When we picked Jersey City as our new home, I didn’t know much about it, except that it has undergone a renaissance over the last ten years or so.
All that mattered was that we liked the area around our apartment and that we were close to Manhattan, since I figured we would spend most of our time there anyway. Plus, I’ll admit it, despite hearing about its transformation I had pegged Jersey City as New York’s less impressive, kind of rough-around-the-edges cousin.
But six months later, I’m smitten with this place. It has the charming neighbourhoods and parks, fit-for-foodie restaurants, brownstone houses and culture I love about New York, but with a more relaxed vibe. And, when it comes to incredible skyline views, it has New York beat.
So, if you’re in NYC, take an afternoon, hop on the PATH train for the short ride to Jersey City and check out some of my favourite spots.
The food scene here is so good my restaurant bucket list for Jersey City almost rivals the one I have for New York.
My favourite spots so far are Mathew’s Food and Drink (order the Instagram-worthy 80’s Glam cocktail); Talde (try the #6 Bao for a mouthwatering bao-ified version of a McChicken sandwich) and Porta (think delicious Neapolitan pizza and a killer rooftop bar).
For single slices of classic pizzeria-style pizza, Two Boots is the place to go.
My crush on Jersey City wouldn’t have come full circle if I hadn’t found places to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Torico and Cherry-Pick are my go-to spots for creamy, frozen treats. Shoutout to Cherry-Pick’s intense Mint Chip ice cream and Torico’s Pumpkin gelato.
Places to go, people to see
I’m lucky to live just a few blocks from Grove Street, a cobblestone, pedestrian-friendly street home to restaurants, bars and shops. An ideal summer night for me is cocktail sipping and people watching at one of the patios.
Across from Grove Street is a twice-weekly farmers market featuring local produce and other goodies like fresh baked pies, artisan pickles and savoury empanadas. Mondays and Thursdays are now my favourite days of the week!
One of my favourite neighbourhoods to wander through is Paulus Hook. I love walking along its tree-lined streets, especially during Cherry Blossom season. It’s also dotted with picturesque houses and restaurants. And from certain streets you can get a profile view of that beauty known as the Statue of Liberty.
That billion dollar view
But Jersey City’s biggest coups are its long waterfront boardwalk and its view of the Manhattan skyline.
I love being able to jog along the boardwalk that stretches all the way to neighbouring Hoboken and having an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline is the cherry on top. While awesome by day, at night the view is pure magic. Jewel-toned lights shine from midtown’s skyscrapers like pegs on a life-size Lite Brite board.
The only thing that makes the view better is enjoying it with a drink in hand under the twinkling lights at the waterfront Lutze Outdoor Biergarten.