This guide is by Untapped Cities tour guide, Mandy Edgecombe, a National Park Ranger and resident of Jersey City.
Jersey City has been the recipient of quite a bit of hype in recent years. Referred to by some as the “6th borough,” Jersey City won Curbed’s neighborhood of the year award in 2016 and was recently voted the most culturally diverse city in the United States by WalletHub. These modern elements are easy to see when you walk its streets and traverse its neighborhoods, but the city is also home to a rich historical past.
Jersey City’s history can be traced back to as early as 1630, to the beginnings of Dutch New Netherlands. In 1781, it became the site of the Revolutionary War battle at Paulus Hook and by the late 19th century, immigrants started arriving at Ellis Island (with peak arrival in 1910), taking trains to all points west from the Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal building (recently restored) at what is now Liberty State Park. Today, Jersey City has entered a new renaissance: residential towers are being built, historic homes and structures are being landmarked and restored, and small businesses are booming. The fully public waterfront access also has some of the best views of Manhattan.
Here are 20 must-visit places in Jersey City:
Jersey City Mural Arts Program
Art by Shepard Fairey
A current city initiative under Mayor Stephen Fulop’s administration is the Jersey City Mural Arts Program. Controlled by the Department of Public Works and funded by the Clean Communities grant, the program was launched in 2013 and is currently led by Brooke Hansson. It was launched not only to beautify neighborhoods and promote personal connection to the city, but also to mitigate graffiti, which the initiative has done very successfully. Over 90 murals have been placed in Jersey City to date by local and international artists, including Pixel Pancho and Shepard Fairey.
Jersey Loews Theater
Photo via Flickr by Garrett Ziegler
The Jersey Loews theater is a gilded and opulent late 1920s movie theater — one of five Wonder theaters Loews built in 1929-30 in the New York City metro region. The non-for-profit, all volunteer arts and entertainment organization that maintains this space encourages local talent and educational events. Catch films and well-known musical acts here, all of which help support further restoration of the theater. For a full list of events for 2017, visit their website.
Location: Directly across from Journal Square Path Station on John F. Kennedy Blvd.