Students share insight on weekend hot spots

As the semester is now well underway, students offered their recommendations to maximize weekend fun around South Orange. Each location seems to offer a different adventure, from cuisine to a hiking trip. Whether students are familiar or new to the area, they may find a nice getaway from classes and work.

Megan O’Brian/Staff Photographer

South Mountain Reservation

Kristen Santullo, a junior education major, said she recommends that students take the trek to South Mountain Reservation. According to Santullo, with its Instagram worthy trails, especially with the upcoming fall foliage, the reservation is a perfect place to take advantage of what nature has to offer. “South Mountain has some wonderful hiking trails,” Santullo said. “One path has a large waterfall where you can hike up the side,” this is perfect backdrop for a weekend date, or a picnic with a few friends!

Turtle Back Zoo

Turtle Back Zoo is about five miles from campus by car and offers a variety of activities. In addition to South Mountain, Santullo suggested students go to Turtle Back, which features a zip line in addition to the zoo. “The zoo itself has many animals including a newly designed penguin and lion section,” she said. The zoo added a Shores of Africa Penguin Exhibit, which opened in May. Santullo said the surrounding area also offers opportunity to experience nature. She said, “There is also a large lake next to the zoo where you can rent paddle boats in the summer and walk around in the fall.”

The Montclair Area

Tatyana Guzman, a junior diplomacy and international relations major, said Montclair is an interesting place to explore. For those without a car, they can hop on a train or Uber over to this nearby college town. “There are tons of stores, restaurants, a movie theater, and even some clubs for those that are 21+,” Guzman said.

Tito’s Burritos and Wings

This hotspot is a student favorite in downtown South Orange. Merely a few weeks ago, the establishment updated menu items. Additionally, this eatery takes Pirate’s Gold.

File Photo

Catherine Rubens, a junior psychology major, said, “Tito’s has not only great food, but a great atmosphere. With charismatic staff, plenty of places to sit, a pleasing aesthetic and good music, you can’t go wrong with Tito’s.”

Other students pointed out that Tito’s was a popular gathering spot. Alexandra Altamura, a senior biology major, said, “I love eating tacos and hanging out with friends, Tito’s is the perfect combination of those things off campus.”

Ashley’s Marketplace

Ellis Mitchell, a sophomore sports management major, said he frequents Ashley’s Marketplace in Downtown South Orange. As a Peer Adviser, he was at SHU over the summer and said he wanted to find some good off campus eats. He explained what he discovered was a bargain. Ashley’s has 50 percent off a its hot and sushi bars every day after 7:30 p.m. “You grab a container and fill it up at a stock price,” Mitchell said. “Go early. Because once the buffet food is gone, the deal is over.”

Claudia Emanuele can be reached at

Author: Claudia Emanuele

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