Spring has officially sprung! It may not fully feel like spring yet what with every other day capping out at a high of 55 degrees, but I'm so mentally prepared for springtime in Jersey City! Cue the outdoor seating, farmers and flea markets, children in their karate uniforms playing on Newark Avenue after class, and as it so happens this spring, a bunch of new restaurant and event space openings!
Groove on Grove and Artist & Maker Market
As someone who commutes to New York every day, I can't wait for when Wednesday evening rolls around and I exit the PATH to this vibrant, family-friendly event. The catchy live music, food stands, and vendors selling handmade crafts and vintage goods bring the downtown community together. Even better is the fact that these simultaneous events liven up the neighborhood every Wednesday from May until September.
I might be a little ambitious to throw Surf City on this list in mid-April since it doesn't open until May 19th, but there will definitely be days warm enough to head down to the harbor, run our toes through the sand, and chill by the fire pits with a frozen cocktail in hand. This "beach" bar is a great place for groups and parties or just getting your Jersey shore fix with a spectacular view of Manhattan.
A favorite amongst locals and visitors alike, Porta's open-air rooftop makes this hot spot more than just a pizzeria. Serving as family-style restaurant by day and a packed bar by night, Porta's takes it up a notch for the Spring and Summer with two additional bars, a pizza oven, and live music on the rooftop. The restaurant side of the rooftop is even covered so you can still eat outside even if it's rainy or a little breezy.
One of my favorite things about living in Jersey City is the frequency of farmer's markets. On any given day of the week from May to December, you'll find local vendors selling fresh produce, bread, cheese, and even homemade prepared dishes. The biggest, and my local market, occurs every Monday and Thursday in the Grove Street PATH plaza. You can find the other markets around town at Van Vorst Park, Riverview Park, Hamilton Park, Journal Square, Lincoln Park, and Arlington Park.
On the second Saturday of every month starting in May, head over to Bergen-Lafayette for Pacific Flea. This unique flea market features vendors selling antique, vintage, and artisan wares. To enhance the shopping experience, there is also live music, curated art shows, and rotating food trucks. With each vendor's curated selection of goods, there's a little something for everyone.
It's an amazing time to be living in Jersey City and watching all the changes in progress! We've seen plenty of new restaurants and stores open in the past year and the new businesses keep on coming. For starters, the Residence Inn by Marriott opened this week, so no need to worry about your in-laws crashing at your place for an extended visit. In a matter of less than a week there will also be more restaurants to frequent. The successful Montclair restaurant Ani Ramen will be having it's ribbon-cutting on April 24th, Newark Ave's popular Raval will be opening their basement dance lounge and cocktail bar Red on May 5th, White Eagle Hall reopened last week as a spectacular event space, and 1970s-inspired Americana FM Jersey City is set to open April 20th!
Written by Sasha Kleinman
Born and raised in NJ, Sasha is a recent transplant to Jersey City and has become obsessed with everything the city has to offer. Sasha is a fashion copywriter by day, and die-hard Jane Do enthusiast and (vegetarian) foodie by night. When she's not stuffing her face at one of Chilltown's amazing restaurants, having a couple brewskis at the local brewery Departed Soles, or snuggling with your dog, Sasha is busy traveling the globe with camera (and fork) in hand. Follow her wide array of adventures @sksashafierce and @the_hungry_growlers!