South Orange, NJ

What We Love About South Orange

  • Easy commute on train to NYC
  • Highly regarded schools
  • Walkable/bikeable
  • Large parks
  • Tennis, basketball, baseball, community pool
  • Seton Hall University
  • Average Tax Rate For Essex County

South Orange is located in Essex County, New Jersey, Gateway Region

South Orange is part of The Gateway Region of NJ and is only a short car ride from New York City at just 30 minutes.

The Gateway Region is home to major stadiums for soccer, football and hockey. Some of the most expensive and luxurious real estate in New Jersey can be found here along the Hudson River having incredible views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty. The Gateway Region also houses major transportation routes via water, air, road and rail, as well as being home to several major industries that play a vital role in the state's economy. Transportation hubs include Port Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Newark International Airport, The New Jersey Turnpike, Route I-80 (which runs all the way to San Francisco) and also major local, regional and national freight and passenger train lines. Many jobs are available here in healthcare, hospitality, transportation, warehousing, government, finance, insurance, wholesale trade, retail, technology and science, petrochemical and other manufacturing. These and other industries keep the economy strong in The Gateway Region. Being the closest NJ region to New York City means The Gateway Region includes a lot of the more densely populated towns, such as Jersey City, Patterson, Hoboken and Newark and, of course, the shortest commute times.

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Quick Facts

South Orange is located in Essex County, New Jersey

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Quick facts about South Orange:

COMMUTE TIME (Hour:Minutes) ⓘ

These times are based on info from New Jersey Transit and Google Maps. Shortest times are given. Use our map above to calculate more accurate commute times to any address.


Car ride to NYC.


Train service to NYC.


Bus service to NYC.


People per square mile gives you an idea of how much breathing room a town has. NYC has around 27,000 while a well equipped walkable town might have around 5,000. Smaller towns with more single family homes and large yards usually have under 1,000. Click on more info below to see where we get our data. 


Population estimate, July 1, 2019


Square miles


People per square mile


Median cost to rent or own is basically the average cost of renting or owning per month in any given town. It’s not exact. Median values include the most expensive dwellings and the cheapest dwellings all averaged together, but with some weight added to higher concentrations in the data set. Just gives you some basic basis of comparison between towns. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.


Median gross rent, 2014-2018


Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage, 2014-2018


Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2014-2018


Approximate tax on $100K of home value. Ex: If you pay $500K for a house, multiply the number in the left column by 5 to get an idea of what you will have to pay each year in property taxes.


Property taxes per $100,000 in home value.

Compare tax rates in South Orange area.


Gives you the ability to quickly see how much of a town has graduated from high school or higher ed. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.


High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2014-2018


Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2014-2018


Gives you an idea of how much people make in this town compared to other towns you look at. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.


Median household income (in 2018 dollars), 2014-2018


Gives you an idea of how old your neighbors might be. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.


Persons under 18 years


Persons 65 years and over


See more stats on race, income and housing
(Hint: Sort by using the “All Topics” pull down menu)

See more stats on property taxes in NJ (green is lower, red is higher)

Does it flood? (FEMA flood maps)


South Orange has regionalized its school district with neighboring Maplewood and the resulting system is large and well regarded, but there is an ongoing debate among residents. 

See the school scores

Walking and Biking Score

NOTE: All scores over 50 are actually good! Scores under 50 mean you would have a more difficult time

See walking and biking scores

Political Climate in New Jersey

As for most of New Jersey fewer than half of registered voters actually vote and most of the elections are decided by a fairly tight margin. Historically New Jersey has elected more Republicans to office; however, in recent elections conservatives are being edged out somewhat, in part because there are fewer registered Republicans than Democrats in most of the state. About 80% of the counties have more registered Democrats than Republicans, but elections are still tight. In general Republicans are better at getting out the vote on election night than Democrats. 

Essex County Voting Results by Town


School Scores – click on schools please

Walking and Biking Score – any score over 50 is good​

The Full Story of South Orange, NJ

What is it like living in South Orange, NJ?

A pleasant town with a core constituency of progressive-minded and welcoming young people, families, and retirees, South Orange is proud of its racial diversity, vibrant LGBTQ+ community, and its thriving arts and music scene. Anchored by South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), downtown has both casual cafes and restaurants as well as a few more upscale restaurants, a gourmet supermarket, a pharmacy, and a hodgepodge of other shops. New apartment buildings continue to add to the town’s vitality. South Orange Avenue runs through the heart of downtown, and despite road-narrowing measures undertaken years ago in an attempt to calm traffic, the town has more of an urban feel, slightly less quaint than neighboring Maplewood. South Orange is also home to Seton Hall University. 

That’s South Orange in a nutshell!

Click to read more


South Orange has wisely combined its school district with Maplewood, and the resulting system is large and well regarded. Elementary schools in South Orange are South Mountain and its Annex (for most K-1 classes) and Marshall (K-2). South Orange Middle School has 811 students; Columbia High School has about 2,000 students. As of 2014, the high school offered 21 AP courses and an average SAT in 2012-13 year of 522 reading, and 540 math, both slightly above NJ averages. Students are generally high performing, based on test scores and number of students bound for college. In 2019 there was an ongoing dispute among residents over a busing plan within the district to more fully racially integrate the schools, and the district continues to wrestle with ways to address the racial achievement gap. The area also has a number of private schools. South Orange has one library.


Parks and Recreation

South Mountain Reservation—a 2,047-acre County park that borders on parts of South Orange—has expanded over the years to include a zoo, an ice-skating arena, minigolf and regular golf, a reservoir with a walking path around it and paddle boats for rent, a dog park, and natural areas with waterfalls, 20 miles of trails for walking and hiking, and 27 miles of carriage roads. Because it sits on a ridge 500 feet above sea level, the reservation offers spectacular views of the NYC skyline.  

The largest green space within South Orange is comprised of Floods Hill (where legions of sledders flock on snowy winter days and concerts and movie nights take place in summer), Meadowland Field, Cameron Field (a historic baseball field where both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played), a playground, the Baird Center (a bustling community center and headquarters for the recreation department), tennis courts, a large community pool complex, and a duck pond. By the duck pond sits TAU, a sculpture by South Orange–native Tony Smith, reflecting South Orange’s commitment to the arts.

Grove Park is a lovely village green in the Montrose neighborhood, with a playground on one end and a lawn on the other. A walking path rings the entire park. In the South Mountain neighborhood, Farrell Field has a playground, an open field for t-ball and other sports, and tennis courts.


Arts and Culture

South Orange calls itself the live music capital of North Jersey, and it works hard to live up to that title. Adjacent to the South Orange train station, SOPAC hosts well known singer songwriters, speakers, and occasional theater companies, as well as the annual Giants of Jazz, which draws big name jazz artists from the area for a long night of music. It also houses the town’s movie theater.

Downtown After Sundown offers live music Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer at various locations around town. The summer concert series on Floods Hill is a family affair, where large groups bring lawn chairs and picnics or buy food from local food trucks, and kids run up and down the hill and play. For a couple of months each year, SOPAC’s “Playin’ Around South Orange” program installs whimsically hand-painted pianos around town, leading to impromptu concerts by anyone who chooses to sit down and play. Concerts and other arts programming are produced at the library. InterACT, South Orange’s community theater company, mounts fun shows at the Baird.


Housing Stock

Lots of young families and couples—as well as retirees—are attracted to the new apartments that continue to sprout up around the train station, and many are drawn to the beautiful older homes outside the Village. As of this writing, the major downtown apartment complexes are the Avenue, the Gateway, Gaslight Commons, and Third & Valley. Outside the Village there are many side-hall and center-hall colonials built in the 1920s, as well as Victorians and Tudors, with a smattering of ranch houses and other newer construction. Homeowners make up 64% of residents; renters 36%. Property taxes are some of the highest in New Jersey, primarily because South Orange lacks rateables—no malls or office parks to offset property taxes.


The Commute

South Orange is on NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex line, with direct train service to NY Penn Station and another train to Hoboken, where you can transfer to the PATH or a ferry to get to lower Manhattan. The quickest train will get you to NYC in 31 minutes. One-way tickets are currently $7.25; an adult monthly commuter pass costs $210. South Orange runs a jitney to the train station. 


Up a steep hill and cut off from the Village so it’s not really walkable to downtown, Newstead is a quiet, self-contained neighborhood with newer, larger houses, many brick, post-war colonial-style homes, ranch houses, and sleek, modern homes.

The Lower Wyoming and Upper Wyoming areas (on either side of Wyoming Avenue, stretching up the hill toward the reservation) have larger, older homes on bigger lots, and yet are still within walking distance of downtown (Lower Wyoming is closer to downtown).

The South Mountain neighborhood, across South Orange Avenue from Upper and Lower Wyoming, is a pretty area with somewhat more modest houses.

The Montrose is a beautiful flat area of winding streets with some of the largest houses in South Orange: stately Tudors, colonials, and Victorians with sprawling porches, set back from the street.

The Tuxedo Park and Seton Village neighborhoods flank Seton Hall, closer to Irvington and Newark. Residents here have more interaction with Seton Hall students.

Near Columbia High School, Academy Heights is one of the more affordable sections of South Orange, where houses are closer together and on smaller lots.