They say that the best views of New York City are from New Jersey. And while you will need to leave NYC to get there, I have a hard time believing you won’t enjoy that city skyline panorama.
One of the most scenic walks along the Hudson River is on the Jersey City waterfront. All along this ~2.5 mile stretch of riverside, you will find a pathway that offers views, parks, sculptures, piers, and plenty more.
Read more to learn about the Jersey City waterfront and how to go about a visit for yourself.
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1) Jersey City Waterfront Map
To start, I thought it may be helpful to layout a map that shows the Jersey City waterfront and several of the highlights that can be found along with the way.
The northern most part of the walkway starts at the Hoboken Terminal and the southernmost section is at the Colgate Clock. Between the two are various Jersey City neighborhoods such as Newport, The Waterfront, Powerhouse Arts District, and Paulus Hook.
During a waterfront walk, you will be able to experience many top spots & viewpoints pinpointed on the map below.
2) How to Get There
On the map, you can see that I highlighted several train stations and ferry terminals. Depending on where you are coming from / where you are departing from, may dictate which station or terminal you use.
Below is an overview of the various public transport options available along the waterfront that connects Jersey City with Manhattan.
- Hoboken Station: Green & Blue Lines
- Newport Station: Green & Yellow Lines
- Grove Street Station: Red & Yellow Lines
- Exchange Place Station: Red & Green Lines
Weekend/Holiday routes may be different, so be sure to check the schedules for the latest.
- Hoboken Station: connects to West 39th Street, Brookfield Place, and Pier 11
- Paulus Hook: connects to Brookfield Place and Pier 11
Feel free to take a look at the latest schedules and routes on the NY Waterway website.
3) Jersey City Waterfront Walkway Entrance
In reality there are an unlimited number of entrances to get onto the waterfront walkway. However, if you did want to walk the full 2.5 miles then you will need to start at one end and finish at the other.
It does not necessarily matter which way you walk, as you will have great views out in front of you either way. During my time out on the waterfront, I started north (at the Hoboken terminal) before making my way south (to the Colgate Clock).
Northern End Entrance: Hoboken Railroad Terminal
The Hoboken Lackawanna Railroad Terminal is basically located right at the intersection of Hoboken and Jersey City. The station is home to the NJ Transit, PATH train, and a ferry terminal.
This in turn makes it very accessible to the rest of NYC even though it is located in another state.
I would recommend taking the PATH train that connects right into the terminal, and you then can get going from there.
Once you arrive at the terminal, you can make your way eastbound through the train tracks until you reach the waterfront. From there, the first portion of the walkway begins going southbound.
Southern End Entrance: Colgate Clock
About 2.5 miles south of the terminal is the Colgate Clock. This is essentially the most southern part of the walkway before Liberty State Park begins.
Similarly, to the Hoboken terminal, the PATH train also stops right nearby here (at Exchange Place – a 5 minute walk away from the clock). In addition, there is a nearby ferry stop at Paulus Hook that connects with Manhattan.
One potential way to go about the day is to take the PATH into the Hoboken terminal, walk southbound to the Colgate Clock, and then double back for a few minutes to Exchange Place/Paulus Hook. From there, you can catch the PATH train (or ferry) back into the city (if that is where you are coming from).
If you have any concern with directions, I would simply recommend taking a look at what Google Maps lays out. Since you may be coming in from anywhere in the city, there can be various ways to go about getting to the waterfront.
4) The Jersey City Waterfront
Now it is time to dive deeper into the route along the Jersey City waterfront. If you are simply just walking it with no breaks, expect to spend around an hour completing the walkway.
However, you certainly may be spending more time enjoying the views, taking photos, having some food/drinks, and just grabbing a seat to relax along the way. Depending on your preferences, that can add up to a longer time along the river.
The rest of this section will go about the walk from north to south. You certainly can do the same in the opposite direction though.
Hoboken Railroad Terminal
After arriving at the railroad terminal, you can follow the path that heads past the train tracks and towards the river. It may seem odd at first since this is where people get onto the trains, but there actually is a pathway on the other side of it.
Once you get to the waterfront, you can then begin the walk southbound. Pretty much immediately you will begin to get those NYC views. From the One World Trade Center at the southern tip of Manhattan to the Empire State Building at midtown, there will be plenty of skyline throughout.
As you begin to walk the pathway, views of the Lackawanna terminal itself can be seen along with the Water Soul’s sculpture (more on that soon).
Newport Sand Beach
One of the more unique aspects towards the beginning of the walk is the Newport Sand Beach. This is an actual “beach” just off of the pathway. You will find chairs & umbrellas in the sand overlooking the Hudson River and the skyline.
Water Soul’s by Jaume Plensa
As you will see from the start, there is a very interesting white colored sculpture along a short pier. This is called Water Soul’s and was designed by world renowned artist Jaume Plensa.
It stands at 80 feet tall and depicts a woman placing a finger near her lips with her eyes closed. In the artist’s mind, it is a way to “to keep silent…and to listen to the profound noise of the water talking to us”.
Holland Tunnel Ventilation Shaft
After passing by the sculpture, you will see a beige building out in the water. This is the Holland Tunnel ventilation shaft. On either side of the shaft there are two pathways that head towards it.
Unfortunately, these paths are closed but the area still does offer some nice views of NYC.
I wanted to bring this up because you can go down the pier pathway on the Manhattan side of the river. Along Hudson River Park is Pier 34, and it offers one of my favorite views of the downtown skyline. If you happen to visit the Manhattan side, be sure to check it out.
Continue along the Jersey City waterfront where you will see the Newport Lighthouse before rounding the corner.
The lighthouse sits in a small greenery filled park at the base of an apartment building. It is also known as the LeFrak Point Lighthouse, and offers a great spot to take a break before continuing on.
As you turn the corner closer inland, the walkway heads right in front of Marina Park. the park is full of walking paths, benches, greenery, plants, flowers, and even some geese in the summer time.
The park sits at the base of the Newport Yacht Club & Marina, and Battello restaurant (if you are looking for a meal along the way).
Following the park, the next portion of the Jersey City waterfront simply passes by several apartment buildings that sit along the riverside. You will make a couple of turns following the Hudson before arriving at Smorgasbar.
Open from the Spring until Fall is an outdoor food venue called Smorgasbar.
It is the perfect spot to grab some food and drinks as you take in the views from the walkway.
Note that the full food vendor pop up (Smorgasburg) may not be up and running as there are some redevelopment plans in place. Smorgasbar though should be open.
Hyatt Regency Sundial
Continuing southbound you will soon see the Hyatt Regency hotel. At the end of the pier on which it is located, there is a perfect lookout area overlooking the city.
Much of my time photographing the skyline was taken from this spot, as it offers an unobstructed view of the river and NYC (both downtown and uptown views).
In the middle of this plaza is also a giant sundial sculpture to visit.
Right next to the Hyatt is the Exchange Place PATH station, just so you are aware of where it is located in the case you are heading back to the city by train.
J Owen Grundy Park
Directly next to the train station is J Owen Grundy Park. It is less so an actual park, and more so just a pier that heads out over the water.
This is one of the most popular spots for locals to hang out on as it offers plenty of seating, shaded areas, and some more views of downtown Manhattan.
The next pier down from the park area is the Paulus Hook Pier. If you are heading back to Manhattan by ferry, this is where you will depart from.
Last but not least is the famous Colgate Clock, located at the southern tip of the Jersey City waterfront.
The clock measures in at a whopping 50 feet in diameter and was once located at the previous headquarters of Colgate (just a couple hundred feet away). In 1985, when the headquarters was replaced, the clock was moved to this spot along the waterfront.
Once all done nearby the clock, you can then head to Paulus Hook to catch the ferry or to Exchange Place to hop on the PATH.
5) New York City Skyline Views from NJ
All along the Jersey City waterfront, you will be able to take in some views of the NYC skyline. Here are some photos I took during my time there.
6) Jersey City Hotels
While staying in Manhattan is one way to go about a trip to NYC, you can also decide to stay in Jersey City instead.
By staying in Jersey City, you will still have close access to the rest of NYC by leveraging the PATH and ferry. In addition, you can choose a hotel with views of the skyline.
Getting hotel views like this don’t really exist in NYC, so it can be a great way to have the best of both worlds.
- Hyatt House
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Doubletree by Hilton
- Canopy by Hilton
- Hyatt Regency
- Sonesta Simply Suites
- Holiday Inn Express Jersey City
Be sure to check out the rest of the hotels near NYC in New Jersey
That about does it for the Jersey City waterfront. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.
Also, don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site (like the most non touristy things to do in NYC).
Have fun out there and safe travels!