• What to Do Near the Liberty State Park Light Rail Stop in Jersey City

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    Living in Hoboken + Jersey City, we’re lucky enough to have such easy and quick access around Hudson County and to/from NYC, from the PATH train and buses to the ferry and Light Rail. If you feel like venturing outside of your neighborhood to try some new spots,  hop on NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and find a hidden gem. In this new series of Light Rail exploration, we’re showcasing the best places to eat, drink, shop, and explore at every Light Rail stop from Hoboken to Jersey City and back again. Keep reading to find out what to do near the Light Rail stop at Liberty State Park. 

    liberty state park

    The Stop at Liberty State Park 

    This week, we’re starting with Liberty State Park, a quick 15-minute ride from the Hoboken Terminal {note trains run about every 10 minutes or so depending on the time of day, but be sure to check the schedule online or look at the signs on the platform for the next train}. If starting at the terminal, take the train for 8th Street.

    If you’ve never been on the Light Rail, make sure to buy a ticket at the ticket vending machine {PATH SmartLink card or MetroCards are not accepted} and stamp it with time and date before boarding to make it valid. Adult one-way fares are $2.25 with reduced children, students, military +senior fares, and other options available for frequent riders.

    Make sure you have the NJ Transit MyTix mobile app to check the schedules in the palm of your hand or buy a monthly ticket on the app for unlimited rides, but unfortunately not single tickets. 

    See More: 12 Beaches Accessible via Public Transit from Hoboken, Jersey City, + NYC

    Things to Do

    Visit Liberty State Park {200 Morris Pesin Drive}

    Liberty State Park, a green oasis in the middle of Jersey City with the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as a spectacular backdrop, is one of the state’s most dramatic parks and its 1,212 acres offers a variety of recreational uses.  Morris Pesin, known as the “father” of Liberty State Park, spent 18 years spearheading the crusade to create this free and green urban state park for all, which opened in America’s Bicentennial year on June 14th, 1976.

    Take advantage of the miles of walkways by walking, jogging, biking, or rollerblading. Get fit with the par course that runs along Freedom Way. Bring binoculars and look at the numerous species of birds which frequent the park. Picnic at one of the playgrounds and enjoy the open waters of the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary by fishing or crabbing, boating or kayaking. Join the Friends of Liberty State Park volunteer gardening program to beautify Liberty State Park. 9:00AM-12:00PM on Saturdays in all seasons. No experience is necessary. To find out about all the other fun programs, events, festivals and concerts throughout the year be sure to sign up for the newsletter. Liberty State Park is open daily from 6:00AM–10:00PM.  

    Go to the Liberty Science Center {222 Jersey City Boulevard}

    liberty science center

    Liberty Science Center, the largest interactive science center in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area, is a 300,000-square-foot not-for-profit learning center located in Liberty State Park. Dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers to learners of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs.

    Ticket prices start at $24.99 for general admission {with child and senior discounts}. Memberships are also available. It is open daily 9:00AM-5:30PM.  For the 21 and over crowd, head on out to LSC After Dark, an after-hours adventure on the third Thursday of every month from 6:00PM–10:00PM, and enjoy an after-hours adventure featuring drinks, food, music, dancing, access to all the exhibits in the Science Center, and more.

    Go to the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and LSC Giant Dome Theater {222 Jersey City Boulevard}

    The biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere {exceeded in size by only four other planetariums in the world: two in Japan, one in China, and one in Russia} with an 89-foot full-dome view of the night sky and distant galaxies, this stunning space {named for a New Jersey philanthropist } opened less than two years ago and boasts a resolution of 88 million pixels, a lighting system that can produce over 281 trillion colors, and new speakers capable of producing 30,000 watts of digital sound. Fly through the universe, experience the grand and vast space, roam planetary surfaces, navigate asteroid fields, and watch the latest full-dome movies. To infinity and beyond.

    Visit the Liberty Human Society {235 Jersey City Boulevard}

    Liberty Human Society cares for, treats, and finds homes for thousands of animals every year.  An open admission shelter that contracts with Jersey City, Bayonne, and Hoboken, every stray animal found is brought to LHS, day or night. Public adoption hours for both cats and dogs are Tuesday–Friday from 2:00PM–7:00PM and Saturday + Sunday from 11:00AM–4:00PM. They also run spay/neuter programs, education, and low-cost routine preventative pet health services to the public every Wednesday from 4:00PM-6:00PM. Pets are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. If you can’t adopt at this time, volunteer, foster, or donate needed supplies from their wish list.

    Play Golf at the Liberty National Golf Course {100 Caven Point Road}

    This 18-hole Championship Golf Course reflects the detailed expertise of 1992 U.S. Open Champion Tom Kite and renowned golf course architect Bob Cupp, who collaborated on the design. Golfers enjoy magnificent views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, Manhattan Skyline, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. For members, it includes a fitness center and spa. Opened in 2006, Liberty National has hosted the 2017 Presidents Cup and two Barclays Tournaments.

    Visit Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal {1 Audrey Zapp Drive}

    ellis island

    During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the area that is now Liberty State Park was a major waterfront industrial area with an extensive freight and passenger transportation network. This network became the lifeline of New York City and the harbor area. The heart of this transportation network was the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal {CRRNJ}, located in the northern portion of the park.

    Built in 1889, the CRRNJ Terminal stands with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to unfold one of this nation’s most dramatic stories: the immigration of northern, southern, and eastern Europeans into the United States. After being greeted by the Statue of Liberty and processed at Ellis Island, these immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains, at the CRRNJ Terminal, that took them to their new homes throughout the United States. The Terminal served these immigrants as the gateway to the realization of their hopes and dreams of a new life in America. now through September 4th, from 7:30AM–5:00PM, September 5th through October 9th from7:30AM–4:30PM, and October 10th through December 31st from 7:30AM–4:00PM. Historical walking tours are available, too. Click here for the monthly program schedule.

    Sea Fever Excursions {Liberty Landing Marina, 100 Audrey Zapp Drive}

    Sail around NY Harbor for a two-hour tour on this private sailing cruise, past Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York City skyline. Day and evening sailings are limited to six guests. All bookings are done via email. They also offer a sailing club, limited to four per boat on Saturday or Sunday at 10:00AM, for those who enjoy sailing, want to learn to sail or just want to brush up their sailing skills with a hands-on approach without the expense of owning and maintaining a boat. No certification is given, but time on the water will be logged for the possibility of future certification.

    Read More: How to Have a DAY at Liberty State Park

    Landmarks

    Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry {Liberty Landing Ferry}

    Step back in time and explore two of the greatest American landmarks without traveling into NYC {Liberty Island is actually closer to the Jersey coastline than it is to New York}. Liberty State Park is the only location in New Jersey with ferry service via Statue Cruises to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island available throughout the year. From the light rail stop, walk or bike one mile on Audrey Zapp Drive to the ticket office area located in the CRRNJ Terminal. From the ticket office, the security facility and ferry gangway are a short walk. For rates and boat schedules, please click here or call 877-523-9849.

    Visit the Empty Sky Memorial {1 Audrey Zapp Drive}

    liberty state park memorial

    Pay your respects at the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, the official State of New Jersey’s memorial that honors the memory of the 749 people that lived in or had ties to New Jersey that lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11th, 2001. Designed by Jessica Jamroz and Frederic Schwartz, it was dedicated on Saturday, September 10th, 2011, a day before the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

    Places to Eat + Drink

    Cafe Skylines {222 Jersey City Boulevard}

    The café on the second floor of the Liberty Science Center offers hearty, healthful fare for lunch and snacks. Try a custom-crafted pizza from the brick oven, a specialty sandwich or entrée from the grill, or fresh choices at the salad bar. They also offer special kids’ meals, soft drinks, coffee, tea, and sweet treats. LSC members get a 10% discount. It’s open daily 9:00AM-5:30PM.

    The Grind Shop {360 Communipaw Avenue}

    Hmmm, doughnuts. This specialty coffee shop proudly serves La Colombe Coffee and is the exclusive Jersey City carriers of Doughnut Plant with the famous square-filled donuts. Try a lavender or matcha latte or an iced mocha made with Ghirardelli chocolate. Open Monday–Saturday from 7:00AM–7:00PM and Sunday from 8:00AM-6:00PM.

    Harry’s Daughter {339 Communipaw Avenue}

    harrys daugther

    Enjoy a night in the islands at this Caribbean cocktail bar and gastropub serving classics from jerk chicken and peri-peri shrimp to braised oxtail stew. Open Monday to Friday for dinner from 5:00PM-12:00AM, with Saturday and Sunday brunch from 12:00PM-4:30PM, lounge to reggae music while sipping a Dark and Stormy or Ria’s Rum Punch.

    Liberty Park Cafe and Diner {14 Burma Road}

    If looking for a classic old school New Jersey Diner that’s close to Liberty State Park and the Liberty Science Center, then the Liberty Park Diner and Cafe is the perfect choice. Serving affordable and hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the varied menu ranges from American to Mexican to Greek, with everything in between to suit all tastes. Its’s open 5:00AM–8:00PM, Monday–Friday, from 5:00AM–6:00PM on Saturdays, and 5:00AM–5:00PM on Sundays.

    Maritime Parc {84 Audrey Zapp Drive}

    Founded in 2009 by executive chef-owner Chris Siversen in a grand building in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, Maritime Parc provides a unique and wholesome dining experience with panoramic views of the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline. Its design evokes a modern summer seaside pavilion, with elegant spaces that flow seamlessly from indoors to out, creating a welcoming oasis in which to linger and lounge. Maritime Parc is also home to two stunning private event spaces perfect for weddings, social celebrations, and corporate events of all sizes. The restaurant serves fresh modern organic cuisine and is open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner and a Sunday brunch.

    The Pinwheel Garden Dumpling and Noodle Bar {318 Communipaw Avenue}

    Drop by Pinwheel for a taste of their Thai-Japanese-American style bourbon bacon drunken noodle with a medley of veggies and greens, free-roaming egg {or tofu}, chewy udon noodles and fresh Thai basil from the garden — topped with a locally-foraged seasonal wild mushroom medley {chanterelles, deer mushroom, chicken of the woods, and more}. It’s open for lunch and dinner, 11:30AM–3:00PM and 5:00PM–10:00PM.

    Liberty House Restaurant {76 Audrey Zapp Drive}

    liberty house hrw

    {Photo credit: @libertyhouserestaurant}

    Liberty House Restaurant was designed to exemplify the “view with a room” concept and focus on the magnificent Manhattan skyline views. Liberty House offers award-winning farm to table cuisine, handcrafted décor, live music, inviting seating areas, and lavish grounds. Over the past few years Liberty House has been named one of the best NJ wedding venues and there is no question why.  The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and a jazzy Sunday brunch and boosts indoor and outdoor bars. Can’t get enough of their delicious cocktails, now learn how to make them at home with the restaurant’s Classes in Cocktails for $45. Join them to create and sip on cocktails and nosh on complimentary hors d’ oeuvres.

    SAM AM-Bergen Lafayette {196 Pine Street}

    The menus at Sam A.M. are a celebration of good simple local food. The daily menu changes seasonally and is sourced locally–order a  cappuccino made with coffee roasted this week and milk, milked the day before from Battenkill cows, paired with Lancaster county eggs, and some Jersey asparagus. It’s open for brunch Wednesday–Sunday from 8:00AM-3:00PM and for dinner Wednesday–Saturday from 5:00PM-10:00PM.

    And that’s just a few of the things happening right around Liberty State Park. Stay tuned for our next stop on the Light Rail, Jersey Avenue.

    What are some other go-to spots in the area that you love? Share with us in the comments below!

    Did you know: We started a podcast about all things news and lifestyle in Hoboken + Jersey City! Listen to the latest episode of Tea on the Hudson here and subscribe.

    We release new episodes every Tuesday!


    Written by:

    Lara is a public relations and marketing communications consultant who moved to Hoboken over seven years ago after living on the Upper West Side in Manhattan {she says the skyline views are much better from this side of the Hudson}. A Lehigh University graduate with a degree in journalism, she can be found volunteering in the community, practicing yoga at Urban Souls, meeting friends for coffee at Hudson Coffee or Choc O Pain, and enjoying wine at her favorite spots in town including Court Street, The Brass Rail, and Bin 14.