They call it the sixth borough of Manhattan for a reason. Jersey City is an exciting, lively and cool place to be for anyone who loves city life without the chaos and crowds of New York. It’s also home to plenty of sightseeing, parks and, of course, bars and restaurants that make it easy to spend an entire day (or two!) here.
Planning on making the trip? Here are the best things to see, eat and do if you’re spending 24 hours in Jersey City.
Depending on where you’re staying, getting over to the waterfront area of town will either require a short walk or a quick cab ride over to the Exchange Place neighborhood. From Paulus Hook all the way up to North Exchange Place there is a beautiful riverside walkway where you can get a spectacular vantage point of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.
Since you will obviously be in need of a coffee and some fuel for your day, head over to Gregory’s Coffee on 10 Exchange Place for a hot cup made by passionate and dedicated baristas who even roast their own beans. Here, you can sit and enjoy a quiet breakfast at their waterfront café before heading back out for day.
After breakfast, make your way over to Liberty State Park. You can easily get an entire day’s worth of activities here, so be prepared to make these your only plans. This massive green space is not only home to a waterfront park but the Liberty Science Center, a ferry service to the historic Ellis Island and unbeatable views of the Statue of Liberty.
If the weather is nice you can opt to rent a bike and see the sights on two wheels or take a stroll around the two-mile-long Liberty Walk where you can stop by the 9-11 Memorial and stop for a picnic on the grass.
Afterwards, hop on the ferry to see both the Statue of Liberty and visit Ellis Island, the historic immigrant port in the early 1900s. Liberty State Park is the only place where you can easily access both of these sites so check out the ferry schedule and make the trip over. We promise it’ll be worthwhile.
To make the most of your premier night in Jersey City drive over to town and head to Newark Ave near the historic downtown district (it’s also not too far from the waterfront, either) to get dinner at Porta Pizza. It’s one of the most popular places in town and for good reason, Porta serves handmade Neopolitan-style pizza in their open kitchen that’s so delicious you could easily have an entire pie yourself. While they are famous for their slices, they also offer mouthwatering Italian dishes that are made from fresh, sustainable and local ingredients. Dine downstairs in their open and airy industrial space (order a cocktail!) and if weather permits walk upstairs to their rooftop bar for a fun and cozy outdoor hangout. And yes, you can order pizza late into the night up there, too.
On your second morning in Jersey City, check out Legal Grounds Coffee in charming Paulus Hook neighborhood, a low-key and local breakfast joint with great coffee and famous New Jersey bagels. Folks come here for a quick and budget-friendly bite to eat in the morning, so you’ll have fun people-watching as the locals stream in and out.
Jersey City has a ton of shopping, food and bars in town, so for your last day here, be sure to immerse yourself in the culture of the city by walking around town. Within walking distance of Legal Grounds Coffee is Montgomery Street, a great spot for local boutiques, such as Kanibal & Co. and the popular vintage store, Another Man’s Treasure. After all that walking and shopping you’ll need to refresh, so grab a cold one at the Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden, a fun and traditional German brew house and festhalle with traditional fare and drinks to match.
The best way to spend your last night in Jersey City is by getting dinner at a local favorite, South House. Located in the heart of the Pedestrian Plaza , South House is known for serving up a delightful mix of traditional southern fare and American fusion dishes in a lively and rustic setting. If you’re lucky, there will be live music and since the owner, who hand picks the music roster, is a Southerner himself, the bands are always good. Sip on one of their bespoke cocktails and chow down on some hearty soul food (two words: Corn. Bread) while you’re here.
After dinner, you can head downstairs to there speakeasy and enjoy a large selection of games including foosball, shuffleboard and more. Be sure to save a little time to visit Jersey City’s Barcade, which is just around the corner from South House. Step into this bar/restaurant/old-school arcade and have fun being a kid again, play one of their many classic arcade games and enjoy a local craft beer. Bring singles with you or get some at the bar because these games only take tokens.