The 6 Best Places to Live in New Jersey (Ya Know, If You’re Looking to Relocate)

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

The suburbs are trending. And for soon-to-be-former city dwellers looking to migrate to greener pastures, the allure of the Garden State has never been stronger. With spacious homes, great schools, a family-friendly atmosphere and miles of shoreline, New Jersey is the move. Literally.

Whether you’re seriously considering decamping to the burbs or just like to fantasize from the comfort of your cozy Manhattan studio, there are plenty of spots one state over to entice you. From Princeton to Ocean City, we’ve rounded up the best places to live in New Jersey. (BTW if you’re not ready to relocate, these towns also make a fantastic weekend getaway.)


best places to live in new jersey princeton
Geoff Livingston/Flickr

1. Princeton, Nj

Coldwell Banker recently announced a list of the ten best places to live in New Jersey. And guess which town nabbed the top honor? If you answered Princeton, bravo! The real estate company noted home sales were up more than 30 percent in July and August of this year. Urbanites from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City are driving demand—and it’s easy to see why.

With a diverse population of approximately 31,000 residents—including many families and young professionals—Princeton doesn’t scream small-town USA (aka there’s a bit of that bustling urban feel.) Folks will find plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and green spaces, plus cultural attractions ranging from the Morven Museum & Garden to Princeton Battlefield State Park.

And, naturally, you can’t talk about Princeton without mentioning the prestigious Ivy League university. (For locals, orange and black remains *the* color combo. And nabbing season tickets to cheer on the lacrosse or basketball teams is a must.) It’s also worth noting that this emphasis on education isn’t just specific to the collegiate level. gave the area’s public schools an A+ rating across the board.

Places to stay before you make the move:

best places to live in new jersey montclair

2. Montclair, Nj

The uber-wealthy suburb of Montclair constantly ranks among the premier areas in New Jersey. Situated just 30 minutes from Penn Station, this affluent Essex County community has long been popular with city buyers.

Beyond its proximity to NYC, Montclair stands out as a terrific place to settle down with a livability score of 86 out of 100. In terms of taking that next step—perhaps even starting a family— cites excellent schools, well-maintained parks, a glut of outdoor activities and nightlife (because mom and dad deserve some grown-up time, amirite?) among its many accolades.

Consider yourself a lover of the arts? Browse the hip galleries, leaf through poetry tombs at Watchung Booksellers or take in a show at the Wellmont Theater. Montclair also offers cool cultural events, most notably the annual film festival.

With median sale prices hovering around $799,000, owning a home in this covetable enclave won’t come cheap. If you have the funds, the swishy suburban dream awaits. And, who knows, you might even wind up being neighbors with the likes of Stephen Colbert (the award-winning comedian and talk show host owns a posh pad in Montclair).

Places to stay before you make the move:

best places to live in new jersey madison
Doug Kerr/Flickr

3. Madison, Nj

Madison is perfect for people who aren’t entirely done with city life (or those still making the commute to NYC for work). Located just off the highway and under an hour from Manhattan, it’s an easy drive to the Big Apple. The train (Morristown Line) will get you to Penn Station in about the same time.

Madison also exudes a quaint storybook vibe. Expect a walkable downtown with many restaurants, cafes, boutiques, art galleries, historic buildings and The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. And while it’s always lovely, the scene in the summer is nothing short of utopian—kids running through sprinklers in the front year, families excitedly lining up outside the local ice cream parlor, the smell of hamburgers wafting through the streets. Did we mention the Memorial Day parade features floats, antique cars, live music and fire trucks?

This charming Morris County borough isn’t just some idyllic suburban fantasy come to life. There are salient, practical motives to relocate here, too. New Jersey Monthly highlights the low crime rate, reasonable taxes, stellar schools and rising home values as reasons Madison earned the distinction of first place in its 2019 top towns survey.

Places to stay before you make the move:

best palces to live in new jersey ridgewood

4. Ridgewood, Nj

The suburban dream is very much alive in Ridgewood. This desirable Bergen County destination impresses out-of-towners with its tight-knit feel and a wonderful sense of community. (It’s the sort of place where you actually know your neighbors and probably invite them over for barbeques in the summertime.) Safety and education also contribute to the high livability score.

The trade-off of being such a quiet, residential respite is that Ridgewood doesn’t have a lot, err really anything, in the way of nightlife. And the restaurant options are fairly limited. (We’d recommend driving over to the nearby city of Paramus to take advantage of that stuff.)

Though that certainly isn’t to say that you’ll be bored. Not sure how to fill your time? We’re big fans of the Saddle River County Park-Wild Duck Pond Area as well as Thielke Arboretum with its scenic walking trails and a shaded playground for the little ones. Pup parents should definitely check out the Ridgewood Dog Park. You can pick up one-of-a-kind gifts at Bookends or swing by the Schoolhouse Museum for a hit of history.

Places to stay before you make the move:

best places to live in new jersey ocean city1
Peter Miller/Flickr

5. Ocean City, Nj

A haven for summer holiday-goers and full-time residents, Ocean City has a wholesome reputation. From a livability standpoint, you can’t beat the pleasant coastal climate and tons of year-round outdoor activities. Ocean City also wins points for its pristine beaches and overall cleanliness. And because it’s a dry town, you don’t have to worry about noisy nightclubs or booze-fueled escapades.

This picturesque seaside gem is arguably best known for its iconic boardwalk that’s lined with a plethora of souvenir shops, ice cream stands, arcades, themed mini-golf and eateries. (Stop by Taters Famous Fries and Manco & Manco Pizza for a real-deal taste of the Jersey Shore.) Playland's Castaway Cove lures kids of all ages with the promise of classic amusement rides like roller coasters and the cyclone. Pop over to Gillian's Wonderland Pier for even more seasonal fun. Established way back in 1929, it touts a carousel and giant Ferris wheel.

Of course, there’s no rule that says you can’t bundle up for a boardwalk even when the temps dip. During the off-season, it’s also lovely to go birdwatching or explore the hiking trails in Corson’s Inlet State Park.

Places to stay before you make the move:

best palces to live in new jersey cherry hill
Victor Reynolds/Flickr

6. Cherry Hill, Nj

Work in Philly? Or, perhaps, your Fishtown rental is just starting to feel super cramped? Don’t be fooled by its New Jersey address, Cherry Hill is fully a suburb of The City of Brotherly Love. This affords residents the opportunity to enjoy world-class dining and see such attractions as the Liberty Bell in under 20 minutes!

A mini metropolis in its own right, Cherry Hill boasts a population of 70,965 and has plenty of stuff to keep you busy without ever leaving the area. Of course, everyone knows of the massive Cherry Hill Mall. As far as food, people rave about Caffe Aldo Lamberti. And classic diners like Ponzio's have been feeding hungry patrons for decades.

For some frosty fun, head to Hot Wheelz (formerly the Cherry Hill Skating Center). Bury The Hatchet Cherry Hill - Axe Throwing is a great spot for a date or group hang that’s guaranteed to relieve some pent-up aggression. Channel your inner artist while sipping vino at Pinot's Palette. Be sure to bring the kiddos to the Garden State Discovery Museum. Seeking opportunities for outdoor recreation? Don’t snooze on Cooper River Park.

Places to stay before you make the move:

Want to discover more cool places to visit near NYC? Sign up to our newsletter here.

headshot 2

Freelance PureWow Editor

Lindsay Cohn is a travel writer and serial trip planner who has visited 46 countries across six continents (and counting). When not globetrotting, she’s most likely either doing...