Liberty State Park
Jersey City (Hudson County)
Size of park: 1,212 acres
Just as the Statue of Liberty welcomed generations of immigrants, Liberty State Park offers a refuge for urbanites seeking a respite from the bustle of city life. There’s plenty of open space and abundant recreational facilities—plus the best views of lower Manhattan and Lady Liberty.
The park occupies the grounds of the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (still open daily at the north end of the park), once a bustling transportation hub. By the 1960s, however, it had become an abandoned wasteland. Transformed by a group of citizens, the park opened in June 1976, as New Jersey’s bicentennial gift to America.
Today, with more than 5 million visitors annually, Liberty State Park is an oasis of manicured lawns, paved trails, open fields, and the 1.5-mile Liberty Walk promenade, a favorite of walkers, runners, bikers, and rollerbladers. Boaters and kayakers use the boat launch for access to the Hudson’s waters, and fishing is popular off the pier, where anglers hook bluefish, shad, striped bass, and even blue crabs. For nature lovers, there is birdwatching (the park hosts nearly 240 species) and the 36-acre Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area, a tidal salt marsh. Fitness buffs work the park’s “fit circuit,” a series of exercises along the scenic walkway. Kids are drawn to the playground areas and large adjacent field, ideal for kite flying and picnicking (tables and benches are also available).
Other park attractions include the Nature Interpretive Center; the Grove of Remembrance, honoring victims of September 11, 2001; the South Overlook’s Liberation Monument by noted sculptor Nathan Rappaport; and the nearby Liberty Science Center, featuring the largest IMAX theater in the country and a wealth of hands-on programs for kids. You can also enjoy a jazz brunch at Liberty House, a fine dining restaurant known for its sushi and oyster bar.
Liberty State Park is open 6 am to 10 pm daily. Admission is free. It is the only location in New Jersey where you can catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (daily from 8:30 am to 4 pm; adults, $12; seniors, $10; children 12 and under, $5).Click here to leave a comment