Great Small Towns in New Jersey: Summit


Named for its location at the top of the Watchung Mountains, the town of Summit, NJ is definitely worth the climb.  The six square miles that make up this great town offer the perfect mix of city chic and outdoor fun.  Summit boasts an eclectic downtown that is home to more than 200 unique boutiques and restaurants.  In addition, the town's great parks, recreational facilities and unique outdoor attractions make for a fun day trip for the entire family.  Check out some of our favorite Summit destinations below.  For even more great North Jersey towns check out our Guide to Great Small Towns in Northern NJ or our posts on Bernardsville and Chester.

Things to do

Explore the outdoors by visiting the Reeves-Reed Arboretum.  For more than 40 years, this beautiful public garden has educated its visitors so that they become better stewards of the environment.  Home to gardens, trails and greenhouses, the Arboretum offers plenty to explore.  Bring the kids to Discovery Saturdays  between the hours of 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.  Each week kids can discover a new plant, animal or environmental topic through experiments, stories, games and crafts.  The Arboretum also offers a variety of other programs including the upcoming Celebrate Fall , which will take place on October 26.  This annual event will feature arts and crafts, a costume parade, spooky trail walk and more.  Other programs include Maple Sugaring and Daffodil Day.

Enjoy the arts at one of Summit's artistic venues.  Check out the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, the state's largest institution dedicated to viewing, making and learning about contemporary art.  The Center's constantly changing exhibitions, tours and programs offer many ways for visitors to explore and create art.  The Sunday Art Afternoon program allows visitors of all ages to speak to local artists and create their own masterpiece. 

If the performing arts are more your style, Summit offers several great theaters.  The Summit Playhouse is one of the oldest community theaters in the United States.  The playhouse offers three plays a year, as well as a children's program.  Beginning in December, kids can enjoy the musical The Hundred Dresses, based on the beloved Newbery Honor book by Eleanor Estes.  The Stony Hill Players, located in the Oakes Memorial Center, offers three shows each season including a youth musical production in the fall, a musical in the winter and a dramatic show in the spring.  Upcoming shows include Bring It On, The Addams Family, Play On and Cabaret.  


Summit's fun downtown offers a variety of great places to shop.  Moms will delight in The Red Balloon, a children's clothing boutique that offers stylish apparel up to size 14.  Teens to tweens will love A to Zoom, a gift shop that provides the latest in trendy, retro gifts and accessories including momiji and hug me dolls as well as locker and room decor.  The town also offers a variety of women's clothing stores and accessory boutiques, including Beautylounge.  This chic little shop offers both fine and costume jewelry, body care products, art and antiques.  For a full list of stores, visit the town's directory.

Places to Eat

From upscale steak houses to casual diners, Summit is choc-full of choices when it comes to dining.  Food, a local favorite, serves old fashioned favorites with a contemporary twist.  Food serves lunch, dinner and a popular a la carte brunch on the weekends.  Winberie's Restaurant and Bar is another great pick for family dining, offering an extensive menu that includes steaks, burgers and pasta.  They also offer a children's menu.  If you're looking for something wholesome, The Eatery offers healthy, made from scratch options including salads, sliders and muffins.  Don't forget to satisfy that sweet tooth at McCool's Ice Cream and Yogurt Shop.  Offering more than 45 ice cream flavors, this ice cream parlor has been recognized by New Jersey Monthly Magazine for its Outstanding Milk Shakes.

Annual Events

The town hosts a variety of events including the Mayor's Fourth of July Celebration, Summer Outdoor Movies, Classic Car Shows, a Weekly Farmer's Market, and the upcoming Halloween Parade, which will take place on October 25.

Nearby Summit 

For more outdoor fun, head to the neighboring town of Short Hills to visit Greenwood Gardens and the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary.  Other nearby attractions include the Turtle Back Zoo and the Morris Museum.  

Jenkinson's Movies on the Beach
Beach across from Jenkinson's - various times Pick
State Fair Meadowlands
State Fair Meadowlands - various times Pick
Let's Learn Circuits
Zoom - Online - 9:30 AM
Spanish, Italian, or French Language Day Camps
GainVille Learning Center - 9:00 AM
Kids Art Classes at Hoboken Historical Museum
Hoboken Historical Musem - 10:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides