Everything You Need to Know When Moving to the Fairfield Area of New Jersey
Moving to a new area is stressful. There's no way around it—even if the area you're moving to is as awesome as Fairfield, NJ. It's not just the packing and the actual move that makes this such a tough process—it's the research you need to do to get acquainted with your new place.
Whether you're already committed to moving to Fairfield, you're still on the fence, or you're only doing some explanatory reading, this guide is exactly what you need. Keep reading, and you'll find info on where to live in Fairfield, what to do, the job market, pros and cons, and a lot more. Let's dive in.
Fairfield Area Basic Info: Demographics, Jobs, Cost of Living
Perched in the northwestern part of Essex County, NJ, Fairfield Township is home to approximately 7,474 people (as of 2019). However, the area itself is huge and encompasses a few of the surrounding townships, including Montclair, Wayne, Clifton, Randolf, Livingston, and Chester. Spanning over 10 square miles, the Fairfield area has a population density of 745 people per square mile.
If you take a stroll around this area, you'll quickly notice that a majority of the people here are White (84.6%). The rest of the population is comprised of Asian (3.6%) and Hispanic or Latino (10.9%). The median household income in Fairfield is around $122,364. That's considerably higher than the US average, which currently stands at $67,521.
The Cost of Living in Fairfield
When it comes to the affordability of life, Fairfield isn't exactly cheap. According to data from Salary.com, the cost of living in Fairfield, NJ, is 21.2% higher than the national average. In case you didn't know, the national average is around $1,951.
With a median home price of $519,900, you'll have to dig deeper into your pockets to afford a house in Fairfield. The rent isn't cheap either. Apartments go for around $1,916 per month.
The Fairfield Job Market
The top industries here are manufacturing, healthcare, banking, and finance. As for the best companies to work for in Fairfield, they include Business Machine Technologies, Bradley Pharmaceuticals, Wall Street Financial, Kearny Bank, and Schratter Foods.
As of 2019, 94% of Fairfield residents ages 25 or older had attained a high school certificate or higher. Even more impressive is the fact that 46.9% had a Bachelor's degree or higher.
Getting Around Fairfield
Owning a car in Fairfield is more or less a necessity. The area is not navigable by bike, with bike scores averaging well below 30. As for the commute time, it's around 28.2 minutes, which is slightly higher than the national average of 27.6 minutes (as of 2019).
The public transportation options here are quite limited. For starters, the nearest bus stop from central Fairfield is 14 minutes away. Yes, you'll spot a few NJ Transit buses infrequently plying the area, but that's all you get. Bus fares are based on the number of zones traveled between your origin and your destination. The fare for a one-zone interstate trip is $1.50 ($.70 for children, persons with disabilities, and children).
Flyers: there is some good news for you. The Essex County Airport is just a stone's throw away, 7 minutes from central Fairfield. The airfare here is incredibly cheap, too, unlike other airports in the larger New Jersey area.
As for parking options, you'll likely be spoilt for choice. SP+ Parking in Wayne, Propark America in Montclair, and Livingston Mall in Livingston are all solid options. Of course, there a lot more parking spaces in Fairfield. You just have to know where to look.
Where to Live in Fairfield, NJ: The Lowdown on the Best Neighborhoods for You
When considering moving to a new area, it's only natural to want to focus on the neighborhoods with the best schools. Luckily for those moving to Fairfield, the quality of education here won't disappoint. Literally every neighborhood features a slew of high-ranking public schools, from elementary to middle to high school. There's the Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Essex Campus Academy, and Banyan School, just to name a few.
As for colleges, there's the well-known Essex County College West Essex Campus, located at the heart of Caldwell, 4.6 miles from central Fairfield. Caldwell University, ranked among the 10 Best Colleges in New Jersey for 2017, is also within the vicinity.
With that said, here's a rundown of the best Fairfield neighborhoods.
Montclair is one of those neighborhoods that has been unfairly overlooked for so long. Because of that, some lucky buyers found beautiful homes—think of two-story bungalows—for well under $200,000. But that's not the case anymore. Since the early 2000s, people have been flocking to this area, and now it's a tightly-knit community consisting mainly of working-class individuals and senior citizens.
Just north of Fairfield, near the famous South Mountain Reservation, is Livingston. This neighborhood offers some of the best views around. It has a minimalist feel, with well-known little shops that have been there for years. Of course, there are newer shops, galleries, and restaurants, but it's the quaint shops that give Livingston such a distinctive old-town vibe.
Randolph is known so much for its striking scenery as its beautiful trails. Here, you'll find a mix of young professionals, students, and senior citizens living in turn-of-the-century mission-style bungalows and Territorial-style houses. Plenty of restaurants and shops are within distance. You'll also love the area's recreation activities.
Morristown has been at the forefront of the Fairfield area renaissance from the very beginning. This beautiful neighborhood features a blend of the hip and the historical, with a wide range of houses, condos, and apartments to match almost any budget. The prime spot here is New Vernon: home to an eclectic mix of shops, bars, and restaurants.
No bigger transformation has taken place in the Fairfield area than in Wayne. Perched 6.4 miles northeast of Fairfield, Wayne has evolved from a decaying neighborhood to Fairfield's most-talked-about residential and recreational spot. Each suburb here has its own personality, with a variety of shops, restaurants, and boutiques in every direction.
What to Do in Fairfield: Nightlife, Culture, Art, and More
Montclair Jazz Festival
The Montclair Jazz Festival is a family-friendly festival held each August in the Montclair neighborhood. If you have a taste for live Jazz performances, this festival is for you. In no time at all, this event will have you buying a saxophone and attending Jazz classes. It's that good.
Big Greek Festival
This isn't your average festival. Each year in June, thousands of locals and guests flock to the Randolph neighborhood to eat, drink, and partake in the rich Greek culture. So big is this festival that if you don't book an entrance ticket a few weeks in advance, your chances of getting in are next to zero.
Yogi Berra Museum
Bask in the natural light that permeates this gorgeous building as you peruse the 180+ works housed in the Yogi Berra Museum. What makes this museum particularly unique is that it tells the unique story of Yogi Berra, by far the winningest player in baseball history. Feel like testing out your throwing skills? The museum has an interactive pitching experience that allows visitors to face off against an animated batter.
The Food Scene
Whether you are a steak devotee or a veggie buff, we promise you that the Fairfield area won't disappoint. Popular restaurants in the area include Prime 94 Steakhouse and Grill (for delectable steak), Tavern 292 (for delicious nachos and calamari), Jose Tejas (for tasty margaritas), Cucina Calandra (for flavorsome Italian staples), among others.
Bars and Nightclubs
Fairfield area residents are hippies at heart. As such, expect to find dozens of high-end bars and nightclubs when you move to this side of New Jersey. Raven Room, Maggie's Town Tavern, The Landmark, Just Jakes, and Tierney's Tavern are just a few of the many entertainment joints thronging this area.
For fans of live music, we recommend you check out Thatcher McGhee, Tavern off the Green, and Grasshopper off the Green. For those with more refined tastes, check out the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Newark.
Weather and Outdoor Activities
As with the rest of New Jersey, the Fairfield area has a fairly moderate climate, with cold winters and warm, humid summers. Over the course of the year, the temperatures here typically vary between 30°F and 75°F, with a more pronounced difference in the months of January and July.
Fairfield's outdoors is just as beautiful as its weather. The options for kayaking, bird-watching, camping, backpacking, fishing, and hiking in this area are virtually endless.
For those who enjoy the serenity and solitude that nature provides, you'll definitely want to check out Great Piece Meadows. Spanning over 7,000 acres of freshwater swamps, this outdoor gem is located inside the bow of the Passaic River. It's so huge that it extends to the neighboring towns of Montville and Lincoln Park. Fishing is a huge thing here, so make sure you bring the appropriate equipment when visiting.
Head up north towards Wayne, and you'll find yet another outdoor gem: Farny State Park. Visitors can enjoy pristine wetland scenery while kayaking, hiking, or fishing. Those who've been here before will tell you that this slice of New Jersey beauty offers more than just the majestic views—there's plenty of luscious woodlands, terrace gardens, and manicured flower beds as well.
If you'd rather unwind quietly than splurge in the water, then you'll definitely want to be in one of Fairfield's many RV parks and campgrounds. There's the Mahlon Dickerson Campgrounds, SunAir Lakeside Camp, Cranberry Run Camp, among others.
When it comes to outdoor activities for kids, the Fairfield area is well and truly endowed. South Mountain Fairy Trail, Taylor Park, Castle Playground, Tenafly Nature Center, and Edge of the Wood Outfitters are all places you take your kids to.
Moving to the Fairfield Area: Cross-town Moves vs. City-to-City Relocations
Moving to Fairfield from neighboring towns is pretty much straightforward. There isn't a lot of logistics involved. All you've got to do is change your mailing address, and you're good to go. Change-of-address forms are readily available at the clerk's office in Fairfield, so feel free to pick them at your earliest convenience.
That said, moving to the Fairfield area from a new city or county presents a unique set of challenges. There's often a lot of paperwork to fill out. Depending on the neighborhood you'll move to, here are things you'll want to do as soon as you settle in:
1. Vehicle Registration
2. Voter Registration
Be sure to re-register as a voter at the clerk's office, located at 60 West Broad Street, Bridgeton, NJ 08302. Alternatively, you can have a registration form mailed to you, but you'd have to call the clerk's office at (865) 453-4860 first to enquire.
3. Set Up Utilities
There are multiple utility companies in this area, so the first step in powering up your new home is to find out which one serves your exact area. Your best bet would be to start with Public Service Electric & Gas(800-436-7734) or Jersey Central Power & Lights(800-662-3115), whose service areas likely have your new location covered.
4. Change of Address
Lastly, remember to update your address to reflect your new neighborhood. You may submit a change-of-address form at the clerk's office or use a mail-in change-of-address form. For the latter, though, you'll have to confirm with the authorities first.
Some Other Things You Should Know About Living in Fairfield (A Few Pros & Cons)
- Unrivaled art scene: Art is such a big deal in the Fairfield area. There's literally a museum or art center every few miles. So if you're into authentic art and contemporary paintings, moving to Fairfield would be a good idea.
- Friendly and warm people: Fairfield residents are kind to a fault. Forget what you've ever heard about New Jerseyites; the folks here will have you falling in love with this place in no time.
- Brace up for some traffic: While not as bad as other townships, the Fairfield area has its own issues with traffic. I-80 and US Route 46 are particularly prone to traffic during rush hour.
- House prices are rising: The average home in Fairfield just soared above $500,000 for the first time—and is still increasing.
Ready for Your Move to Fairfield?
It's not so hard to see why the Fairfield area is so loved by many. From the food to the rich heritage to the irresistible outdoors, Fairfield has it all. We wish you the best as you prepare to start yet another chapter of your life.
If you decide to take the plunge and move to the Fairfield area, don't hesitate to reach out to the friendly, honest, and professional movers at College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving. We facilitate city-to-city relocation and cross-town moves, and we would love to help.
And if you're looking for helpful recommendations or up-to-date moving tips, feel free to check out our Moving Resources.