Top Downtowns and Main Streets in New Jersey

Explore some of the best downtown areas in New Jersey, where you’ll find new shops, trendy restaurants and one-of-a-kind sights.

At the center of every town is a bustling downtown that breathes life into the city. From North to South Jersey and everywhere in between, there are places with charming Main Streets and local hot spots to discover. 
 

NORTH JERSEY

WALKABLE STREETS AND DOWNTOWN FESTIVALS IN NORTH JERSEY

1. Maplewood

Touted as one of the “coolest suburbs in America” by Apartment Therapy, the ever-charming Maplewood is known for its downtown events like Maplewoodstock (a free music and art festival), Rent Party (a monthly live-music series), Art Walk (a fine arts and crafts show, plus live music), and Dickens Village (a unique take on a Christmas festival). And if events aren’t your thing, a simple stroll down Maplewood Avenue offers plenty of excitement with art galleries, family-friendly restaurants, shopping and more. And did we mention there’s free parking?

2. Hoboken

The Mile Square City gets its nickname from its walkable size of about one square mile. And, although Hoboken may be small, it’s bursting with activity. Visitors flock to the waterfront for bike rides, kayaking, and to enjoy the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. The downtown streets are lined with wide sidewalks that take you to family-owned eateries like Lepore’s Home Made Chocolates, hot spots like Elysian Cafe, and local shops like Little City Books and Washington General Store.

3. Morristown

Morristown is the place to go for history buffs. This Revolutionary War era town is well-known as the location of Gen. George Washington’s headquarters for two winter encampments. But modern-day Morristown also boasts a quaint downtown, centered around a grassy area called “the green,” where visitors and locals alike can be found tossing frisbees or enjoying a picnic. On top of all the shops, restaurants and cafés, the town is also home to Mayo Performing Arts Center, which hosts more than 200 events each year.
 

CENTRAL JERSEY

REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY AND FOODIE FAVORTIES IN CENTRAL JERSEY 

4. Cranford

Cranford attracts people of all ages with its art galleries, clothing boutiques, antique shops, and impressive dining options. Listed as one of New Jersey’s best under-the-radar dining destinations by NJ.com, this small town has iconic eats like the historic Cranford Hotel, upscale seafood at 100 Steps Kitchen + Raw Bar and even Moroccan fare at Oasis Restaurant.

5. Somerville

Somerville’s rich history combined with modern shops, new restaurants, and interesting architecture make this downtown a destination. Explore historic sites like the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage, experience downtown events hosted throughout the summer or visit on Memorial Day to witness one of the most prestigious bike races in the country, the Tour of Somerville.

6. Princeton

A great place for lovers of history and art, there’s more to Princeton than its famous university (although the stately campus grounds are certainly worth a visit). Learn about the 1777 Battle of Princeton and check out the Battle Monument or head to the Princeton University Art Museum and the McCarter Theatre Center for a little bit of culture. Hit up downtown’s main drag, Nassau Street and Palmer Square, for chic shops, fresh restaurants and entertainment.
 

SOUTH JERSEY

LOCAL BITES, WALKING TOURS AND ENDLESS SHOPS IN SOUTH JERSEY

7. Haddonfield

A picturesque town with colonial architecture, Haddonfield is a must-see. The lively main street, Kings Highway, is packed with more than 200 shops, boutiques, galleries, studios and cafés. History buffs should visit the Historical Society of Haddonfield in the stately Greenfield Hall (built 1841) and stop by the town information center for maps of all the historic hot spots around town.

8. Mount Holly

Visit from May to September to take a historic walking tour of this quaint town – or wait for spooky season and try the haunted walking tour in October. Mount Holly has great eats and shopping year-round. Head to High Street and grab a bite at The Local Eatery and Pub and try some brews at Village Idiot Brewing Company. Then visit the shops at Mill Race Village for one-of-a-kind and handmade wares. 

9. Pitman

The heart of Pitman is referred to as Uptown, where you can walk along Broadway for shopping and dine at locally-owned hot spots like Milkweed Table + Market (no chains here!). Grab a drink at Kelly Green Brewing Co. or Neck of the Woods Brewing, and be sure to catch a live performance or concert at the historic Broadway Theatre of Pitman.
 

JERSEY SHORE

RELAXING BEACH TOWNS AND UNFORGETTABLE SHOWS ALONG THE JERSEY SHORE

10. Asbury Park

This eclectic shoreside town has become a unique cultural epicenter. Known for its music scene, Asbury Park houses the legendary Stone Pony, where icons like Springsteen and Bon Jovi got their start. You can also see up-and-coming bands play nightly at local bars. For even more performances, check out The Saint, House of Independents, The Wonder Bar or even the Premier Theatre Company. Come for the shows, but don’t skip Asbury Park’s diverse dining options and quirky shops.

11. Spring Lake

The adorable beach resort town of Spring Lake offers an escape from the typical hustle and bustle of the Shore. It hosts the longest non-commercial boardwalk in the Garden State. Dubbed the “Jewel of the Jersey Shore,” the town is – in a word – scenic. Enjoy the manicured parks, tree-lined streets, and Victorian architecture. Stroll down Third Avenue to explore upscale shops, locally owned cafés and fine dining. 

12. Cape May

A beachside getaway where everything is just a walk or bike ride away, Cape May gives you all the small-town America vibes with mom-and-pop shops and family-owned restaurants. The entire city is a National Historic District and there are hundreds of Victorian buildings. Take a history tour and then explore Washington Street Mall, a pedestrian-only outdoor mall that doubles as the town square and offers boutique shopping, tasty eateries and seasonal events. 
 

As always, we recommend checking the websites and social media channels of your destinations before you go, to ensure you have all the up-to-date info you need. For even more to do in New Jersey, download our free official travel guide, sign up for our e-newsletter and explore even more cities and regions in New Jersey.