Living in Madison, New Jersey

Madison, New Jersey offers the best of both worlds: a small-town environment just outside of the exciting New York City. From Drew University students can walk to downtown Madison in less than 10 minutes or hop in a car and be in NYC in under an hour. If you’re in the mood for live music, visit Madison’s Shanghai Jazz club or hit up the arcades at STRYKE. On the weekend, grab your new friends and spend a day visiting New York’s museums, catch a show on Broadway or enjoy some of the best food in the world at the city’s most sought-after restaurants.

In Madison, you get the benefit of living in an intimate community where you’re sure to run into friends at the local coffee shop or when picking out a new wardrobe at the mall. Plus, you’ll get all to enjoy the culture, history and international cuisines of New York City at any time. For more exciting tips about living in Madison, visit our City Guide.

Safety and serenity with big city access

In Madison, nothing says unique more than Bottle Hill Day. A Drew student yearly tradition, thousands flock to downtown Madison for rock climbing, a petting zoo, live music, a car show, delicious food, vendors, and a Family Fun Zone with inflatables.

Popular attractions and sites to see

The town of Madison, New Jersey is known for its lively downtown area filled with dozens of restaurants, museums, parks and shops. Since it’s only a 10-minute walk from campus, you can easily explore many of the city’s best sights and attractions. Check out these Madison hotspots:

  • Museum of Early Trades and Crafts
  • Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
  • Short Stories Community Book Hub
  • 54 Main Bar and Grille
  • Escape Room Madison
  • Mayo Performing Arts Center
  • Loantaka Brook Reservation
  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park
  • Turtle Back Zoo
  • Paper Mill Playhouse
  • The Frelinghuysen Arboretum
  • Imagine That! Children's Museum
  • Ford Mansion and Museum
  • The Funplex
  • Whippany Railway Museum
  • Livingston Mall
  • Nomahegan Park
  • Words Bookstore
  • Macculloch Hall Historic Museum & Gardens

Madison and NYC by night

Around Madison you can find a variety of nightlife hotspots ranging from wine bars to pool halls and live music lounges. Whatever you’re in the mood for, the city has you covered. Check out the below places for a fun night out:

  • Shanghai Jazz Restaurant & Bar
  • Poor Herbie's
  • 54 Main Bar & Grille
  • SM23
  • River Grille
  • Dublin Pub
  • The Madison Hotel
  • Vanderbilt’s Sports & Spirits
  • Sona Thirteen
  • Paca Club Inc
  • The Famished Frog
  • QDOBA Mexican Eats
  • Applebee's
  • TGI Fridays
  • 16 Prospect Wine Bar and Bistro
  • Club Eclipse
  • Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub

Colorado: a sport lover's paradise

Because of its close proximity to New York, it’s easy to catch one of the city’s major league teams playing at any time of year. Whether you prefer hockey, golf, running or sailing, the Big Apple has every type of sporting event to attend. In the spring, visit Yankee Stadium for a baseball game, catch a Giants football game in the fall or watch runners bid for the best time during The NYC Marathon in the winter. At Drew, you can also watch one of 18 Division III sports teams compete against other colleges.

A full range of restaurants

Many Madison restaurants are very affordable. However, if you are looking for a more upscale experience you can find plenty of options in the city. New York City offers more dining options than you could ever need. The New York City Department of Health reports there are nearly 20,000 restaurants within the five boroughs of New York City. There's always a new restaurant to try!

From boutiques to outlet malls

Madison boasts both larger chain clothing stores as well as boutiques shops all within close driving distance. Plus, the state is home to numerous outlets stores where you can find great bargains on stylish clothes. Nearby in New York City, shop along Madison Avenue for designer styles and high-end looks from fashion houses like Chanel, Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin, Coach and Vera Wang. Explore more Madison, NJ shops below:

  • Madison Avenue shops
  • The Shops at High Street
  • The Promenade Shops At Clifton
  • The Mall at Short Hills
  • Walgreens
  • Macy's
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Anthropologie
  • Gap
  • Banana Republic
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Old Navy
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Golden Shopping Mall
  • The Shops at Columbus Circle

Bottle Hill Day and the big city

Throughout the year, New Jersey offers a number of events and festivals to enjoy. There’s something for everyone whether you love music, beer or want to learn about other cultures. Here are some of the Garden State’s annual festivals to attend:

  • New Jersey Winter Wine Festival
  • Parsippany - Troy Hills' Fall Festival
  • Union County Music Fest
  • Westfield Festifall
  • Fishawack
  • Garden State BrewFest
  • Denville Rotary Street Festival
  • PurpleStride
  • Big Greek Festival
  • Pro Wrestling Syndicate at Rahway Rec Center
  • Strike Sound & Lighting

How much do things cost?

Here's a quick breakdown of how much you should plan to pay for certain items in Madison:

  • Restaurant and take-out meals: $10-$25.
  • Cup of coffee: $2-$4.
  • Cell phone plan: $60-$100 per month. A deposit may be required: $50-$300.
  • One-way bus ticket from Madison to New York City: $9.35
  • One-way train fare from Madison to New York City: $11.75

Don't forget to tip! To reward good customer service, Americans tip between 15-20% in addition to the total bill price. This is optional, but common for restaurant wait staff, taxi drivers, nail and hair salons, etc.

Madison is located in Morris County, about 22 miles west of New York City. To travel from one end of town to the other, you can ride the MAD (Madison Avenue Direct) Shuttle which has stops at Drew University, Madison Avenue Shops, Fairleigh Dickinson University and College of St. Elizabeth. Jump on the 873 NJ Transit bus line route to visit neighboring towns, the hospital, parks or local malls. To get to New York’s Penn Station or Hoboken, use the NJ Transit Morris and Essex Rail Lines.

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