Shop 'till you drop in exciting designer outlet malls, discover the delights of Polish and Hungarian cuisine in merry bistros, and head to the marina where annual festivals light up the harbor with glittering fireworks, jazzy dance celebrations, and flamboyant Christmas illuminations. Elizabeth is more than just a suburb of New York, it’s a vibrant independent city, with an impressive array of historical buildings and landmarks, each with a story to tell.
Things to see
Glamorous fashion boutiques and exclusive clothing stores fill the Jersey Gardens Outlets, a cavernous shopping mall overlooking the dark waters of the Harbor Estuary that tempts you to stroll for hours through its vast corridors, browsing the glittering windows of contemporary jewelers and hunting for bargain Levis on crowded discount rails. Its food hall is crammed with shoppers hustling over lunch deals from popular fast food restaurants, eager to return to the lure of the designer stores. From here, you can walk through Elizabeth Harbor, where rows of fishing vessels bob gracefully on the gentle swell, to catch sight of the imposing Statue of Liberty
rising in the east, overshadowing the regimented streets of Bayonne. To view her better, you can catch the ferry that makes regular departures from the pier at Liberty State Park, a lush expanse of verdant grassland that juts into the Hudson River. It does mean leaving the city of Elizabeth behind and following the fast-flowing New Jersey Turnpike as it spans the water, but the views are worth the trip.
Considering it’s so close to New York, it’s hardly surprising that there are plenty of hotels in Elizabeth. They dot their way through the historic center, edging out to the boundary it shares with its iconic neighbor, or head southwards, running parallel with Staten Island. There are a few discount hotels to choose from if you’re concerned about cost, particularly around the Newark-Liberty International Airport that lies just a mile or two to the north, but most hotels come in the mid-range budget, and offer a good standard of accommodation from famous hotel chains. Hotels in Elizabeth generally have good sized bedrooms, 1 or 2 beds, flat-screen televisions, and WiFi. Some also have modern fitness centers and swimming pools.
Where to stay
The Midtown district is Elizabeth’s bustling commercial center, and one of the oldest parts of the city. Broad Street runs down the middle, a wide avenue with pillared civic buildings, tacky dollar stores, and independent clothing boutiques. It leads into East Jersey Street, where art deco shops stand shoulder to shoulder with the bulb-covered canopy of the 1920s Ritz Theater. Further south in Bayway, the influence of early European immigrants is visible along every boulevard, where ethnic restaurants, continental boutiques, and cozy cafés are almost as numerous as the diverse places of worship. Downtown is found by the port, where austere colonial homes and eclectic early American architecture dominate the streets.
How to get to Elizabeth
The Newark Liberty Airport (EWR)
sits just north of Elizabeth, literally a few miles across its boundary, providing a convenient entry point for tourists coming from abroad. Onward travel is possible by hire car, bus, and train, bringing you into the center of Elizabeth in a matter of minutes. While you’re here, getting around is simple on foot, discovering quaint cafés and historic galleries as you amble through the streets.