Maplewood NJ was recently named one of the 24 “coolest suburbs in America” in 2019. There’s no doubt that Maplewood has a “cool kid” reputation even among residents of surrounding towns and it has a local reputation for being a “little Brooklyn.” So what is it about Maplewood that makes it cool enough to be recognized as one of only 24 in the country? Local experts have a few of their own ideas!
We crowd-sourced a local Facebook group to see what actual Maplewood residents think is “cool” about their town and this was the most-mentioned attribute (in this highly unscientific survey 😉). Just a few examples: the North Jersey Pride Fest, hosted in Maplewood’s Memorial Park, is currently in its 9th year; the very active “green” community has enabled not one but two outdoor preschools to thrive in the nearby South Mountain Reservation; and the community-wide march and “light the night” tradition every Martin Luther King Jr Day grows in numbers every year.
The outpouring of community support for ALOMO books (launching soon by local mompreneur who wanted her children to have an easier time finding characters who looked like them in books) is more evidence of Maplewood’s spirit. ALOMO stands for “A Library of My Own” and is dedicated to curating books featuring multi-cultural characters and creating immersive literary experiences for children of all backgrounds so all children can “find themselves in a book!”
A BUSTLING DOWNTOWN
On almost any day or night of the week, you’ll find yourself in great company in downtown Maplewood. Maplewood is stacked with great restaurants (Dan Richer, chef and owner at Arturo’s Osteria & Pizzeria, has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards), awesome bakeries (try a scone from The Able Baker), and amazing small businesses.
Maplewood residents make a real effort to keep their downtown dynamic by supporting these small businesses and encouraging efforts like the SOMA General Store Cooperative, an online shop for small businesses and local makers (see below for more on Maplewood makers!) that hosts pop-up shops and events and helps keep downtown Maplewood competitive with online giants.
A great Farmers Market in the summer, street fairs, and music festivals round out Maplewood’s downtown vitality.