When asked what they like best about living in South Orange, residents almost invariably cite three attributes: the rich and varied architecture, the demographic diversity, and the easy commute to Manhattan. The latter two have a lot to do with the fact that New York City is the point of origin for a high percentage of South Orange’s residents. South Orange is often linked to Maplewood, the equally diverse neighbor with which it shares a school district and some common history. The midtown-direct train line, instituted here in 1996, decreased the commute into the city from 50 minutes to 30,and popularity of the two towns boomed. South Orange has a hip, college-town feel as it is home to Seton Hall University and “a collection of shops that cover a little bit of everything,” according to NJ Monthly. Its performing arts center–created in conjunction with SHU–is a triumph and has been increasing its influence every year. With a diverse selection of homes, life in South Orange combines the best of metropolitan sophistication and small town charm.
Interactive Map of Maplewood and South Orange:
View Maplewood/South Orange in a larger map
TRANSPORTATION & COMMUTING:
South Orange is convenient to all means of transportation such as buses, train, and highways. The M&E Train Line is a quick 30 minute ride from South Orange into Penn Station. NJ Transit
SOUTH ORANGE SCHOOLS (SAME AS MAPLEWOOD!)
South Orange schools are part of the unified South Orange-Maplewood School District, together with the neighborhood community of South Orange. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 school enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are six K-5 elementary schools :
- Clinton Elementary School (K-5, 467 students)
- Jefferson Elementary School (3-5, 351 students)
- Marshall Elementary School (K-2, 422 students)
- Charter School Seth Boyden Elementary School (K-5, 500 students)
- South Mountain Elementary (2-5) / South Mountain Elementary Annex (K-1; 513 students combined)
- Tuscan Elementary School (K-5, 594 students)
- Maplewood Middle School (703 students) and South Orange Middle School (700 students) for grades 6-8.
- The combined district features one public high school, Columbia High School, with 1,999 students.
South Orange-Maplewood School District
Vision: The South Orange-Maplewood School District will be the top-performing diverse suburban school district in the nation.
Our Mission: To prepare each and every student, regardless of demographic or socioeconomic background, for postsecondary educational success, and to educate all students to be responsible and productive members of the global society at large.
Our Lady of Sorrows School is a K-8 elementary school operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
Seton Hall University is located in South Orange. The University was founded in 1856 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and named after Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint. South Orange has a college feel with this Division I university located along the east side of South Orange Avenue, the community’s main boulevard. The school serves approximately 9,700 students.
OUR FAVORITE SOUTH ORANGE RESTAURANTS:
Stony’s – The best fish tacos around!! Be sure to sit on the back patio and try to catch a night with live music. Also,if you like hotdogs, go no further. They grill them till they crack, the bun is even toasted, and you can put as many toppings as you want on for free. Yum—my mouth is watering just thinking of it. Oh, you also have to order the sweet potato fries. To die for!!
Village Diner- Best place for brunch – I love the whole wheat french toast with crispy bacon. Yum!
Coldstone Creamery – Walk to town and enjoy an ice crea – and get the kids size – its very affordable and a great treat.
Giovanni’s – Fancy Italian done by Italians.
Toro Loco – Great Mexican food and even better margaritas.
Haru Sushi – Super fresh and a great lunch menu.
Café Arugula – This restaurant is situated where the old Grunings used to be (remember Grunings??) and is a delicious Italian restaurant. When it opened almost 15 years ago, the owner, Carlo, was only 21 years old!! His know-how of food and restaurants was way beyond his years, and this wonderful BYOB place is delicious and consistent. Don’t forget to try the Prince Edward mussels in Fra diavlo sauce. And dip!!
Above Restaurant – this new addition to S.Orange is “above” Ashley Market (get it?) and is an upscale Mediterranean restaurant/bar with inside/terrace seating. The atmosphere is beautiful and this is a real special occasion restaurant, or a great place to go for a drink after getting off the train.
Antonella’s – this husband/wife team came to South Orange around 10 years ago and made it clear they were not going anywhere. They have expanded the restaurant to 2 rooms, and if you are lucky, the chef (husband) comes out and talks to the customers. Antonella(wife) is the hostess. Very warm, inviting atmosphere and the food is delicious to boot!
SOUTH ORANGE GROCERY STORES
Ashley Market: An upscale specialty market that is chock full of goodies and fresh food. Pricey but a fabulous addition to the town
Stop & Shop: For big shopping and lots of deals. 24 hours
Trader Joes: Nearby on Millburn Ave, Millburn
Whole Foods: Also nearby on Springfield Ave, Union
Target: Also nearby on Springfield Ave, Union