City Guide / New York City

New York City Neighborhood Guide: Jersey City

By Ruthie Fierberg | Oct 25, 2021
View of Jersey City over the water.

If you’re thinking about moving to New York City but don’t want to live right in Manhattan, you may be looking for good areas in New Jersey instead. Boasting a square mileage that rivals Manhattan’s, Jersey City spans from the Hudson River to the east and the Hackensack River to the west and comprises six wards: 

  1. Downtown
  2. Journal Square
  3. The Heights
  4. Bergen-Lafayette
  5. Greenville
  6. The West Side

Downtown continues to grow and attract more music and culture, bustling with energy like any proper downtown area. Journal Square feels a bit more industrial, with the latest large apartment complexes competing with multi-family homes in the area. The Heights sits upon the cliffs of the Palisades, where most places offer outdoor space, or a little more indoor space, generally. The Bergen in Bergen-Lafayette feels more historic, while the Lafayette feels edgier. 

Jersey City is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. A smaller neighborhood, Marion (near Journal Square) has the highest concentration of Asian Indians in the Western Hemisphere. There is also a large Filipino population. But, of course, immigrants flock from all over the world, as Jersey City offers a slightly more affordable alternative to Manhattan living.

Thinking about moving to Jersey City? Here’s our guide to the best restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, outdoor attractions, gyms, nightlife, and transportation in this New Jersey spot.

Best restaurants in the area

Jersey City is a foodie paradise. The Kitchen Step features a seasonal menu that will get your mouth watering just reading it (the first item is “warm Balthazar ciabatta.” Hello!). Go for the burrata mac and cheese with smoked eggplant and the RD burger for a great night out. 

You can’t beat Matthew’s ridiculously cheap happy hour, with $5 drinks and delicious American classics like deviled eggs and roast chicken, or bowls of pasta, like squid ink bucatini. 

Razza serves some of the freshest pizza you will ever taste. Cooked in the wood-fire oven, every ingredient is hand-picked “down to the salt that goes on the pizza.” They even grow their own yeast culture! For Italian beyond pizza, Roman Nose is the must-visit family-owned authentic trattoria. 

Skinner’s Loft is a delectable American bistro where you could stay all day thanks to their excellent brunch and dinner. Even more than their food, their hospitality is top-notch and everyone feels like family here. 

The Cliff is the go-to brunch spot in The Heights, though you’ll be happy there any time of day. Mostly vegan and vegetarian (save the eco-sustainable fish on the menu), the menu features savory breakfast dishes, tacos, burgers, burritos, and wraps. Koro Koro is JC’s rice ball café, serving Japanese-inspired onigiri for a quick snack or full meal. 

Of course, Jersey City aces Indian food. Try Clove Garden of India for traditional samosa, tandoor, and biryani, or Raaz, which boasts a trendy atmosphere but traditional earthen-pot cooking. Mantra is Indian food meets fine dining (think meticulous plating on bleach-white dishes), while Amiya is a fusion destination featuring Mughlai Indian Cuisine along with Indian-American Fusion Cuisine, Continental, and Indo-Chinese Cuisine. 

Where to get groceries

There are plenty of places to grab groceries in this sprawling neighborhood. Both Key Foods and CTown have multiple locations throughout the city, and a Morton Williams sits on the waterfront. 

Hudson Greene Market is a neighborhood grocery store also on the waterfront and is most similar to Whole Foods with prepared foods (sushi and hot foods) and fresh, organic products. 

Prime Food Market is an Indian grocery store stocking Indian specialties (both ingredients and ready-made food) and regular pantry staples. Sprove Market Place, a family-owned store that opened in 2017, offers a hot and cold bar, typical groceries, as well as wine, beer, and spirits. 

99 Ranch Market is an outpost of the Asian supermarket chain that spans 10 states. Whether in the food court or searching the aisles, shoppers of all backgrounds will find authentic Asian flavors in addition to grocery basics. 

Extra Supermarket (which also has locations in Elizabeth and Newark) is another option for those who live in the southern part of Jersey City, closer to Hoboken. Asian Food market is a massive location on the west side, specializing in Asian goods. 

Where to get coffee

In addition to its delicious food, The Cliff collaborates with local roaster Wing Beans for a house brew with a velvety texture the locals rave about. Dulce De Leche Bakery is an Argentinian spot that serves delicious coffee to go with traditional alfajores. 

The extensive menu of drip coffees, americanos, cortados, flat whites, lattes, and specialty drinks at The Grind will please even the most discerning coffee drinkers. To give you an idea of Hidden Grounds, their most popular brews include Colombia Honey Process, Ethiopia Kembata Natural, and Honduras Natural Micro Lot. 

Lackawanna Coffee serves excellent staples like espresso, cappuccinos, and americanos and also gets creative with the likes of a wildflower honey latte, black sesame latte, and a wide selection of teas. Modcup’s multiple locations offer complex, rich blends from Guatemala, Costa Rica, and more.

Outdoor attractions

Liberty State Park is the crown jewel of Jersey City, with stunning views of Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. You won’t find a better backdrop! At the north, it hosts the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, which served as one of the main portals for immigrants from Ellis Island to the rest of the U.S. from 1892 until 1954. Another piece of history lies in the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, which honors the lives of the 750 people with ties to New Jersey who perished in the September 11 attacks. 

Wander the two-mile Liberty Walk for an afternoon of beautiful panoramas, or explore 36 acres of flora and fauna in the Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area via the designated nature path. You can also spend a day picnicking or fishing and crabbing on the Hudson. 

Take a day to walk around the city and admire the street art throughout, thanks to the Mural Arts Program, or relax in the greenery of West Side’s Lincoln Park

Golfers, rejoice! There are two beautiful fairways in Jersey City on each of the rivers—Skyway Golf Course to the west and Liberty National to the east. 

Local gyms and workout spots

Retro Fitness has locations far south in Greenville and on the West Side. Blink Fitness is the most central workout studio. OrangeTheory has a spot closer to the waterfront, as does CrossFit. 

But there are also plenty of spaces unique to Jersey City, all huddled at the waterfront north of Liberty State Park. Surge Fitness focuses on weight loss and body transformation through semi-private classes and personal training. Ironbound Performance Athletics emphasizes strength training with their Guns, Buns & Lungs and Power Hours series and cardio with Second Wind. 

Run by two former Radio City Rockettes, Jane DO fuses aerobics, strength training and flexibility in their comprehensive for-women-by-women workout. Club Metro is a full-service facility where you can use equipment on your own or join a class (like yoga, Zumba, or body pump) before you relax in the sauna with a fresh juice from the bar. 

World Boxing Gym might sound like they offer a single kind of workout, but, in actuality, they offer access to cardio machines, free weights, yoga classes, and punching bags and a boxing ring. 

CKO Kickboxing welcomes beginners and advanced kickboxers for group classes and private sessions.  F45 emphasizes functional training, an approach to fitness focused on everyday movement. J.C. Barbell pairs fitness and nutrition counseling and offers classes in CrossFit, Barbell and HIIT and gives you access to their gym equipment when you want to go at your own pace. 


A former theatre, White Eagle Hall is best known for its live music acts but also presents theatre, dance, comedy, and film. The 8,000-square-foot venue hosts everything from Chris Gethard’s stand-up to disco night to Titus Andronicus. 

Barcade, best known in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, also has a Jersey City locale combining—you guessed it—a bar and an arcade. The Archer offers “cocktails and refuge”, but go there on Workman’s Comp night for $9 cocktails and $5 beer. 

The noir-ish Cellar335 is a perfect place for a party, with a long list of cocktails, a menu of cocktails specifically served in pitchers, beer, wine, and shareable plates. Grab a refreshing cocktail and a thick-crust slice at Low Fidelity

When asked about the best bars in Jersey City, dullboy is always on the list—they have a “spirits bible.” For a classy bar with a view, visit the RoofTop at Exchange Place. Depending on the night, this can be a chill drink or a dance party. 

Six26 (dubbed for the date of passage of the Marriage Equality Act) is the gay bar in Jersey City. Hit the lounge and dance the night away, or enjoy the open air on the roof. A regular roster of drag queens perform here, and every night of the week there’s something fun to do (hello Drag King Bingo Mondays and Karaoke Wednesdays). 

Things to do

Jersey City offers the only ferry access to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty outside of NYC. While both sound touristy, they are completely worthwhile. Learn the deep history of immigration through Ellis Island and its exhibits (you can even track your own ancestors in their public database). The Statue of Liberty is more than a monument—it’s a museum. Discover how it was built, transported, and maintained today. 

Enjoy the outdoors? Learn about the natural wonders of Liberty State Park, inside the park’s Nature Center. Tour exhibits that explain the natural history and ecology of the Hudson River Estuary. 

The Liberty Science Center hosts nine permanent exhibits on science and technology as well as rotating temporary exhibits. Don’t tell the American Museum of Natural History, but this Jersey City science center actually houses the largest planetarium in the western hemisphere! 

Mana Contemporary will satisfy art lovers, with a gallery that connects artists worldwide in its rotating display of modern art.


While some Jersey City residents choose to have a car, it’s not necessary, even for your commute. Fifty percent of neighborhood residents commute via public transportation. There are NJ Transit buses that run throughout JC neighborhoods and Citi Bike stations. 

To get into Manhattan, take the PATH train (there are stops in Journal Square, Newport, Exchange Place, Grove Street, or just north in the city of Hoboken) or a bus to Port Authority in Midtown Manhattan. You might also choose to commute across the Hudson via the Waterway ferry.

The rapid transit system connects Jersey City to Newark, Harrison, and Hoboken. The Hudson-Bergen light rail connects the area to Bayonne, Weehawken, Union City, North Bergen, and Hoboken, as well. Rates vary based on origin and destination, so visit the corresponding websites for more information about how to get around New York and New Jersey.

Land a great apartment in Jersey City

If you like the idea of moving to an apartment in Jersey City, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need. Browse our available apartments in Jersey City, or contact us to learn more about how a Landing membership works.

Still looking for the right New York City neighborhood for you? Browse our other New York City neighborhood guides, including:

Ruthie Fierberg

Ruthie Fierberg is an independent arts journalist, editor, moderator, on-camera host, producer, and theatrical consultant based in New York City. She is the creator and host of the podcast Why We Theater on the Broadway Podcast Network, which digs into the onstage works we love to create the offstage change we need. Find more at and follow her IG: @ruthiefierceberg / Twitter: @RuthiesATrain.