Best Towns for Day Trips

Beautiful stately homes, a vibrant downtown, a beloved arboretum and one of the oldest community theaters in the country are just some of the reasons to visit this beautiful city in Union County bordered by New Providence, Chatham, Short Hills and Springfield.

Start your day on the beautiful grounds of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum which offers 13.5 acres of gardens highlighted by six acres of woodland forest. The arboretum is a popular wedding spot and also a great place to visit as a family. The kids will love digging in the vegetable garden, hiking woodland trails and visiting fishy friends at a koi pond with a bog garden and waterfall, as well as a European beech nicknamed “The Elephant Tree” that’s nearly 200 years old. Every year in April, the arboretum hosts Daffodil Day, when you can see 50,000 of these gorgeous blooms in their full glory.

Summit is well known for its beautiful downtown, high-end shops and a diverse mix of eateries. Stop at Driftwood Coffee or Boxwood Coffee for your caffeine fix. BarBacoa is a can’t miss upscale street taqueria you’ll love for its authentic taco fare. Pizza Vita is a local favorite for its Napolitano-type stone oven pizza.

The Wine List sells so much more than wine and also offers imported olive oil, artisanal bread, cupcakes, cheese, flowers and coffee. Cheese fans should also make sure to stop the Summit Cheese Shop for an impressive selection. If you’re a candy fan, don’t miss Sweet Nothings, where you can create amazing gift baskets or pick up some retro candy or get your dessert fix at Brownie Points.  Our favorite dessert spot is Magic Fountain, which can’t be beaten for its amazing variety of homemade ice cream flavors, slushies and gelati. It also happened to be steps away from New Jersey Family‘s main office for a decade so trust us when we tell you, the ice cream is worth the trip. For a nice dinner, we love Fiorino, Summit House, Roots for an amazing steak dinner and La Pastoria for Italian staples. Piattinos and The Office are also local favorites with great outdoor seating.

If you’re looking to shop, Willow Street has fun fashion and accessories for teen girls and their mamas.  Great House is the place to go for vintage, antique, handmade home goods and original art. Home décor fans also can’t miss a visit to Serena & Lily. Where you’ll find gems for the bedroom, bath, backyard and so much more. The shop is so beautifully staged you’re bound to get home décor inspo with a walk-through.

Art fans should plan on visiting the Visual Arts Center, a beautiful gallery space where boasting art installations and year-round art classes for people of all ages. Summit also features a year-round rotating public art installation in its green spaces such as Village Green, the train station and City Hall. Snap some pics around town in front of these beautiful works of art.

The Summit Playhouse is one of the oldest community theaters in the United States and offers up to three plays a year including a children’s program. Another must-see is the glorious and stately Grand Summit Hotel which dates back to 1868. A great hotel option for an overnight, it’s also an ideal spot for dinner, drinks and some live music at Hat Tavern.

If you visit on a Sunday, make sure to stop by the city’s Farmer’s Market which runs every Sunday from April through November in the public parking lots on DeForest St. downtown. Besides in-season local produce, you’ll also find fresh fish, homemade hummus, honey, soaps, baked goods and more.