Home » Local Guides » 10 Things to Know Before Moving to Belleville, NJ

Do you plan to move to Belleville or are interested in the area? Depending on whether you are moving from a big city or small town, you will experience a different way of life in this historic community.

There are many enjoyable experiences in store in this town that is near all the excitement of Newark and New York City yet tucked just far enough away to give you some quiet. Then here are 10 things to know before moving to the township of Belleville, NJ.

1. It Has a Suburban Feel But Is Close to Big Cities

Belleville is a modestly populated town with 35,926 residents within a total area of 3.399 square miles. Though it’s just 9 miles from New York City, it is very much a suburb with its streets that are filled with single-family homes, duplexes, apartments, shops, and restaurants.

Belleville is also 5 miles from Newark, the most populous city in New Jersey. Being close to both NYC and Newark provides Belleville residents with many opportunities to access the excitement of the city life while living in a suburban area. To residents, this offers the best of both worlds and keeps each weekend exciting and full of possibilities.

2. It’s Home to the First East Coast Chinatown

While Chinatown was long established in the West Coast in the 1800s, Belleville has the honor of becoming the first east coast city to have a Chinatown of its own. This happened when Belleville welcomed Chinese railroad workers from the West Coast as a sanctuary city from 1840 onward, and the rest is history.

This group of Chinese immigrants also established Chinatowns in Newark and New York City, which millions of tourists and residents have enjoyed for over generations afterward. If you want some delicious dim sum and authentic Chinese entrees, Belleville’s Chinatown is the place to go.

3. It’s a Popular Commuter Town to New York City

Though many people in Belleville work locally in New Jersey, the township is only 9 miles from Manhattan and is a popular place for commuters to hang their hat. If you work in New York City, you can take advantage of the public transportation available, including a train route that goes from Belleville to Manhattan, which eliminates the need to drive into the city.

4. There Are Plenty of Restaurants

From classic American to authentic Portuguese food, Belleville has many restaurants to satisfy your cravings. For example, Belle’s Beef and Shakes has a 4.5/5 star review on Yelp, a mighty accomplishment after receiving over 50 reviews.

There are also Dominican, Colombian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Mediterranean, Irish, Italian, and Greek restaurants in the same locale. Needless to say, if you enjoy tasting the best dishes from the world’s cuisine, then Belleville will keep you happy in the eating scene. With over 30 places to eat in the township and counting, there’s no reason to ever be without a delicious meal.

5. Residents Can Get Involved with the Local Government

Belleville is governed by a seven-member Township Council, of which one ins the mayor, who is elected at-large. Council members serve four-year terms on a staggered timeline to ensure that there is a smooth continuance of leadership.

There are four ward seats and two at-large seats that take part in this rotation respectively. Residents who have questions about the township or would like to voice their concerns can reach the council for support and access all council meetings online.

6. There Are Many Historical Landmarks

Belleville is a historic city that has origins traced back to the year 1797. All around the township you can find historic landmarks and buildings such as St. Anthony of Padua Church and St. Peter’s Church.

There is also plenty of mid-century modern architecture still standing today from architect Charles E. King, who practiced in Belleville between 1947 and 1961. If you love history, then you should check out the township’s past at the Belleville Museum and get in touch with the Belleville Historical Society.

7. You Can Enjoy Beautiful Natural Parks

Created in 1895, Branch Brook Park is located between the Forest Hill and Roseville neighborhoods. Part of this beautiful park is located in the Township of Belleville. Branch Brook Park is made of 360 acres which makes it the largest public park in Newark. It is the most famous for having the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the country.

There are around 5,000 cherry blossom trees of which there are more than eighteen different varieties. This part of the park is called Cherryblossomland and is the site of the Cherry Blossom Festival that’s held each April.

8. There Are Fun Things To Do

Belleville is not just a historic place that’s full of excellent restaurants, but it’s also a place to have some fun. For example, you can rent a motorcycle at Eaglerider to experience the thrill of the open road like never before.

You can also unwind and play billiards and go bowling at Brunswick Zone for a night of family fun. Just a quick search for “things to do” around town will give you a list of fun possibilities.

9. The Town Has Many Local Festivals

Belleville is home to quite a few festivals. As mentioned before, there is a cherry blossom festival in April. There is also the Kearny Food and Truck and NJ Craft Beer Festival that offers an excellent food tasting experience with over 20 food trucks.

VIP members get to sit in a cool tent. This family-friendly festival also has activities for children to keep them entertained. You can give food vendors suggestions and comments about the dishes you sample too. Belleville is also has a mid-July festival called Waterfront & Ethnic Festival which brings in around 175,000 people each year.

10. The Cost of Living Is Close to The National Average

Despite Belleville’s proximity to New York City and Newark, the cost of living in Belleville is not too far above the national average. The median home cost is $291,500 which is 26.1% higher than the national average, but it’s still lower than the state average of $329,300.

Compare these figures to the average cost of a home in Queens, NY ($603,000) or Manhattan ($1,202,300) and it’s easy to see why this township has become a popular commuter town to professionals who work in New York City.

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