There are some cool things to do in Hoboken, and the city is just across the river from NYC, so it’s worth visiting. Hoboken is part of the New York metropolitan area and directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Given its close proximity to the Big Apple, tens of thousands of people go back and forth between the cities each day, mostly commuters. In fact, Hoboken is one of the trendiest residential cities in the tri-state area, and certainly one of the best places to visit in New Jersey.
Among the city’s top attractions, the Hoboken Terminal is one of the most impressive, as it connects Hoboken to Manhattan via subway and ferry. So, whether you’re staying in Hoboken or New York City, I recommend enjoying the different attractions, activities, and events in Hoboken if you have the time.
From parks and waterfront piers to arts and culture, you’ll find it all in this Jersey neighborhood. To help you maximize your time, I’m sharing the 10 best things to do in Hoboken, so keep reading to learn all about this interesting and historical city.
1. Visit Hoboken Riverside Park, one of the best things to do in Hoboken
Hoboken Riverside Park is one of the best parks in Hoboken, NJ thanks to its waterfront location and views of the Manhattan skyline. Located along Sinatra Drive, this green space is a haven for locals and tourists who want a break from the busy city.
In addition to having one of the most beautiful views of NYC from Hoboken, the park has an open lawn area and a tree-lined path for walking, jogging and biking. The park is also dog-friendly, so it’s a great place to chill out as a family or with friends.
There are food trucks and restaurants nearby, as well as Pier A Park, which is a great alternative if Riverside Park is too crowded. Pier A Park tends to be more peaceful, so it’s ideal for an afternoon picnic or an after-dinner stroll.
2. Barsky Gallery, one of the most interesting things to see in Hoboken, NJ
If you’re interested in art or want to do some window shopping, check out the Barsky Gallery on Newark Street. This contemporary art gallery has one of the largest and most diverse collections in New Jersey, with pieces from up-and-coming local artists and more established creators.
The Barsky Gallery specializes in art for interior design and collaborates with designers in the area to help clients curate their dream homes. You can peruse the collection of paintings, photos, and prints and find something that piques your interest. The works range from abstract art and landscapes to an impressive collection of Eastern European art.
Moreover, the gallery holds pop-up exhibitions and artist receptions throughout the year. These events are like a mini museum in Hoboken, where you can speak to other creative people and take a look at beautiful pieces from the gallery’s private collection.
3. Hoboken Historical Museum, one of the best museums in Hoboken, New Jersey
Speaking of museums in Hoboken, one that you can’t miss is the Hoboken Historical Museum, which is dedicated to the cultural and historical heritage of the city. The museum’s main gallery is full of artifacts and objects related to important Hoboken attractions, figures, and events. Here, you can learn about the city’s reliance on the Hudson River, its shipping history, and its efforts to preserve music and the arts.
The upper gallery features a rotating exhibit with works from local artists and can point you toward other creators, entrepreneurs, and performance venues in the city. If you’re looking for things to do in Hoboken as a family, check out the museum’s art workshops, storytelling hours, and other community events.
There is also a small gift shop where you can find books, maps, and other materials about Hoboken that can help you plan your trip. Admission to the museum is just $5 for adults, and kids get in for free.
4. Carlo’s Bakery, one of the best places to eat in Hoboken
If you’ve ever seen the hit TV show Cake Boss, then you’re familiar with Buddy Valastro and Carlo’s Bakery, the most famous bake shop in the city. Located on historic Washington Street, Carlo’s Bakery is known for its elaborate creations and novelty cakes. They also make cookies, cakes, pies, and Italian pastries like cannoli.
The bake shop was founded in 1910 by chef Carlo Guastaferro, who sold it to Buddy Valastro Sr. in 1964. Today, the bakery is run by his son, Buddy Valastro Jr., and a few additional locations have opened up in New Jersey and Florida.
Even if you aren’t aware of the show, this is one of the best places in Hoboken to check out. There are always mouth-watering delights waiting to be devoured, such as fruit tarts, Italian cookies, and cupcakes. And if you’re celebrating a special occasion, you can call ahead and order a one-of-a-kind cake.
5. Hoboken Waterfront Walkway, one of the best places to visit in Hoboken
Another fun thing to do in Hoboken during the day is to take a stroll along the Hoboken Waterfront Walkway. This riverside path runs for 18 miles along the Hudson River, making it a great place to get some exercise and admire the views of the Manhattan skyline.
Throughout the day, you’ll see people walking, jogging, and biking along the path, and I recommend joining them, at least for a bit. The part around Sinatra Park is especially beautiful since it has recreational areas, unobstructed views, and several lovely landmarks.
For example, Castle Point Lookout is the highest point in Hoboken and is near a skatepark and a picturesque terrace. It’s also worth visiting Sybil’s Cave, a manmade cave excavated in 1832. It has a Gothic-style arch and a natural spring, so it’s a hidden gem you shouldn’t miss.
Back at Sinatra Park, you’ll find an amphitheater, restrooms, a soccer field, and kayaks for rent. The park is named after singer Frank Sinatra, who was born in Hoboken, and the park hosts free outdoor concerts every summer.
6. Browse the Hoboken Farmer’s Market, a fun thing to do in Hoboken, NJ
During the summer and fall, the Hoboken Farmer’s Market brings the community together to enjoy some of the best food in Hoboken. Local and regional farmers set up their stalls here and offer everything from fresh produce and pickled veggies to dried fruit, nuts, and specialty items.
Browsing the vendor stalls is a fun thing to do in Hoboken and a nice way to support the local economy. The Hoboken Farmer’s Market takes place at Church Square Park, 400 Garden Street. It’s open every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. between June and November.
There is also the Downtown Farmer’s Market, which is every Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. between June and November. It’s located on Observer Highway between Jackson and Harrison Streets. The Uptown Farmer’s Market is under the Viaduct on 14th Street and happens every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. between June and December.
7. Do watersports on the Hudson, the best thing to do in Hoboken in the summer
Looking for a summertime activity in Hoboken? Then, the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse is one of the best places to go.
This non-profit is located at Maxwell Place Park along Sinatra Drive and is home to the largest free paddling program in New Jersey. From May to September, you can sign up for free paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking for all ages.
Those who are 18 and over can sign up for organized river trips, which travel about 2 miles along the Hudson and are also free of charge. You can get more information and check the boathouse schedule on the official website.
If you don’t mind paying, I recommend Resilience Paddle Sports at Pier 13. They have other fun things to do in Hoboken in the summer like paddleboard yoga, family events, and Manhattan skyline kayak tours.
8. Go see Edwin A. Stevens Hall, something to do for free in Hoboken
Across from Sinatra Park, you can visit another Hoboken landmark, Edwin A. Stevens Hall. This place, which dates back to 1870 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, is the former main building for the Stevens Institute of Technology. Today, it’s used by the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science.
The building stands out for its beautiful Gothic architecture. Some of its most impressive Victorian Gothic elements include the pointed arches and the carved ornamentation on the façade. The five-story building has been renovated over the years and a 40-foot spire was added to the top on its 125th anniversary.
Today, the hall still has its DeBaun Auditorium, which serves as the school’s performing arts center. It hosts theater productions and cultural events throughout the year, so if you’re interested in the arts, you can check if there is a recital or show playing during your visit. Otherwise, walking past the hall and admiring its architecture is a free thing to do in Hoboken and something you can do while exploring Sinatra Park.
9. Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal, one of the top attractions in Hoboken, NJ
Visiting a transportation center might not sound fun, but this is one of the most impressive attractions in Hoboken. Serving as a major transportation hub for the New York metropolitan area, the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal sees over 50,000 people daily.
The terminal was also one of the first to combine ferry, rail, subway, and pedestrian services in one place. You can catch the bus or subway here or hop on the ferry to Midtown or Lower Manhattan.
Or you can simply come here to see its Beaux-Arts style architecture and 225-foot-tall clock tower. There are also beautiful Tiffany stained-glass windows in several parts of the terminal, so keep an eye out as you pass through.
In addition to its transportation services, the center has several cafes and restaurants so you can grab a bite to eat before continuing your journey.
10. Visit the Hoboken Fire Department Museum, something to do in Hoboken with family
Finally, the Hoboken Fire Department Museum is a great family attraction in Hoboken that you should check out. It’s inside an old 19th-century firehouse and has an authentic Ahrens Fox firetruck from the 1930s on display. You and the kids can climb into the fire engine and explore the museum’s interesting collection of artifacts and documents.
This Hoboken museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the city’s firefighters and most prolific fire events. The collection includes memorabilia and firefighting gear as well as objects documenting the devastating Hoboken fires of the early 1900s. One of the coolest items is a photo from 1947 of fire captain Marty Sinatra and his son, Frank Sinatra.
The museum is great for all ages, and kids will love ringing the brass fire bell and taking a photo with one of the fire dogs. There is even a children’s story time hour, and kids under 12 get in for free (adult admission costs $5). The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
How to get to Manhattan from Hoboken
Hoboken is about 30 minutes from Manhattan, and there are several ways to get there. Of course, the easiest and cheapest way is to use NYC’s public transportation system.
For example, from the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal, you can take the PATH train to Manhattan (either the World Trade Center station or the Port Authority terminal). A one-way ticket costs just $2.75, making this the cheapest way to go.
Another great option is the bus, which can take as little as 20 minutes. Line 126 travels from the Hoboken Bus Terminal to the Port Authority Terminal in Midtown Manhattan and costs $3.50 for a single ride.
If you want a more scenic journey, you can take the NY Waterway ferry from Hoboken, NJ to NYC. The ferry departs from the PATH station and the 14th Street Pier in Hoboken and goes to Pier 11/Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. Tickets cost $8 and you can see the ferry schedules here.
Finally, you can also drive into Manhattan from Hoboken, but it’s quite a headache. Depending on when you travel, it could take 30 minutes to an hour, and the toll ranges from $12.75 to $14.75, so it’s not the cheapest option either. On top of that, you’ll have to look for parking in New York City, which is a huge challenge. I highly recommend relying on public transit to get from Hoboken to Manhattan.
Where to stay in Hoboken
Since it’s easy to get from Hoboken to Manhattan, lots of travelers choose to stay here so they can save money on accommodation. If you plan on staying in Hoboken to visit NYC, here are my top hotel recommendations:
- W Hoboken: This super modern resort is pet-friendly and has balcony rooms, a fitness center, and a spa. It’s a beautiful riverside accommodation and just steps from the subway station.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Jersey City – Holland Tunnel: This comfortable hotel is perfect for frequent travelers thanks to its proximity to public transport. It has spacious, well-kept rooms, a grab-and-go market, a business center, and continental breakfast.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Jersey City North – Hoboken: This is a convenient and family-friendly resort with competitive nightly rates. In addition to connecting rooms, it offers free private parking and luggage storage.
Best restaurants in Hoboken
There are also amazing places to eat in Hoboken. No matter your taste preferences, you’ll find a delicious option to keep you fueled while exploring the city.
First, Blue Eyes Restaurant in Sinatra Park is one of the best restaurants in Hoboken with a view, so it’s perfect for those spending a day in the city. Its riverfront patio is the most beautiful spot to indulge in authentic pasta and pizza. If you still have room, don’t forget to try one of the homemade desserts.
If you’re looking for something quick and cheap, Fiore’s Deli is one of the best places to eat in Hoboken. It’s a traditional Italian deli that’s known for its amazing fresh mozzarella and mouth-watering sandwiches. Another casual place to check out is Green Rock, a moody tavern with an old-fashioned bar and classic pub food. It’s open late, so you can head here for a nightcap or after taking in a show.
I also recommend Amanda’s Restaurant, another restaurant with some of the best food in Hoboken. It’s open for dinner and Sunday brunch and offers an extensive menu, so it’s great for groups. The restaurant is inside a 19th-century brownstone building and has an upscale yet relaxed atmosphere.
Map of Hoboken, New Jersey
Now that you know what to do in Hoboken, as well as where to stay and eat, you’re ready to plan your trip. Here is a map with all the Hoboken attractions I mentioned, which you can download and keep on your phone:
If you have any questions, or you’d like to share your favorite thing to do in Hoboken, NJ, leave me a comment below. I’d be delighted to hear what you think!
Have a safe trip and have fun exploring Hoboken!