Jersey City was the first destination for many of the 12 million immigrants that passed through nearby Ellis Island from 1892 until 1954. Today, Jersey City's melting-pot tradition is still going strong, and the culture here is a vibrant mix of European, Asian, African and Caribbean culture, all with added New Jersey attitude and good humor. Along with a cosmopolitan outlook, the city seamlessly blends urban sophistication with historic buildings and plenty of green space. Jersey City is also one of the region's transportation hubs, so you can easily get from here to other major cities on the East Coast.
The Hudson River Walkway is a massive pedestrian path stretching from Bayonne to Fort Lee, and the Jersey City section is especially impressive. If it's your first time in Jersey City, a stroll along the Hudson River Walkway should get you oriented quickly and will take you through the high-rise forest in the Newport community, past the famous Colgate Clock in the financial center and into gorgeous Liberty State Park.
This spacious, beautifully-landscaped park is on the New York Harbor and has direct views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan's Battery Park. You can also visit the haunting Empty Sky Memorial here, which commemorates the losses of 9/11. Ferries to Liberty Island and Ellis Island depart the park hourly from morning to mid-afternoon, and you'll take in some incredible views of New York City on the journey to either island.
Filipino-Americans make up the majority of Jersey City's Asian-American population. The area surrounding the intersection of Newark Avenue and Manila Street is a great place to explore Filipino food and culture. If you're there in the summer or just craving something sweet, be sure to check out any of the ice cream stores in the neighborhood and sample exotic flavors such as durian and coconut salad.
Getting to and from the city is easy. If you're flying, the closest airport is Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in Newark, NJ, but New York's LaGuardia (LGA) and Kennedy (JFK) airports are also good options and the rapid transit network will connect you to New Jersey.
Drivers can most easily get to Jersey City from the New Jersey Turnpike or via Route 1-9, and the city also has access to both the Holland Tunnel and the Lincoln Tunnel for quick travel to Manhattan. Buses to and from most major cities in the region stop in Jersey City; Port Authority trains, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System and ferries provide reliable, efficient transportation to New York City and other areas of New Jersey.
Jersey City hotels are much less expensive than similar hotels across the Hudson River in Manhattan. Hotel rooms start at around $125 per night. If you want to spend time in New York City, it would be worth your while to get a hotel in Jersey City and take advantage of the public transportation into New York.
The Jersey City hotels near Liberty State Park are highly recommended. You'll enjoy great views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline, and the nearby Grove Street station is an easy place to catch a train or a bus. The Liberty State Park area is lively at night, and you'll be within walking distance of a mix of restaurants offering everything from Italian to Korean food.
Whether you spend your trip entirely in Jersey City or you explore some of the area's other sights, you're sure to have a memorable time in this bustling and fascinating part of the Northeast.