New Jersey has become cool again. A hop, skip, and a jump away from the bright lights and big city, the Garden State is becoming an increasingly popular destination for its luxury, entertainment, and nightlife opportunities. Once viewed as the less cool New York, now Jersey is rebranding itself as the hip new state to relocate to, and drawing tourists captivated by its unique historical landmarks, fine dining, enviable architecture, and boutique luxury hotels.
If you thought you could only find a luxury living community next door in New York, you’d be mistaken. New Jersey has long been home to some of the wealthiest elites, many of whom own coastal properties in cozy riverfront communities such as Rumson, NJ. The 1 percent has consistently been lured to the Jersey Shore, viewing it as an ideal family-oriented locale for a summer home as opposed to those beachside options within New York’s borders (often farther out from Manhattan than the Shore). A vast array of famous actors, musicians, and politicians hail from Jersey, and many still own property in elite gated communities.
With so much to offer, it’s surprising it has taken this long for the rest of America to realize the unique appeal of New Jersey. If you’re a New Yorker looking to take a side trip, or a visitor simply seeking out new, swanky destinations, here are three great ways to make the most of Jersey during your stay. And if you’re thinking about relocating, as so many of means have, you certainly won’t have any trouble finding an independent architect, interior designer, or swimming pool contractor in New Jersey.
- Stay in luxury.
Even compared to the lavish hotels on offer in its more famous neighboring city, New Jersey’s boutique hotels are undeniably impressive. The Bungalow Hotel, located in Long Branch, is an example of architectural excellence and attracts overnight guests who are fans of its clean minimalist design. Situated just one block from the beach, it is decorated in a sleek and Scandinavian style, with white walls, hardwood floors and a vintage pool table in the lobby. There’s a fireplace in every room, plus one outside on the hotel’s gorgeous heated patio area where you are welcome to join guests, mingle, and have a glass of wine as you watch dusk settle over the water.
- Hit up new neighborhoods.
New Yorkers might not admit it, but they’re hitting up Jersey restaurants and bars in droves. It’s become such a phenomenon that some experts report that Jersey is creating its own hip neighborhoods inspired by their New York equivalents. If you want to live the high life across the river, you’re sure to find everything you’ve come to expect in the Big Apple, but with a quaint, small-town touch that is a breath of fresh air to the busy New York workaholic.
Westfield is the Upper East Side of New Jersey, with the state’s upper-middle-class migrating to the pedestrian-friendly community known for its excellent schools and safe neighborhoods. The proximity to Manhattan doesn’t hurt, but Westfield is a gem all on its own, with jazz festivals in the summer and an old-fashioned downtown movie theater.
Jersey City is known for its uncanny similarities to Brooklyn. Many of the neighborhood’s innovative artists and young professionals have brought their bohemian lifestyles to Jersey City. Bars, eateries, and bookstores that started out in Brooklyn have since opened Jersey City locations. Talde, first opened in Brooklyn’s trendy Park Slope by a Top Chef competitor, made the up-and-coming area a second home. The Rooftop Bar at Exchange Place offers a tasty menu, a unique drink selection, and a view of the New York skyline.
- Wine and dine.
Treat yourself! There’s always going to be that good old liquor store in Woodbridge, NJ and the trusty diner down the road, but if you feel like truly living the high life in Jersey, bypass the familiar and hit the town for the fine dining and delicious cocktails influencers are chattering about. Look no further than Amanda’s, Hoboken’s hottest restaurant, offering classic American fare in a converted 1895 brownstone.
Corgi Spirits at the Jersey City Distillery is a well-kept secret that attracts the hip creative class and the upper-class alike. If you’re feeling like a slightly more down-to-earth experience, The Archer is a beautifully furnished happy-hour haunt known for its wood-paneled walls and mouthwatering menu.