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 the downtown Jersey City or Hamilton Park neighborhoods could get a bit overwhelmed with the bustle of the area. Here’s a starter guide to get started, 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, or in 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 seeing what you see. Every time you step out, you will feel a little bit more confident and more comfortable in your new neighborhood.
There are several grocery and foodstuff stores within walking distance, but all of the following listed below also have parking lots (except Key Foods) so you don’t have to walk if you don’t want to. Key Foods, however, is the only one nestled right inside the neighborhood, meaning you won’t have to cross any multi-lane super-busy streets with your stroller.
Key Foods – 574 Jersey Avenue
Shop Rite – 400 Marin Boulevard
Acme – 125 18th Street
Target – 100 14th Street
Morton Williams: 105 River Dr S, Jersey City
BJ’s (Members only) – 396 Marin Boulevard, right next to Shop Rite
99 Ranch Market – 420 Grand St
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.
Buy Rite – 575 Manila Avenue
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, that 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 at the end of the block. Here is a list of some businesses you would love to shop at.
Do yourself a huge favor and have a date night in the nearby bars and restaurants without your kids. There are 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 days and evenings with the kiddos.
The Liberty Science Center has four floors of entertainment. Get a membership. When the winter arrives, you’re going to need a place where the kids can run and feel the freedom that they feel outside without the wind whipping into their little faces. 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 Curious George. 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.
Hamiton Park, Van Vorst Park, Liberty State Park and other parks. These parks with lots of outdoor space to run around, playground equipment to climb, slide, and swing on, and programming including farmer’s markets and movies in the park. Both are beautiful any time of year (ok, maybe not in the snow…), and are always full of friends. Friends are everywhere in Jersey City – chat someone up today!
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.
Here are some blogs on restaurants:
Don’t forget to check out our weekly meetups:
There are many ways to get around downtown Jersey City, and so many of us are grateful for the walk-able design of the neighborhood. 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.
PATH 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.
There are 2 ferries options: NY Waterway and Liberty Landing Ferry Service
The Light Rail takes you around New Jersey above ground. We know you’re not the only parent who gets on the Light Rail to go no where in particular, but just ride the train wherever with your little ones. Kids LOVE the Light Rail. They don’t need tickets, but you do. Be sure to STAMP your ticket after purchasing it so you don’t get fined if they check tickets.
CitiBike doesn’t have child seats but it is a fun and easy way to get around if you’re on your own.
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.
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 2019-2020
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 child care centers use the High/Scope curriculum.
- In addition, many downtown and Hamilton Park 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 webpage 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 works best for 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 health care providers in the neighborhood. 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
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.