Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Irvington, NJ

  • Published 2023/03/09

The township of Irvington in New Jersey is a distinctive community that has the combined charm of small residential areas and the convenience of big cities.

A part of Essex County, the township has a population of 60,403 as of the 2021 census.

Founded in 1692, the township was once known as Camp’s Town or Camptown before it became the unincorporated village of Clinton Township.

It was later on incorporated as a town and was renamed to commemorate Washington Irving, one of the United State’s greatest writers and diplomats in the 19th century.

Irvington is just a few minutes away from Newark Liberty International Airport, making it an accessible destination to many.

One of the township’s major geographic features is the Elizabeth River, which bisects the locality from north to south.

Irvington also has its fair share of modern amenities and natural attractions.

If you’re looking for a new place to explore, you may want to consider visiting this township which has been steadily growing and providing visitors and its community with great recreational spaces.

To further convince you, here’s a list of free things to do in Irvington, New Jersey:

Relax under the Shade of Trees at Irvington Park

Irvington Park provides solace amid nature.

The 24.4-acre park between Grove Street and Lyons Avenue serves as a recreational area for the community.

Surrounded by large trees like red oak, the park is a gathering place for those who want to spend time outdoors and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere.

Feel free to find a spot under the shade of trees and bring a book to read or have a picnic at Irvington Park!

Find a Book and Read at Irvington Public Library

Drop by the Irvington Public Library, which has been serving the local community since 1915.

It is situated in Civic Square, just opposite Irvington High School.

Feel free to scan the shelves and find a book that suits your mood from the library’s 33,000-square-foot collection.

Whether you’re reading for recreation or education, Irvington Public Library has something for you.

The library has over 180,000 books, 150 periodical titles, and 35 computers that may be used for internet access.

Be sure to check out the library’s scheduled programs and events including poetry night, author presentations, and story hours, to name a few!

Visit the Clinton Cemetery

Explore a piece of Irvington’s past when you visit the Clinton Cemetery at Union Avenue.

The cemetery grounds are a beautiful place that’s described by many as “the cemetery with character.”

It may seem like a park with its evergreen and ornamental shrubs as well as flowering trees!

It is especially charming in the spring when flowers bloom and birds and squirrels return to give life to the area.

Among the plants you may find when you visit are American beech and holly, magnolias, black cherry, English oak, azaleas, and native dogwood, among many others.

Nature lovers will enjoy strolling the grounds, even if they do not own a lot at the Clinton Cemetery.

If you’re a photographer, you may even bring your camera to capture the scenic views at this cemetery.

Drop by the Citizen Soldiers Monument

While exploring the township, you should drop by the Citizen Soldiers Monument.

You may find it at Springfield Avenue and Nesbit Terrace.

The monument was erected in 1922 as a dedication to the soldiers and sailors from Irvington who served during the first World War.

The bronze sculpture depicts a soldier holding a bayonet in his right hand and a flagpole with the American flag in his left hand.

As you appreciate the sculpture, be sure to also read the inscription on the marble stand so that you may learn more about the piece.

Learn about a piece of history and Irvington’s people when you drop by the Citizen Soldiers Monument.

Check Out the D. Bilal Beasley Statue

While walking around Irvington, you should stop by the statue of D. Bilal Beasley, the late councilman and freeholder of the township.

You may find the statue in front of Irvington Township Hall.

Beasley, who passed away in 2014, was honored by the locality through the statue.

The civic square was also renamed after him in 2018.

While here, you may learn about him and his contribution to the township.

Add the D. Bilal Beasley Statue to your stops while exploring the township!

Take a Walk at the Irvington Springfield Avenue Business Improvement District

The Irvington Springfield Avenue Business Improvement District, or ISABID, is a business district in the area.

Established in 1997, it is located along Springfield Avenue, Clinton Avenue, and Washington Avenue.

Here you may find various types of stores.

All kinds of businesses are located here including service providers, banks, and restaurants.

While walking around, observe the community and the rich culture of the small businesses.

You will learn that there’s so much to explore in the bustling township when you visit the Irvington Springfield Avenue Business Improvement District.

Work Out or Play at Chris Gatling Recreation Center

Chris Gatling Recreation Center is on Union Avenue.

The recreation center underwent renovation and was opened to the public in October 2016.

Here you may take your kids to play and get together with other people.

The center also has a basketball court for those who enjoy the sport.

If you’re looking for a place to hang out or meet new people, visit the Chris Gatling Recreation Center!

Catch the Sunset at Orange Park

Orange Park is another open space where you may hang out when you’re in Irvington.

It may be accessed through Orange Avenue.

You may find a spot among the greenery, grab a book, and spend some quiet time while enjoying the fresh air.

It also serves as a recreational space for the community.

Within Orange Park, you may also find a playground where you can take your kids to play and exercise!

Visit Saint Leo Roman Catholic Church

Irvington has plenty of places of worship that you may visit, and one of them is the Saint Leo Roman Catholic Church.

You may find the church along Myrtle Avenue.

The building has a gothic revival style that will amaze you as you approach the church.

The church opened in 1926 and was designed by Joseph Jackson.

In 1951, Gonippo Raggi redecorated the church, specifically its windows.

Find peace inside or be in awe of the building’s striking beauty when you visit the Saint Leo Roman Catholic Church.

Other Things to Do Nearby

The township of Irvington is conveniently located near other small towns and big cities.

After exploring the entire area, why not visit the nearby places and find some more exciting things to do?

Take Your Kids to Montgomery Park

Montgomery Park, located along Montgomery Avenue, is managed by Montgomery Township.

The park may be smaller than others, but it still serves as a gathering area for the community.

Kids will especially enjoy the park’s playground.

As you let your kids play and meet new people, you may also find your own spot and observe the scenery or read a book.

Get to know more about Irvington’s community when you spend some time at Montgomery Park.

Explore Nature at South Mountain Reservation

A waterfall at South Mountain Reservation

Richard Scalzo /

The South Mountain Reservation is a 2,112-acre nature reserve in the Essex County Park System.

The reservation is located in the townships of Maplewood, West Orange, Millburn, and South Orange.

It is home to a dog park, hiking and walking trails, Wildflower Sculpture Park, and portions of the South Mountain Recreation Complex.

Trail at South Mountain Reservation

Art by Amart /

The place also has a scenic overlook, perfect for when you want to be surrounded by nature and enjoy a quiet atmosphere.

The South Mountain Reservation serves as a refuge for different wildlife, so always be respectful of the surroundings.

Don’t miss out on this site if you want to feel closer to nature and fully see the beauty of Essex County.

The grounds of South Mountain Reservation

Vadim 777 /

Climb Jersey City’s “100 Steps”

The steel staircase called “100 Steps” is a project in Jersey City that connects Jersey City Heights to the Paterson Plank Road.

The project, which was finally opened in 2013 after two decades of construction, was a restoration of the historic “Franklin Avenue Steps” that was built over a hundred years ago.

The original stairs broke down in the 1990s.

Although the staircase is called 100 Steps, it actually only has 95 steps.

The staircase doesn’t just have a historic significance; it may also serve as good exercise for those who wish to climb the steps!

Hang around Branch Brook Park

People at Branch Brook Park

George Wirt /

Branch Brook Park is said to be the nation’s first county park.

It is located in the northern part of Newark, the most populous city in New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County, just between the neighborhoods of Roseville and Forest Hill.

An area of the park is also situated within the nearby township of Belleville.

A bridge at Branch Brook Park

Mad Hare Imagery /

When you visit, you will find the biggest collection of cherry blossom trees in the country, so it is even more beautiful to visit during the spring.

Through Branch Brook Park, you may also access the Lenape Trail, a 36-mile suburban trail that connects 11 municipalities and 18 parks in Essex County.

Before leaving the area, make sure to drop by this one-of-a-kind and historic park in Newark.

Water fountain at Branch Brook Park

Andrew F. Kazmierski /

Get Active at Conant Park

Conant Park is located in the township of Hillside in New Jersey.

You may reach this park in less than 30 minutes when you drive from Irvington.

It is one of Union County’s 26 parks where you can spend some quality time outdoors.

The park is the perfect recreational area for sports enthusiasts as it has a soccer field, a softball field, and a basketball court.

It also has a fitness trail for those who like staying active through other means.

If you’re bringing along your kids, you may take them to the park’s playground.

Make sure to also bring food so you can have a picnic at Conant Park!

Spend a Day Outdoors at Monte Irvin Orange Park

Entrance arch of Monte Irvin Orange Park

User:Jim.henderson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Monte Irvin Orange Park is a 47.5-acre space in the City of Orange township which is also a part of Essex County.

One of the first Olmsted-designed landscapes in the Essex County Park System, it is easily reachable from Irvington.

Monte Irvin Orange Park has fields for soccer and softball and a court for basketball, so you can try different kinds of activities!

A jogging path is also available if you’re looking to stay active without playing.

You may even go fishing at the pond within the park!

The park holds free concerts every summer, so you may catch a show if you’re in the area.

Final Thoughts

The quaint but densely populated township of Irvington has surprisingly plenty of potential for recreation.

Whether you want to stay active or explore a new community, the area has something to offer.

It is also conveniently located near other townships with plenty of attractions, as well as major urban areas.

If you’re planning a trip soon, be sure to review this list of free things to do in Irvington, New Jersey!

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