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How to Have a $50 Day in Jersey City

by Via Rutkowski
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The vibrance of Jersey City attracts people from far and wide. From its bustling restaurant scene and remarkable shops to its breathtaking views of Manhattan, it’s no surprise that there are endless activities on this side of the Hudson River. While there is plenty to explore, it’s easy to get caught in a loop of spending when trying new foods, activities, and experiences. That’s why we created a budget-friendly itinerary to help readers make the most of all that Jersey City has to offer. Read on for how to have a $50 day in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The challenge: Eat at least 2 meals and enjoy at least 1 activity for $50 or less in Jersey City (tip + tax will be extra). We spent the day on foot to avoid transportation costs.

Breakfast: $15.45

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A day full of adventuring must begin with some fuel. For the HG team, that’s with some much-needed caffeine and a solid bacon egg and cheese. We all know that bagels in New Jersey are pretty much a way of life and some of the tastiest are at Gussy’s Cafe located at 292 Newark Avenue. The “BEC-ky Sandwich” is their version of a classic breakfast sandwich with two fried eggs, cheese, bacon, and a bread of choice. This bulky sandwich starts at $9.50 but we put it on a bagel for $1 more, making the total sandwich spend $10.50. Add a small iced oat milk cappuccino to go for $4.95 and it’s time to take a walk to the next location.

Read More: 10 Instagrammable Downtown Jersey City Spots You’ll Want to Save For Later

Activity 1: Free

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After grabbing Gussy’s breakfast to go, take a 13-minute walk through Downtown Jersey City and grab a bench at Van Vorst Park. There’s no shortage of entertainment here. Sit, relax, and enjoy coffee while watching the hustle and bustle of Jersey City residents starting their day. Whether admiring the pristine landscaping, gazing into the fountain, or watching dogs wander about, this is a great spot to unwind and get some fresh air. On Saturdays, there is even a pop-up farmers’ market to stroll through and shop.

 


 

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Activity 2: $6.95

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Next up it’s time for a little shopping (that counts as cardio too!). Walk eight minutes around the corner to 301 First Street where the lovely owners at 301 Collective will welcome patrons with open arms. This shop has become a downtown staple since opening in late 2023. The store has a variety of home goods, accessories, and one-of-a-kind gifts. Its sharp curation is thanks to the keen eye of owners Jordan and Marisa. After some browsing, we opted to pick up a unique Mother’s Day card as part of the journey for $6.95. 301 Collective makes shopping for any gift a breeze with several options for budgets big and small.

See More: How to Have a $50 Day In Montclair: Part II

Dinner: $23

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Last but certainly not least, the final stop of the day is a real winner and a seasonal gem. After a big breakfast, it was time to refuel again for a late lunch/early dinner. Walk 19 minutes toward the waterfront to drink and dine outdoors at Smorgasbar located at 3 Second Street. Every year when Smorgasbar re-opens for the spring it brings an exciting burst of color, energy, and flavor to the Jersey City waterfront. First up, grab a passion fruit margarita on the rocks for $14, these tasty beverages really pack a punch. Then it’s time to grab a bite from Carlitos just across from the bar. The Quesatacos are out-of-this-world and have all the fixings secured onto the handmade tortilla with a heap of seared Menonita cheese. We chose one Crispy Fish Quesataco ($4) and one Sweet Plantain Quesataco ($5). For a margarita and two tacos, the grand total for a trip to Smorgasbar was only $23 making the grand total for the day $45.40, about $5 under budget.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our $50, one-day series in Jersey City!

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