View of North Union City, New Jersey

City Guide / New York City

New York City Neighborhood Guide: North Union City

By Ruthie Fierberg | Oct 25, 2021

If you’re thinking of moving to New York City or the surrounding New Jersey area, picking the right neighborhood can be a challenge. After all, there are so many to choose from! Union City, New Jersey—also known as “Havana on the Hudson”—is considered a suburb of NYC and is located across the Hudson River from Manhattan. It sits squarely above popular Hoboken and west of Weekhawken (which borders the Hudson River).

This New Jersey city is far more affordable than Manhattan, but also proves to be more price-friendly than Hoboken and Jersey City. Made up of apartment buildings, condos, and many multi-family houses, Union City still has that density, aliveness, and, at times, the anonymity of the big city.

Once a haven for Cuban immigrants, this NJ neighborhood still boasts a large Hispanic population of Cubans, Colombians, Dominicans, which infuses the neighborhood with a very vibrant and communal feel. 

Thinking about moving to Union City, NJ? Here’s our guide to the best restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, outdoor attractions, gyms, nightlife, and transportation in the city.

Best restaurants in the city

Family-owned and operated since 1974, El Artesano is a Union City staple, serving Cuban cuisine that’s the closest you’ll get to Cuba without a flight. Be sure to try the classic Ropa Vieja and the Ham Croquettes!

For the best tacos in this NJ city, visit Chofi, which fuses Puebla and Tijuana flavors in its legit Mexican dishes. The signature birria taco (or bowl of birria, if you must) is a must-order. 

Go for Colombian food at Noches de Colombia, located along the thoroughfare of Bergenline Avenue. Start with an order of tostones before indulging in a crunchy arepa. Noches also offers a wide selection of Colombian chicken, beef, and seafood dishes. 

Down the street, you’ll find Pizzara’s, the neighborhood’s favorite pizza joint. Sure, the classic cheese is great, but we recommend getting a little adventurous with the Campesina (chorizo, corn, sweet plantains) or the eponymous Pizzara (chorizo, pepperoni, ham, red peppers, green and black olives). They also serve basic salads, sandwiches, and cannelones. 

If you’re in the mood for fresh, seasonal American food, Fork Hill Kitchen is the place to go. Try the Autumn Salad (or whichever season you visit during), then the Pan Roasted Salmon or the FHK Burger. They also serve a fabulous brunch!

For a simple diner, Terry’s Coffee Shop on Bergenline is the go-to spot in this area.

Where to get groceries in the area

Like New York City, corner delis sprinkle the streets of Union City. For supermarkets with fresh produce, meats, and seafood, you’ll want to try:

If you’re married to a national chain, there is a Whole Foods nearby in Weehawken and a Trader Joe’s in Hoboken.

Where to get coffee in the city

Again, we start on Bergenline Avenue with Las Chicas, the neighborhood Argentinian/Uruguayan bakery. In addition to some elaborate coffee beverages—like the frappe alla latte—you can find classic alfajores, empanadas, and more. Don’t leave without trying the pastel de tres leches!

The epitome of a neighborhood coffee shop, Espresso on Park is the place to grab a to-go cup of joe and a small treat (an earl grey macaron, perhaps?). 

For a no-frills-yet-delicious morning snack and coffee, Las Cubanitas is here to serve. Go for a classic cafe con leche. 

For specialty coffee featuring roasts from around the world, visit Red House Roasters.

Outdoor attractions in the city

Washington Park, shared by Union City and Jersey City, has four baseball fields, batting cages, tennis courts, basketball courts, a volleyball court, a children’s playground, and multiple paths for a picturesque jog or bike ride. Union City also shares a park with Weehawken: Reservoir Park, a three-quarter-mile loop around the reservoir with stunning views of NYC. In the mood for a dip in the area? Firefighter’s Memorial Park opened in 2009 and houses an Olympic-size swimming pool. 

Local gyms and workout spots in the city

Fab Fitness is a great option for group classes in HIIT or strength and conditioning, as well as personal training. For a more gentle but still full-body workout, try Clarity Fitness. Join a cycling class, CF Fusion (a custom blend of yoga and pilates), CF barre, CR b3 (bands, balls, body weight), or CF yoga. 

If you want to feel like your gym is an extension of your community, Soul Warriors is the place to go. While they offer Zumba, HIIT, boot camp training, full-body step, kickboxing, UFC exercise, yoga, and other ways to get moving, Soul Warriors also provides nutritional guidance and a super-personal approach to fitness. 

Just want a space with equipment? Check out Esporta Fitness, located just outside of Union City in North Bergen. Also in that neighborhood is a Crunch Fitness outpost.

Nightlife in the city

Happy hour is from 4:00 to closing at Union City’s Crave43. Go for a drink and a game of pool. For more of a party, go to Bandolera. The restaurant/club offers bottle service, live music or DJs, and the dance floor to match. 

Keep the party going at Maria Mentiras Bar & Grill, which hosts football matches, karaoke nights, DJs, and themed events like Cocktails y Camarones. Whether you’re looking to belt out some karaoke or dance to some Colombian beats, Union City Social Eatery & Lounge’s calendar of events will make your nights memorable.

Things to do in the city

The Park Theatre hosts musicals, plays, and even an annual film festival. In addition to its MainStage, the Theatre houses a Gallery space highlighting local artists. 

Inside the William V. Musto Cultural Center is the Union City Museum of Art, which features a permanent collection of local artists’ work as well as pieces by Enid Bell TK. Also inside the Center is the Museum of History, featuring artifacts and photographs documenting the city’s history from 1925 to present day.

New Jersey and NYC transportation

If you’re living in Union City as a suburb of the Big Apple, there is no need for a car for your commute. NJTransit buses drive from Union City to Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan in three stops or less ($9.55 one-way, or discounts via 10-trip or monthly pass purchase). The 114 express bus from Morris Ave/StuyvesantAve takes only 40 minutes. 

You can also take the ferry from Weehawken across the Hudson River or the PATH into Manhattan from Hoboken or Jersey City. (You can get to Hoboken via light rail 9th Street-Congress Street station, or some apartment complexes offer a free shuttle to the PATH.) 

To get around within Union City, walking or biking is the most convenient. But, jitneys (aka town minibuses) are also available in New Jersey and best navigable through this unofficial page.

Land the perfect apartment in North Union City, NJ

If you like the idea of moving to an apartment in North Union City, New Jersey, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need to start living in your new home. Browse our available apartments in North Union 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 here!

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About the author

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 ruthiefierberg.com and follow her IG: @ruthiefierceberg / Twitter: @RuthiesATrain.