Vibrant culture comes to life in North Essex with the existence of renowned museums, galleries, modern event venues and several high-quality theatrical troupes. Artists of all kinds have always been attracted to the natural beauty of North Essex, especially the trendy Montclair area.
Located in downtown Montclair is the Montclair Art Museum, which features a collection of beautiful American and Native American art. Permanent and traveling exhibitions are discovered here, as are plenty of educational programs and public events. Montclair is also home to the Luna Stage’s Off-Off Broadway performances, the Studio Players and Montclair State University’s 500-seat Alexander Kasser Theater. The Verona-based ArtsPower offers fine family and children’s theater. The county has also welcomed well-known film and television directors who have utilized the area’s small-town features and scenery for various productions.
History buffs revel in the number of historical sites located throughout North Essex. Active historical societies and preservation committees work to preserve local treasures such as Roseland’s 1824 Harrison House, the Crane House in West Caldwell, the Evergreens in Montclair and the restored Morgan House in Cedar Grove.
Baseball enthusiasts regularly visit Yogi Berra Stadium, host to both the New Jersey Jackals professional baseball team and the MSU Red Hawks. Adjacent to the stadium is the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, which welcomes patrons to peruse through a collection of historic photographs and artifacts depicting the history of baseball, the heritage of the New York Yankees and the career of Yogi Berra himself.
A short drive to Newark provides even more arts and entertainment avenues for North Essex residents. Noted as the state’s largest museum, the Newark Art Museum is lined with 80 galleries featuring American, Asian, African and Classical art collections. The 1885 Victorian Ballantine House, a National Historic Landmark, houses the Museum’s decorative arts galleries. Visitors can also take a trip into space at the Alice & Leonard Dreyfuss Planetarium or visit more than 100 animals at the Mini Zoo.
Newark is home to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, one of the largest performing arts centers in the country, offers a nationally recognized arts education program and hosts a fantastic free outdoor summer music series, the JPMorgan Chase Sounds of the City, at its three-acre Theatre Square on Thursday nights.
In addition to nearby New York City’s theatrical offerings, museums, galleries and nightlife, residents have access to East Rutherford’s Meadowlands Sports Complex within a quick half-hour drive. This large-scale entertainment hotspot hosts the Meadowlands Racetrack; Giants Stadium; and the IZOD Center, home to the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Coming soon to the complex is the exciting 4.8 million-square-foot Xanadu Meadowlands.