I had never been to Jersey City, although it is so well visible from the Manhattan West Side – and easily reachable. But I am also terribly stubborn and love to stay in the City instead of venturing into New York City’s other boroughs or suburbia. I even wrote a post about this once: Why I love Manhattan. Anyway, I always figured that one would have a wonderful view of Manhattan from Jersey City. Now that I have so much time at hand, I try to go on more quick trips. This is how, a few weeks ago, I found myself on the shores of Jersey City.
To be honest with you, Jersey City is quite nice. At least the bit I visited.
How to Get to Jersey City from Manhattan
The cheapest and easiest way is most likely the PATH train that leaves both from Midtown on 33rd Street as well as from Downtown from the World Trade Center. I took the train from the World Trade Center to Exchange Place, which is only one stop. One trip costs $ 2.75 and you can either purchase a ticket at each stop or even use your New York City MetroCard.
The more fun option to go to Jersey City is by ferry. I chose the Liberty Landing Ferry for my way home. The ferry has two stops in Jersey City: in Liberty State Park and, on the other side of the Morris Canal Basin, at Warren Street. Because I ended up in Liberty State Park at the end of my trip, the ferry was the most convenient means of transport to reach. It costs $ 7 to Manhattan and I bought the ticket when boarding. This ferry trip gives you amazing views of both Jersey City and Manhattan. My timing was perfect because I took the ferry right at sunset. I highly recommend you to do the same.
How to Get Around Jersey City
I mostly walked because the weather was pleasant and I enjoy walking. Eventually, when I needed a break, I took the light rail (like a tram) for two stops from Marin Boulevard to Liberty State Park for $ 2.25. You can buy the tickets right at each stop. Just don’t forget to time-stamp them before you board the train.
I also saw several City Bike stations. I have an annual subscription myself and quite enjoy the bike rental to get around – only that day I didn’t feel like it. You can also buy a day pass for the bikes.
The other option to cross the Morris Canal Basin that is right in the middle to get to Liberty State Park is to take the Liberty Landing Ferry from Warren Street to the park. That is the fastest way and costs $ 2.
What to Do in Jersey City
The Waterfront Walkway
I first stayed on the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway – a beautiful quiet area to enjoy the River and Manhattan views. I walked south to the giant Colgate Clock. When I continued, I realized that the right (or north side) of the Morris Canal Basin isn’t that exciting, which is why I took the light rail to get to Liberty State Park.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any cafes in the park so I decided to walk through the neighborhood next to it. There is a good selection for food options on Communipaw Avenue. I got myself a tasty ‘The Crazy Cuban’ sandwich from Mordi’s Sandwich Shop. It cost $ 12 and was so big that I took the second half home for next day’s lunch.
Liberty State Park
All full and happy, I finally made it into Liberty State Park. The Liberty Science Center was closed on that day. Unfortunately, I also find the entrance fee of $ 30 quite expensive. It seems though that they have a special program with Bank of America and people who present a BoA debit or credit card receive free admission on the first full weekend of a month. I might try that because they have a T. rex exhibition until January 2022.
From the museum I walked through Liberty State Park to the waterfront. There is the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal and, if you come earlier in the day, you can take a ferry to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. Both are very close to this park, even though they officially belong to New York City and State. While walking along the waterfront, I got great views at both famous sights. You can sit on benches and look out at the water. I watched a sailing school and other boats and just enjoyed the atmosphere.
Liberty State Park is beautiful and you can walk around for several hours. There are various monuments and exciting playgrounds. Just keep in mind that public bathrooms are only close to the old Railroad Terminal – they are closed right now, but there are portable toilets. You should bring your own food and drinks because there just isn’t anything to purchase. I had expected at least water fountains to fill up my water bottle, esp. considering that there are quite a few in every Manhattan park. But not so in Liberty State Park. At the end I at least found a beverage vending machine right next to the Liberty Landing Ferry stop.
Jersey City is actually quite pretty and totally worth a quick trip from Manhattan. It is not a place or city that I would go to super regularly. But it is a great destiny to escape the Manhattan crowds and hustle for a few hours. My advice is to bring food and drinks so that you can have a picnic in Liberty State Park. Also, make use of the ferries because they are such a wonderful means of transport – and they give you the best views of the Jersey and New York shores.