10 of the Best Things to Do in Jersey City

Leave the island for the day and head to Jersey City to enjoy tax-free shopping, celebrity chef eats and more.

Located between the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers, Jersey City covers nearly 15 square miles of land at the center of the New York City metropolitan region.

Once a city driven by immigrants working in the shipping and manufacturing industries, Jersey City has transformed into a modern urban community. Jersey City has been named the No. 1 most diverse city in America, according to WalletHub's annual diversity study, beating out neighboring New York City which ranked 6th.

The presence of so many cultures influences the vibe from the food to the local retail stores. Jersey City offers a different flavor of NYC living and we're here for it.  

RPM Raceway

RPM Raceway is an all-electric indoor go-kart and entertainment destination, providing an exhilarating racing experience second only to climbing into an actual race car.  RPM racetracks have no stoplights, speed limits or lanes, so whether you're bolting through its straightaways, or finding the apex of each hairpin turn, RPM Raceway’s lap racing format challenges all-level riders.

Speed through its quarter-mile European-style racetracks in high-performance, Italian-made go-karts capable of speeds up to 45 mph.  Race head-to-head against your friends during "Arrive and Drive," gather a group of eight or more for a competitive two-, three- or four-race event; host a personal celebration race or put your skills to the test among the very best during our year-round racing leagues. Grab a helmet, get behind the wheel and drive like a pro. Racing lessons and corporate events.

The Liberty Science Center 

This past year Jersey City’s The Liberty Science Center was unveiled as the largest and most advanced planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and the world's fourth largest. The Science center engages inquisitive children and parents in hands-on discovery and fun with models and exhibits centered around such topics as the environment, health, animals and invention. The facility also contains the largest IMAX Dome theater in the United States and a Real 3-D theater.

Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

Jutting into the waters of the Upper Bay from the eastern edge of Jersey City, the J. Owen Grundy Park is another fine place to take in breathtaking broadside views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty. A patchwork of timber-built promenades and pagodas, it’s alive with local strollers during the summer months, not to mention jogging classes and yoga get-togethers on the weekends. It’s possible to see the outline of the great Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the distance to the south, where the waters divide the Big Apple in two before entering the New Jersey Bight and the Atlantic.

Mana Contemporary, Art and Cultural Center

Mana Contemporary, based in a vast former tobacco warehouse, unites artist studios, exhibition spaces and ancillary services in a single location, facilitating conversation and collaboration among the Jersey City creative community. Visitors receive access to all projects occurring inside Mana and experience a range of art-making techniques and presentations first-hand. 

Founded in 2011, Mana Contemporary is one of the largest contemporary art organizations in the United States. Through its integrated architectural design, Mana offers art programming including dance performances, sculpture, photography and painted art exhibits for the greater creative community. Its expanding flagship location in Jersey City, originally built in 1890, will eventually encompass more than two million square feet.

The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre

The Loew's  Jersey Theater is a gilded and opulent late 1920s movie theater—one of five Wonder theaters Loews built in 1929-30 in the New York City metro region. The not-for-profit, all-volunteer arts and entertainment organization that maintains this space encourage local talent and educational events. Catch films and well-known musical acts here, all of which help support the further restoration of the theater.

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park offers 1200 acres of green spaces for outdoor activities with spectacular views of NYC. Take advantage of the miles of walkways by walking, jogging, biking, or rollerblading. Bring your binoculars and look at the numerous species of birds which frequent the park. You may also bring your family and picnic at one of the playgrounds.

Head into the water for some fishing or crabbing, boating or kayaking. Stop by and participate in one of the park's Natural or Historical Interpretive programs. The Interpretive Center at Liberty State Park is an environmental and historical education facility located on Freedom Way. Open year-round, the center features exhibits focusing on the natural history and ecology of the Hudson River Estuary.

Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial

Within Liberty State Park lies the thought-provoking “Empty Sky” 9/11 Memorial—the official State of New Jersey's Memorial that honors the memory of the 749 people that lived in or had ties to New Jersey that lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

The names are placed randomly on twin 210-feet-long brushed stainless steel walls, the width of each side of the World Trade Center Towers. Standing parallel to each other, they rise 30 feet with a 12-foot wide paved path of bluestone between them. Like the World Trade Center, the stainless steel reflects the constantly changing light of day. The memorial invites visitors to look toward the empty sky in memory and look forward as a community.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

No trip to NYC or New Jersey is complete without Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island where you can board the ferry in Jersey City from the historic Central Railroad Terminal and explore where nearly 9 million immigrants entered this country to start their new lives. More than 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island, the nation's chief gateway during the years 1892 to 1954. Today, over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who crossed this island before dispersing to points all over the country.

The Statue of Liberty, with broken chains at her feet, is an icon of freedom and cultural diversity. No other city has this beacon of hope and opportunity for all. The statue's completion was marked by New York's first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland. Take a trip all the way up to her crown or enjoy the NYC skyline from her pedestal.

Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants Around Jersey City

What would you say if I told you that the best pizza in New York City was in New Jersey? Well, New York Times’ food critic Pete Wells seems to think so. According to Wells, James Beard-nominated chef Dan Richer’s Razza which burns wood to cook their pies is one of the few pizzerias that excels at both dough and toppings. Razza focuses to the Italian way of cooking and eating, where location and seasonality dictate the ingredients. This makes all their flavors distinctive—the flour is milled locally and the bread and butter are housemade. Definitely worth a visit if only to confirm the legend.

Make sure to hit the uber-trendy additions like celebrity chef Dale Talde’s Asian fusion Talde, a Charleston-inspired Southern comfort food restaurant with a serious bar program called Mathews. And a speakeasy with housemade charcuterie, The Archer, name just a few of the spots that have helped bring some much-needed light to the Jersey City food scene.

If you're not sure where to start your culinary journey, Jersey Girls Food Tours have scoped out the very best local eateries. Headquartered in Jersey City, enthusiastic tour guides lead you on guided walking tours that highlight the best cuisine Jersey City has to offer. 

Where to Shop

Take advantage of no sales tax on clothing and shoes at the premier shopping destination in Jersey City, Newport Centre. The indoor mall offers three levels of shopping in the heart of the Newport Hudson Waterfront community conveniently located adjacent to the Holland Tunnel. Newport Centre is also easily accessible from the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and the Path. All the major department stores are present including JCPenney, Kohl's, Macy's and Sears, along with more than 130 specialty shops ranging from women’s apparel to health and beauty to sporting goods. The shopping is complimented with an 11-screen cinema and a 1,000-seat newly renovated dining pavilion with over 19 eateries.

Committed to showcasing items that are handcrafted, Love Locked offers jewelry, apothecary, and home goods that are high quality and one-of-a-kind.  More than half of its items are designed and handcrafted in house allowing customers the opportunity to customize their jewelry; ranging from everyday styles to engagement rings. Love Locked carries more than 90 artists' works from around the country including some local Jersey City designers.

Established in 2006, Another Man’s Treasure has been included in both USA today, and Elle.com's best places to shop vintage in America. Owners Meika and Warren Franz bring years of experience, buying savvy and a keen eye for quality and detail to the business. They continually hunt for, source and hand-picking across the world resulting in a constantly evolving and expanding collection. New seasonally appropriate, on-trend and affordable items are added to the shop every day. Their vintage finds have graced the pages of such noted publications as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Time Out NY and many more.

Ellis Island