The Old Village area, now the downtown district of Westfield, 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, when the area was still part of Essex County, and was incorporated on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey's initial group of townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature. It became part of the newly formed Union County on March 19, 1857.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 30,316 people, 10,566 households, and 8,199 families residing in the town.
According to a 2014 nationwide survey, Westfield is considered to be the 30th safest city to live in the United States.
Downtown Westfield, with over 200 retail establishments and 400 commercial enterprises, is a regional destination in New Jersey.
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.
New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line provides rail service from the Westfield train station to Newark Penn Station in Newark with connecting service to Penn Station New York.
Westfield's position and schedule on the Raritan Valley line make it highly desirable for commuters, as several times in the morning and evening rush hours a non-stop service is operated to/from Newark Penn Station.
On these non-stop services, the one-way journey time to/from New York Penn Station is 50 minutes, or 20 minutes to/from Newark Penn Station.