Sprawled out along the western banks of the Hudson River and Upper Bay, Jersey City is the Garden State’s bite out of the famed Big Apple.
It’s connected to mighty New York by ferries and subways, and boasts some of the finest broadside views of Manhattan and Brooklyn in the world.
You can see the Empire State rising to a peak across the waters, while the totemic likes of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty pepper the bay.
The city itself boomed to life with the industrial revolution, going from an outpost of colonial militias before the 1770s to a powerhouse of coal refineries and railroads and red-brick train depots in the 20th century.
Today, that industrial core is now an image of old America, with museums and monuments to the thousands of immigrants that were magnetised to the city by its great promise of opportunity and wealth.
That heritage is balanced out by the bars of party-mad Hoboken and the pretty walkways of the Hudson, making this a top spot for any traveler on the East Coast! Let’s explore the best things to do in Jersey City:
1. Understand the human history of JC at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
One of the most iconic sights in America’s modern history, and the first ever federal immigration site in the country, Ellis Island is thought to have processed upwards of 12 million people coming to settle in the United States between 1892 and the early 1950s.
Now a US National Monument and with a spot on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places, the small speck of land between the shores of Jersey City and New York proper attracts visitors with an enthralling immigration museum.
Housed in the very same building where immigrants were processed from 1900 onwards, the institution chronicles everything from the harsh medical checks to the famous folk who passed through the halls. It’s unquestionably one of JC’s must-sees!