In this densely populated urban city, who would guess that it also has nearly 2,000 acres of green space and tons of outdoor activities to enjoy? It’s true, Jersey City is great at bringing the outdoors in at any time of the year, thanks to its waterfront locale, walkable city streets and pristine parks.
Soak it all up (sun or not) with these must-do outdoor activities in Jersey City.
Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza
You don’t have to be an outdoor lover to appreciate this open-air strip. Home to many of the city’s best bars and eateries, Pedestrian Plaza is a charming and vibrant spot, that’s open only to, you guessed it, pedestrians. Located in the historic downtown area on Newark Ave, visitors can breeze up and down this 3-4 block-long plaza while enjoying a night out on the town and the glittering string lights. During the warmer months, it draws a bigger crowd of people taking a reprieve outside the bars and restaurants, which makes it all the more fun.
Waterfront Walkway and piers
One of the best ways to enjoy Jersey City is along the Hudson Riverfront Walkway, where you can walk, jog or bike alongside the Hudson River to take in the New York City skyline. Stop in shops and cafes along the way or even hit up one of the waterfront bars while you’re there to enjoy a custom cocktail or two. There are also two different piers that you can walk out on; the longest one is located near Exchange Place. Here, you might catch local fisherman fishing off the end of the pier, just waiting for a bite.
Dine al fresco
From rooftop bars, to outdoor patios and floor-to-ceiling walls that open up for warm weather, Jersey City locals are certainly no strangers to dining al fresco. Bringing the outside in is arguably one of the best ways to enjoy a meal thanks to the sunshine, scenery and abundance of people watching that you get to experience here. Oh and did we mention the food is amazing, too?
Liberty State Park
A pinnacle of city parks, Liberty State Park is 1,212 acres worth of green space, walkways and panoramic Manhattan skyline views. For scale, imagine an area as big as New York’s Central Park but significantly less developed and you’ve got Liberty State Park. Visitors can walk the two mile-long loop or rent a Citi bike and take in the sights along the way, including its stunning 9-11 memorial.
Statue of Liberty
Visible from Liberty State Park but much better up close and in person, the Statue of Liberty is a quick ferry ride away from Jersey City. A round-trip ticket with a guided tour is fairly cheap ($18+) and what’s better is that the admission to the Statue of Liberty is free, so it’s a perfect budget option for families and tourists who want to spend time outdoors.
Jersey City is an historic area that’s rich in culture. Located right near the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island is also available via Statue Cruises and is even included in most of the guided tours for the Statue of Liberty and Hudson River. So to get the full experience, be sure to make time for both of these stops during your time in Jersey City.
Located in the Heights neighborhood of Jersey City, Pershing Field is a sports lover’s paradise. It has 13.5 acres of recreational space including a track, basketball and tennis courts and a large swimming pool that doubles as a skating rink the winter. Looking for a little bit more history and culture? Pershing Field has that, too. While you’re here, check out the large arch that is the only remaining structure from the former Fourth Regiment Armory building, in addition to a statue and numerous plaques in memory of the lives lost during WWI.
There are two different biergartens in Jersey City and both are pretty popular local watering holes, so be prepared for crowds – especially on a sunny day! For a fun and laid-back atmosphere, check out Zeppelin Hall, located between Paulus Hook and Liberty State Park. It has seating for up to 800 people (!) and a cool outdoor space that you can bring family and friends.
The newer Lutze Biergarten is a waterfront biergarten that’s family and pet-friendly in the Exchange Place district. Although it is a bit smaller and seats only 450 people, the Lutze makes up for it with riverside seating and city views. Plus, it serves seafood faves such as crab cakes alongside traditional German fare.
The Jersey City community is known for their farmer’s markets, some which of been around for 20+ years and others that are cropping up in different neighborhoods. To sample the local flavor, check out the Green Market in Journal Square, the Historic Downtown Farmer’s Market and Riverview Farmer’s Market and more.
Street fairs and festivals
If there ever was a city that loves its street fairs and festivals, it’s this one. Jersey City is a welcome host to year-round events that bring the best of Hudson County’s food, drink and vendors in one place. To see what all the hype is about stop by one of the many street fairs such as Project Eats, All About Downtown and Hamilton Park BBQ, just to name a few.