You probably wouldn’t think of the word “boring” if someone mentioned New Jersey, and for good reason. Beaches, sports, and a ton of nightlife makes this place a very party-friendly state. However, there are still some real snoozers here, as there are in every state.
The Movoto Real Estate Blog has been ranking boring cities in states all across the nation, and New Jersey is next up on our list. We tried not to yawn as we collected our data, took a look at these different spots, and put together a list of the most listless locales. Those dreary spots were:
1. City of Pleasantville
2. Borough of Carteret
3. City of East Orange
4. Borough of Hawthorne
5. City of Bridgeton
5. Township of Toms River
7. City of Perth Amboy
8. Borough of South Plainfield
9. Borough of Roselle
10. Borough of Elmwood Park
A few of these may surprise you, and a few you might have expected. Heck, you might not have even heard of a few of these places, which makes a lot of sense considering their ranking. But how did we define boring? If you can stay awake long enough, just check out the next section.
If you find reading terribly boring, you can also scroll to the bottom of this article and see how the 50 most boring spots in New Jersey placed.
How We Created This Ranking
First, we made a list of the 50 most populated places in the state. Yes, we know there are some boring tiny places out there, but we were looking at the major leaguers here. Then, we collected data from the 2010 U.S. Census (2010) and business listings in these eight criteria:
- Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
- Live music venues per capita
- Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
- Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, etc.)
- Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
- Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
- Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
- Population density (the higher the better)
From there, we ranked each place in each category from one to 50, with scores closer to one being more exciting, and scores closer to fifty being dismal and dull. We combined each places’ rankings into one Big Deal Score, and the place with the highest number for that became our most boring New Jersey location.
We’re not saying these are bad places or that we hate the people there. We’re just saying they’re not exactly thrilling for the young or young at heart. We know New Jersey folks have pride, and we doubt our ranking will be enough to put a dent in that hometown spirit.
With that out of the way, and if you haven’t nodded off from boredom yet, let’s look more in depth at what makes these sleepy spots just so darn dull.
Source: Flickr user Robert Bruce Murray III
This is one of the smaller spots we looked at, and in this case, small town relaxation meant bigtime boredom. Pleasantville had terrible scores in non-fast food restaurants, population density, and even arts. The scores in active life options, music venues, and nightlife also ranked very poorly.
Sure, this place is pleasant, as the name suggests. It’s quiet, peaceful, and friendly. But if you’re looking to go out at night, indulge in some culture, or get active, you’ve definitely got to go to more exciting places nearby.
Source: Flickr user Bob Jagendorf
This little place is on the way up. It’s pretty, and is gaining attractions, shopping, sports, and more. That’s all fine and great, but this place isn’t there yet, as evidenced by some pretty snore-tastic rankings.
Carteret had the third worst arts ranking and poor scores in non-fast food restaurants per capita as well as music venues. There were fairly few active life options, and lots of boring fast food restaurants rather than unique dining experiences. Keep trying, Carteret, we know you’ll get there someday.
3. East Orange
Source: Flickr user Spencer Kiser
Let’s focus on the good for a moment. East Orange has a very high population density, which means it’s always busy and bustling with people, and has few fast food restaurants around per capita. Unfortunately, that’s where the good excitement decisively ends.
The active life amenities and the nightlife per capita both ranked dead last on our list, which means that night or day, it’s going to be a chore to find something fun going on.
There were few arts amenities, few unique dining experiences, and not much of a music scene either. Really there’s just not much here except lots of people who like to eat fairly healthy.
Source: Flickr user anaxolotl
If you like to hit the gym, enjoy parks, and keep active, this very little place can actually help you out. However, the 12th placed active life amenities are about all this place has going for it.
Okay, it also has the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps, but beyond that this place doesn’t have much in the way of culture and uniqueness.
There were few non-fast food restaurants and a decidedly older population in Hawthorne. There were a fair number of arts, but little to no nightlife and no thriving music scene. Definitely not the place to try to have a great time on a Friday night.
Source: Flickr user Jeremy Grites
If you want a young community to call home, this place is perfect for you. Unless, of course, you also want any sort of excitement.
Despite ranking fourth in young population, with almost a third of the population being between the ages of 18 and 34, Bridgeton still had some truly dismal scores.
Though it’s got a couple of pretty cool taverns, the nightlife here ranked very poorly, as did the music venue options. There were also a ton of boring samey fast food restaurants in the area and few interesting arts options.
5. Toms River
Source: Flickr user Kurtlewisart
Okay, well, there’s the river… and that’s about it. Seriously though, this place did rank decently in a few areas.
Some active life options, a few music venues, and a decent score in the arts and entertainment area kept this place from being any worse on our boring list. So, why is this city here at all?
We hope you enjoy fast food, because there’s a ton of it here. There also were not many unique dining options per capita, poor population density, and a much older population. Only about 18 percent of people here were between the ages of 18 and 34.
We will say that this place has appeared on MTV several times before. Why? No idea.
7. Perth Amboy
Source: Flickr user Ulises Jorge
This city’s ranking here is pretty surprising. It’s got a variety of diverse neighborhoods, it has a thriving community, and it even had a young population, ranking 17th. However, it also had a whole lot of nothing to do in the way of food, physical activity, and arts.
All three of those criteria received scores in the bottom 10 of our ranking. It also didn’t help that this place had a mediocre nightlife score and a lot of boring fast food restaurants around.
Perth Amboy can be a lovely and peaceful place to call home, but if you’re looking for wild and crazy fun, you’ll have to go a few cities over.
8. South Plainfield
Source: Wikimedia user Jonathan Berkemeyer
The good: This place had good active life amenities and arts options. The bad: Foodies, young lively people, and music lovers are not going to be able to scratch their excitement itch here.
There were very few people in the city between the ages of 18 and 34, and there were a ton of fast food restaurants rather than fun and unique eateries. The population density ranked in the bottom 10, and there was nearly no music scene to speak of.
Considering this is a small place, and a more relaxed community, that makes a lot of sense, but it still makes it boring.
Source: Flickr user Olger Fallas
This borough might have an interesting music vibe a fairly young population, but that’s about all it’s got going on. There were not that many non-fast food restaurants, there was no thriving nightlife, and your active living options were really limited.
However, the big standout for Roselle was a distinct lack of the arts. Arts and entertainment options here ranked at the very bottom of our list, in dead last place.
So, yeah, this place isn’t exactly a bastion of artistic culture.
10. Elmwood Park
Source: Wikimedia user Lithium6ion
Another really small place, Elmwood Park can at least boast that it didn’t have very many fast food restaurants per capita. So, yay for that. That healthier lifestyle still couldn’t make this place interesting, however.
There was nearly no nightlife around, few arts options, and next to no music scene as well. There were a few active life options and a few interesting eateries, such as Taverna Mykonos, but beyond that there’s just not that much going on here.
Come See For Yourself...Then Go Somewhere More Exciting
How does this Garden State grow? In generally interesting and thrilling ways. Well, except for in these boring top 10.
You may love where you live, and you may value your community, but if you’re one of these dreary spots, it’s dull and that’s just all there is to it. So we tip our hats to you, snoozer cities. We tip them way down. Over our eyes. So we can nap, because, really, you’re putting us all to sleep.