements united to form the single Princeton known today.

See also  20 Towns Similar to Boulder, CO

The town is renowned worldwide for Princeton University. The town was established in 1746, and it was initially called the College of New Jersey. For a handful of months during 1783, Princeton acted in the capacity of the United States capital.

Congress met on the college campus, which resided on college hill.

Princeton is a college town as it offers many study institutions; these include Institute for Advanced Study, Westminster Choir College, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton Theological Seminary, among others.

Princeton is vibrant, with an elegant atmosphere but is also down-to-earth. Princeton business district has an assortment of specialty stores and nationwide retails. There is also Princeton Public Library, which is frequently visited with much to offer.

15. Prospect Heights (Brooklyn)

Metropolitan area of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

The tree-lined neighborhood of Prospect Heights differs from other Brooklyn neighborhoods as its smaller, and its culture is more varied. Prospect Heights has prime tourist attractions like Prospect Park, Brooklyn Public Library, Barclays Center, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Other Features of Prospect Heights are the rows of archetypal 1890s brownstones, a large part of Prospect Heights is selected a New York City Historic District. The Co-Cathedral of St Joseph was built in 1912. The area also has a church designed in the Gothic Revival.

16. Red Bank (New Jersey)

Aerial sunset view of Red Bank, New Jersey.

The borough of Red Bank is in New Jersey, which was incorporated in 1908. Red Bank is known as a social, business, and retail destination and is also a commuter town of New York.

Red Bank is responsible for the Mammoth Arts Council, dozens of photography studios, and art galleries. Numerous sites conduct live performances and plays. The Two River Theater, Basie Center Cinemas, the Vogel, and the Hackensack Meriden Health Center are venues presented by Red Bank.

See also  16 Towns Like Cape May, New Jersey

Outdoor events and undertakings that residents and tourists enjoy include sailing, boating, sculling, and fishing. From the 1950s, Red Banks holds the Annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale. Board Street hosts many festivities like the International Beer, Wine and Food Festival, Film Festivals, and the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival.

17. Spring Lake (New Jersey)

Beach houses in Spring Lake, New Jersey.

Spring Lake came into being in 1892 through an act of the New Jersey Legislature. It is often called the Irish Rivera. It is a small seaside destination with old Victorian architecture and a stately atmosphere.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Spring Lake underwent a gilded era and attracted beau monde residents. Martin Maloney Cottage and Audenried Cottage are celebrated in the remaining buildings of the style and design. Both are protected by the National Register of Historic Places.

The Spring Lake Community Theater is renowned for its quality productions, exceptional venue, talented performers, and intimate locality. The building was constructed during the 1920s, and it now contains an expectant atmosphere, nestled amongst tall trees and shady greenery.

18. Summit (New Jersey)

Streetscape view of Summit, New Jersey.

Summit was incorporated in 1869. Summit has a suburban character, with roads shaded in trees. The famous band- The Velvet Underground played their first performance in Summit at a high-school prom.

The Summit Opera House was constructed in 1890 by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and functioned as a place to convene and house entertainment. It is now a restaurant and apartment block.

The Summit Playhouse, built in 1891, is a gorgeous brick face, stone, and shingled building and presents varied live performances.  The Playhouse is one of the oldest active community theaters in the United States.

See also  20 Towns Similar to Newport, Rhode Island

The Watchung Reservation is a notable destination that offers horseback riding, hiking, and trailside adventure. There is also a science center that teaches the lineage, geology, and heritage of Watchung Reservation.

19. University Heights (Newark)

Essex County Courthouse, University Heights, Newark.

University Heights is so named due to the four individual universities belonging to the town. Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the New Jersey Medical School, and Essex County College.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd houses buildings deemed valuable in their heritage: Eberhardt Hall, St. Mary’s Abbey Church, Essex County Hall of Records, and Essex County Courthouse.

Eberhardt Hall was initially called Newark Orphan Asylum and is a time-worn structure, the oldest building in the New Jersey Institute of Technology. It was constructed in 1856-57 as an orphanage. It is Victorian gothic architecture registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

20. Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Bridge street scene, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The neighborhood of Williamsburg has, from the 1990s, been subjected to substantial gentrification. Williamsburg’s lifestyle is identified by a modern art scene, hipster fashion, and energetic nightlife. There are distinct ethnic areas grouped in individual enclaves, including Jews, Hispanics, Italians, Dominicans, Poles, and Puerto Ricans.

Many buildings have been registered in Williamsburg by Landmarks Preservation Commission, like the Kings County Saving Institution, Houses designed by William Lescaze, the Domino Sugar Refinery, and New England Congregational Church and Rectory.


Montclair is a vibrant, beautiful city that is a half-hour drive from Manhattan. Similar settings like Montclair are found in the beautiful buildings preserved, lush parks, and views of rivers and oceans. Newark, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Connecticut, and even Oregon and Indiana offer a range of feature felt in Montclair.

See also  Hiking to Monkey Rock in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

References: – Living in Montclair: A Lifestyle and Real Estate Guide to Montclair, New Jersey – Welcome to Carroll Gardens – A Guide to the Ironbound: Newark’s Culinary Gem – Home Page – Lafayette – 20 Ways to Have a Fun-Filled Day in Lambertville, New Jersey – Living in Princeton, N.J. – Williamsburg – Prospect Heights – Madison – Home Page – Hoboken – Brooklyn Heights