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min read

A transferee’s guide to Jersey City

Learn how to make Chilltown or its neighboring cities your new home

Hello, future Jersey City resident! I'm Corey, and I can't wait to introduce you to the vibrant and dynamic world of Jersey City, New Jersey. After moving to this fantastic city in 2017, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring its nooks and crannies with my husband. Before I became a proud Jersey City resident, I hailed from a quiet suburban town 30 minutes north of Boston, Massachusetts. From a young age, I knew that my heart belonged in the bustling energy of the New York City area. I eventually made my way to the city for my studies at New York University and immersed myself in the East Village and Queens for over a decade. Now, more than a year after Relocity expanded into Jersey City, I'm thrilled to share everything you need to know to feel at home in this destination. My goal is always to help my clients fall in love with Jersey City as much as I have.

Exploring Jersey City’s geography

Located in the heart of New Jersey, Jersey City spans approximately 15 square miles and houses an incredible amount of diversity. At the city’s heart is the bustling Downtown area. Jersey City and its neighbor, Hoboken, are quite walkable. The terrain is predominantly flat, making both locations easy to explore on foot — whether you're strolling along the tree-lined streets of historic neighborhoods or making your way to the waterfront.

What truly sets Jersey City apart is its remarkable accessibility to renowned business centers and stunning views. Jersey City sits directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan’s Financial District. As a result, this area gets some of the most breathtaking waterfront views of the iconic New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty. In fact, I’d argue that the best views of Manhattan are found right here in Jersey City. Whether you're catching the sunrise over the skyscrapers or 4th of July fireworks over the sparkling water, you're in for a visual treat that never gets old.

From dockside beginnings to skyscraping heights: a journey through time

If you’re moving to Jersey City, take a moment to appreciate the city’s rich history. Jersey City earned its city status in January of 1820. In the 19th century, the city served as a stop for the Underground Railroad, a network of brave individuals who risked everything to escape the clutches of slavery and seek a better life. After maintaining its reputation as a beacon of hope, Jersey City has cultivated a legacy of resilience and progressiveness.

For much of the 1800s and 1900s, Jersey City thrived as a bustling dock and manufacturing town. As a hub of commerce and industry, Jersey City contributed significantly to the regional economy. 

In recent decades, Jersey City has become home to over 286,600 individuals, many of whom sought the allure of Manhattan without the exorbitant Manhattan prices or small Manhattan square footage. In fact, approximately two-thirds of Jersey City and Hoboken residents work in New York City, which has earned Jersey City the affectionate nickname of the "sixth borough." Jersey City offers the best of both worlds, with quick access to Manhattan (via PATH train and ferry) and a more serene nighttime vibe. 

One of the most visible signs of growth in Jersey City has been the ever-changing skyline. Since my husband and I moved here, we've witnessed a constant flurry of construction. New structures like The Vantage in Paulus Hook and 88 Regent often come with the comforts of today's living, including in-unit washers and dryers.

Additionally, the city has been investing in its infrastructure and public spaces. Just last year, the city completed a multi-million dollar renovation of Newark Avenue. This rejuvenated area now offers a delightful mix of shops, restaurants, and community spaces on a pedestrian avenue closed off from traffic, offering more outdoor seating and space for strolling. 

Navigate to the “Explore” tab within the Relocity mobile app and select the “Jersey City Area Tour” layer for an overview of area highlights, including Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza.

As you prepare to make Jersey City your home, know that you're not moving to just another place; you're becoming part of a story that’s still being written. The future is filled with promise and excitement.

Celebrating the cultural melting pot

Jersey City is a vibrant tapestry of diversity, cuisine, and culture. After earning the title of the most ethnically diverse city in the United States for the sixth consecutive year, diversity is one of Jersey City's proudest claims to fame. (We’re also very proud of the fact that Lady Liberty technically resides in Jersey City!) As a cultural melting pot that speaks over 60 languages, our community has an inclusive and welcoming spirit.

The local food scene is nothing short of a culinary adventure. Indian dishes, delicate Japanese sushi, spicy Thai delights (go to Sky Thai!) — Jersey City’s array of authentic international cuisines will keep you exploring and savoring new flavors for years to come.

Finding your dream home

Jersey City's housing landscape is changing, with new luxury buildings popping up at an impressive rate. The central Downtown and coveted waterfront neighborhoods like Newport and Paulus Hook have gained popularity due to their prime locations and stunning views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, so I’m seeing a steady uptick in prices there. However, the competition resulting from new building openings keeps the slightly older buildings more cost-effective. 

While certain neighborhoods may come with high costs, it's important to note that Jersey City offers a range of housing options for different budgets. Areas like Journal Square and Communipaw are more affordable.

As in any urban area, you must consider the trade-offs, such as commute time, amenities, and unit size. Older units may lack modern appliances and conveniences, while newer buildings may have smaller overall square footage and be a bit further from the PATH train for easy access into New York City. For instance, in Hoboken, you may find fewer high-rises and more walk-up buildings, often on the older side, with some units lacking modern amenities like washers and dryers. Modern complexes, on the other hand, are designed to cater to your every need and desire — from pools and dog parks to gyms with childcare facilities, saunas, steam rooms, and even rentable bowling alleys.

I place a lot of transferee clients who work in the suburbs of New Jersey (think Newark, Rahway, and central New Jersey) in Jersey City and Hoboken. (There are also some amazing new buildings coming up in Harrison, which is right across the water from Newark and accessible from the PATH train.) Hoboken generally has less housing inventory since it’s much smaller than Jersey City. Newark, on the other hand, is the largest city in New Jersey and has a significant presence of employers and corporate headquarters across finance, healthcare, and technology. In my opinion, I think there’s more to do after work in Jersey City and Hoboken.

Some of Jersey City’s most popular neighborhoods are:

• Downtown: If you're seeking an artsy and vibrant atmosphere, Downtown Jersey City is your go-to destination. This arts district buzzes with creativity and is home to a diverse range of residents. You'll find an array of dining options, cultural events, and trendy boutiques to explore.
• Paulus Hook:
For a touch of historic charm reminiscent of Boston, Paulus Hook is the place to be. This neighborhood boasts an abundance of brownstone houses, adding to the city's rich history and character. You'll also find some high-rise luxury buildings, offering a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.
• Newport:
Newport is exploding with new buildings. Its modern appeal attracts a diverse mix of residents. This waterfront community offers stunning views and easy access to various amenities. This neighborhood is also great for young families, thanks to local daycare options, as well as the nearby mall and larger stores like Target and Home Depot.
• Journal Square:
With a surge of new buildings, Journal Square has experienced a revival, particularly in the past few years. This neighborhood offers a distinct vibe and more affordable housing options.

I’m here to help you understand the intricacies of the Jersey City market. One of my home-finding tricks, which I’ll use when you work with me as part of Relocity’s Concierge solution, is tapping a local broker, an invaluable asset with direct connections to local landlords and leasing offices. I’ll pull out all the stops to ensure you end up in a home you love! 

As you explore housing in Jersey City, remember that the real estate market is dynamic and full of possibilities. Balancing your budget with your lifestyle preferences is key to finding the perfect home in this diverse and thriving city.

Commuting made easy

Many professionals choose to live in Jersey City because of its strategic location. From a commuting standpoint, Jersey City boasts excellent connectivity to major work locations, including:

• Exchange Place, New Jersey: 0-10 minutes on foot.
• Manhattan, New York:
5-20 minutes via a PATH train ride.
• Newark, New Jersey:
20 minutes via a PATH train ride. Newark also has an international airport.
• Rahway, New Jersey:
30 minutes via a NJ TRANSIT train.

The PATH train system is a shining star of Jersey City's public transportation network. This system is renowned for its efficiency and reliability, offering four routes in total. During rush hour, trains run at astonishingly short intervals, approximately every 2-3 minutes. The PATH is easily the best way to get in and out of New York City. 

Jersey City's exceptional walkability and robust public transportation network mostly remove the need for personal vehicles. In fact, most residents don’t own vehicles. However, if you do, be sure to account for a monthly parking fee — typically ranging from $200-$350. Parking costs can vary based on the area and the type of parking facility. If you’re bringing a personal vehicle, tools like SpotHero can help you find available garages and lots in your vicinity.

To summarize, your daily commute through Jersey City can be smooth and efficient thanks to the city's robust public transportation network.

Local delights outside of work

Jersey City is a bustling corporate hub, particularly for the finance and banking sectors. Here are some of my favorite places for coffee, lunch, and happy hour on workdays:

• Coffee: If you're working remotely, go to The Urby’s cozy lobby coffee shop. I also love Lackawanna Coffee for a cup of joe on the go. 
• Lunch:
For quick and convenient bites, consider CAVA and Five Guys. However, if you want a sit-down meal, Amiya serves some of the best Indian-fusion cuisine around.
• Happy hour:
Smorgasbar’s dog-friendly outdoor beer garden with games is a must-visit, especially on a beautiful day. If you want to hang out on a rooftop, Iron Monkey is another excellent choice. 

As part of Relocity’s Concierge solution, your Personal Host will recommend points of interest (such as Iron Monkey) based on your preferences and criteria. These recommendations will be displayed within our app’s map feature.

In Jersey City, work and play seamlessly intertwine. Whether you're focused on enjoying a delicious lunch or unwinding with colleagues after work, Jersey City has it all.

Jersey City unveiled: Adventure awaits

Overall, Jersey City offers an abundance of activities for everyone — dog lovers, foodies, families, and party people. For those of us with furry, four-legged friends, Jersey City welcomes canine companions with open arms. Picture yourself savoring a meal at one of the many pet-friendly restaurants while your pup lounges comfortably by your side.

If you're a food enthusiast or bar hopper, look no further than Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza. This vibrant street boasts a thriving restaurant and bar scene, where you can explore a diverse range of culinary delights and enjoy a night out with friends. As the sun sets, the plaza comes alive with enchanting LED string lights (thanks to the latest renovation), creating an inviting atmosphere for late-night adventures.

Jersey City also offers farmer's markets, pop-up live music, and art events in Grove Street Plaza. For families, Jersey City houses a plethora of daycare options and family-friendly activities. The city is home to Van Vorst Park and Liberty State Park, green spaces where you can unwind and enjoy outdoor adventures with your loved ones.

As for avid shoppers, our local giant mall houses an AMC theater, perfect for catching the latest flicks, which I love to do on half-priced Tuesdays. The social scene is also one of Jersey City's defining features. While Hoboken holds the title for the most bars per capita in the country, Jersey City knows how to party as well.

Furthermore, Jersey City prides itself on being incredibly inclusive. With four bars catering to the LGBTQIA+ community before the pandemic and two still going strong, the city offers a range of diverse and inclusive nightlife options. (Check out the dive bar Pint and the versatile Six26!) You'll find everything from bingo nights and drag brunches to rooftop spaces with stunning Manhattan views. Jersey City’s rich ethnic diversity ensures a welcoming and accepting atmosphere where everyone feels safe and valued.

Lastly, don't forget to explore nearby gems like Asbury Park, a 50-minute drive away. This beachside town is not only picturesque, but also an inclusive and ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

In Jersey City, the possibilities are endless, and the culture is as diverse as our locals. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or a sense of belonging, you'll find it all in this dynamic and welcoming city.

Jersey City weekends — from family fun to solo experiences

See this flyover view of Gringo’s within the app under the “Explore” tab. Your Personal Host will add specific layers such as “Restaurants of Jersey City,” where you can view tons of restaurant recommendations in your new neighborhood.

Whether you're a single professional looking for some relaxation or have kids in tow, I can help you craft the perfect weekend plans. If you’re single, start your day off by hitting the gym or joining a local fitness class. After breaking a sweat, take a leisurely stroll on Newark Avenue. Explore the unique boutiques, art galleries, and street vendors that line the sidewalk. When you’re ready for brunch, head to Gringo’s or Smorgasbar. If it’s a nice day, dine al fresco, savoring mouthwatering dishes and catching up with friends outdoors.

If you have kids, you're likely to be up bright and early. Embrace the day by taking your little ones to a nearby park or local playground. For a memorable family experience, head to Liberty State Park. Here, you'll find a playground with ample space and scenic views of the Statue of Liberty. Have a picnic and let your kids burn off some energy as you soak up the sun. A family-friendly outing wouldn't be complete without a sweet treat, so head over to Torico. Seasonal ice cream flavors and the ever-changing "Flavor of the Month" promise delightful surprises every time you visit.

In Jersey City, there's a perfect weekend day waiting for you. This city caters to all lifestyles, ensuring that everyone can find a slice of happiness and adventure.

Embarking on your journey in Jersey

Moving to Jersey City opens the door to a world of possibilities and experiences. As you embark on this exciting journey, you'll discover a city that combines urban sophistication with a welcoming community spirit. From its diverse neighborhoods to its booming business scene and excellent public transportation, Jersey City offers the best of both worlds.

Whether you're commuting to work in Newark or Manhattan, exploring local cuisine on your lunch break, or unwinding with friends at a post-work hangout, Jersey City has it all. It's a place where you can thrive professionally and savor a truly fulfilling life.

From the charming brownstones of Paulus Hook to the modern amenities of Newport, Jersey City offers a wide range of housing options to suit your lifestyle and budget. As you settle into your new home, remember that you're not just moving to a city; you're becoming part of a vibrant and diverse community.

The Relocity team is here to guide you every step of the way!

Check out our latest articles below or request a demo if you want to see how Relocity can help your talent thrive in your key locations.

Corey Desjardins

Personal Host

Corey hails from Andover, Massachusetts and now resides in Jersey City, New Jersey with his husband and rescue dog, Roxette.