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Monty Hall
Photograph: Jim Appio/CoolDadMusic.com A Giant Dog at Monty Hall

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.

By Alyssa Ammirato and Rocky Rakovic
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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. 

Best things to do in Jersey City

Liberty Science Center Museum
Photograph: Courtesy Liberty Science Center

2. Liberty Science Center

Museums Science and technology

While this hands-on learning center teaches kids about science during the day, the series After Dark boasts adult activities that involve dancing, booze and biology.

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White Eagle Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp

3. White Eagle Hall

Music Music venues New Jersey

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.”

best things to do in jersey city nj
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Liberty State Park

Attractions Parks and gardens

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.

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Tia’s Place
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp

5. Tia’s Place

Shopping

The curation of cute clothes at this boutique could even tempt Marie Kondo to become a hoarder.

6. Monty Hall

Music Music venues New Jersey

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.

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Kanibal & Co.
Photograph: Kate Zander/@Object Liberty

7. Kanibal & Co.

Shopping

Meet your new obsession for stylish wares, from taxidermy and scarfs to handmade grooming products.

JC Carnival
Photograph: John Pina

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). 

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Nicole Fara Silver

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.

Razza
Photograph: Robin and Sue

10. Dining

The city is heaving with to-die-for pizza, soul-warming ramen, red-sauce Italian eats and so much more. 

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Mathews Food & Drink
Photograph: Maggie Marguerite Studio/@maggiemarguerite

11. Drinking

Pad your stomach before a night out in JC, which boasts dives, cocktail dens and much more. 

Mana Contemporary
Photograph: Wiki Commons

12. Mana Contemporary

Art

Former tobacco warehouse that now houses super-forward-thinking art exhibitions and cultural events. Must see: Pritzker Prize–winning architect Richard Meier’s meticulous models.

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Skyway Golf Course
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp

13. Skyway Golf Course

Sports and fitness

A public nine-hole course close to Manhattan that you can walk on sans reservations meaning, no reservations for $25 on a weekend? Yep.

Landmark Loews Theater
Photograph: Courtesy Wiki Commons

14. Landmark Loews Theater

Movie theaters Multiplex New Jersey

Breathtaking “wonder theater” from the ’20s that hosts screenings and talks with the likes of George R.R. Martin. 

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Groove on Grove Summer Street Festival in Jersey City
Photograph: Courtesy Groove on Grove

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)

Food from Little Manila
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Bhey J.

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.

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Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Matt Kane

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

Legal Grounds Coffee Shop in Jersey City
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ryan L.

18. Legal Grounds Coffee Co.

Restaurants Coffee shops

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.

Worked up an appetite?

Razza
Photograph: Robin and Sue

The 26 best Jersey City restaurants

Restaurants

Jersey City has become a culinary hub in its own right, complete with waterfront restaurants and bars, fine-dining restaurants and a critically acclaimed pizza joint slinging pies that (gasp) rival those across the river.

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