Westfield is a town in Union County, New Jersey, United States. According to a 2014 nationwide survey, Westfield is considered to be the 30th safest city to live in the United States. The old village area, now the downtown district, was settled in 1720 as part of the Elizabethtown Tract. Westfield was originally formed as a township on January 27, 1794, from portions of Elizabeth Township, while the area was still part of Essex County, and was incorporated on February 21, 1798, as a one of New Jersey’s initial group of 104 townships by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature. It became part of the newly formed Union County on March 19, 1857. Portions of the township have been taken to form Rahway Township (February 27, 1804), Plainfield Township (April 5, 1847), Cranford Township (March 14, 1871), Fanwood Township (March 6, 1878; now known as Scotch Plains), Mountainside (September 25, 1895) and Hillside (April 3, 1913). The Town of Westfield was incorporated on March 4, 1903, replacing Westfield Township.
Westfield’s downtown features many local and national stores, such as Lord & Taylor and several landmarks that were shown and used in the NBC network television show Ed such as the Rialto Theater. There are over 40 restaurants and casual dining establishments throughout the downtown. Downtown is located mostly north of the Westfield train station. The downtown area has a mix of independent stores and boutiques as well as national stores. Over one-third of the retailers and restaurants have existed for 25 years or more.
Downtown Westfield, with over 200 retail establishments and 400 commercial enterprises, is a regional destination in New Jersey. The Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) manages the Special Improvement District (SID) area’s growth and enhancement. The DWC participates in the National Main Street program associated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is funded by a SID assessment on downtown properties and operates as the district’s management agency. The DWC sponsors marketing efforts and promotions, special event planning, urban design and building improvement projects. The DWC works closely with the town government and volunteer groups to improve the downtown area. In 2004, Westfield won the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust. In 2010, Westfield was the winner of the America in Bloom contest for communities with a population of 25,001–50,000 against the other two towns entered in their category. Shopping and dining in Westfield attracts citizens from other communities across the state.