Which way to IKEA?

ikea paramus vs new haven

There's a lot more to consider than distance.

One thing is clear from the recent discussions about chain stores: people around here love IKEA. And AOA very often gets search referral traffic for the query "closest IKEA Albany."

There are two primary IKEA options for the Capital Region: Paramus, New Jersey and New Haven, Connecticut.

So, which IKEA should you go to? We've broken down the decision...


New Haven makes a good case, but we have to give the edge to Paramus. It's a bit closer and in a stronger overall shopping area. But it is closed on Sunday and the traffic around there can be fierce. It's a narrow victory.

Mileage and times from Google Maps. Toll info from Thruway and Mass Pike websites. Mileage calculated using 30 mpg at $4 per gallon (your mileage will almost certainly vary). Paramus economic activity figure from Wikipedia. Sales tax figures via Wolfram Alpha.


I recently was coming back from a trip to NYC and had to stop at the Paramus IKEA...and its on the way. of course I never think that it's Sunday and everything in Paramus is closed Sundays (Chik-fil-a)!!! crazyness right?! needless to say I had an hour detour (roundtrip) to the other IKEA in Elizabeth.

As a recently converted New Jerseyan (it makes my tuition cheaper) I have a few local tidbits that may be of interest:

1) Yes, the Paramus Ikea is closed on Sundays. That's because Bergen County still has blue laws in effect mandating that retail outlets stay closed for business on Sunday. They thought about repealing the ordinance since the religious motivation has dwindled a bit in recent years, but the locals appreciate the one-day traffic respite it provides.

2) Paramus, being a fairly prosperous community, enjoys the standard 7% New Jersey sales tax rate. Elizabeth, home of the other North Jersey Ikea, is a designated Urban Enterprise Zone, allowing sales tax to be reduced to 3.5%. If you're furnishing an entire apartment, those savings definitely add up. The tradeoff is that you have to take the Turnpike to just about the Port of Newark, but with a little practice it's cake, and you'll get the bonus of watching planes take off from Newark Liberty from the cafe.

Taking that all into consideration, I'd say the clear winner is the location not on your list. (Especially for me, because it's the easiest to get to from Central Jersey by far.)

There's a Chick-Fil-A at the Paramus mall near IKEA, a Sonic on the way back at Kingston, and great views of the Hudson & Catskills along the way. What's not to like?

Maybe I'm a godless heathen or something, but dang it, I expect my IKEA to be open on sundays! Curse you New Jersey! Wait... NJ is already cursed... :) nevermind... =D

The diners on Route 17 should be mentioned in the food attractions!

Yeah, but isn't Chik-fil-a closed on Sundays everywhere? Like Hobby Lobby.

Don't forget the IKEA in Stoughton, MA it takes about 3 hours from Albany and is also open on Sunday. The "good" part about this store, is that its only a short drive from Wrentham Village which has a Restoration Hardware Outlet. All in all, its a great money sink.

I find the drive to Paramus to be much more of a hassle than the drive to New Haven. New Haven wins for me. And there is a Trader Joe's about 15 mins away, which if you are going to be in the area... worth the 15 minute drive. And then, if you plan it right, you can swing by the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den for a free concert on your way home.

Not that I haven't made a mecca to Ikea, Trader Joes and a free concert at the Wolf Den as a road trip day of fun in CT or anything...

Trader Joe's
560 Boston Post Road
Orange, CT

I'll throw in another vote for the Paramus store - in my experience they have much more in stock.

Although everything in the showrooms is similar, the Paramus store has more colors of whatever shelving you want in stock - and more of it. So if you need 6 of those bookshelves to line your hall, go to Paramus.

Also, while in Paramus, you can stop by Campmor, and get any outdoor gear you need. (Waaaay better then Cabella's for a camper/hiker)

Get out of my head!! Just yesterday my wife and I were discussung this very thing...

Go to the one where you are gonna do something else also. Combo trips are great. Get more done. Taconic Parkway and Conn 8 would provide scenic drives and a little more time to travel there. There is also an IKEA in Montreal if you are headed up north.

Aside from Garden State Plaza, down on Rt. 4 is Bergen Mall (or whatever they're going by nowadays) and the shops at Riverside. No matter where you go, the shopping is pretty darn good in this area. I could suggest back roads to bypass some of the more traffic prone areas of 17, but eh... you'd probably get lost.

My vote is for New Haven. There's even a Marcel Breuer building adjacent to IKEA. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Breuer

Hey folks, let's get practical here. Who is going to pay me (including the gas mileage) to shop anywhere that's further than 20 miles from my home? I shop locally for anything I need. If it's not available locally, I do without.

If you are going to be big on eating local produce, you can't logically shop in NJ or CT for furniture, it just doesn't make sense.

Trader Joe's is a little passe. If you want a true supermarket/circus experience, you need to visit Stew Leonards. There's one near Hartford on the way to New Haven.

@Elisabeth: I had wondered about that building! It's distinctive -- and the IKEA is sort of oddly placed in relation to it.

Here's a bit more about the building and the controversy over IKEA constructing a store near it.

i'm from new haven! so my vote is for that one, and while you're there stop at Louie's Lunch for a historic/famous burger, and the Yale art gallery and Skull and Bones building. really cool town.

Maybe it was the 2 year old maps in my Garmin GPS, but the trip to the New Haven IKEA was hellish, wondering through back country MA on two lane twisty highways.

I'll take 2 hours on the Thruway any day, even if the place with the sign held up by the crane just south of 20something is getting boring to look at.

@Mark Walling: Your GPS's settings might be the culprit. A visit to family in the New Haven area a summer or two ago likewise led me through all sorts of country roads in MA and CT. For the return trip, I tweaked my settings and it put me right on I-91 up to the Mass Pike and home. I think I changed it from "shortest distance" to "shortest drive time".

Do we have to go to IKEA?

If you have to go, the 'back way' to New Haven, down the Taconic to 84 then RT7 to I95 isn't bad (the back back roads are even better). And scenic as all get out.

But if you really want to do some furniture shopping, try doing it locally.

How did you calculate gas mileage?
What car did you base it on?
Did you just account for a full tank with no fill up in either city?

Either way, perhaps NJ would be better, they have lower gas prices than NY due to lower gas taxes. Plus, all gas stations are full serve by law there.

The Red Hook, Brooklyn IKEA is well-worth the extra gas and time. I found it to be better stocked(and cleaner) than the Paramus store.

I'm still looking for furniture store suggestions which have have furniture with a style similar to IKEAs... even in a different price range.

There aren't any. Shopping local is smart for food and locally made goods. Using it as a blanket statement means nothing.

Duhhhh...Paramus all the way, unless you want to be stuck in boring old Connecticut.
While a nice state overall, New Haven is a crap city (to save myself from describing it more vulgarly) and I've encountered some of the worst weather ever in my many years of driving to CT.
I think you usually have to go through MA first then to CT.
Paramus is a straight shot down the Thruway and onto Rte 17S. How hard can that be?
And kudos to those who know Paramus as a mecca of shopping.
Many residents from other states come to Jersey b/c it literally has everything, including tax-free clothing purchases (including also luxury brands you usually see in NYC).
In fact, Paramus makes more income than some countries do (or so I have heard).
Anyway, Paramus is a clear winner for me, because this reader knows what benefits living in the center of the East Coast and the key metro area to shop in.
And oh yeah, forgot to mention that this IKEA is 10 min from my house ^_^.
Happy shopping!
And those Swedish meatballs are delish! And the berry sauce too!

New Haven does have a lot of shopping nearby. Milford is 10 minutes down the road and has every imaginable retailer (though no Crate & Barrel - yet), including Whole Foods. New Haven itself has a great shopping district on Broadway with J Crew, Apple, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, etc. All the trendy shops to co-exist with your Ikea finds. New Haven also is a foodie mecca, not just for pizza anymore (although BAR, Sally's, Pepe's and Modern - and even Kitchen Zinc, Grand, and Press kill anything in the Paramus area). Some standouts include Prime 16, Miya's Sushi, Meatball House, Miso, Skappo, Mezcal, Zinc, Heirloom, Thali, etc. etc.

Wish IKEA would locate HERE!
The first thing i would do is head towards the smorgassboard!

Make a weekend trip out of it and drive to Montreal! Sure it's an extra two hours but they do have an IKEA plus so much more!

They really need to put an IKEA in that new upscale shopping center that's expected to be going in where Latham Circle Mall is/used to be ;)

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