Living in Summit: A Lifestyle and Real Estate Guide to Summit, New Jersey
Summit—Top-Ranked Schools, Luxury Retail, and Outdoor Recreation
Where is Summit?
Summit is in Union County in New Jersey, about 25 miles southwest of Manhattan, 10 miles from Newark, and 15 miles from Jersey City.
Incorporated in 1899, Summit was a former vacation colony originally known as Heights over Springfield because of its scenic, elevated location at the foot of the Watchung Mountains. Today, Summit has a distinctly affluent, suburban character, with its tree-lined streets, architecturally distinguished houses, walkable downtown, and welcoming atmosphere. The real estate options include colonial-style mansions, custom-built modern homes, and large estates. The easy commute to Manhattan, just 25 miles distant, is a draw for financiers and business executives. Famous past residents include actors Danny DeVito and Meryl Streep, film director and screenwriter Jon Lucas, and former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Miles Austin.
Summit’s Luxury Appeal
For the affluent buyer looking for an upscale, walkable community with outstanding culture and recreation, luxury retail, and a top-ranked education system, and an easy commute to New York City, Summit is unrivaled. Consistently voted as the best place to live in New Jersey, Summit has the most direct train rail lines to New York City anywhere in New Jersey that offer a direct commute to Midtown Manhattan. There’s also a village green, plenty of outdoor spaces, and an array of real estate options, ranging from townhouses to large single-family estate homes with luxury amenities and land.
What to Do and See in Summit
Summit has a vibrant Historic District downtown, it’s a shopping mecca with more than 200 retail outlets, restaurants, and cafés. One of the city’s most popular eateries is one of the oldest diners in New Jersey, Summit Diner, which opened in 1929. The current railcar building was constructed 10 years later and has since become a listed historic landmark, complete with 1930s swivel stools and cozy red-vinyl booths. The main commercial street is Springfield Avenue with its many independently owned boutiques and artisanal stores. The Mall at Short Hills, New Jersey’s premier luxury retail destination, is in nearby Millburn, just five minutes’ drive from downtown Summit. Summit’s largest industries are finance, insurance, healthcare, scientific and technical services. Corporations in Summit include the biotech company Celgene.
Summit is a haven for sports and outdoor enthusiasts and offers lacrosse and hockey, among other team sports in the city’s recreational centers: Metro Homes Field, Tatlock Sports Complex, and the Edison Recreation Center. Summit also has a nine-hole, par-3 municipal golf course and a seasonal aquatic center. Local parks and reserves include the Reeves-Reed Arboretum, the 30-acre Briant Park, Watchung Reservation (the largest nature reserve in Union County), the Passaic River Parkway, and the 70-acre Hidden Valley Park, all are the ideal for hiking and nature walks.
Summit has a host of cultural venues. The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey houses an art school and an exhibition program. The historic Summit Playhouse, founded in 1918, is one of the oldest continuously operated theaters in the country. The Dreamcatcher Repertory Theater also offers community theater at its best. The acclaimed Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is the state’s largest arts center, providing year-round contemporary art exhibitions, art classes and workshops for all ages. The Summit Symphony stages a summer concert series at the historic Reeves-Reed Arboretum, with its nature trails and sculpture gardens that were designed by prominent landscape architects in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Who Lives in Summit?
Summit has an above-average median household income. It is a social town perfect for young professional families and outdoor enthusiasts seeking an easy commute to New York City. The median age of its residents is 40 years. Summit has an unusually high number of residents working in legal occupations, business and financial operations.
Where to Buy in Summit
The median property value in Summit is $850,000, which is four times greater than the national average. Home ownership is also an above-average 71 percent. Most luxury real estate listings are in southern Summit. About a third of the nearly 100 homes currently on the market are listed for at least $1 million and upwards. The architectural styles in Summit are diverse—from luxury modern condominiums to brick Colonial Style single-family homes, converted turn-of-the-century carriage houses to Greek and Tudor Revival manor houses. Current listings include a 7,000-square-foot, shingle-style mansion set within wooded grounds at 348 Mountain Avenue; a 6,000-square-foot, two-level colonial-style home on 99 Fernwood Road; and a charming fieldstone manor overlooking Watchung Reservation at 194 Oak Ridge Avenue.
Getting to Summit
Summit is conveniently situated near Interstate 78 and State Route 24, offering an easy, direct commute to New York City by car or train, via NJ Transit to Penn Station into Manhattan and Hoboken, New Jersey, ideal for connections to downtown Manhattan and the Financial District. The journey to Manhattan takes about 40 minutes. Summit is also close to Newark Liberty Airport (just 20 minutes’ drive) and Teterboro Airport private jet terminal (35 minutes’ drive).
Schools in Summit
The township of Summit has one of the top public school systems in New Jersey, with two preschool/kindergartens, five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The top-performing institutions are public Summit Senior High School, the Lincoln-Hubbard Elementary School, and the Millburn Middle School. Among Summit’s best private schools are the 7-12 Oratory Preparatory School and the NS-12 Kent Place School.
Summit by the Numbers
As of 2017, approximately 22,300 people live in Summit, New Jersey.
36 percent of residents hold a Master of Arts degree or higher.
34 percent of residents hold a 4-year college degree.