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Planning to visit Jersey City, NJ?
Located in the northeastern part of the state, it’s positioned directly across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan, NYC.
This close proximity to New York City is one of its defining features and contributes significantly to its appeal.
But on its own, Jersey City has so much to offer!
In this article, we’ll explore some of the amazing things to do in Jersey City — from cultural experiences and outdoor adventures to culinary delights and historic sites.
Picture strolling through the downtown area, checking out museums, savoring mouthwatering cuisine, or immersing yourself in local culture.
And you wouldn’t want to miss exploring some of the city’s most popular attractions like Ellis Island and Liberty State Park.
So whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, get ready to uncover the things that will make your time here worthwhile.
For those who plan to go to NYC next, check out our recommendations with this epic New York bucket list.
Fun Things to Do in Jersey City NJ
For easier planning, we’ll start off our list of Jersey City’s activities and attractions downtown and on the waterfront, then head south and end at Ellis Island.
Unearth history at Barrow Mansion (83 Wayne Street), a 19th-century landmark offering guided tours to explore its architecture and role in shaping Jersey City.
Delve into the past and get a glimpse of the city’s historical roots, originally serving as the family home for Dr. William Barrow and serving many different roles and functions through the decades.
Experience the elegance and significance of this architectural gem while also learning unique pieces of the story of Jersey City.
Jersey City Free Public Library
Engage young minds through interactive storytelling sessions at the Jersey City Free Public Library (427 Jersey Avenue).
Foster a love for reading and creativity for your children while you take a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of a day out with kids.
There are things to do at the library beyond sitting in a quiet corner with a new book, although that is always a great option to breathe some peace in the middle of a busy day.
Keep your eye on the calendar for events such as group yoga, children’s storytimes and other local activities.
Indulge in artisanal pizzas and modern Italian cuisine at Porta (135 Newark Avenue), boasting a vibrant atmosphere and rooftop bar.
Perfect for casual gatherings, Porta offers a taste of Italy in the heart of the city.
From savory slices to delectable desserts, treat your taste buds to an Italian culinary journey.
In addition to the traditional Italian menus, there is also a rooftop brunch featuring unique savory and sweet pizzas along with brunch appetizers.
Groove on Grove
Experience local music at Groove on Grove (344 Grove Street), a series of live performances and community gatherings.
Enter into the vibrant local music scene while connecting with fellow enthusiasts at one of the most popular things to do in downtown Jersey City.
There is plenty to do for all ages, with kids’ activities and special music for them to dance to all along Grove Street Plaza.
Asana Soul Practice
Unwind during serene yoga sessions at Asana Soul Practice (124 1st Street)
Asana Soul caters to all skill levels with an assortment of classes each week.
A yoga session is the perfect option for relaxation and wellness enthusiasts, particularly those without children or willing to send them away with a grandparent for an hour while you give yourself a chance to relax.
Stretch, breathe, and find serenity during a potentially jam-packed day in Jersey City.
Jersey City: Taste of Downtown Food Tour
Sample some of the most unique and delicious restaurants around the downtown area of Jersey City on this 3-hour food tour.
Active tourists will appreciate one of the most popular Jersey City activities, with the chance to travel around the downtown area on foot, sampling features from top restaurants including Mexican fusion and Italian, among others.
With four unique tasting locations with a small meal and dessert guided by local experts, this offering is a blend of history and culture with delectable Jersey City favorites.
Experience the thrill of kayaking along the Hudson River at Urban Paddle (11 Marin Boulevard), catering to both beginners and experienced paddlers.
Urban Paddle is ideal for families, friends, or solo adventurers, offering stunning views of the Manhattan skyline in a great outdoor activity.
There are many options for the tour, including either kayaks or stand-up paddle boards, as well as guide tours along the NYC skyline during the day, right at sunset or lit up on a night-time trek.
Choose from an eclectic selection of drinks with great views of the Hudson River at Smorgasbar (3 2nd Street).
The bar menu features a collection of draft items from local breweries as well as popular national brands, along with signature cocktails and happy hour specials.
In addition to the menu of drinks, the big draw of Smorgasbar is the astounding view, with a grassy outdoor seating area directly overlooking the Hudson River and a beautiful perspective of the New York City skyline.
Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
Enjoy leisurely walks and bike rides along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, which extends 18.5 miles from the George Washington Bridge all the way to the southern tip of Bayonne where the Hudson River connects with Hudson Bay.
Take in the refreshing breeze as you stroll one of the best Jersey City sightseeing opportunities, surrounded by the beauty of the city’s waterfront.
Many locals and tourists alike will walk or jog the trail in the mornings, and by the late afternoon, it is usually filled with biking and people making their way out into the water for kayaking and fishing.
Dine with waterfront views at Battello (502 Washington Boulevard), offering upscale cuisine and a memorable ambiance for special occasions.
Treat yourself to an exquisite dining experience as you savor culinary delights against a stunning backdrop, with favorite dishes including Ricotta Gnocchi and Pancetta-Wrapped Scallops.
Enjoy family fun at Hamilton Park, a 42-acre property featuring walking trails, statues, large gazebos and ample green space for natural relaxation.
It’s also one of the places to go in Jersey City if you’re looking to join in memorable events throughout the year, including Shakespeare in the Park, movies in the park, weekly farmers markets and the Hamilton Park Festival.
White Eagle Hall
Experience live performances at White Eagle Hall (337 Newark Avenue), a historic venue hosting music concerts and cultural events.
Originally built in 1910 as a local community center White Eagle has transitioned into a lively and energetic concert venue.
Immerse yourself in the arts and culture scene of Jersey City in this intimate setting that features stand-up comedians, local talent and touring bands.
Riverview Fisk Park
Relish serene views of the Manhattan skyline at Riverview Fisk Park (498 Palisade Avenue).
Riverview Fisk has a large playground for kids, ample green space along the water and a basketball court overlooking the city skyline.
There is also a dog park where you can unleash your dog and let them stretch their legs and meet some new friends.
Pershing Field Pool
Cool off at Pershing Field Pool (201 Central Avenue), a 6-lane indoor pool situated within Pershing Field Park.
Families and individuals seeking relaxation will appreciate this option, featuring an affordable daily rate with no fees for children.
Make sure you get there early to reserve a lane during particularly hot days.
Immerse in contemporary art at Mana Contemporary (888 Newark Avenue), housing galleries, studios, and diverse exhibitions.
Engage with artists and experience a vibrant creative atmosphere.
From sculptures to paintings, there’s something captivating for every art lover.
Embrace the outdoors at Lincoln Park (1 County Road 605), perfect for picnics and games.
At 150 acres, Lincoln Park is by far the largest park in the Hudson County Park System, with enough activities and natural spaces for anyone and everyone to find something fun to do.
Get a team together for one of their athletic fields including basketball courts, football fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, handball courts, tennis courts and more.
There are also two large playgrounds and a splash park for children of various ages, offering free outdoor activities for everyone.
Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society Museum
Learn about Jersey City’s African-American heritage at the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society Museum (1841 John F. Kennedy Blvd), showcasing the contributions and struggles of the local community.
Dive into multicultural narratives through exhibits and events.
Engage in and learn from the stories that have shaped Jersey City’s rich history.
Liberty National Golf Course
While it may be difficult to get a chance to play this private golf course without a membership, Liberty National Golf Course (100 Caven Point Road) is still worth exploring.
Located right on the Hudson River, Liberty National has the unique perspective of an astonishing view of the Statue of Liberty over the greens.
Immaculately maintained with a history of hosting popular tournaments and many famous golfers, this golf course has a special place in the history of New York City, and even if you don’t get a chance to play it, you should still come to get a glimpse of the unique view.
Discover craft spirits and distillation processes at Corgi Spirits (1 Distillery Drive).
Corgi Spirits is an engaging distillery with tastings and tours, as well as cocktails made from their own Corgi Spirits Earl Grey Gin.
This location is best for an older crowd without kids, as the experience revolves around the consumption of alcohol and there are not many activities for children.
Uncover the art of distillation and enjoy the flavors of meticulously crafted spirits.
True North Sailing School
Set sail on the Hudson River for an exhilarating adventure through True North Sailing School (80 Audrey Zapp Drive), suitable for sailing enthusiasts and novices alike.
Catch spectacular sunsets, enjoy views of the city lights, and navigate the waters with guided trips.
There is a wide array of options for sailors, including beginner courses, larger camps and more advanced sessions.
Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-timer, sailing on the Hudson promises a unique experience.
Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
Step back in time at the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (1 Audrey Zapp Drive), a historic train station with exhibits detailing its importance.
Nestled along the Hudson River inside Liberty State Park, the Central Railroad is a picturesque icon of a different time.
It was originally built in 1889 and boasts the brickwork and grand style of 19th-century American architecture.
This is one of the things to see in Jersey City where you can discover the historical significance of this iconic terminal that once served as a gateway to a new life for many.
Liberty State Park
Escape urban life at Liberty State Park (1 Audrey Zapp Drive), offering picnics, cycling, and scenic views of the Statue of Liberty.
Liberty State Park is ideal for families and is considered one of the premier Jersey City attractions, with picnic areas, a playground, the Nature Center and miles of walking trails.
The NJ Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial is also located in this park, designed to pay homage to the lives lost on that tragic day by framing the place where the towers once stood.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation or outdoor fun, Liberty State Park has something for everyone.
You may also like our guide to the best things to do in Newark, NJ– just around 30 minutes away from Jersey City.
Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
Visit one of the most famous places in Jersey City and explore immigration history at the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration (Ellis Island Bridge).
The story of New York City is forever linked to the ongoing stream of immigrants that have sought the promise of a better life sailing past the Statue of Liberty on their way to Ellis Island, with most of the current residents of New York City somehow connected to the history of immigration.
Ellis Island is a reflection of the American dream and has shaped America’s identity both literally and figuratively.
Step back in time and gain insights into the journeys of those who came seeking the American dream, with historic artifacts and exhibits that share the stories of the people who immigrated, as well as the city that welcomed them in.
If you’re heading to New York City next, you might find this NYC pass helpful if you want to save visiting some major attractions or go on sightseeing cruises.
We hope you found interesting and enjoyable stuff to do in Jersey City through this guide!
Which one are you looking forward to doing or visiting the most?
Let us know in the comments, or share your tips if you have more recommendations.
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