Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Bloomfield, NJ

  • Published 2022/11/16

Nestled in the suburban edges of the New York Tri-State Area, Bloomfield is an unassuming township in New Jersey with plenty to share.

It belongs to Essex County, the 18th largest township in the state.

Bloomfield’s tree-lined streets, historic homes, and many community parks have made living here a nice escape from the bustling metropolitan area nearby.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy this small slice of paradise.

You’ll find the community welcoming, the ambiance relaxing, and the perfect respite from busy days and stressful lives.

If you’re planning a trip to this magnificent location, here are the best things to do in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

Immerse in Local History at Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center

Exterior of Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center

Jim.henderson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find the regal Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center along busy Belleville Avenue.

It’s located at the heart of Bloomfield and serves as one of the last physical legacies of the Oakeside family, a prominent local clan that owned a textile factory back in the day.

Their estate has been restored and converted into a historical and horticultural attraction.

Families, students, and the rest of the community gather regularly at the cultural center to see the old Greek Revival-style home and gardens.

Exploring the grounds evokes a certain feeling, as if you were stuck in a period movie in the Southern Gothic tradition.

However, this moody atmosphere hasn’t stopped people from using the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center as a site for weddings and parties.

The majestic look of the house and gardens make for amazing photoshoots!

Marvel at the Views of Watsessing Park

Next on the list is the scenic Watsessing Park, another outdoor attraction that Bloomfield shares with its neighbors.

While smaller than Brookdale Park at only 69 acres, this destination still offers plenty of views and activities for the whole family.

It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a celebrated American landscape architect known for creating New York Central Park, the parks of Washington DC, and numerous others in the US.

You’ll see his distinctive design at Watsessing Park.

See the subtle direction of movement thanks to pathways, features that take advantage of the landscape, and an overarching theme that unifies everything together.

However, most visitors would prefer just hanging out and admiring the landscape.

Thanks to the many modern amenities and sports facilities, you can visit for an afternoon and enjoy the park.

Step into the Past at Bloomfield Historical Society

Bloomfield has a long and storied past, and one of the best places to learn the town’s history is the Bloomfield Historical Society.

You’ll find it along Broad Street, a grand Greek Revival building also serves as a public library.

Inside, you’ll find exhibits and collections of artifacts from various eras.

These include antique furniture, clothing, paintings, maps, and other items that show a glimpse of bygone days.

Inside the building, you’ll also find the children’s library and museum, which partly serve as a venue for educational programs.

If you plan accordingly, you can catch some of the Bloomfield Historical Society’s events.

They usually hold presentations, special programs, and other activities that retell the fascinating history of Bloomfield.

Feed the Ducks at Clarks Pond

On the northern part of Bloomfield lies the stunning Clarks Pond, a nature preserve named after the eponymous body of water.

In an area as densely populated as Bloomfield, such sightings are rare.

That’s why Clarks Pond is a hidden secret to most outsiders, serving as a relaxing retreat for the locals.

The pond’s clear waters are often filled with waterfowl, hunting for underwater creatures and socializing with other animals.

This scene, complemented by the towering trees surrounding the pond’s shores, makes for the most relaxing views.

Aside from the nature preserve, this attraction has modern facilities.

You’ll find baseball and tennis courts, baseball fields, and a small playground for toddlers near the attraction’s southern edge.

Test Your Skills at Amazing Escape Room Bloomfield

Amazing Escape Room Bloomfield should be on your itinerary as one of the top-rated attractions in town.

This place will test your problem-solving skills, logic, and teamwork.

They have four rooms: Down The Rabbit Hole, Search for the Grail, Gold Rush, and Lost in Space.

You’ll find clues, brain teasers, riddles, and other puzzles you’ll need to solve to unlock the room.

If you fail, watch out!

Anyway, there’s something extra memorable about working with friends or family to “escape.”

Just make sure that you book ahead before your trip to ensure that you have a slot!

You’ll find Amazing Escape Room Bloomfield along Liberty Street, a block from the Bloomfield Historical Society building.

Spend an Afternoon at Brookdale Park

Dog park at Brookdale Park

Chris Lawrence Travel /

The magnificent Brookdale Park is one of Essex County’s jewels, a vast, 121-acre outdoor attraction perfect for families and friend groups.

Nature lovers will have a great time exploring the lush greenery all around.

They’ll find gorgeous paths lined with flowering bushes, lush groves, and grand lawns with picturesque views.

Brookdale Park is the perfect location for fun outdoor activities if you want to spend a few hours with the family.

It’s got track facilities, tennis courts, sports fields, and even an archery range, something you won’t find in your run-of-the-mill parks.

There’s also a small section called the Brookdale Dog Park, so bring your furry best friend, too!

If you plan carefully, you can time your visit to the events held in the park, like fireworks displays, arts and crafts festivals, and music concerts.

Play Sports at Brookside Park

As the name implies, Brookside Park is near a body of water, the Third River.

The attraction is also near the eastern edges of Bloomfield, surrounded by residential homes and suburbs.

It has become the favorite hangout place for locals and their families.

Visitors are welcome, too!

You can enjoy the park’s many amenities, including lighted paths, picnic areas, a beautiful pavilion, and a small playground for toddlers.

There’s also a baseball diamond where kids and their parents can play catch.

Best of all are the views of Third River, with the slow waters and perfectly manicured greenery tying the scenery together.

Visit the wooden bridge in the park’s center for the best views.

Don’t forget to say hi to the local ducks at Brookside Park!

Catch a Show at Westminster Arts Center

If you’re a patron of the arts and culture, then Westminster Arts Center is a must-add to your itinerary.

The facility belongs to Bloomfield College, but locals and visitors are welcome to see all the events and activities held within the halls.

Before, it was a church.

But the structure has been renovated and repurposed into the art center that stands today.

As you arrive, you’ll be enchanted by the castle-like structure that wouldn’t feel strange in shows like Game of Thrones.

See conical turrets jutting into the sky, ornate windows, winding pathways, and more.

However, the real show is inside.

Watch the thought-provoking plays, musicals, dance recitals, and performances at the Westminster Arts Center from June to September.

See the Cherry Blossoms at Halcyon Park

Halcyon Park refers to two places in Bloomfield, a census-designated palace and an outdoor attraction.

Of course, this list will discuss the latter, located in the neighborhood.

This attraction has a lot of history, originally built to give the residents the feeling of being “millionaires.”

You can already tell this park has a luxurious and old-charm appeal, like something you’d find in a Monet painting.

Today, the park’s most alluring attraction is the lily pond with a water fountain feature.

The surrounding cherry blossoms burst with pink flowers during spring, creating a truly magical sight.

Small pathways are lined with trees and lush open greenery, perfect for afternoon strolls and jogs.

Halcyon Park is a hidden gem, so keep an eye out while driving along Parkway Street.

Join the Harvest Fest

During the first weeks of October, Bloomfield holds its annual Harvest Fest to celebrate the town’s heritage, culture, and people.

Visitors are more than welcome, with more than 60,000 people converging annually at Washington Street and Glenwood Avenue.

It’s a great time to bond with the family and enjoy all Bloomfield offers.

For two days, you’ll enjoy live bands, local performers, and other talented individuals showcasing their abilities on stage.

There will also be a marketplace where craftspeople, artists, and local retailers display and sell products.

Who knows what you’ll find?

Don’t forget the food!

Many home cooks, local eateries and restaurants, and food truck businesses will offer their delicious meals during the Harvest Fest.

Shop for Fresh Produce at the Bloomfield Community Farmers Market

If you’re a fan of fresh produce or want fresh fruits to bring home after your trip, stop at the Bloomfield Community Farmers Market.

It’s a seasonal event spanning June to October.

In front of Bloomfield’s public library, local growers and producers gather to display and sell their harvest.

You’ll find fresh vegetables, many types of fruit, root crops, and other produce grown in Bloomfield and nearby areas.

You’ll also find products from local businesses, including coffee, baked treats, vegan food items, and homemade meals.

In addition, some stalls will offer specialty items like wood works, art pieces, and handmade jewelry.

Don’t forget to socialize with the vendors and other sellers!

These people are kind and welcoming.

You might make new acquaintances on your next visit to the Bloomfield Community Farmers Market.

Other Things to Do Nearby

After your trip to Bloomfield, why not check out these other unique attractions a few minutes away?

See the Manhattan Skyline at Garret Mountain Reservation

View of a city from Garret Mountain Reservation

quiggyt4 /

Less than 15 minutes away north of Bloomfield, the scenic Garret Mountain Reservation is in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

This 568-acre park is a national landmark known for offering gorgeous views of the surrounding lands.

You’ll even see the incredible New York city skyline!

That’s because this attraction rises 500 feet above sea level.

As a recreational hotspot, Garret Mountain Reservation offers plenty of activities to do aside from sightseeing.

Lambert castle at Garret Mountain Reservation

Zeete, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can go hiking and explore trails, have picnics, and play at one of the basketball courts located in the attraction.

Don’t forget to visit the beautiful Lambert Castle, an 1893 structure once the house of a wealthy silk manufacturer.

The imposing tower makes it feel as though you’re in Europe!

There’s also a beautiful Barbour Pond, with a peaceful atmosphere for fishing and relaxing.

Barbour pond at Garret Mountain Reservation

Zeete, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Newark Museum of Art

The Newark Museum of Art is in Newark, New Jersey, 12 minutes from Bloomfield.

It’s a great stopover if you have a few hours to spare.

As the largest museum in New Jersey, this destination holds several important collections detailing the state and country’s art and history.

If you’re a fan of both, you’ll have a grand time exploring the marvelous exhibits and displays.

One of the museum’s most popular collections is the Tibetan Art Gallery, one of the best and most extensive in the world.

There are also plenty of events and activities at the Newark Museum of Art, like educational programs for kids and film showings.

If you want the classic museum experience, there are tours available if you book ahead!

Feel the Magic at Branch Brook Park

Cherry blossom trees at Branch Brook Park

George Wirt /

While in Newark, don’t miss the renowned Branch Brook Park, one of the top attractions in this region!

This 360-acre attraction is the largest park in Newark, boasting many attractions for the entire family or friends group.

Perhaps the cherry blossom trees are the most famous of these attractions, the most extensive collection in the entire US.

More than 5,000 of these trees stand in the park, turning the place into a pink haven that feels so romantic and magical.

Hot air balloons over Branch Brook Park's water

gary718 /

Aside from the trees, the park has many historical structures like bridges, sculptures, and gates.

There are also modern amenities, like picnic groves, sports facilities, an amphitheater, and playgrounds for kids.

If you plan to visit the location, drop by during April to see the cherry blossoms blooming!

You can find Branch Brook Park 14 minutes from Bloomfield.

Trail under a bridge at Branch Brook Park

Mad Hare Imagery /

Explore the Hidden Paths of Eagle Rock Reservation

View of Manhattan skyline from Eagle Rock Reservation

AMzPhoto /

While a little smaller than Garret Mountain Reservation, the magnificent 408-acre Eagle Rock Reservation offers the same beautiful views of the surrounding area.

Located in West Orange, New Jersey, this attraction is an excellent stopover for those who haven’t gotten their fill of outdoor adventure.

Eagle Rock Reservation is part of the Watchung Mountains ridge line, with grand forests, sharp cliffs, and other natural attractions.

9/11 memorial at Eagle Rock Reservation

Photo Spirit /

At the highest point, you’ll find an expansive view deck with a sculpture of an eagle, the 9/11 Memorial.

You’ll see Bloomfield, the surrounding cities, and the distant New York skyline from Eagle Rock Reservation, 13 minutes from Bloomfield.

A gazebo at Eagle Rock Reservation

quiggyt4 /

Final Thoughts

From the cherry blossom trees and gorgeous ponds to art centers and the Harvest Fest, Bloomfield has the perfect blend of natural and artificial attractions.

If you’re planning a weekend trip, consider this charming town as one of your options!

You’ll enjoy the castle-like structures, the magnificent parks, and the delightful community activities, among the best things to do in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

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