20 Towns and Cities in New Jersey

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Known as the Garden State, the cities in New Jersey are delightful to explore. From vibrant urban centres to charming coastal towns, the state offers a tapestry of experiences. Whether you’re seeking historical landmarks, cultural attractions, scenic beauty or culinary delights, New Jersey has surprises around every corner.

From the vibrant Jersey City, with its jaw-dropping New York City skyline views, to Trenton, where you can discover landmarks in the state capital, to the dazzling Atlantic City, where the excitement never stops. Asbury Park is a cool beach town known for its live music scene and historic boardwalk, while Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, has a thriving arts scene and diverse culinary offerings. Here are 25 cities in New Jersey to visit.

25 Towns And Cities in New Jersey

Cities In New Jersey 

1- Newark

buildings in newark at night reflected in the water
Newark is the largest city in New Jersey by population.

Newark is New Jersey’s largest city, known for its vibrant arts scene and one of the USA’s oldest, founded in 1666 by Connecticut Puritans led by Robert Treat.

It’s a vibrant cultural hub and home to the Newark Museum of Art, the state’s largest museum.

At the museum, you will find displays of major collections covering various cultures and periods, including American and international art, decorative arts, contemporary art and arts from Asia, Africa, the Americas and the ancient world.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is home to the Grammy Award-winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) and has a programme worth checking out.

If you can visit in October, the Newark Arts Festival transforms the city into an artist playground with exhibitions, performances and artist talks.

Explore the city’s rich literary tradition at the Newark Public Library, which is one of the oldest and largest libraries in New Jersey, or visit during the annual Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest poetry event in North America.

Artists and musicians born in Newark include authors Philip Roth and Amiri Baraka, and singers Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston, attesting to the city’s deep artistic roots.

Recommended tour: Ultimate NYC Tour

2- Jersey City

aerial view of new york and jersey city across the Hudson River
A view of New York and New Jersey across the Hudson River.

Across the Hudson River opposite Lower Manhattan, Jersey City is one of the best cities in New Jersey to visit for its stunning views of the New York skyline.

This panorama is one of the best city skyline views in the United States, with a glittering landscape of many of New York City’s famous landmarks.

From the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, two Art Deco icons that once held the title of the world’s tallest building, to the soaring One World Trade Center.

These sparkling glass and steel structures seem to rise from the water’s edge, contrasting starkly against a clear sky.

At night, the view transforms into a forest of twinkling lights mirrored by the reflections dancing on the river’s surface.

One place to take in this view is from Liberty State Park, where you can also view the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island (tip: you can also catch the ferry across to the island).

The park is a great spot for a stroll, a picnic, or to pause and marvel at the stunning urban landscape across the water.

Recommended tours:

3- Hoboken

cities in new jersey hoboken hudson river with manhattan views
Hoboken and Jersey City with Manhattan across the river.

The birthplace of Frank Sinatra has a lively atmosphere with bustling streets, trendy bars and lovely waterfront views.

“Ol’ Blue Eyes” was born in Hoboken in 1915 and became an iconic figure in the music industry. Who hasn’t heard of Frank Sinatra, right? 

Despite his global fame, Sinatra maintained strong ties to his hometown, and fans can pay homage by visiting Frank Sinatra Park, which also has scenic views of the New York City skyline.

Hoboken is on the western shore of the Hudson River.

This area was originally inhabited by the Lenape Native American tribe, later settled by the Dutch and became an important port and trading post.

In the 19th century, Hoboken played a significant role in the industrial revolution, particularly in shipbuilding and manufacturing.

It was also the birthplace of baseball and home to the first recorded game in 1846.

Over time, the city transformed into an urban community with a lively arts scene and a picturesque waterfront.

One of the highlights is the Hoboken Waterfront Walkway, which offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River.

These days, the city has a vibrant music and nightlife scene, with numerous bars, live music venues, and comedy clubs that attract locals and visitors.

Washington Street is the main thoroughfare and a good place to start looking for trendy boutiques, restaurants and cafes.

History enthusiasts can explore the Hoboken Historical Museum, which showcases the city’s rich heritage and hosts rotating exhibits.

A visit to Carlo’s Bakery, made famous by the TV show “Cake Boss,” is a must for delicious pastries and cakes.

Recommended tour: New York City Downtown & Hoboken NJ Walking Tour – Two Cities Two States

4- Atlantic City

aerial view of waterfront in atlantic city
Atlantic City is one of the popular coastal cities in New Jersey for a vacation.

Once a sleepy seaside resort, Atlantic City experienced significant growth in the late 1800s when it transformed into an entertainment and vacation destination.

The city’s casinos emerged in the 1970s, solidifying its reputation as a gambling destination. But this city in New Jersey is not just about gambling.

One of the highlights is the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, stretching along the beach with a mix of shops, restaurants and other attractions.

Other attractions are the historic Absecon Lighthouse, which offers stunning city views from its observation deck, and Steel Pier amusement park for rides, games and a classic Ferris wheel.

The Atlantic City Arts Center and the Boardwalk Hall regularly host concerts, performances, and other cultural events for those interested in arts and culture.

Atlantic City was home to the world-famous Miss America pageant, which began in 1921 and has become entrenched in American culture.

Recommended:

5- Cape May

colourful houses in cape may
One of the popular seaside vacation cities in New Jersey is Cape May.

Cape May was one of the earliest resort towns in the United States, attracting vacationers looking for pristine beaches, pleasant climate and refreshing sea air.

The city’s Victorian architecture of charming gingerbread houses and grand mansions reflects its 19th-century heyday as a popular summer destination.

Cape May’s historical significance is recognised as a National Historic Landmark City.

Attractions include the Cape May Lighthouse, which stands tall at the tip of the peninsula, offering panoramic views to those who climb its spiral staircase.

Sunset Beach is another must-visit spot, known for its stunning sunsets and the iconic Concrete Ship, a World War I shipwreck visible offshore.

The city’s historic district is lined with beautifully restored Victorian buildings, invites exploration and offers boutique shopping, art galleries, and delightful dining experiences.

Cape May is also celebrated for its birdwatching opportunities, as it lies along a major migration route. Nature lovers can explore Cape May Point State Park and visit the Cape May Bird Observatory.

A visit to the Emlen Physick Estate, a Victorian house museum, provides a glimpse into the city’s history and offers guided tours.

Recommended tours:

6- Asbury Park

asbury park boardwalk new jersey
If it’s seaside cities in New Jersey you’re after, check out Asbury Park.

Asbury Park is a popular seaside destination along the Jersey Shore that has been pleasing beachgoers since the late 19th century.

The city’s iconic boardwalk, constructed in 1870, was a focal point for amusement parks, live music venues, and stylish hotels.

Asbury Park played a significant role in the development of American music, serving as a venue for performances by renowned artists such as Bruce Springsteen.

The boardwalk remains a focal point, inviting visitors to stroll along its expanse, enjoy ocean views and indulge in delicious treats from local vendors.

The city still has a thriving music scene with live performances at venues like the Stone Pony and the Asbury Lanes.

Convention Hall, an architectural gem, hosts various events, including art shows, concerts, and food festivals.

Asbury Park is also known for its beautiful beach, where visitors can relax, swim, and soak up the sun.

The vibrant downtown area offers eclectic shops, boutiques, galleries, and diverse culinary options, contributing to the city’s energetic atmosphere.

One quirky fact about Asbury Park is that you can see one of the world’s largest collections of pinball machines at the Silverball Museum Arcade.

With over 200 machines spanning several decades, visitors can immerse themselves in the nostalgic joy of playing these classic games.

The collection is continually updated, ensuring there’s always something new to discover.

7- Paterson

Great Falls in Paterson
Paterson is one of the interesting cities in New Jersey to visit.

20 miles northwest of New York City, Paterson is known as “Silk City” because of its role in silk production during the 19th century. 

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park preserves the area’s rich industrial heritage and is also home to the awe-inspiring Great Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the United States.

The park showcases the city’s significant role in the American Industrial Revolution, with preserved historic industrial buildings and a raceway system.

Walking trails lead through the historic district, and the nearby Paterson Museum offers insight into Paterson’s industrial history.

The city’s diverse population contributes to a vibrant cultural scene.

Paterson also houses Lambert Castle, a historical museum with unique architecture, with a diverse collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia and rooms that reflect different periods.

8- Elizabeth

One of the USA’s oldest cities, Elizabeth, is rich in history and dates back to its founding in 1664.

It played a significant role in early colonial history, and where Alexander Hamilton, one of the nation’s founding fathers, lived in this city for a time.

Explore Boxwood Hall State Historic Site, Hamilton’s former residence, now a museum offering insights into his life and legacy.

Another historical attraction is the First Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest continuous congregations in the country.

Elizabeth is a transport hub with Newark Liberty International Airport within its borders.

9- Trenton

state capitol building in trenton at night
The capital city of New Jersey is Trenton.

As New Jersey’s capital, Trenton is home to the New Jersey State Museum and Planetarium, the New Jersey State House and many government offices.

The city was pivotal in the American Revolutionary War, and where the Battle of Trenton occurred on 26 December 1776.

General George Washington led the Continental Army to launch a surprise attack on Hessian forces in Trenton, capturing over 900 Hessians and providing a morale boost for the American cause.

The Hessians were soldiers from the German state of Hesse-Kassel hired as mercenaries by the British during the American Revolutionary War.

The victory at Trenton demonstrated the Continental Army’s ability to hold its own against European forces, marking a turning point in the war.

10- Clifton

Clifton offers easy access to New York City, making it a popular residential city for commuters, but it also has some attractions for visitors who prefer a quieter spot away from the Big Apple.

Explore the Clifton Arts Center, housed in a historic Dutch farmhouse, or savour the famous deep-fried hot dogs at Rutt’s Hut.

Relax in Main Memorial Park and enjoy the natural beauty of Garret Mountain Reservation, which offers hiking trails and scenic views.

Explore the Botany Village Historic District, with its historic buildings that date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and now house shops and cafes.

11- Camden

camden waterfront buildings
Camden is another New Jersey city you may not have heard of.

Camden’s history dates back to its establishment in 1626 by Dutch settlers, later becoming a 19th-century industrial heavyweight in manufacturing, shipbuilding and transportation.

This city in New Jersey was a major centre for industries such as Campbell Soup Company and RCA Victor.

It played an influential role in the civil rights movement, with notable figures like Martin Luther King Jr. making significant contributions to the city.

Head for the Camden Waterfront, which features waterfront restaurants, shops and stunning views of the Delaware River.

Camden offers a range of attractions for visitors, including the Adventure Aquarium, which houses a diverse array of marine life like sharks, penguins and exotic fish.

The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial is another popular attraction, allowing visitors to tour the historic battleship and learn about its rich military history.

BB&T Pavilion is a renowned concert venue that hosts live performances by world-class artists, while Cooper River Park is a beautiful green space that offers walking trails, boating opportunities, and picturesque views of the Philadelphia skyline.

One surprising fact about Camden is that it is home to the Walt Whitman House, where the celebrated American poet Walt Whitman resided in the 19th century.

The house offers a glimpse into Whitman’s life and work.

Whitman, nicknamed the “Bard of Democracy,” penned famous works such as “Leaves of Grass.”

12- Passaic

Passaic was established in 1679 and played a significant role in the industrialisation of America during the 19th and early 20th centuries as a centre for textile manufacturing, with mills lining the banks of the Passaic River.

Waves of migrants from Eastern Europe contributed to its cultural diversity.

Passaic has some tranquil parks, like Third Ward Memorial Park and Pulaski Park, providing green spaces for relaxation and recreation.

Exploring the city’s neighbourhoods reveals a mix of architectural styles and cultural diversity, with local shops, restaurants and community events contributing to the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

13- Union City

Known as “Havana on the Hudson” for its large Cuban population, Union City is home to a thriving arts community and many Latin American eateries.

Not far from Manhattan, exploring the city’s neighbourhoods reveal vibrant street art and murals, showcasing the creativity and cultural diversity of the community.

Union City also has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1925 by merging several smaller municipalities.

The city experienced significant growth during the early 20th century, attracting immigrants from various countries who contributed to its cultural fabric.

A strong Hispanic influence is celebrated through annual festivals and events.

14- East Orange

Known for its stately Victorian and Tudor-style homes, East Orange is a city in New Jersey’s northeast, adjacent to Newark.

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park features the laboratory and home of the famous inventor Thomas Edison.

Learn about his groundbreaking inventions and experience the place where many technological advancements were made, including the phonograph and the electric light bulb.

Another attraction is the Paul Robeson Stadium, a historic sports venue that hosts various athletic events and community gatherings.

Exploring the city’s neighbourhoods reveals a mix of architectural styles, including charming historic homes and vibrant street art, showcasing the community’s character and creativity.

This New Jersey city’s history traces back to its establishment as a township in 1863, and it was a farming region until the late 19th century when rapid industrialisation transformed the region.

The city was the hometown of activist Paul Robeson and played a key role in the civil rights movement.

Towns in New Jersey

15- Princeton

princeton university
Princeton is one of the famous university cities in New Jersey, known all over the world.

Princeton has a rich history that revolves around its prestigious Ivy League university, one of the world’s most esteemed educational institutions.

The town was founded in 1696 and played a crucial role during the American Revolutionary War when it served as the capital of the United States for a brief period.

The university’s influence has shaped Princeton’s character, with its stunning campus and intellectual ambience permeating the town.

Princeton’s historical significance, combined with its charming downtown area, creates a unique blend of academic prominence and small-town charm.

The beautiful campus of Princeton University showcases impressive architecture, manicured grounds and landmarks such as Nassau Hall.

Princeton University Art Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, housing an extensive collection of artworks spanning different periods and cultures.

A stroll through Palmer Square reveals quaint boutiques, gourmet restaurants and cosy caf├ęs, offering a delightful shopping and dining experience.

Delve into history at the Princeton Battlefield State Park, a significant Revolutionary War site where the Battle of Princeton occurred.

One surprising fact about Princeton is that it was the residence of renowned physicist Albert Einstein for the final two decades of his life while working at the Institute for Advanced Study.

His home at 112 Mercer Street is a private residence, but you can view his furniture and personal effects at the Historical Society of Princeton’s museum at 354 Quaker Road.

16- Edison

This central New Jersey township is named after another genius, Thomas Edison, whose famous lab is preserved as the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in Orange (20 miles away).

Although Edison was not born in this city, it was named after the inventor in 1954 as a tribute to his contributions to science and technology.

The Edison Memorial Tower is a tribute to the city’s namesake and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Other things to do include wandering around Menlo Park Mall for shopping and dining or Roosevelt Park, which offers walking trails, picnic areas and beautiful gardens.

The city has a vibrant Indian community with a wide array of Indian restaurants, grocery stores and cultural events, making it an excellent destination for sampling authentic Indian cuisine.

17- Woodbridge Township

One of New Jersey’s oldest townships, Woodbridge offers historic sites, a bustling downtown and several shopping centres.

Its history dates back to its establishment in 1669 when European colonists settled it, and it became an important hub for agriculture, shipbuilding and milling.

Woodbridge played a role in the American Revolutionary War, serving as a strategic location along the Raritan River. 

Over time, the township grew and transformed, embracing industrialisation and urban development.

Today, Woodbridge Township is a vibrant community of historical and cultural attractions, such as the Barron Arts Center and the Woodbridge Township Historical Association Museum, which preserves and displays artifacts related to the township’s past.

18- Lakewood Township

Originally settled by the Lenni Lenape Native Americans, the area became a destination for European settlers in the 18th century.

The township’s development was closely tied to its natural resources, including the vast pine forests that provided timber for shipbuilding and the cranberry bogs that became a significant industry.

In the late 19th century, Lakewood became a popular resort town, attracting wealthy vacationers and establishing itself as the “Jewel of the Pines.”

It has a blend of historical and outdoor attractions.

The Strand Theater is a historic venue that hosts live performances, concerts and cultural events.

The Jersey Shaw Blue Claws, a minor league baseball team, plays at the Shoretown Ball Park, providing opportunities for sports enthusiasts to catch a game.

Lakewood’s Pine Park has walking trails, picnic areas and beautiful natural surroundings.

The township is also home to a vibrant shopping and dining scene, with destinations like the iconic Georgian Court University offering picturesque architecture and scenic grounds.

One interesting fact about Lakewood Township is its association with the yeshiva community.

The township has a significant Orthodox Jewish population and is home to Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG), the largest yeshiva (religious, educational institution) not in Israel and synagogues.

The presence of a thriving yeshiva community in Lakewood has turned it into a hub for Orthodox Jewish life and learning, creating a unique and diverse environment.

19- Toms River

Located on the Jersey Shore, Toms River has lovely beaches and a lively downtown area.

Founded in 1768, this New Jersey town was named after a local businessman Thomas Luker, who operated a ferry service across the Toms River.

Throughout its history, Toms River has been shaped by its maritime heritage, with industries such as fishing, shipbuilding and lumbering playing significant roles in its development.

The town grew during the 20th century to become a popular destination for summer tourism, with popular beach destinations that include Ortley Beach and Island Beach State Park.

These beaches offer opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and other recreational activities along the beautiful coastline of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Toms River Seaport Society and Maritime Museum showcase the area’s maritime history through exhibits and artifacts.

Nature enthusiasts can explore Cattus Island County Park, a beautiful natural area with hiking trails and scenic views of Barnegat Bay.

Toms River also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as the New Jersey Chili and Salsa Cook-Off and the Toms River Food Fest.

20- Hamilton Township (Mercer County)

Hamilton Township is named after Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers.

It had a significant role in the Revolutionary War, serving as a key transportation hub and supporting the Continental Army.

It became an agricultural community and later a thriving suburban area.

Hamilton Township experienced rapid growth in the 20th century, becoming a hub for industry and commerce.

An attraction worth visiting is the Grounds For Sculpture, a famous sculpture park and museum featuring a vast collection of contemporary and classical sculptures amidst beautifully landscaped gardens.

This 42-acre sculpture park is known for its interactive exhibits and immersive artistic experience.

Explore the outdoor exhibits and indoor galleries and dine at the park’s on-site restaurant.

21- Brick Township

This coastal township is a popular summer destination, offering beach access, boating and fishing.

Brick Township was established in 1850 and was named after industrialist Joseph W. Brick.

It experienced significant growth after World War II, as many families sought the tranquillity of the Jersey Shore and proximity to the nearby beach communities.

One of the highlights is the beautiful beaches along the Jersey Shore, where you can go swimming, sunbathing, fishing and soaking up the energy of the Atlantic Ocean.

The township has several oceanfront and bayfront beaches, including Brick Beach, Windward Beach Park, and Mantoloking Beach.

Nature lovers can explore the pristine habitats of the Forge Pond Conservation Area, which features walking trails and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

Brick Township is home to the Jersey Shore’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Riviera, a lovely 45-acre lake perfect for fishing, boating and other water activities.

22- Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill is known for its shopping centres, such as Cherry Hill Mall, one of the first enclosed malls on the East Coast and a short drive from Philadelphia.

Originally known as Delaware Township, it was renamed Cherry Hill in 1961 after the cherry orchards that once flourished there.

With the construction of the Garden State Park Racetrack in the mid-20th century, the township began to transform into a suburban community.

Today, Cherry Hill offers a variety of attractions, such as Barclay Farmstead, a historic site showcasing a well-preserved 19th-century farmhouse, and Croft Farm Arts Center, which hosts art exhibitions, workshops and cultural events throughout the year.

23- Middletown Township

This scenic coastal town offers beaches, parks and is home to the Twin Lights, a historic lighthouse with panoramic views.

Middletown was also the filming location for several movies, such as “Miranda’s Victim” and “Mean Girls: The Musical” because Netflix has recently set up one of its largest film studios about a 15-minute drive away at Fort Monmouth.

Middletown Township dates back to 1664, and it was one of the earliest European settlements in the region, attracting Dutch and English colonists seeking fertile land and trading opportunities.

The township played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War, with the Battle of Monmouth fought in the area.

One of the highlights is Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area, a stunning coastal park with beautiful beaches, hiking trails, birdwatching and historical sites like the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.

The township is also home to Deep Cut Gardens, a horticultural oasis with meticulously maintained gardens, walking paths, and various plant species.

24- Old Bridge Township

Home to Cheesequake State Park, which offers hiking, camping, fishing, and a Nature Center.

Originally known as Madison Township, it was renamed Old Bridge Township in 1975 after the Old Bridge that spanned the South River.

The township played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War, with skirmishes in the area.

Over the years, Old Bridge Township transformed from a rural farming region into a suburban area.

The township is also home to Raceway Park, a motorsports complex hosting various racing events, car shows, and outdoor festivals.

Explore the Old Bridge Waterfront Park, a serene park with a fishing pier, walking paths, and stunning views of Raritan Bay.

25- Gloucester Township

Gloucester is a short drive from Philadelphia and was originally inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape Native American tribe, then European colonists later settled the area, primarily of English and Welsh descent.

The township played a significant role during the American Revolutionary War, with the Battle of Gloucester being fought in the vicinity.

Over time, Gloucester Township transitioned from an agrarian community to a suburban area.

Gloucester’s attractions include Timber Creek Park, a sprawling recreational area that provides hiking, biking, picnicking, and nature observation opportunities.

The park features scenic trails, sports fields, a dog park and a picturesque lake for boating and fishing.

For those interested in history, the historic Gabreil Daveis Tavern House showcases colonial-era architecture and provides a glimpse into early American life.

Gloucester Township is home to the Gloucester Premium Outlets, one of the region’s largest outdoor shopping centres.

What surprises many people is that the outlets are constructed on the site of the former Erial Airport, a small municipal airport that operated in the mid-20th century.

The transformation of an airport into a bustling shopping destination is an unexpected turn of events that showcases the evolving landscape and changing needs of the community.

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Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.