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Day Trip - Jersey City

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Jersey City, New Jersey, New York City, Hudson Valley, Day trip, Family friendly, Places to go, Things to do, Kid friendly, dining, museum, picnic, city, parks, Ferry boat, playgrounds, carousels, statue of liberty, battery park, liberty park, Hudson river

Jersey City is one of our favorite places to play tourist. It's a short drive from the Hudson Valley and it has the feel of NYC without the prices or traffic. It's much more doable for a family who doesn't want the hassle of Manhattan but still wants great, interesting food and lots of cultural things to do. Who doesn't want amazing pizza slices the size of your head?

Our first stop in Jersey City is Liberty State Park, located about an hour and half from Dutchess County it's about the same distance as Manhattan. You can park at Liberty State Park for 7$ FOR THE WHOLE DAY! If that isn't incentive enough the park also offers skyline views of the city and ferries back and forth from the Statue of Liberty and Battery Park (Lower Manhattan). The park has lots to do that will appeal to all ages; there are endless scenic walking trails along the Hudson River, picnic areas, playgrounds and a huge science museum. The park is well maintained, the grounds were clean and we felt very safe with lots of security patrolling.

After exploring Liberty State Park, our next stop is a short ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty and visit lower Manhattan. My daughter absolutely loved sitting on the top deck of the ferry watching the enormous lady go by and other boats zipping around the harbor. You can easily purchase tickets to tour Liberty Island/Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the Liberty Landing Ferry service right in the park. Our family, however, decided to just view the Statue from the ferry taxi and head over to Battery Park to spend a few hours exploring. The Ferry to and from Battery Park leaves every 30 minutes and is pretty reasonable 14$/adult round trip, 10$/age 7-11 round trip and children under 6 are free. They allow strollers and bikes on for no additional charge.

The next stop on our tour is Battery Park! This is one of my most favorite parks in NYC because it is almost never that busy and there is so much to see and do! The Liberty Landing ferry will drop you off at the World Financial Terminal, from there is a 15 minute walk to Battery Park. The walkway runs along the Hudson River and has amazing views. Once in the park your family can walk the pathways of the many perennial gardens; The Battery is home to the largest flower gardens in North America. No matter where you are in the park you will never be far from the views of the Hudson.

But my most favorite place in the park is the Seaglass Carousel, this is an experience your family will never forget! The whole glass pavilion feels like you are underwater from the moment you step inside. The iridescent fish take you on a 360 degree carousel ride that is unlike anything you have ever been on. I encourage both adults and children to ride! The carousel is open 7 days a week after memorial day and you can buy tickets online or in person, they are 5$ a person but well worth the price!

Once your family has had their fill of gardens, walking and spiraling around underwater, you will want to take the Liberty Landing Ferry at the World Financial Center Terminal back to Liberty State Park. Once you are back in Liberty State Park you will make our last stop on the tour, Liberty Science Center. I suggest buying tickets online and choosing, Science Center Admission Only which is 21.75 for adults and 17.75 for children (children under 2 are free). There is so much to see and do that, in my opinion, the IMAX admission and price are unnecessary. This museum has something for every age from a sky high climbing area to an I explore gallery with lots of things to see and touch. There are always changing exhibits and special events so every visit is different! It is an amazing place to spend a few hours or a whole rainy day!

Jersey City has no shortage of places to visit and explore, feel free to tailor your "tourist" adventure to fit the needs of your family. If you have older children then a tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would be an amazing addition to this trip. If you have very small children then staying in the park and visiting the Liberty Science Center may be more enjoyable and less stress for your family.

There are lots of places nearby for amazing food, Jersey City is home to many ethnicities which makes for a very rich food culture. Here are some of our favorites:
  • Roman Nose is a no frills Italian restaurant that is cozy, laid back and has amazing food. Wood-fired pizzas, pasta and a great kid's menu. Located 15 minutes from Liberty State Park.
  • Taqueria Downtown is an awesome Mexican restaurant that has a great outdoor patio and a very approachable menu, even for children. Located 12 minutes from Liberty State Park.
  • A little further away (25 minutes) but worth every single minute of the drive is Brisas Colombian Bakery. My family suggests you get the Bandeja Paisa, the official dish of Colombia; rice, beans, eggs, steak, avocado, sausage...the list of food goes on and on, its everything you could want on one plate. You will also want to try everything on the menu, ha! Next door is their bakery where you can take all of their breads and pastries to go!
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