25 Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids

Liberty Science Center is a must-visit attraction in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of LSC
Liberty Science Center is a must-visit attraction in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of LSC
8/13/23 - By Danielle Halibey

Jersey City is popular with families for its great neighborhoods, walkability, and proximity to New York City. And there is so much to do here, from cool cafes and sassy sweet-treat spots to beautiful parks and a plethora of playgrounds. It's no wonder the Sixth Borough is also called Chilltown.

JC is certifiably chill—and no longer considered the awkward stepsister to Hoboken. Tons of visitors make it a day trip destination, and those who live here don’t have to look too far for fun. Read on for 25 things to add to your to-do list if you’re spending some time in Jersey City.


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Top Attractions in Jersey City for Families

1. Liberty Science Center

Spend the day at Liberty Science Center and take advantage of all of its exciting exhibits, which change several times each year. Find your balance in Wobbly World, pay a visit to the state-of-the-art Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, or see live animals in Wild About Animals. If your house is full of budding young scientists, make sure you sign the squad up for LSC’s Camp-Ins. And keep your eye on the calendar for scientific sleepovers and adults-only night-out opportunities for you!  

2. Newport Centre Mall

On hot summer days (or cold winter ones), seek refuge at the Newport Centre Mall. Shop till you drop, visit the kiddie rides, grab a bite to eat, or catch the latest flick at the in-mall theater. 

3. Statue of Liberty

People travel from near and far to visit the Statue of Liberty and take away a piece of their ancestry, and Jersey City residents are lucky enough to have Lady Liberty right in their backyard. Statue cruises depart from Liberty State Park daily, so if you have out-of-town guests coming in, this is the perfect outing.

Best Things to Do in Jersey City with Kids

4. Go to the Farmers' Market

Visit a farmers’ market to pick up some fresh goodies and get acquainted with the local crop of vendors: there are countless ones to choose from during the warmer months (starting as early as late April). Vendors are spread all throughout the city: At Van Vorst Park, Hamilton Park, Newport Centre Mall, Grove Street, and the Journal Square PATH Plaza, to name a few. The farmers' market at the Grove Street PATH Plaza is open year-round.

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25Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids: Milk Sugar Love
Many amazing cones are available at Milk Sugar Love. Photo courtesy of the shop

5. Go for Ice Cream

Get your ice cream fix at any one of the dozen-plus delicious creameries around the city. Given how many choices you have to chow down, we suggest putting together your own brain-freezing tour—your little scoop troop will totally dig it! From Torico to Milk Sugar Love to Dahlia's Ice Cream Spot, there’s no shortage of sprinkles, shakes, and stir-ins to stumble upon.

6. Visit the Lighthouse

Along the waterfront in Newport sits LeFrak Lighthouse, a red-and-white–striped beauty situated on a comfy patch of lawn. Offering excellent views of the Manhattan skyline, it makes a great spot for a lazy afternoon picnic.

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Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory!. 25 Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids
Scrumptious pancakes are on the menu all day at Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory. Photo courtesy of the diner

7. Eat Out

Fuel up at one of JC's many family-friendly restaurants, including pancake house/family eatery, Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory.  

8. Go Ice Skating

Throw on your skates and fit in a session at Newport Skates, Jersey City’s dynamite outdoor ice skating rink. It's open for the winter months. 

9. Ride the Train

Ride the Light Rail! If you’re in downtown Jersey City, it’s such an easy and convenient way to travel, especially if you’re lugging a stroller. Take it to Liberty Science Center, Hoboken, or the Newport Mall, or just go for a ride.

25Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids: RPM Raceway
The world's longest indoor electric go-karting track at RPM Raceway is in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of RPM Raceway

10. Go Go-Karting

Cross something thrilling off your bucket list, and give the new RPM SIM simulator a try at JC’s own go-karting venue, RPM Raceway. The full-motion simulator—used by professional racers—gives amateur riders a real racing experience and it’s not for the faint of heart. If you have children under the age of 5, you may need to leave them with a sitter this time around.

11. Take the Ferry

If you don’t have easily-seasick sidekicks and can spend the day outdoors, take a ferry ride. From the terminal in Paulus Hook you can hop on a boat to downtown Manhattan, or even to the Jersey Shore. Scoping out a spot to watch the ferries go back and forth isn’t a bad idea, and doesn’t require any Dramamine doses, either!

12. Go Swimming

Take a dip in one of Jersey City’s public pools. All you need to splish and splash is a photo ID and proof of residency. Lafayette and Pavonia pools are open during summer months (beginning in late May) and Pershing Field Pool is open year-round. And if you can’t make it to any of these three pools, there are indoor pools open at several public schools throughout the city. Check online for open swim schedules, and inquire about availability for swim lessons for little fish testing out their fins for the first time.

13. Play Indoors

Let your wild ones work off all their pent-up energy at any one of Jersey City’s indoor play spaces. From Catch Air Jersey City to Funzy Play, these super physical, sensory, and movement-focused activity havens will soon fill out your sprouts’ social calendars and be top of mind for upcoming birthday parties.

14. Go Shopping

Spend a morning or afternoon supporting the local economy—it’s alive and well in Wall Street West! Jersey City is home to many wonderful neighborhood shops and specialty stores. Some of our personal favorites include organic and sustainable children's couturier and toy store, Hazel Baby & Kids, and Brooklyn-breakthrough bookstore turned JC treasure, Word.

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25Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids: Tiny Greenhouse
Kids can explore different textures with the sensory bins at Tiny Greenhouse. Photo courtesy of Tiny Greenhouse

15. Take an Art Class

Give your future Impressionists a great first impression with art at Tiny Greenhouse, a nature-friendly art studio for children ages 15 months to 8 years. Here, kids can get their hands dirty in age-appropriate art projects and creative classes that encourage free, artistic expression, all while helping kids learn about preserving and protecting the planet. Bonus: The majority of the resources and materials used in-studio are recycled.

Fun Free Things to Do in Jersey City with Kids

16. Head to the Library

Looking for something to do on a rainy or super-hot day? The Jersey City Public Library is a wonderful resource. The main library on Jersey Avenue has a great children’s room and offers storytimes, movie sessions, and holiday crafting workshops during winter and spring months, as do many of the neighborhood branches.

17. Visit a Park

Take advantage of one of Jersey City's many excellent parks. Some of our favorites include Berry Lane Park, Hamilton Park, Lincoln Park, Van Vorst Park, and Washington Park. With playground areas for romping and spacious lawns for relaxing, these neighborhood jewels are the perfect places to plan a family outing.

25Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids: Paulus Hook Playground
Play on the playground at Paulus Hook Park. Photo courtesy of Jersey City Parks Coalition

18. Go to the Playground

Sometimes a bigger park can be too overwhelming for younger kids. Luckily, Jersey City contains several small playground areas that are perfect for little ones to explore without getting trampled. We love the pocket parks that, together, make up Paulus Hook; there are also several smaller playgrounds located in Newport.

19. Listen to Music

Once spring has sprung, listen to live bands at Groove on Grove every Wednesday from May through September. Free concerts are performed at the Grove Street PATH Plaza from 6-9pm. Bring the kids; they’ll be the first to get up and dance! And many dance and karate classes use the series to demonstrate what they’re learning, too, so you could get a sneak peek of your child strutting their stuff well before their recital or exhibition.

20. Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

Stroll along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. The entire walkway covers 18.5 miles, spanning from Bayonne up to the George Washington Bridge. The Jersey City portion offers stunning views and is an excellent place for walking, running, or letting your little ones roam free.

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25Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids: Liberty State Park
Spend a family day exploring all that Liberty State Park has to offer. Photo by Shinya Suzuki

21. Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park is one of Jersey City’s true gems. The park boasts picnic areas, great playgrounds, several restaurants, an old train terminal, and tons of green space for relaxing on a beautiful day. It also hosts free nature programs for kids. It’s the perfect destination for any time of the year!

22. Newport Green

Escape to Jersey City’s only “urban beach” at Newport Green. This spacious park has an awesome playground area, complete with a sand pit, carousel, and sprinklers for cooling off. And you don’t have to ride the Parkway all the way down the shore, because Newport Green’s small beach has all the creature comforts of a coastal chill zone. Lounge on Adirondack chairs, play hard in the lush ball fields, and stroll through the surrounding gardens.

23. Spraygrounds

If it's a hot day, cool off at a splash pad. Jersey City boasts three of NJ's best spraygrounds, all FREE: Berry Lane Park, Newport Green, and Hamilton Park. Sprinklers can also be found at many of JC's smaller parks from Memorial Day through Labor Day (seven days a week).

25Things To Do in Jersey City with Kids: The Westin Jersey City Newport
Unwind with scenic views of the Hudson River at The Westin Jersey City Newport's pool.

Best Places to Stay in Jersey City with Kids

24. The Westin Jersey City Newport

Enjoy gorgeous views of the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline, and New York City from this waterfront hotel. Walk to the Newport Mall for shopping and dining or the Newport PATH station for quick access to NYC. The Liberty Science Center and Liberty State Park are only about 3 miles away. This hotel also has a great restaurant, Fire and Oak, which does a great weekend brunch.

25. Hyatt House Jersey City

Hyatt House is conveniently located right at Exchange Place, so traveling to and from NYC is a breeze. You'll also be just a few minutes from Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Some rooms come with an amazing view of the city.

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