Situated in northeast New Jersey, Eastern Passaic County is home to diverse areas of suburban neighborhoods and rural tranquility. Shopping and dining options within the county provide plenty of opportunity for entertainment, while green spaces and public parks afford fitness
enthusiasts and nature lovers convenient access to trails, lakes and panoramic mountain views.
Just 30 miles northwest of Manhattan's city center, the area remains a hub for commuters looking to enjoy serene natural beauty while continuing to be a short ride away from the city. With a thriving economy and dedication to the cultural heritage of the land, the county takes care of its residents.
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Restaurants & Nightlife
The area's dining options range from diner standbys and casual pizza joints to fine French dining and steakhouses. Brady's Prime 15 Steakhouse and Grill in Ringwood includes two dining rooms, a large indoor bar and an outdoor patio and bar area. Plenty of beers on tap at the bar and generous happy-hour specials make Brady's a good spot for an after-work drink. Try the Cajun chicken sandwich or the fried calamari for sure winners.
There's no place around like Libby's Lunch in Paterson,
a divey diner serving the region's best chili dogs. Fries smothered in gravy, hot wings and unctuous burgers round out the menu in this cozy spot.
Manhattan's close proximity makes getting out for a raucous night easy, but the nightlife within the county comes packaged in cozy lounges, rustic restaurant bars and casual pubs. The Tree Tavern Wine Bar hosts an intimate space brimming with an extensive wine list and knowledgeable bartenders. An outdoor pavilion makes for a relaxing area to spend a warm summer night while enjoying a cabernet or Bordeaux.
History & Culture
Paterson, the country's first "planned" industrial hub, remains responsible for innovations such as the first television station to transmit a signal to residents' homes
and electrical cables used in wiring for Thomas Edison's inventions. Immigrants flocked to its neighborhoods in the late 19th century, building up the rural areas to residential neighborhoods. Today, the county remains a culturally diverse and thriving industrial hub, with abundant corporations and big business within its borders.
In celebration of the area's devotion to its rich cultural history, the Clifton Arts Center and Sculpture Park hosts an impressive visual arts exhibit. Housed in two renovated 20th-century barns, the sculpture garden features more than 30 sculptures, and the art center hosts other fine art in an interactive environment. The Great Falls Historic District houses the Paterson Museum, where visitors can find relics of the region's roots.
Most residents own a car, as much of the area isn't easily accessible by public transportation. Major highways that travel through the county are the Garden State Parkway, Interstate 287, Interstate 80, U.S. Route 202 and U.S. Route 46. Parking within the area remains abundant, with some areas requiring prepaid parking spaces and metered or timed parking.
Rail service available on New Jersey Transit's Main Line has station stops in Hawthorne, Paterson, Clifton and Passaic while numerous New Jersey Transit bus routes stop throughout the county. Call ahead for a taxi or use your smartphone to book an Uber vehicle. Passaic County participates in the Complete Streets initiative, ensuring pedestrians and cyclists safety-focused access to area roads. New Jersey Transit participates by offering a "bike and ride" program that allows travelers to bring bicycles onto the trains and buses.
The price tag of living in eastern Passaic County tends to be lower than living in the nearby areas of Manhattan, Newark or Jersey City. Renting a one-bedroom
apartment costs $1,010 a month, with a few areas swinging on the lower end of that figure. Gas prices typically cost about 11 percent lower than the national average. Visiting a local pub comes with an $8 price tag for a beer, and a one-way ticket for a train ride to Manhattan's center costs $7.
Promenades, outlets, strip malls and downtown areas make up the shopping landscape within the county. Udelco in Hawthorne hosts a warehouse store unlike any you've been in. No decoration, no styling, just boxes upon boxes of vintage clothes ready for rummaging. That one unique piece from the '70s might be lodged at the bottom of its container, but it's well worth the effort.
Flipside II Records in Pompton Lakes endures as a local legend to punk kids and music snobs. Racks of vinyl, CDs and cassettes line the overflowing shelves. Bargain prices can't be beat, but the nostalgia you feel when you walk out with a bag of musical treasures is priceless.
Once Upon a Skirt in Clifton provides a unique shopping experience for those who want to avoid standard mall fashions. Carrying affordable yet chic party dresses with accessories to match is the store's specialty, and the staff can expertly style you for any occasion.
Grocery options include Shoprite locations in Wayne and Oakland, Stop & Shop in Ringwood, Haskell and Clifton and gourmet grocer Corrado's Market in Clifton and Wayne. Nouri Brothers Shopping Center in Paterson features a Mediterranean market carrying olives, fresh cheeses and a wide variety of hard-to-find ethnic items. Paterson Farmer's Market stays open 365 days a year and carries a wide variety of locally sourced produce, nuts, seasonal plants, and ethnic groceries.
Great Falls State Park in Paterson is a national landmark that holds one of America's largest waterfalls. A breathtaking display of the county's natural beauty, this urban oasis evokes awe from visitors.
Ringwood State Park includes hiking trails, swimming and boating, picnic areas and manicured gardens. A playground for the kids and a historical site giving tours to the public make this park a local favorite. Nearby, the Ringwood Dog Park allows dogs plenty of space in a fenced-in, off-leash zone. Shaded areas and benches are available for dog owners, and water fountains are provided for thirsty dogs.
Clifton's Downtown Street Fair transforms the main thoroughfare of Clifton Avenue into an open-air marketplace every spring. Vendor booths from local business and neighborhood artisans, live music and entertainment, family-friendly activities and an array of festival foods such as fried Oreos and beef on a stick lure the community out in celebration.