10.5 Things to Do in Hoboken, New Jersey

Hoboken Springtime

Hoboken. The word conjures a variety of images. The birthplace of baseball and Sinatra. Cobbled alleys that served as the backdrop for Elia Kazan’s iconic film On the Waterfront. This charming town—covering just a little over a square mile in terms of inhabitable land—boasts tree-lined streets, family-friendly parks and dozens upon dozens of row houses and brownstones. Some have referred to it as The Sixth Borough, but how many have visited? We aim to change that with these 10.5 things to do in Hoboken—all worth braving the PATH train. 1. Walk through time Public transportation to Hoboken by rail or ferry is a breeze. Your port of entry, the historic Erie-Lackawanna Terminal, makes for a beautiful introduction to the Mile Square City. Once you have admired its Beaux Arts interior accented with Tiffany glass, get acclimated to your new surroundings at the Hoboken Historical Museum. In addition to maps and general information, they have two exhibitions opening on January 30th: Deconstructing Hoboken, a series of photo montages, and Yum-Yum, Tootsie Rolls & Chocolate Bunnies on Motorcycles: A Sweet History of Hoboken. In the meantime, check out their online walking tour of Hoboken.

2. Flex your muscles Still firm in your New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Whether you walk, bike or run, take full advantage of The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. This pathway, portions of which are still under construction, will ultimately link the municipalities from the Bayonne Bridge to the George Washington Bridge. Take it as far as you like and then circle back, enjoying stunning views along the way.

3. Count your clams Clam shacks featured prominently in the blue-collared waterfront towns of old, and two of these fabled establishments are still operating in Hoboken. Enjoy simple sea fare done right at Biggie’s Clam Bar, established in 1946, and Clam Broth House (closed), established in 1899.

4. Admire the city that doesn’t sleep The breathtaking view of Manhattan from Pier A Park next to the Erie-Lackawanna Terminal is not to be missed. For a slightly different vantage point, Castle Point Outlook on the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology looks out across the Hudson at Hoboken’s highest elevation and is decorated with a cannon dating back to the American Revolution.

5. Shake things up You say you haven’t gone dancing in ages and can’t get excited about dealing with velvet ropes in Manhattan? Don’t let that stop you. Lana Lounge (closed) boasts three floors and two atmospheres for dancing. VIP, bachelor and bachelorette areas are available. A slightly more casual vibe can be found at college favorite Bahama Mama’s (closed). The West Five Supper Club (closed) has a downtown vibe, mixing chic club and lounge aesthetics with the ability to serve both large and small parties.

6. Check out a band When night falls, live music seems to filter out from every bar and restaurant’s door on Washington Street. Duck in and listen for a while. Maybe you’re not familiar with the bands currently playing at Maxwell’s (closed), but the intimate venue has hosted the likes of Nirvana, REM and Sonic Youth. That band you’ve never heard of may not be obscure for long. Drink specials and a mix of original and cover bands reign at Whiskey Bar (closed). If you’re in the mood for some blues, wander over to Scotland Yard (closed) where you can also round out your evening with some beer pong and darts.

7. Brunch and boutiques What better way to spend time with the girls than over sustenance and shopping? Kick things off with a fine meal and maybe a mimosa or two at Amanda’s Restaurant or Elysian Café, then stroll and see what treasures can be found at Revival Vintage Boutique.

8. Search for Sinatra If you’re hunting for traces of Old Blue Eyes, look no further than the self-guided Sinatra walking tour, courtesy of the Hoboken Historical Museum. Unfortunately, the cold water flat where Sinatra grew up at 415 Monroe Street is no more, but the spot is marked with a bronze star embedded in the sidewalk. A brick archway is all that remains of the old tenement building. A shrine to the crooner can be found at local Italian restaurant Leo’s Grandevous.

9. Mangia Speaking of Italian food, the Italian-American vibe of old is alive and well in Hoboken. Come with an appetite and reserve a spot for Mangia Hoboken!: The Hoboken Food Tour. If you’d rather take things a la carte, sandwiches that inspire almost cult-like devotion are at the counter of Fiore’s Deli, where you can also pick up some of their legendary homemade mozzarella. Enjoy pizza at Grimaldi’s Hoboken location. And don’t forget dessert! Join the line out the door at Carlo’s Bake Shop (of TLC’s Cake Boss fame) for cannoli, biscotti, pastries and an assortment of baked goodness.

10. Cozy up to the one you love Whether or not you choose to make the W Hoboken your home away from home for a romantic weekend (Valentine’s Day, anyone?), sip a cocktail and take advantage of the free use of board games in their living room. Share an egg cream at the counter of Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette. If a massage is what the doctor ordered, the options are many at the local outpost for Bliss Spa. Afterwards, take a short walk down the waterfront to The Melting Pot for cheese or chocolate fondue with postcard views of Pier A Park and the Manhattan skyline. If you have a sweetie who happens to be gluten intolerant, The Melting Pot also offers a gluten-free menu.

10.5 Luck of the Irish If you can’t wait, start your St. Patrick’s Day early at Hoboken’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the first Saturday of  March. Go for the authentic Irish pub experience at The Green Rock at Hoboken Terminal, O’Nieal’s Hoboken location, or a sports bar like The Shannon or McSwiggan’s Pub. Avoid long lines and excessive door charges at multiple bars by pulling up a stool at just one and getting comfortable. Sláinte!

How to get there: Take the PATH train or the ferry to Hoboken Terminal. Hoboken is easily walkable. Should you need a taxi, they are easily found and charge a $5 flat fee within Hoboken. Top photo: courtesy of zizzywalrus, all others courtesy of the author KPICASA_GALLERY(105ThingsToDoInHoboken)