28 Cool Things to Do in Hoboken, NJ: Waterfront Tours, Museum Visits, Food Hopping & More

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Welcome to the “Mile Square City’’, where small-town charm meets big-city excitement! 

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Hoboken, New Jersey, this guide will walk you through some of the activities and places that make this city an appealing destination to visit or live.

Located just across the Hudson River from New York City, its famous waterfront provides beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and is a popular destination for walking, jogging, and picnicking. 

You can find several parks where regular outdoor events and concerts take place.

And if you’re into culture or history, museums and galleries host exhibits showcasing the city’s past and local arts scene.

For foodies, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars in this place that serve different cuisines and specialty drinks.

So, whether you’re a local looking for a weekend escape or you’re a curious traveler craving new experiences, Hoboken packs a punch when it comes to entertainment, culture, and all-around good times. 

Looking for other places to visit in NJ? Check out our other New Jersey guides.

For those who plan to go to NYC next, try our recommendations for cool free things to do in New York City or go for broke with this epic New York bucket list.

Explore all of our NYC guides for even more ideas.

Fun Things to Do in Hoboken NJ

The entirety of Hoboken covers an area of approximately 1.3 square miles only, which means you will find most attractions really close to each other.

To make your planning easier, the following list of what to do in Hoboken will start in the city center then will head to places near and around the waterfront.

PLAYDAY Hoboken

If you are looking for a place to take the kids for a morning, PLAYDAY Hoboken (99 Park Avenue) offers a spacious area for toddlers and young children to frolic and play.

With art classes and after-school programs catering to many different age ranges, the venue provides an enriching environment for learning and creativity.

For toddlers, there are art basics programs introducing them to the world of artistic creativity, and for older children, there are programs for each age range all the way to 10+, with different art styles and levels of independent learning.

Families can also reserve time slots for open play or partake in engaging classes and activities.

Mulligan’s

Cherished by both residents and visitors, Mulligan’s (159 1st Street) offers an inviting ambiance for adults to enjoy a laid-back evening.

The notorious highlight of Mulligan’s is that it is a football bar, in both senses of the word.

The Irish theme of the pub lends itself to football matches throughout the week (i.e. ‘soccer’), and on Sundays, the football games are on (i.e. ‘NFL Football’).

Complete with pints of beer and classic Irish pub fare, it stands as a local Irish pub favorite that provides a cozy setting to unwind and catch whoever is playing that night.

Revival Vintage Boutique

For enthusiasts of timeless fashion, Revival Vintage Boutique (86 Park Avenue) beckons with a collection of high-quality clothing spanning various eras.

The corner store continuously refreshes its offerings with new options, providing a treasure trove of vintage finds.

Each time you come to Revival, you are sure to find a new selection of interesting and unique vintage clothes.

Green Pear Cafe

If you are searching for cafes in Hoboken, make sure you check out Green Pear Cafe (93 Grand Street).

With a chic brunch style in a trendy setting and an entirely unique Eastern-European flair, Green Pear is the perfect place to have a morning date or stop on your tour of the town.

The breakfast is the feature of Green Pear, blending Eastern European delicacies with standard breakfast options made to perfection.

Make sure you try their Norwegian pancakes or their many different styles of omelets along with a fresh coffee.

Barsky Gallery

Art enthusiasts revel in the vibrant atmosphere of Barsky Gallery (50 Harrison Street), a dynamic hub for contemporary artistry.

Presenting an eclectic collection of artistic styles, the gallery contributes to Hoboken’s dynamic cultural scene and offers a multitude of creative perspectives, making it a must-visit for those seeking artistic inspiration.

Carlo’s Bake Shop

Delight your taste buds at Carlo’s Bake Shop (95 Washington Street), a renowned establishment famous for its imaginative and physics-defying cakes from the show Cake Boss.

While Carlo’s has become a chain across the tri-state area, the original location is where the aforementioned TV show was always filmed, making it a must-stop for any fans of the show.

Visitors indulge in a range of mouthwatering desserts skillfully crafted by expert bakers such as their famous cannolis, and if you’re lucky enough you may spy on one of their infamous fondant-infused cakes on its way to a big event.

If you are especially interested in Carlo’s, look into booking a baking class, where professional bakers will guide you through the process of creating one of their artistic interpretations, with every participant able to bring their cake home at the end of the day.

Little City Books

While there are several bookstores in Hoboken, Little City Books (100 Bloomfield Street) stands out for its impressive collection and inviting ambiance.

The staff is notoriously gracious and informative, always open to engaging in a conversation and finding out the best options for you.

Whether you are looking for your next favorite book or a cozy place to relax with a new book for an hour or two, Little City is a great option for you.

La Isla Downtown

Transporting guests to the heart of Cuba, La Isla Downtown (104 Washington Street) offers an authentic Cuban dining experience within a cozy, small-scale setting.

Indulge in beloved dishes like Papa Rellena and Ropa Vieja, each bite evoking the vibrant flavors of Cuba.

With its genuine culinary offerings, the restaurant captures the essence of Cuban cuisine and culture while also reflecting the unique culture of Hoboken.

The Brass Rail

Offering an upscale dining experience, The Brass Rail (135 Washington Street) appeals to adults looking to savor fine cuisine and handcrafted cocktails in an elegant and stylish ambiance.

With its refined atmosphere and exquisite menu offerings, it’s the perfect destination for a sophisticated and memorable dining experience and is often considered one of the best places to eat in Hoboken.

Local favorites include the French Onion Soup, truffle meatballs, and steak and eggs.

Hoboken Fire Museum

A fun and engaging destination for young children, the Hoboken Fire Museum (213 Bloomfield Street) showcases historic fire trucks harkening back to the original days of Hoboken dating back to 1932.

Any parents of young fire truck enthusiasts should circle this location on their itinerary as of the key places to see in Hoboken, with plenty of opportunities to learn about and even explore these historic fire engines.

Kids are encouraged to climb into these charming vintage trucks, creating memorable photo opportunities that capture the imagination and spirit of adventure.

Adult history buffs will also find plenty to discover here, with memorabilia and original equipment dating back to the fire department’s origins in the late 1800s.

Black Bear Bar & Grill

Black Bear Bar & Grill (205 Washington Street) beckons to sports enthusiasts and those seeking a laid-back evening in a cozy ambiance.

It’s the ideal spot to unwind and enjoy games, drinks, and classic American bar fare, creating a welcoming and enjoyable environment for patrons of all kinds.

The menu favorites include burgers, chicken quesadillas, and buffalo wings.

The Sinatra Room

A local secret nestled in Hoboken, The Sinatra Room (36 Newark Street) is a speakeasy that opens its doors for two select days each week.

Guests can revel in the exclusivity while enjoying specialty cocktails, including a ‘dealer’s choice’ option that makes this bar one of the more unique things to do in Hoboken at night.

Adding to its charm, the entrance is concealed behind a bookcase that opens to reveal the bar, lending an air of intrigue to the experience.

Hoboken Clock Tower

If you’re looking for things to see in Hoboken, then you have to check out the famous clock tower at Hoboken Terminal (1 Hudson Pl).

Standing at 225 feet tall, this historic clock tower is a prominent feature of the terminal, which was built in the Beaux-Arts style in the early 20th century. 

The clock tower is a symbol of Hoboken’s rich transportation history and continues to be a beloved and recognizable structure in the cityscape.

Lackawanna Clock Tower at Hoboken Terminal train station in New Jersey at sunset

Pier A Park

Families and nature enthusiasts find solace at Pier A Park (100 Sinatra Drive), where striking Manhattan vistas and beautiful walking trails create a serene waterfront haven against the Hudson River backdrop.

If you are looking for places to go in Hoboken, there are bike paths, large green spaces, and a playground that make for plenty of outdoor activities for all ages.

It’s an ideal spot for relaxation and play for visitors of all ages, offering picturesque views and recreational enjoyment.

Pier C Park

Pier C Park (340 Sinatra Drive) stands as a waterfront oasis designed to cater to families, featuring engaging playgrounds and serene splash areas.

Its breathtaking riverfront views create an idyllic space for leisure and play, inviting visitors to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings, as well as pose for photos along the rails with a stunning backdrop of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.

In addition to beautiful views of the city across the Hudson River, there is also a small playground for the kids, including a famous large metal slide right along the water.

Pier C park in Hoboken, New Jersey at night

Hoboken Waterfront Guided Walking Tour

If you’re looking for more things to do around Hoboken’s waterfront, go on a guided walking tour and enjoy the stunning views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline in a more educational way.

This is a perfect opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of daily life in the city and indulge in the authentic charm of the area, all with a local guide to help you.

Plus, you can tailor your experience to your liking by selecting a tour option with or without transportation from NYC. 

Looking for more places in NJ with stunning waterfront views? You may like our list of things to do in Newark, New Jersey.

Manhattan skyline view from Hoboken waterfront New Jersey

W Hoboken

If you want to visit Hoboken and are looking for places that can accommodate you for a day or more, enjoy a tranquil stay with easy access to the city’s major destinations at the W Hoboken (225 River Street).

This waterfront hotel is located just less than half a mile away from PATH Rail Station and the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal Waterway Ferry.

Pier A Park and Pier C Park are also just a few minutes’ walk.

In each room, you’ll find all the modern comforts you need, like a bed with comfy pillow-top mattresses, air conditioning, a spacious 50-inch TV, a handy coffee maker, and more.

Their suite rooms, ranging from 544 sq ft to 1088 sq ft, feature a private balcony and treat you to jaw-dropping views of the Manhattan skyline and the serene Hudson River.

When you’re not out exploring, make the most of their fantastic facilities, like their full-service spa, fitness gym, on-site restaurant, and bar.

Blue Eyes

There are many Italian restaurants in Hoboken due to the storied Italian-American history of the area, and arguably the most popular spot is Blue Eyes (525 Sinatra Drive).

Themed after Frank Sinatra and situated in the center of Sinatra Park immediately north of Pier C along the river, Blue Eyes places you back in the 1940s and 1950s, when Frank Sinatra was at the peak of his fame.

With a beautiful riverfront view and delicious Italian dishes including Penne Alla Vodka and Margherita Pizza, Blue Eyes is a great spot to get authentic Italian cuisine and a feel for a different era in Hoboken history.

Church Square Park

A haven catering to families and outdoor enthusiasts, Church Square Park (400 Garden Street) offers some quiet ambiance and expansive green space for the area.

With inviting playgrounds and ample room for leisurely strolls or picnics, it’s an ideal destination for relaxation and recreation, providing a welcome escape from city life.

In addition to a traditional playground area with swings and slides, there is also a splash park with fountains for the smaller children on summer days.

Castle Point Skate Park

Catering to thrill-seeking teenagers and young adults, Castle Point Skate Park (9 Castle Point Terrace) is a local favorite for showcasing skateboarding and rollerblading prowess.

The park’s ramps, rails, and energetic crowd scene create an ideal setting for skate enthusiasts to showcase their skills and enjoy an exciting outdoor activity.

Elysian Park

Families and nature lovers can escape to Elysian Park (1001 Hudson Street), a green space offering a picturesque backdrop for picnics, leisurely strolls, and breathtaking views of the city.

The park’s features include a popular playground as well as a basketball court that regularly features lively pick-up games among all of the locals.

What’s good about this spot is it’s one of the destinations you can go to when looking for free things to do in Hoboken.

Maxwell Place Beach

Famous for its summertime water activities in Hoboken, Maxwell Place Beach (Maxwell Lane) offers open spaces and the only natural sand beach south of the George Washington Bridge.

Perfect for families and adventure-seekers, the spacious area boasts beautiful views and a sandy beach ideal for launching into the Hudson River.

Check out Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse for kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding with an unparalleled perspective of the city.

Pier 13

A vibrant gathering spot for all ages, Pier 13 (1301 Sinatra Drive) boasts an array of food trucks, captivating waterfront views, and a relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for socializing and family outings.

Whether enjoying delicious bites, scenic vistas, or a leisurely day by the water, Pier 13 offers a dynamic and enjoyable experience.

Cornucopia Cruise Line

Couples seeking romantic things to do in Hoboken can find enchantment during a sunset sail on the Hudson River through the Cornucopia Cruise Line.

The northern end of Hoboken provides a picturesque backdrop for relishing breathtaking city views, allowing for a memorable and tranquil outing in the heart of the urban landscape.

The cruises take off from 14th Street Pier (1 14th Street), with food and standard drinks included, and a bar with beer, wine, and mixed drinks at an extra cost.

Hoboken Historical Museum

Learn about the storied past of Hoboken at the Hoboken Historical Museum (1301 Hudson Street).

If you are searching for places to visit in Hoboken, the historical museum should be an obvious choice with its plentitude of options for all ages.

There is plenty to do at the museum, including special exhibitions for feature stories and regular events for kids and adults alike.

One beloved feature of the museum is the Frank Sinatra walking tour, in which guests are guided through the story of Frank Sinatra, who grew up in Hoboken and has family roots that extend deep into the history of the town.

Gravity Vault

For those seeking adventure and physical challenges, The Gravity Vault (1423 Clinton Street) offers indoor climbing experiences suitable for climbers of all levels.

This 25,000-square-foot facility boasts rock walls of different sizes and skill sets, as well as 100 rope stations and additional climbing activities and gymnastics equipment, ensuring opportunities for exercise and physical activity for any skill or interest.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned climber, the diverse climbing routes provide an exhilarating and rewarding activity for all and make for an excellent group party.

Pilsener Haus & Biergarten

A treat for adults seeking an authentic Bavarian experience, Pilsener Haus & Biergarten (1422 Grand Street) boasts a convivial setting reminiscent of classic European beer gardens.

Guests can relish traditional German beers and hearty cuisine while enjoying the lively ambiance, making it a delightful destination for those looking to immerse themselves in cultural flavors.

The authentic menu makes Pilsener one of the best bars in Hoboken, highlighted by impressively large Bavarian pretzels and Frankfurters, as well as a unique and delicious rotating selection of German beers.

Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

A festive gathering for all ages, the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival (94 Washington Street) entices visitors with its lively street fair environment.

This popular Hoboken attraction boasts artist exhibits, food vendors, and live musical performances that guests are encouraged to stroll and enjoy throughout the day.

The event captures the essence of Hoboken’s vibrant arts and music community and features a plentiful array of activities for the whole family.

Read next: Things to do in Jersey City, NJ.

New Jersey Hoboken skyline

Final Thoughts

We hope this list has given you ideas on what to see in Hoboken and activities you can enjoy during your visit.

Do you have more places to recommend or an experience to share while in this city?

Let us know in the comments — we’d love to hear them!

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