New in Jersey City? Welcome to our city… this little guide will help you in many ways, check it out!
Moving is never easy, especially with kids. It’s easy to see how newcomers to Jersey City could get a bit overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the area. Here’s a starter guide to get your feet wet, but be aware that Jersey City is a buzzing and growing city that continues to evolve before our eyes, so it’s by no means comprehensive. Feel free to add your own ideas to our Facebook page, Instagram, or the comments section!
And also, WELCOME! All of us at JCFamilies were new in town once too — we know and completely understand the mix of excitement, trepidation, and confusion that can come with a big move. We hope you’ll introduce yourself to us at our next event!
While it might be less daunting to order everything online, there’s real value to getting outside and supporting the local economy while meeting your neighbors. Every time you step out, you will feel a little bit more confident and more comfortable in your new neighborhood!
There are grocery stores (and great bodegas) within walking distance of most neighborhoods, but the following listed below feature parking lots (except Key Foods) so you don’t have to walk.
Key Foods – 574 Jersey Avenue
Shop Rite – 400 Marin Boulevard
Acme – 125 18th Street
Target – 100 14th Street
Morton Williams – 105 River Drive South
BJ’s (Members only) – 396 Marin Boulevard, right next to Shop Rite
99 Ranch Market – 420 Grand Street
Stop & Shop – 232 Central Avenue
Supremo – 323 Palisade Avenu
C Town – 759 West Side Avenue
ACME Markets-321 NJ-440, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Having a housewarming party? We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that there’s a giant booze warehouse open until 10 pm daily (except Sunday), which also has a parking lot, a create-your-own six-pack craft beer section, a massive wine selection, and discounts on quantity.
JC is also home to a lot of well-stocked, smaller wine and liquor shops, cheers!
We are also lucky to have very high-quality farmer’s markets in almost every neighborhood!
In addition to the stores already mentioned, don’t forget that one of the biggest benefits of living in a major metropolitan area is that we don’t have to go to big box stores if we don’t want to. There are bodegas, corner stores, wine shops, and food trucks all around you. The Jersey City consumer is so selective and has so many options, you can be confident that any and all of those corner stores will be stocked up on the necessities and will operate in a clean and professional environment. We are proud of our ability to shop local – it’s great to have milk and eggs easily accessible. Here is a list of some businesses you should check out!
Do yourself a huge favor and schedule a date night in a nearby bar or restaurant without the kids. There are so many hip and trendy options that are trying hard (and succeeding) to keep your dollars in Jersey City. That said, there are also lots of options for fun days and evenings out with the kiddos!
The Liberty Science Center has four floors of entertainment. Get a membership. When winter arrives, you’re going to need a place where the kids can run and feel the freedom that they feel outside in a climate-controlled environment. The science center is that place. There are always at least two exhibits/rooms for little ones, one which changes and one that stays the same. Right now, the rotating exhibit is Thomas & Friends! There’s also a section with animals – the Eat and Be Eaten exhibit – and another area where there are giant fish tanks. Explore. You won’t regret it.
These parks feature lots of outdoor space to run around, and playground equipment to climb, slide, and swing on! Programming includes farmer’s markets and movies in the park. Friends are everywhere in Jersey City – chat someone up today!
The hip city is also coveted for its mural street art, which has been mapped out by city officials for you to be able to see on a self-guided tour. Every summer, the city offers an opportunity for student youth to participate in a six-week mural arts mentorship program.
Check out some of these fantastic indoor play spaces in Jersey City and Hoboken. Grab your energetic little ones and get them playing, singing, reading, crafting, or exploring. And you don’t even have to travel that far.
The city hosts a wide array of art galleries, studios, and museums to visit. Make sure to check out their respective websites for special programs and event opportunities.
Mana Contemporary — 888 Newark Avenue
150 Bay Street — 150 Bay Street
Sky Garden Gallery — 150 Bay Street
Novado Gallery — 110 Morgan Street
Curious Matters — 272 Fifth Street
Village West Gallery — 331 Newark Avenue
Deep Space Gallery — 77 Cornelison Avenue
Drawing Rooms — 926 Newark Avenue #T107
Now Project Space — 411 Monmouth Street
Outlander Gallery — 126 Monticello Avenue
Pro Arts Jersey City — 344 Grove Street
SMUSH Gallery — 340 Summit Avenue
MORA Museum of International Art — 80 Grand Street
New Jersey City University’s Galleries — 2039 Kennedy Boulevard
Hudson County Community College’s Dineen Hull Gallery — 71 Sip Avenue
Saint Peter University’s Fine Arts Gallery — 2641 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City Art School’s 313 Gallery — 313 3rd Street
Jersey City has two independent bookstores, WORD on 29 McWilliams Place and Jersey City Free Books on 3396 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. It also has a robust public library with nearly a dozen branches throughout the city.
Jersey City is home to a diverse range of restaurants and cafes! Check out our comprehensive blog post covering our food scene here: Places to eat in Jersey City
And don’t forget to check out our weekly meetups: JCFamilies Weekly Meet Ups
There are many ways to get around Jersey City, and so many of us are grateful for the walkable design of the neighborhoods. For those times we can’t walk to where we need to be, there are lots of options that are oftentimes easier than driving your own car.
The PATH Train has stations at Grove Street, Newport, Exchange Place and JSQ. All of these will take you into lower Manhattan and midtown in minutes and operate around the clock.
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail takes you around North New Jersey above ground. Kids LOVE the Light Rail. They don’t need tickets, but you do. Be sure to VALIDATE your ticket after purchasing it so you don’t get fined if they check tickets! This can be done in or near the ticket machine, or on the NJTransit app.
CitiBike doesn’t have child seats but it is a fun and easy way to get around if you’re on your own or with your teenager!
Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have gotten really popular in the past few years. Jersey City has seen a huge increase in their use because many times it’s easier to get a car service than to figure out where you’re going to park.
Jersey City is proud to partner with Via, a low-cost rideshare service available to residents in certain parts of town.
4. EDUCATION AND DAYCARES
There are so many options for daycares and schools in Jersey City that we couldn’t possibly list them all here. Please, check some options at the JCFamilies Education Guide 2022-2023
Some things to know and/or think about when starting your school search:
- Jersey City provides a free public school option beginning at age 3. Since there is limited space in the local schools, JC outsources their pre-k program to contracted child-care centers. All of these contracted childcare centers use the High/Scope curriculum.
- In addition, many families choose private, Montessori, religious, or cooperative education options for their young children because they allow parents more flexibility and can be closer to home than the public option.
- Nannys and au pairs are also very common for parents who choose in-home care for their babies.
JCFamilies organizes the JC Education Fair & the JC Summer Camp Fair every year. Check our events page for updates.
5. FITNESS & WELLNESS
Being active is essential for both physical and mental health. Check out our list of local fitness and wellness clubs to find the one that best suits your needs, location, and budget.
It’s comforting to know that you and your family are well taken care of with a great group of healthcare providers in town. Our list here is a helpful guide for newbies in the neighborhood!
Looking for a pediatrician? Click here
Adult and Pediatric ER
- Hoboken University Medical Center / Carepoint: 308 Willow Ave, Hoboken, NJ, 07030
- Christ Hospital / Carepoint : 176 Palisades Ave, Jersey City, NJ, 07306
- Jersey City Medical Center: 355 Grand St, Jersey City, NJ, 07302
7. DENTISTS :
7.1 Kids Dentistry
True Dental Care: 255 Brunswick St, Suite 5 – Phone: 201-565-0880
Modern Family Dentistry: 551 Jersey Ave – Phone: 201-798-1000
Dear Tooth Fairy: 432 Grand St – Phone: 201-763-6030
Newport Pharmacy: 165 Erie St
Downtown Pharmacy: 52 Essex Street & 18 Park View Ave
Palace Drugs and Liquors: 172 Newark Ave #2
CVS: at Target: 100 14th St
Duane Reade: 110 Newark Ave/ 52 River Dr S /1 – Path Plaza
24 Hours Pharmacy
Rite Aid: 2859-61 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ
9. BIRTHDAY PARTY VENUES
Urban living brings its challenges of space, especially when you are planning your kids’ big day! We’ve made finding a birthday party space easy with our list of venues here.
We’re happy you’ve decided to make Jersey City the new home for your family! This city takes a lot of pride in being very community-oriented, so while things may seem new and overwhelming now, just know that you’ll be a part of the JC Family in not time at all!