Want to see what’s buzzing in JC? You may already be hip to the amazing Jersey City bars and Jersey City restaurants, but the area offers so much more. Check out the list below for serious street art, verdant parks, sweet views, killer music venues and much more. You’ll see why the city is having a moment in no time.
The 18 best things to do in Jersey City
Looking for cool things to do in Jersey City? Discover a scene that’s diverse, authentic and electric.
Best things to do in Jersey City
Yes, Virginia, there is a concert space in Jersey City, and it is rocking. For its upcoming shows, White Eagle Hall has booked Philly powerhouse Sheer Mag, indefatigable juggernaut Guided by Voices and indie-pop It girl Japanese Breakfast as well as a slew of local showcases. The building itself echos with pre–rock & roll history—it was once a vast bingo hall. “Shout-out to the beautiful women’s restroom that maintains the early–20th-century charm of this historic hall,” says Nowacki. “And it also has plenty of stalls to keep the line moving quickly.”
More than 1,200 acres of exquisite verdancy are conveniently adjacent to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The park features wildlife preserves, but it also hosts the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic and other events. How Jersey is this place? The Godfather’s “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” scene was filmed on these grounds.
Free-form radio station WFMU (soundtrack to the indie scene and beyond) opened this space to showcase the cutting-edge culture that it brings to the airwaves IRL. Catch the next big thing or just lose yourself in a raw experience from established acts at this cheekily named music hall.
8. Street festivals
Embrace this town’s proud diversity by writhing to Caribbean tunes at the JC Carnival (July 27), picking up cool local makers’ goods at the All About Downtown Street Fair (Sept 21) and gorging on to-die-on-line-for rice balls at La Festa Italiana (Aug 14–18).
9. Street art
JC encourages (and even funds!) some incredible public art, like Shepard Fairey’s bespoke mural of waves, which welcomes you as you cross under the river and ascend the Grove Street PATH steps, as well as this stunner by Nate Frizzell. Local artists, too, dot the downtown landscape.
15. Groove on Grove
All summer long, this weekly street festival features music, food and beverages, unique performances and an urban community feel. Best part? It’s absolutely free to attend on the Grove PATH Plaza. Swing by every Wednesday from 6—9pm for concerts and people-watching from May to September. Grove Street PATH Plaza (jcdowntown.org)
16. Little Manila
Chinatown and Little Italy are swell, but Jersey City offers an authentic slice of the Philippines right in the neighborhood. A vast number of Filipinos call JC home—nearly 20,000 folks—and cafes, grocers, restaurants and cultural hot spots make Little Manila feel like the capital city itself. Newark and West Side Aves.
17. Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
Who can argue that sometimes the best—and most peaceful—way to experience Manhattan is from afar? The waterfront walkway gives you the chance to escape the city but still admire the sight of it, and enjoy a scenic, beautifully-landscaped walkway for a casual stroll or an energetic run or bike ride. (hudsonriverwaterfront.org)
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Matt Kane
After a night spent enjoying all that Jersey City has to offer, mornings call for some caffeine. Start your day with a strong coffee or espresso beside your bagel or breakfast pastry, or make a lunchtime pitstop for wraps, sandwiches and a drink on the quaint patio area.