Day One: Hoboken
Its neighbors may be metropolises, but Hoboken remains a cozy, walkable town with a happening nightlife and super shopping. Get your bearings at Hoboken Historical Museum, where exhibits shed light on the city’s diverse culture. From here, take a self-guided Sinatra walking tour (the crooner was born here), or bang around Washington Avenue’s many shops. Pick up a cannoli from Carlo's Bakery (of Cake Boss fame) to save for after lunch at beloved Moran’s. Spend the afternoon at the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, where you can kayak, paddle board and canoe. Stroll along the Hudson River at Pier 13 before dinner at elegant Amanda’s. Cap off the night with a drink at The Stewed Cow, or head back to your digs at W Hoboken for a glass of wine on the hotel’s outdoor terrace.
Day Two: Jersey City and Ellis Island
Head to Liberty State Park to catch the ferry to Ellis Island, the iconic turn-of-the-century U.S. immigration station. Enjoy stunning views of the city from the Upper New York Bay before taking a self-guided tour through the museum or joining a guided one. Longer tours of the island's Hospital Complex are also available. Once back in Liberty State Park, visit the park’s Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, stop into the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, or explore Liberty Science Center’s engrossing exhibits. Stick around Jersey City’s historic downtown area and grab modern comfort food from City Diner or more upscale fare at Liberty House Restaurant, which offers incredible views of the river and New York City. Take it down at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City. Don’t leave without tucking into a short stack at Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory in the morning.
Day Three: Elizabeth
Drive south to Elizabeth, founded in 1665 and the first capital of New Jersey, as well as the first English-speaking colony in the state. Given the area’s rich history, antique homes and sites, you’ll want to start a visit here with an Elizabeth Historic Heartline self-guided audio tour. At 3.5 miles long, the tour takes you to Bonnell House (the city’s oldest), 350-year-old Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown and circa-1783 First Presbyterian Church, among other historic landmarks. After getting a lay of the land, nosh on ramen bowls and paninis at Urban Griddle before heading to The Market at Elizabeth Avenue, a shopping district loaded with unique stores. Unwind at Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park, where the boardwalk and plaza both offer great views of the river. In the evening, have dinner at Torna A Sorrento, a local favorite for its southern Italian fare. There’s lots to see and do at The Mills at Jersey Gardens, the state’s largest outlet shopping mall. When your bags get too heavy, go across the street and stay at the Courtyard by Marriott or Embassy Suites for the night.
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