This summer will make three years since I moved to Jersey City, and it was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past five years (just slightly behind marrying Jonathan)! More and more people, including my friends, have been looking at Jersey City as a potential place to escape the hustle and bustle (and high rents) of NYC, so I figured I would put together a guide to Jersey City. If you’ve been thinking about moving to Jersey City, or just paying us a visit, here are some of my favorite places in Jersey City!
Finding an Apartment in Jersey City
If you’re on the hunt for a new apartment, and I’ve convinced you to expand or include Jersey City in your search, don’t do what I did when we moved. I had no idea where to look and spent weeks googling different management companies to see which rentals were available.
Instead, you should use Zumper, which streamlines the apartment hunting process so it’s less daunting. Even if you’re not thinking of moving to Jersey City, Zumper is available for many metropolitan cities across the US. Not only can you filter by size, budget, and amenities (if you have a car, you’ll definitely want a spot with parking because Jersey City parking is a nightmare!), but you can also apply to apartments directly through Zumper using their Select feature (available in Chicago and New York)!
Zumper has a ton of apartment options, and is really easy to use. Although Jersey City is starting to get really pricey (though downtown apartments are WAY bigger than NYC apartments), you can find great value in the Bergen Lafayette or Greenville neighborhoods, which is where we live! There are a couple of recently renovated listings on Zumper in my neighborhood, so who knows, maybe we’ll be neighbors soon?!
Where to Eat in Jersey City
Jersey City has a bunch of amazing places to eat, but one of my favorite finds is actually not in the popular downtown area. It’s called Harry’s Daughter, a Caribbean restaurant on Communipaw Avenue, just a few blocks from the Liberty State Park light rail station (which means you can get here easily from NYC!). Now I’m not a Caribbean food expert, but I have had the most authentic jerk chicken possible while in Jamaica for my honeymoon, and can completely vouch for this spot’s jerk chicken. It’s adequately spicy (and remember guys, I’m Nigerian, I eat spice for breakfast!), and incredibly flavorful. While it’s my preferred dinner spot, they also have a decent brunch.
A lot of our other favorite dinner spots are right along the Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza by the Grove Street Path Station. Pasta e Vino has amazing pasta and wine (as the name suggests) – it’s where my birthday party was hosted last year. Roman Nose is great for sit down pizza (Razza apparently is life changing but we can never get a table there), but if you’re in a rush, Two Boots pizza is also pretty good. Jonathan’s favorite brunch place is Skinner’s Loft, but mine is Sam A.M. – which now has two locations (one right by Harry’s Daughter)! Jersey City has some of the best Indian food, and we usually stop by Razza for the gobi 65 (crispy and tangy cauliflower) and paneer mahkani.
For dessert, we really like Torico’s – its homemade ice cream that comes in a lot of great flavors. But the real dessert spot is Krispy Kreme!! When we first moved to Jersey City we went almost once a week until it started to show and we got it together. And we may or may not have passed Krispy Kreme donuts around during our wedding after party – folks are still talking about it!
Where to Do Work in Jersey City
Although I usually work from home, there are a couple of cafes and workspaces that I like to visit for a change of scenery. My favorite is Urby, which is a residential building with a cute lobby/cafe space and pretty decorations to motivate you to get to work.
Another great option is O Kafe by Hamilton Park on the other side of Newport Mall. They have delicious breakfast sandwiches and it’s not as busy as the other coffee shops around the city. For more of a working lunch vibe, or somewhere to sit all day, try Beechwood Cafe – their salads are actually really filling!
Where to Have Fun in Jersey City
Although it’s not as busy as NYC, there’s definitely always something to do in Jersey City. Liberty Science Center is a great place to take kids for a day of fun and adventure. Jersey City parks are also really nice. Liberty State Park is huge and has a beautiful walkway great for bike rides or runs. If you’re looking for pickup sports, try Lincoln Park, that’s Jonathan’s go to spot on warm Sunday evenings. The Powerhouse Arts district, home to a lot of former warehouses, has a lot of fitness studios with everything from yoga to cycling to kickboxing too.
One of the things I appreciate most about Jersey City is the fact that we have a proper mall. Growing up in suburbia, malls were the highlight of my weekends, and Newport Mall, though not the fanciest, has just enough shops for my shopping fixes. Zara, Sephora, and Chick Fil A, all within steps of each other! We actually head to the mall most often to see movies. The theater is quite nice with recliner seats that can be reserved in advance.
While Jersey City doesn’t quite have any poppin’ hip hop/r&b type clubs (which I’m too old for anyway), it does have a good number of bars and lounges that make for a good time. One of our favorites is Petshop, because they have a wide assortment of board games and reasonably priced drinks (yes, I go out to play board games lol). If you’re looking for a more bespoke drinking experience, check out Corgi Spirits, a distillery with really unique cocktails.