Wednesday, April 17, 2024

20 Things to Do in Jersey City, NJ: Locals Give Their Best Tips and Ideas

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Jersey City, NJ has a vibe that’s just as electric as its neighbor across the river. Whether you’ve recently moved here or are on the lookout for homes for sale or apartments for rent in the area, Jersey City has something for everyone. It’s a melting pot of culture, history, and urban energy, drawing in folks from different corners of the map looking for a new city to call home. 

Beyond the iconic Manhattan skyline views, Jersey City boasts a unique cultural tapestry, framed by the backdrop of the Hudson River. In this Redfin article, we tapped into the wisdom of locals to discover some off-the-beaten-path gems in Jersey City. Their insights paint a vivid picture of a city with hidden treasures that also go beyond the well-known landmarks and cultural spots. So, buckle up and get ready for an insider’s guide to the best experiences in Jersey City.

Liberty State Park in New Jersey

1. Try a bite at Brick Lane Curry House

Aaron Morill, Editor-in-Chief of the Jersey City Times, says “Since the time I was a little boy living in London, I’ve loved curry..  One of my favorite places in Jersey City is Brick Lane Curry House. The Goan curry is wonderful, complex with the right amount of heat. Get it with shrimp and you’re in heaven.”

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2. Check out the Colgate Clock

“The Colgate Clock in downtown Jersey City, NJ stands as an iconic landmark that not only tells the time but also offers a unique perspective on the breathtaking beauty of the New York City skyline,” suggests Magnum Opus Studios, a local photography rental studio. “Situated on the Hudson River waterfront, this historic timepiece provides photographers with an unparalleled vantage point to capture the city that never sleeps. The clock’s strategic location allows for stunning shots during both sunrise and sunset, as the changing light bathes the skyscrapers across the river in warm hues, creating a mesmerizing play of colors that any photographer would appreciate.

Beyond its photographic appeal, the Colgate Clock serves as a popular spot for both locals and tourists seeking a moment of tranquility while enjoying the spectacular views. Whether one is a seasoned photographer or simply someone looking to soak in the beauty of the city, the Colgate Clock in Jersey City stands as a timeless destination offering a unique blend of history, architecture, and unparalleled views of the iconic New York City skyline.”

Magnum Opus Photography

Courtesy of Magnum Opus Studios

3. The waterfront at golden hour

“One of my favorite photography spots in Jersey City is the Hudson River Waterfront walkway,” recommends Bilal Bajwa, a local NJ wedding photographer. “It’s especially breathtaking during sunset (golden hour), the NYC skyline provides for the perfect backdrop for an engagement session or outdoor ceremony.”

Photography by Bilal

4. Jog or bike popular paths in NJ

“Looking for a challenging workout?  For those early morning joggers, wherever you are staying in Jersey City, head to the Colgate Clock and jog north to arrive under the George Washington Bridge,” recommends Steve from Mile Square Property Management. “Pick up some coffee and a treat at Gregorys Coffee near the Exchange Place Path Station. Other food options are plentiful along the Hudson River. The round trip is just shy of a full marathon and you’ll be treated to a car-less route. You could just as easily bike the route as well.”

5. Visit the local planetarium

Steve also mentions, “If you are looking for some fun, the Liberty Science Center boasts the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the largest one in the Western Hemisphere. Not only that but there are rotating and permanent exhibits perfect for all ages. When you’re done head to Liberty State Park for views of the Statue of Liberty.”

6. Learn to sail

Steve goes on to say, “With True North Sailing School in Liberty State Park, you can learn to sail amongst some of the most beautiful urban scenery in the world. When you’re done head to Maritime Parc also in Liberty State Park for an upscale meal with views.”

7. Visit these picturesque places in and near the city 

Explore the city like a local photographer and uncover the most picturesque spots hidden from the typical tourist eye. These are the places where seasoned photographers go to capture the true essence and beauty of the urban landscape. 

Liberty State Park

“One unforgettable moment I captured was during a sunset wedding ceremony overlooking the Statue of Liberty,” says Emma Cleary Photography. “The warm hues of the setting sun painted a magical scene, providing the couple with a backdrop that symbolized freedom and eternal love.”

Liberty State Park Train Station

“A client I worked with chose the train station for their first look session, creating timeless images that blended modern love with the vintage allure of the location,” mentions Emma Cleary. “This location is our go to for rainy day wedding shoots in Jersey City, however it looks just as appealing on a sunny beautiful day.”

Powerhouse Arts District

“A client’s pre-wedding shoot in the Powerhouse Arts District resulted in a series of captivating images against the backdrop of industrial-chic architecture, creating a modern love story. I recommend this area for photo opportunities,” shares Emma Cleary.

Emma Cleary Photography

Courtesy of Emma Cleary Photography

8. Visit the marina

“For those who appreciate maritime beauty, the Liberty State Park Marina is a hub of activity,” shares Joseph Delgado from Delgado Studios. “Boasting a full-service marina, it offers opportunities for boat tours, fishing, and water sports, providing a unique perspective of the area.”

9. Take a in-depth history tour

“History enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, also known as the CRRNJ Terminal or Communipaw Terminal,” recommends Joseph. “This historic site played a crucial role in American immigration history, serving as the point of entry for millions.”

10. Jersey City events and festivals

“Throughout the year, Liberty State Park hosts a variety of events and festivals. From cultural celebrations to outdoor concerts, there’s always something exciting happening. Check the park’s events calendar to plan your visit around one of these vibrant occasions.

Delgado Studios

Courtesy of Delgado Studios

11. Visit the Exchange Place neighborhood 

JMT Photography & Media recommends, “For an iconic cityscape, head to Exchange Place. With the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, this waterfront location is perfect for capturing the hustle and bustle of city life. The Colgate Clock, a historic timepiece, adds a touch of nostalgia to the scene.”

jmt photography

Courtesy of JMT Photography & Media

12. Capture Instagrammable moments at Hamilton Park

“Nestled in the historic district of Hamilton Park, this green oasis provides a charming setting for photography,” recommends JMT Photography & Media. “The park features well-manicured lawns, a gazebo, and tree-lined pathways. During the spring, the blooming cherry blossoms add a burst of color, creating a romantic backdrop.”

jmt photography and media

Courtesy of JMT Photography & Media

13. Get a taste of classic architecture

“Located in the heart of the historic downtown area, Van Vorst Park offers a blend of nature and urban charm. The park’s fountain, Victorian gazebo, and tree-lined pathways provide a variety of settings for photography. The surrounding brownstone buildings add a touch of classic architecture to your shots,” suggests JMT Photography & Media.

14. Grab a matcha latte 

Bleu Coffee, nestled within the lobby of DVORA 175 Second, serves up delicious lattes—both tea and coffee-based—and has one of my absolute favorite matcha lattes in Jersey City,” shares Jessi Dunham from DVORA. “In the summertime, the chic, open-air lobby offers a great indoor/outdoor vibe, and there’s also a lesser-known mezzanine upstairs to cozy up and read a book or work remotely, super comfortably.”

15. Get brunch

Hybrid Coffee and Kitchen has the best avocado toast in Jersey City, hands down,” says Jessi. “The owner, Evan Santiago, is the sweetest and genuinely remembers his guests and their regular orders. They offer a Wild Flower latte, but a pro-tip is to order the off-the-menu Wild Flower Matcha Latte.”

16. Eat authentic Italian cuisine 

Lastly, Jessi suggests, “A short walk from DVORA 175, Chickie’s in Hamilton Park is a neighborhood Italian spot serving up great eats and ultimate cozy vibes. Their Chicken Parm with their signature spicy vodka sauce and spicy rigatoni is not to be missed. It’s the best spot for a night out or a casual lunch date.”

17. Ride a ferry

“Take a short ferry ride from Jersey City to the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island,” recommends  Craig J. from Tri-State Rental Properties. “Everyone should take a trip to see the famous Lady Liberty, which was given to the U.S. by France as a gift.”

18. Food crawl 

If you’re looking for something delicious or exciting nightlife, Grove Street is the place to be,” suggests Craig. “From Razza, Orale Mexican Kitchen to Uncle Momo, your taste buds will thank you.”

19. Dine on the pier

“A favorite spot of mine in Jersey City is Battello, a beautiful Italian restaurant located at Newport Yacht Club and Marina Pier,” says Mike Schmidt from The Match Artist, a local photography company that specializes in dating photography. “It offers a huge open layout, high ceilings, and panoramic windows that give you a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline. The food is delicious with wonderful presentation, and the staff is inviting and attentive. All of the dishes are excellent, but my personal favorite is the Ricotta Gnocchi.

The Match Artist

Courtesy of The Match Artist

20. View local artists’ work

“The Jersey City Mural Arts Program (JMAP) is a citywide public showcase of talented local and international artists,” suggests Kim Wallace-Scalcione from Jersey City Cultural Affairs. “Since Mayor Fulop launched the mural program in 2013, over 200 murals have been painted by 138 different artists as part of the City’s burgeoning arts community. Jersey City has quickly become a sought-after destination for arts and culture, with major projects in the pipeline including Centre Pompidou x Jersey City and the restoration of the iconic Loew’s Theatre.

Below is a photo of a Harriet Tubman mural painted on the silos at Berry Lane Park, where we opened a Tony Hawk Skate Park in the midst of COVID to give Jersey City youth a place to skate and interact with others.”

Tony Hawk Skate Park

Courtesy of  Jersey City Cultural Affairs

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