Home Jersey City Things to Do in Jersey City Heights

Things to Do in Jersey City Heights

by The Hoboken Girl Team
Attain Medspa
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It’s no secret that Hoboken + Jersey City pack a mighty punch of lively neighborhoods. Recently, Forbes Magazine confirmed what locals already knew to be true: Jersey City Heights is not to be slept on. Home to diverse restaurants, picturesque parks, and a one-of-a-kind community, exploring The Heights can feel overwhelming — whether you’ve called it home for years or are visiting for the first time. Luckily, we’ve got a guide to help you get started (though, of course, there’s always more to explore). Keep reading for a brief tour of The Jersey City Heights neighborhood in Jersey City. 

History

Like most of Jersey City and the surrounding area, The Heights in JC was part of the New Netherlands complex in the 1700s. The Heights later became an independent municipality called Hudson City, and only became part of Jersey City in 1869. As the neighborhood was originally settled by the Dutch West India Company — predominantly the Van Vorst family in the early 18th century — many historic buildings still remain. The oldest house in Hudson County, a Van Vorst family home built in 1742 and located on Palisade Avenue, is a reminder of the history The Heights carries into the present day.

Read more: 10 Facts You Might Not Know About JC

Eating and Drinking

Andrea Salumeria | 247 Central Avenue # A

 

Harborside Sport + Spine
Snap Fitness JC
 
 
 
 
 
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Zap Fitness

Located on Jersey City’s busy Central Avenue, this quaint little deli has been serving The Heights neighborhood with top-quality Italian American food since 1975. The deli has a large selection of gourmet Italian groceries, such as whole legs of prosciutto di parma, wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, dried pasta of all shapes and sizes, red pepper and artichoke hearts packed in olive oil, and a big selection of truffle products. And of course, there are sweets — biscotti, chocolates, freshly-stuffed cannoli, and during the holiday season, big boxes of panettone stacked on the counter.

Busy Bee Organics | 451 Palisade Avenue

busy bee organics

When we discovered Busy Bee Organics, it was love at first sight (or should we say bite). This Jersey City-based organic meal delivery service delivers organic, gluten-free, and customizable meals to the Hoboken and Jersey City areas on a weekly basis. A few recent menu favorites (as we shared, it changes weekly so you should hop on their mailing list to keep up!): Busy Bee’s Buffins (protein muffins), Thai Coconut Curry, Butternut Squash Mac + Cheese, and the Breakfast Burrito.

The Cliff | 38 Congress Street

This healthy Icelandic coffee shop is a must-do for coffee and vegetable lovers alike. Touting wholesome food and killer coffee, The Cliff is exactly what it says and serves breakfast, lunch, and brunch. The rustic boho chic feel at The Cliff makes you want to stay a while, but if you can’t you can always take your healthy meal to go.

Choc-O-Pain | Palisade Avenue

This coffee shop meets bakery is the place to go if you’re looking for a cup of joe with a side of Zen. Choc-O-Pain finally has five locations as of fall 2022 — and now residents and visitors can enjoy croissants, petit kouigns, and tartes without having to travel east. BONUS: Free wifi!

Corkscrew Bar | 61 Congress Street

The Corkscrew Bar is exactly the kind of establishment you can head to when the game is on or you’re looking for a simple and tasty brunch on the weekends. A homey spot with a down-home feel, you don’t need any frills to enjoy yourself with family and friends here. With an extensive beer and cocktail list and classic bar food (think burgers, wings, etc.), you’ll find something yummy on all of their menus. A fun classic on the weekend brunch menu is chicken + waffles — well worth ordering at least once. Open seven days a week.

Corto | 507 Palisade Avenue

corto jersey city

When chef Matt Moschella and his partners were looking for a spot for their new restaurant Corto, they had a simple vision in mind — to make “simple, straightforward food.” The team eventually settled on a former bodega in The Heights and transformed the bedraggled interior into a fun, lively dining space that doesn’t look, unlike someone’s living room. The menu is small but ambitious, each item a thoughtful take of rustic Italian classics — think: chewy casarecce (a short twist-shaped pasta) tossed in a silky, aromatic pesto; mafaldine (ribbon with wavy edges), to be enjoyed with a creamy sauce boldly flavored with speck and grana padano; and gnocchetti sardi, which is a small shell with external streaks that fully absorbs the rounded flavors of a tomato-chickpea-based sauce.

Dulce De Leche Bakery | 376 Central Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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These Argentinian desserts and delights have only been gracing NJ since 2007, but we can’t imagine a time when we couldn’t get our churro fix. The Heights location of Dulce De Leche opened in 2016, and it has been a hit ever since. Serving up desserts, custom cakes, sandwiches, tarts, and more, there really is something for everyone on your list. This location is open, bright, and spacious, but it’s always full of happy customers (and a long line). Don’t let the wait stop you from trying Dulce De Leche, because it’s absolutely worth taking a little extra time to enjoy a slice of Argentina. Open seven days a week.

El Gordo | 291 Central Avenue

From first-timers to their regular Peruvian customers, the team caters to all and it truly shows. El Gordo is a small family-style business; they put their heart and soul into all the food they serve, and it’s why they’ve become a household Peruvian (and beyond!) name. All dishes have secret family recipes that keep people coming back for more… and more. El Gordo is best known for its Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken + Famous El Gordo Green Sauce (this recipe comes right from Lizeth’s mother and grandmother) — a version of hot sauce — and customers are encouraged to put it on everything.

El Sabroso |  414 Central Avenue

Patrons can enjoy authentic Puerto Rican and Caribbean food at inexpensive prices at this long-standing establishment. The restaurant is spacious and casual with friendly service, and although the place gets busy on weekends it’s worth the wait for the savory dishes.

Fox and Crow | 594 Palisade Avenue

When you’re dreaming of that down-home Brooklyn vibe but live in JC, the Fox and Crow pub and music joint is what you need. You won’t have trouble finding this establishment when you see the brightly painted exterior, though the inside of the bar has a much calmer and rustic feel. The food at the Fox and Crow is simple and tasty, with an alternative menu for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re looking to hear some live music, the Fox and Crow has a secondary space where live music is played almost every night – check the website for featured acts. Open seven days a week.

Gino’s Pizzeria | 380 Central Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This family-owned restaurant and pizzeria was founded in 1976 and serves Italian-American cuisine. It has classic and specialty pizzas and, in a rare treat, Gino’s “The Heights” Pizzas, deep-pan pizzas in different flavors. Pizzas come in personal or pan sizes.

The Hutton | 225 Hutton Street

This welcoming gastropub is just what the doctor ordered. The Hutton has just about anything you might want on their tasty menu. From juicy steaks and shellfish to heart-healthy vegan options, you won’t be disappointed the next time you enjoy a meal at this restaurant. If you’re looking for lighter fare, The Hutton also has a bar menu (food included) with an extensive list of cocktails, beer, wine, and spirits. Open every day of the week and serving brunch on the weekends, you may never want to cook at home again with The Hutton as a food option in your neighborhood.

Irving Public | 1135 Summit Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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New to The Heights scene, Irving Public is a classic, Jersey bar. While currently no food is served here, this cozy spot has draft beer + other beverage options to enjoy.

Los Tres Chilitos | 456 Central Avenue

los tres chilitos jersey city

Conveniently placed in the always-bustling Central Avenue, Los Tres Chilitos is a casual, no-frills, Mexican spot where you’ll be greeted by a staff that immediately makes you feel comfortable. Los Tres Chilitos has an extensive menu with 4-5 specials that change every day. Some of the popular dishes are flautas de pollo, gorditas, enchiladas verde de pollo, chilaquiles, as well as nachos, quesadillas, and tacos. Los Tres Chilitos is open seven days a week from 8AM to 10PM (11PM on weekends) for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery

Modcup Cafe | 479 Palisade Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re in the mood for a tasty, artisanal, made-to-order caffeinated beverage, Modcup Cafe should be your first stop in The Heights. This Modcup is one of 4 locations (including the retro Modcup truck) (and an upcoming Hoboken location) serving amazingly aromatic and delicious coffee. This tiny shop is always jam-packed with caffeine-seeking loyal customers, so there will be a line when you get there. Don’t worry! The friendly people and great coffee are worth the wait. Open seven days a week.

Read More: A Comprehensive Guide to Hoboken + Jersey City Live Music Spots

Ozu Foods | 106 Hutton Street

When the weather is hot and you’re thinking about future beach days, a refreshing Japanese meal might be exactly what you’re craving. Ozu Foods is a tiny shop with limited seating but delicious food. With countless bento box and poke bowl options, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy. If you don’t want to try to dine at the restaurant, you can easily order online. Everything on the menu is healthy and fresh, so you can’t go wrong! Closed Sunday and Monday.

Rumba’s Café | 513 Central Avenue

Rumba’s Café

Rumba’s Café starts the day at 6AM daily with a full breakfast menu. Classic Cuban breakfast platters including eggs, mashed green plantains, fried cheese, Spanish coffee also known as café con leche, and fresh orange juice are enjoyed by early morning café visitors. The lunchtime menu at Rumba’s Café boasts a large variety of sandwiches. Choose from crowd favorites like the grilled cheese and the BLT, or venture into popular Cuban picks such as the Spanish Sausage Sandwich, the Cuban hamburger, or the ham and cheese.

Saigon Bistro | 514 Central Avenue

This Vietnamese spot has an expansive menu with traditional Vietnamese dishes + other Asian Fusion options. Spring rolls + dumplings are to be expected — but the Bahn mi is definitely worth trying out (we usually go tofu, but whatever suits your fancy).

Vibez Juice + Vegan Cafe | 82 Hutton Street

vibez juice cafe jersey city

This family-run cafe smoothies, juices, acai bowls, and savory, vegan food options that change daily but can include stewed eggplant, curry chickpeas, or teriyaki stir fry to name a few. The eatery sources all of its fresh ingredients for smoothies from local farmers’ markets and distributors. The most popular juice sold at Vibez is the “Strong Vibez” juice (made with celery, ginger, green apple, kale, and spinach). When it comes to smoothies, we recommend no.3, which is made with strawberry, almond butter, banana, and almond milk.

 

Shopping/Things to Do

Riverview Farmer’s Market/Riverview Park | Riverview Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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One of the best ways to spend a sunny weekend day is at a local farmer’s market, and The Heights is hopping with options. The Riverview Farmers Market located in — you guessed it — Riverview park is a great place to experience a bit of nature with a side of city. This market is open every Sunday from 10AM until 2PM from now until the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Every Sunday, the market has countless vendors carrying local farm foods, tasty treats to go, natural skin remedies, clothing, merchandise, and more. For a full list of vendors, you can always check the Instagram here. And don’t miss out on the extra activities at the farmer’s market, including Yoga in the Heights (see below), jazz music, cooking demos, and so much more.

Cuteticles Loft | 389 Central Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Sometimes a girl just needs a mani-pedi, and Cuteticles Loft (formerly The Nail Loft) is more than happy to help you with that. This spacious salon is exactly what the doctor ordered. The interior of Cuteicles is clean and welcoming with great decorations and pretty accent chairs — plus, the services are affordable. The salon is usually fairly busy, so be sure to call and make an appointment online before you go.

Beyond The Plate Food Tour | Central Avenue

beyond the plate food tour taste of the heights

For local foodies and adventurers alike, Alessia of Beyond the Plate Food Tours thought of just the thing to marry those two characteristics together: a one-of-a-kind food tour of Jersey City Heights. Not only is this the only food tour company operating in the area, but it is also one of two based in Jersey City, the other being the downtown tour. What makes this tour special is that all six stops highlight a restaurant that specializes in a different culture and cuisine. The stops are a carefully-curated mixture of longstanding restaurants and new kids on the block – so even longtime Jersey City residents stand to experience something new. Book your tour here.

The Hair Room Part Too | 467 Palisade Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Hair Room Part Too provides gender-free haircuts, styles, and modern colors with a special focus on creating a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community. The space is warm and welcoming — decorated to the likes of a ’90s baby childhood bedroom. Per its website, The Hair Room wants to “create a culture of authenticity, transparency, and respect, where every individual is empowered to be their true selves.” There is another Jersey City location at 140 Bay Street.

Leonard Gordon Park | 3303 John F Kennedy Boulevard

Leonard Gordon Park, also known as Mosquito Park, is another lovely green space in The Heights section of JC. The park is well known for two famous sculptures of a buffalo and a bear by the artist Solon Hannibal Borglum (1868-1922). The park is a great place to spend a summer day or walk through on a cool evening with many of the establishments listed above only a short walk away!

See More: Your Guide To A Solo Saturday In Montclair

Pershing Field Park/Community Center | 201 Central Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This gem is one of the largest parks in JC with nearly 13.5 acres of land available to the community. The park is named after General John J. Pershing, a famous general from World War I. The park area was used as a military training ground during the war, and the name serves as a nod to its history. There is a beautiful arch when you enter the park, which is a reconstruction of a wall from the Fourth Regiment Armory that was destroyed in 1927. Beyond the great history that this park holds, Pershing Field also has several playgrounds, a public pool, and an ice skating rink. And if that weren’t enough, the park establishment provides swimming, fitness, scuba, skating, and art classes.

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