Spotlight on Jersey City

The waterfront Jersey City, NJ.

Could Jersey City be the affordable alternative to the vibrant and happening Big Apple? According to Jersey City’s mayor, Steven Fulop, visitors to this city across the Hudson River “will discover what our residents have known for years—that Jersey City has become a destination for great restaurants and cultural experiences.” From its arts scene and new restaurants, to city tours, your clients will find lots to do in this city that dares not sit in the shadow of New York.

The Foodie Scene
“In the past 18 months alone,” says Mayor Fulop, “more than a dozen new restaurants have opened, several of which are owned by chefs’ alums from well-known New York restaurants.” Here’s a look at a few new eateries that put Jersey City on the map as a foodie destination.

  • Porta Pizza: With two locations, one in Asbury Park and the other in Jersey City, this is an authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant. Chef Chris Calabrese runs the Jersey City locale, and here, diners can savor the restaurant’s homemade ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. The ovens were hand-built in Naples, and the flour and tomatoes are brought in from Italy daily. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Jersey City spot features pizza, pasta and classics such as pork Milanese made with spaghetti, pork cutlets, sage, lemon and parmigiano reggiano.
  • The Kitchen at Grove Station: One of the latest editions to Jersey City’s culinary scene, this venue fuses the concept of a high-end restaurant experience with the popular cafe culture. Chef David Viana puts together a seasonal menu focusing on updated classics, from the 6 oz. N.Y strip steak and eggs for breakfast to the garlic & paprika shrimp and steak tartar for dinner. The Kitchen at Grove Station serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
  • Carrino Provisions: This venue serves cheeses, meats, baked goods, coffee, and ready-to-go items in an outdoor courtyard seating area and cafe. 
  • Third & Vine: This wine and cheese tavern, boasts an eclectic including the “Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” (spicy peach, old overholt rye, egg white, amer sauvage); the “Conquistador” (el buho mezcal, amaro luxardo, madeira); and the “Heron Cocktail” (heaven hill black label, cardamaro, brandied cherry juice).
J. Owen Grundy Park in Jersey City.
J. Owen Grundy Park in Jersey City.

Arts & Culture
“Beyond the culinary scene, Jersey City has emerged as one of the most vibrant arts communities in the region, with our growing Jersey City Art & Studio Tour and Mana Contemporary. And the best part is we’re conveniently located by public transportation, just 15 minutes from Manhattan,” points out Mayor Fulop.

Art lovers should definitely visit the Mana Contemporary, a 2-million-sq.-ft. artist destination that is home to 100+ working artist studios, galleries for art collectors, exhibitions and events. The space also features a sculpture garden, a temporary exhibition space and a cafe; and there are plans to include a recording studio, a boutique hotel and a building of residences for artists. Another must-see in Jersey City is The Distillery Gallery & Artspace, which was founded on three basic needs: to create a professional space for art exhibitions that promote sales for local and regional artists; to create innovatively curated shows that promote community dialogue; and to uplift the artistic and local communities through public programs and educational outreach.

Where to Stay
The Westin Jersey City Newport, is a four-diamond hotel located in the waterfront Financial District of Jersey City, and only minutes from New York. The hotel offers 429 guestrooms, including 19 suites, some boasting city views or the Newport Marina. Another option is the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson with 351 guestrooms, all with waterfront and Manhattan skyline views. The hotel is located near transportation that can whisk your client over or under the Hudson via a ferry or the PATH train system.

The Statue of Liberty National Monument.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument.

City Tours
If your clients are fans of TLC’s “Cake Boss,” they can get the inside scoop on the art of making desserts with the Cake Boss’ Cake Factory Tour. At the 30,000-sq.-ft. Cake Factory, participants will learn to bake and decorate sugary sweets using state-of-the-art equipment; and The Kitchen, a cooking and baking facility located within the Cake Factory, gives guests a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Carlo’s Bakery, which was featured on the show. The tour accommodates 28 people; participants must be 10 years of age and older.

A visit to the New York City area isn’t complete without a trip to The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Statue Cruises offers departures throughout the day from Jersey City to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where over 12 million people were processed when they entered the United States. A Crown ticket ($21 adult, $12 child) grants passengers access up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty; priority boarding on the ferry; access to the grounds of Liberty Island and Ellis Island; and audio tours of Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

For a full list of things to do, places to eat, deals, packages, and city tours, visit, destinationjerseycity.com.