Living In South Orange

South Orange, NJ Real EstateSouth Orange, NJ Real Estate

In my opinion, South Orange, NJ has the most beautiful houses in New Jersey. From Montrose to Newstead, South Orange homes are filled with original detail and craftsmanship that could never be recreated in today’s world, be they mid-century fabulous or grand Victorian. Another feature that makes South Orange so attractive is its gas street lighting which casts a warm glow at night and eliminates unsightly overhead electrical wires from the streets. You cannot beat the under 30 minute train ride to Manhattan. South Orange is known for its creative community of musicians, artists, etc., as well as being home to Seton Hall University.

South Orange’s proximity to South Mountain Reservation and its active Baird Recreation center offer many choices for hiker, bikers, tennis players and the like. There have been several great recent additions to the Village’s downtown including luxury rental buildings, performing arts center/theater and a gourmet market. The town shares a school district with neighboring Maplewood. Columbia High School is known for its wide selection of advanced placement courses, strong arts curriculum and champion fencing team.

We recently planned a get-together with some local residents of South Orange and Maplewood to talk about life in these beautiful suburban communities. In our video you will get an inside view of the look and feel of SOMA through the eyes of these local residents. They talk about the town’s diversity, best features, commuting, schools and more.

The Commute

South Orange is about 30 minutes by car from Manhattan via Route 280. South Orange has two train stations—South Orange being the main station in downtown South Orange and Mountain Station in the Montrose West area. Service from Mountain Station only runs to Hoboken, but a connection with a Mid-Town train can be made in Newark. The train ride to Manhattan via NJ Transit’s Mid-Town Direct service is about 25 minutes. Hoboken service is also available which brings commuters to lower Manhattan via PATH or ferry connection.

Many people walk to the train station, but South Orange has a jitney service that shuttles commuters from various neighborhoods to the station as well. A year long jitney pass is $300 per year. Click here for jitney fee schedule information S. Orange Jitney Fees/Rules and here for jitney route maps S. Orange Jitney Route Map

There is a waiting list for resident and non-resident parking permits at the train station. Please click on this link for the latest information on permit fees: and here for wait list information:

The South Orange/Maplewood Schools

The Public School District of South Orange and Maplewood

The Public School District of South Orange and Maplewood is made up of six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school, and serves more than 6,800 students. It is supported by an involved parent organization, talented faculty, and a diverse student body. The vision for the district is “to be the top performing diverse suburban school district in the nation.” The goal is to provide each student with “rigorous academic opportunities to reach their personal college and career aspirations.”

A new preschool center, named the Montrose Early Childhood Center, was opened in December 2015. Full day and half day options are available for 3 and 4 year old children.

The mission of the elementary schools is to provide a learning environment that engages and challenges all students. Students are encourages to strive for excellence in all that they do while caring for and respecting one another. They are encouraged to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. The elementary schools are:

  • Clinton Elementary (K-5)
  • Jefferson Elementary (3-5)
  • Marshall Elementary (k-2)
  • Seth Boyden Elementary Demonstration School (k-5)
  • South Mountain Elementary (k-5)/South Mountain Elementary Annex (k-1)
  • Tuscan Elementary (k-5)

The South Orange Middle School is committed to ensuring that all students develop the skills and knowledge to be college and career ready. The curriculum is diverse and rigorous and is rooted in real-world issues and problems. Students learn in an environment that promotes “positive decision making and responsible citizenship.”

Columbia High School is where students of South Orange and Maplewood learn together. More than 1,800 students are offered a wide range of elective classes in addition to their core curriculum, and more than 20 Advanced Placement courses are offered as well. To round out their high school experience, students can choose from 50 extra curricular activities and from 27 varsity sports offered through the championship athletic program.

Private and Parochial Schools Near South Orange: There are many excellent private and parochial schools in the area. Some of those options are:

  • Delbarton
  • The Far Brook School
  • Golda Och Academy
  • Kent Place School
  • Montclair Kimberly Academy
  • The Morristown Beard School
  • Newark Academy
  • Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child
  • Oratory Prep
  • The Peck School
  • The Pingry School
  • Saint Peter’s Prep
  • Saint Rose of Lima School
  • Seton Hall Prep

Preschools Near South Orange: There are also many excellent preschool options in the area. A few of the many options are:

  • Morrow Memorial Preschool
  • Prospect Co-Op Nursery School
  • Kinder-Gan Preschool
  • Le Parc Place
  • Beginnings Christian Preschool
  • La Petite Academy
  • Open Door Nursery School
  • Weekday Cooperative Preschool
  • Little Stages Child Day Care
  • Beth El Nursery School
  • South Mountain YMCA Childcare

For a more extensive list and a little information about each preschool, read my blog post on Choosing a Preschool or Daycare Center in the Maplewood/South Orange Area.


The Vibe

Check out some of these places and websites to get a feel for South Orange’s unique vibe

Unique to Town

  • South Orange Performing Arts Center is a modern arts center with a 440 seat auditorium, a dance studio and five movie theaters. Comedians and recording artists perform here, and the arts center hosts Seton Hall University Arts Council performances.
  • The Orange Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1880 as one of the first tennis clubs in the United States. The club had 10 artificial turf courts, 10 grass courts and five platform tennis courts.
  • The South Mountain Reservation, a 2,000 acre natural preserve, offers open space, picnic areas, barbecue sites, hiking trails, paddle boats and more.
  • The Baird is a multidisciplinary center featuring a theater, a basketball court, tennis courts, the Pierro Gallery of South Orange and the Giants of Jazz concert series.
  • The Pierro Gallery’s mission is to offer exposure to contemporary visual artists. It exhibit the works of established and emerging visual artists in a non-commercial, user-friendly venue.
  • Giants of Jazz, an annual one-night festival, has established South Orange as a major jazz venue.
  • South Orange Summer Nights is a free summer concert series held in the park each Wednesday night in July. Music, food trucks and activities for kids an families is featured at each concert.
  • TAU, a monumental black painted steel sculpture by South Orange native Tony Smith, can be found in Meadowland Park. Tony Smith was one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century.
  • Seton Village Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival is an annual event held in the heart of Seton Village on Irvington Avenue with live music, extravagent food choices and craft beer.

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