One Day in Jersey City Itinerary – Top things to do in Jersey City, New Jersey

Take a quick 12-minute ride from Manhattan, and you will find yourself in Jersey City, a city so unique that on most days it looks more like a small town in which everyone greets each other by name than the second largest city in the state of New Jersey. While incredibly close to NYC, this place is a world away in its offer, history, culture and community. This is where you will find local businesses and restaurant owners greeting their guests by name and thanking them for their support. Yes, Jersey City is full of a seemingly endless array of tucked-away special places and has a never-ending list of  local “best kept secrets”. Therefore, your one day here is bound to be special.

One day in Jersey City Itinerary

Plan your trip

1. What’s the best time to visit Jersey City?
2. A few facts about Jersey City
3. One Day in Jersey City Itinerary
3.1. Start your day with a great breakfast
3.2. Go visit Reservoir 3
3.3. Ride along the Manhattan skyline
3.4. Check out the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
3.5. Visit the Colgate Clock
3.6. Have Lunch at the Light Horse Tavern
3.7. Visit the Liberty Science Center
3.8. Enjoy Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary
3.9. Take a ferry ride along the Hudson
3.9.1. Have dinner at Edward’s Steakhouse
3.9.2. Grab a drink before bed
4. Where to stay in Jersey City, New Jersey?
5. Day trips from Jersey City, NJ
6. Extra tips for visiting Jersey City

What’s the best time to visit Jersey City?

There are wonderful reasons to visit Jersey City all year round. In spring and summer, for example, you can visit local parks. Hamilton Park and Lincoln Park are great destinations as cherries blossom and you enjoy their beauty pretty much wherever you look. Liberty State Park is a fantastic destination if you fancy a meal in the open or maybe a music festival.

Jersey City Downtown
Jersey City Downtown, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

The city bathes in wonderful colors in the fall, and winters here are full of Christmas spirit and joy. So, no matter when you come, you will feel more than welcome and enjoy your stay.

A few facts about Jersey City

– Ranked one of the most diverse cities in the country, each individual Jersey City neighborhood has its own unique history, culture and energy.

Streets of Jersey City
Streets of Jersey City, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

– Jersey City is the oldest city in New Jersey and the most diverse city in the US.

– In Jersey City, you will find the absolute best view of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and more.

Manhattan Skyline, Jersey City
Manhattan seen from Jersey City

– One of the first places of original settlement, you’ll find a list of incredible historical points of interest here.

One Day in Jersey City Itinerary

No matter which list we compose, it will never scratch the surface of the incredible places to eat, shop and visit in Jersey. But we sure can point you in the right direction to the most important spots.

Jersey City Skyline
Jersey City Skyline, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

Start your day with a great breakfast

A great cup of coffee and a good breakfast served in a beautiful setting by someone who cares you are there – that’s the best way to start your day. Choc•O•Pain is the place to visit for that, with two locations in Downtown Jersey City and Jersey City Heights. This boulangerie and café bakes all its breads in the traditional European way, using only 4 basic ingredients – flour, water, leaven, and a little bit of salt. Whether you want something sweet or something savoury, you will enjoy your every bite.

Go visit Reservoir 3

Jersey City Reservoir 3, a decommissioned reservoir atop Bergen Hill in the Heights of Jersey City, was built between 1871 and 1874 as part of the city’s waterworks system and provided drinking water until the 1980s. Since then, a mini-ecosystem has taken root behind the thick, 20-foot tall stone walls: trees, wildflowers, swans, great blue heron, peregrine falcons, and at the center a 6-acre lake. This urban wildlife preserve hosts numerous animal and plant species not otherwise found in an urban environment. It was listed on the state and the federal registers of historic places in 2012.

Ride along the Manhattan skyline

A bike ride along the Manhattan skyline to Liberty State Park is a great way to have a memorable morning and enjoy some of the most famous sights of New York City.

Liberty State Park, Jersey City
Liberty State Park, Author: SachinDaluja, Source: Flickr

After that, you can go to Liberty State Park and perhaps visit Empty Sky, the official New Jersey September 11 memorial. It is located at the mouth of Hudson River across from the World Trade Center site.

Manhattan seen from Jersey City
Manhattan seen from Jersey City, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

Check out the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

The terminal was built in 1889, replacing an earlier one that had been in use since 1864. It operated until April 30, 1967. The headhouse was renovated and incorporated into Liberty State Park. The station has been listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Places since September 12, 1975.

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, Author: Ken Lund, Source: Flickr

Visit the Colgate Clock

Once promoted by Colgate-Palmolive as the largest in the world, this clock sits in Jersey City and faces Lower New York Bay and Lower Manhattan. The clock, 50 feet in diameter with a minute hand weighing 2,200 pounds, was erected in 1924 to replace a smaller version from 1906 that celebrated Colgate’s centennial. In the old days, most of downtown New York City used this Jersey City landmark as a way to set their wrist watches to the correct time.

Colgate Clock, Jersey City
Colgate Clock, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

Have Lunch at the Light Horse Tavern

Named after Henry Lee III, a historical figure from the American Revolution who led the successful Battle of Paulus Hook in 1779 which helped to retain Jersey City as a stronghold for the Continental Army. Today, you will find it to be a bustling establishment, full of after-hours urban energy, although the best place to eat is a more intimate balcony that provides a great view.

Liberty State Park, Jersey City
Liberty State Park, Author: Walter Burns, Source: Flickr

But if you’re looking for a quick bite, Razza’s is ranked the second best pizza in the US.

Visit the Liberty Science Center

First opened in 1993 as New Jersey’s first major state science museum, Liberty Science Center has the largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, animals to meet and a rotation of science and educational exhibits to explore.

Liberty Science Center, Jersey City
Liberty Science Center, Author: Eden, Janine and Jim, Source: Flickr

Enjoy Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary

This one million square foot facility in Jersey City is situated in a 1920s-era former manufacturing building in the city’s Marion Section. The center provides services, spaces, and programming for artists, collectors, curators, performers, students and community. It includes artist studios, exhibition spaces, and storage and is home to the Middle East Center for the Arts (MECA), the archives of the International Center of Photography and the Magnum Foundation, the dance companies of Karole Armitage and Shen Wei, and foundations established by Eileen S Kaminsky (ESKFF) and Carole Feuerman.

Mana Contemporary, Jersey City
Mana Contemporary, Author: Bill Benzon, Source: Flickr

Take a ferry ride along the Hudson

Before going to dinner, why not relax a bit on a cruise along the Hudson River? It’s an ideal way to do a bit more sightseeing before dinner, plus you get a bit of time to smell the roses and soak everything in. And if you’re visiting the city with your significant other, this will certainly be a trip to remember.

Hudson River at dawn, New Jersey
Hudson River at sunset, Author: James Petts, Source: Flickr

Have dinner at Edward’s Steakhouse

Located in a renovated 1800’s historic building, Edward’s Steakhouse offers the finest in New York Style steaks, chops, and seafood in a comfortable, upscale setting. Guests are greeted by attentive and caring staff in a fully-stocked mahogany bar room that has been serving the Jersey City community since the Prohibition Era. Upstairs, a parlor level dining room offers congenial elegance.

Grab a drink before bed

Jersey City is a vibrant, diverse city, so it would be a shame not to see how it lives and breathes at night. Dull Boy and The Archer are fantastic places for that because they exude the city’s unique vibe. Treat yourself to a drink and get to know the locals just a little bit more. It will be a perfect end to a wonderful day in Jersey City.

Hoboken Riverside Park
Jersey City in the Evening, Author: James Petts, Source: Flickr

Where to stay in Jersey City, New Jersey?

Hyatt House Jersey City

Hyatt House Jersey City

1 Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ 07302

If you want to treat yourself to a fantastic stay, Hyatt House Jersey City is the right hotel for that. The suites are furnished in a residential style, and you can build your own omelet in the morning. There’s also a rooftop lounge bar here. Helpful staff and perfect cleanliness only enhance the fantastic impression.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

DoubleTree by Hilton Jersey City

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City

455 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07310

Right next to the Hudson River, DoubleTree by Hilton in Jersey City offers spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. This is an all-suite hotel, and every suite is extremely well equipped. The guests can also enjoy a great fitness centre, use a free shuttle service or hop on the Bergen Light Rail to easily get to the Statue of Liberty.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Canopy By Hilton Jersey City Arts District

Canopy by Hilton

159 Morgan Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302

This is another hotel on the luxurious side of the spectrum because Canopy by Hilton offers exceptionally well equipped rooms with large and comfortable beds and spacious bathrooms. There is a rooftop bar available too, plus the staff is very kind and excellently trained. A wonderful stay!

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Holland Hotel Jersey City

The Holland Hotel

175 12th Street, Jersey City, NJ 07310

The Holland Hotel has big and clean comfortable rooms with amenities like microwave ovens or mini-fridges available in each of them. This is a great spot if you’re coming in by car because NYC is just 5 kilometers away, plus you can easily hop on a ferry to Ellis Island. As a matter of fact, the location is what this hotel’s guests praise the most. Definitely worth your money!

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Day trips from Jersey City, NJ

Staying more than one day in Jersey City? Then you have time for a day trip! Here are some of the most popular destinations!

New York

Obviously, since you’re mere minutes from Manhattan, New York City is the first on the list of day trip destinations from Jersey City. Enjoy incredible sights, magnificent skyscrapers and everything else The Big Apple has to offer, and then come back to Jersey City in the evening.

Hudson Valley

A place full of unique small towns and villages, each with its own character and offering. South on Route 209, you’ll find Ulster County, where you will find Stone Ridge, High Falls, Accord, and Kerhonkson – some of the most special areas of the Hudson Valley. All this and more within an hour and a half drive from NYC and Jersey City.

Lambertville

A lovely little village near the Pennsylvania-New jersey border, Lambertville is right next to the Delaware River. This is a great place to come and relax, thanks to its laid-back artistic sce, quaint stores and excellent food. Perfect for recharging batteries!

Extra tips for visiting Jersey City

Have your Itinerary nailed down ahead of time, once you’re in here you’ll feel overwhelmed with all the options of places to visit, see and experience. But don’t forget to leave a little bit of time to roam, explore and fully experience our vibrant City.

Jersey City Sign
Jersey City Sign, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

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Logistical Tips and Tricks

Organize your trip in five easy steps!

BOOK A FLIGHT!

Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!

BOOK A ROOM!

To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.

GET A CAR!

If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.

INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!

Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.

FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!

Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.

Keren Vered
Keren Vered
Writer at

Luxury Fashion Veteran, published writer, photographer, community builder and Finally Home founder Keren Vered (@KerenVered), has built a brand synonymous with finding a true sense of place and home, not just in your abode but with your neighborhood as a whole. Created, compiled and crafter with the knowledge that perhaps the most significant benefit of community is the opportunity to give back and to learn from others; others that have different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives than your own.

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