The town of Edison in Middlesex County, New Jersey is part of the wider New York City Metropolitan Area which makes it the perfect place to come if you are in the city and feel like exploring a little further afield.
Edison used to be named Raritan Township but this was changed as a memorial to the inventor Thomas Edison whose famous laboratory was located in Menlo Park.
As you would expect, the town is very proud of its most famous son and you will find many odes to Edison here including a museum, park, and memorial tower.
That said, there are plenty of other excellent activities and sights that don’t revolve around the invention of the light bulb, so whether you are a science buff or not there is sure to be something to interest you in Edison.
Here are the best things to do in Edison:
1. AMC Dine-In Theatres Menlo Park
For those who can’t decide whether to have dinner or watch a movie, now you can do both at AMC Dine-In Theatres Menlo Park located inside Menlo Park Mall.
The seating at this movie theatre is spacious and comfortable and diners can choose from a full lunch or dinner menu.
The theatre harks back to the days of old when patrons could have dinner at the movies and the cinema screens all the latest releases making it perfect for a romantic date night if you are in the Menlo Park area.
2. Thomas Edison Museum
The Thomas Edison Museum is so small that many locals don’t even realize that it exists, making it something of a hidden gem in the Edison area.
Located in Menlo Park, the museum is dedicated to celebrating the life and works of the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison and will tell you all you need to know about the history of the light bulb.
You can join a guided tour which is hosted by one of the friendly docents who work in the museum and entry is free but donations are welcome. For those who love science, this is definitely the place to come.
3. Triple C Ranch
The Triple C Ranch is a working farm that is made up of animal quarters as well as five separate gardens each with a different theme.
Perfect for children, the animals on the ranch roam freely and can be petted and played with and the gardens provide the ideal place to go for a leisurely stroll and learn more about the local pant and wildlife.
There are nature trails that run all over the ranch as well as local volunteers who will fill you in on the ranch’s history and tell you all about the animals and plants on site.
There are also attractions such as fish ponds and orchards at the ranch and this is certainly a welcome break if you fancy getting out of the city and getting back to nature for an afternoon.
Make sure to look out for the resident mascot of the ranch, Edison the pig.
4. Roosevelt Park
To the west of Menlo Park lies Roosevelt Park which has everything you need to enjoy an afternoon out.
The park has a number of grassy fields as well as basketball and tennis courts and in the summer there is a roller skating rink next to the park which transforms into an ice skating rink if you are visiting in the winter months.
An artificial lake sits in the center of the park and is encircled by a paved walkway, but there are also a range of trails that cross all over the park so that visitors can stroll, jog, or run at their leisure.
Should you get hungry there are a number of cute picnic areas in the park and there are even fire pits if you want to start you own barbecue.
5. Rebounderz Edison
If you are looking for a giant indoor trampoline park then look no further then Rebounderz Edison, a 41,000 square foot arena where you can unleash your inner acrobat.
The arena is made up of rebounding floors that allow visitors to trampoline to their hearts’ content and safety is assured with squishy foam pits at the end of each section so that jumpers won’t get hurt.
Aside from rebounding floors there are even rebounding walls for more experienced visitors, but whatever your fitness levels or prior experience the emphasis here is on fun and fitness.
This is the first arena of its kind in Edison so make sure not to miss this unique experience.
There is even a trampoline basketball court available if you fancy an action packed game.
6. Cypress Brewing Co
You may fancy a beer while you are in town and if so then look no further than the Cypress Brewing Co, a nano brewery based in Edison and something of a local phenomenon.
The brewery has been in operation for almost ten years making them experts in their field, and guest can come here for a tour of the brewery to learn all about the beer making process.
Knowledgeable staff will walk guests through every aspect of the beer journey from how the hops are harvested until the creation of the final product.
After a full tour of the facility guests can then move on to the tasting room to check out the range of Cypress Brewing Co’s beers.
These change regularly according to new flavors and blends that are being developed so make sure to ask what the latest product is.
7. Rutgers Ecological Preserve
Just outside of Edison you will find the Rutgers Ecological Preserve, a small area of forestland that is covered with picturesque hiking trails.
Most of these are short and well maintained which means that they are viable for hikers of all abilities, although a few have steeper sections so it’s a good idea to check on a map before you go.
Rutgers Ecological Preserve does not offer long hikes that will last a full day but if you want to get out of Edison then this is a pretty little spot that is perfect for an afternoon of rambling and picnicking and has charming views and plenty of interesting plant and animal life.
8. Farrington Lake
If you want to explore the outskirts of Edison then Farrington Lake in Middlesex County is a great choice.
The lake is the result of a spectacular dam and comes from the Lawrence Brook River which is a tributary of Raritan River.
Boating on the lake is a common activity here as well as fishing and there are a wide variety of species of fish in the lake such as rainbow trout and catfish.
One of the main attractions here is the dam on the lake which takes the form of a kind of giant fountain as the water runs down the stone steps into the lake.
9. Light Dispelling Darkness Sculpture
For a quirky and unexpected sight in Edison head to Roosevelt Park to see this federally commissioned work of art.
The eccentric sculpture sits in the center of a fountain and was designed in 1937 by the famous artist Waylande Gregory.
Built from terracotta the sculpture is an ode to Thomas Edison and the name of the piece is a nod Edison’s greatest work, the light bulb.
The name is also meant to represent the theme of good triumphing over evil and there are motifs of education, technology and industry as well as a unifying globe at the centre point.
The entire piece is built in an art deco style and the terracotta is hand glazed.
Definitely, this is worth a stop if you are in Roosevelt Park and want to see something a little different on the arts scene in Edison.
10. Menlo Park Mall
For those who want to indulge in a spot of shopping in Edison the Menlo Park Mall is the place to come and spans two levels that make this the best mall in the area.
Aside from all the latest clothing outlets that you would expect including all-American brands, you will also find a range of food outlets that span the globe from Japanese sushi to burgers.
There is even a large food court where you can walk around and let your senses guide you as you choose from a range of mouthwatering cuisines.
Aside from food and shopping outlets there are also entertainment venues such as a cinema.
11. Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower
A memorial to Thomas Alva Edison, the tower was built in the 1930s and has proudly stood in Edison as a monument to its famous inventor.
The tower is built on the spot of Edison’s laboratory that would have been here in the 1800s and where many of his inventions were created. As such, visitors here are definitely standing on an extremely historically significant spot.
The top of the tower is made of Pyrex and is shaped like a light bulb in honor of Edison’s creation and stands at almost 15 feet.
The tower is now on the National Register of Historic Places in New Jersey and so definitely don’t miss this little piece of scientific history if you are in the area.
12. Oak Tree Road
Oak Tree Road shares a border between Edison and Iselin in Woodbridge and is the place to come if you want to visit Little India in New Jersey.
The area around Oak Tree Road is known for its large Indian and Pakistani community and as such you will find a high concentration of Indian shops and restaurants selling authentic Indian products like stunning textiles as well as curry houses and traditional services including massage parlors.
13. Dismal Swamp
Dismal Swamp is an area of marsh land that borders Edison and spans 650 acres.
The swamp is famous for its diverse wildlife, some of which includes endangered species like the loggerhead shrike, as well as its plant life which also includes a vineyard.
The swamp also bears signs of having been inhabited in the days of old thanks to axes, spears, and ancient arrows that were found at the site.
The swamp has several sections that are access points for the public and the Triple C Ranch is located on the swamp and provides the perfect place for visitors to start off from and walk or hike in the area.
14. Edison State Park
Edison State Park spans an impressive 37 acres and is famous for the Thomas Edison Memorial Tower and Museum.
Aside from these however Edison State Park is a great day out just in itself and features a small area of forestland which is crossed by hiking trails.
In addition to the trails there is a small fishpond as well as a meadow which is a riot of color in springtime, so should you be visiting the museum then make sure not to miss the rest of the park.
15. West Nine
For a spot of golf in Edison head to the popular West Nine, a spectacular golf course that is open to both members as well as the public and is the perfect place to polish your golf game or just hit a few balls around in the afternoon.
The greens here are spacious and verdant and staff are friendly and always on hand to help patrons improve their golf game.
West Nine is also open to golfers of all ages and skills so it’s an ideal place to bring the whole family.