If you’re thinking about visiting New York City and staying in New Jersey to save money, the good news is it’s completely doable. In fact, it’s easier than you think. I know that some of my colleagues have written articles saying that you have to stay in Manhattan to get the true New York City experience. Sorry, but that’s complete nonsense.
Most people wanting to experience New York City have tight budgets and only so much money to spend on travel. Staying in New Jersey can not only save you money, you’re likely to find a bit of breathing room at the end of the day. After all, for most people, there’s only so much horn honking, helicopters, bottlenecked sidewalks, and bright lights you want surrounding you in a single day. Many of us, especially from the midwest or smaller cities, need a little break from the chaos.
I recently spent four days exploring New York City and stayed across the Hudson in Jersey City, New Jersey. My home base for the visit was the newly renovated Sonesta Simply Suites Extended Stay Hotel. The property offered a spacious room with dining room table, kitchen, refrigerator, and a small living room with a fold out couch. I could have easily shared the room with another person or two – and in turn, split the cost to save even more money.
If you’re driving through the area, it’s a no brainer to stay on the New Jersey side as driving in New York City is worse than being waterboarded while simultaneously being stung with tasers. In Jersey City, I was able to easily navigate to the hotel and also securely park my car with ease.
The obvious question is – how do you get to New York City if you’re staying in Jersey City?
There are two options and both are quite simple. You can take a ferry across the Hudson for about $7.00 a ride. You’ll be taken to a dock near the World Trade Center in less than 10 minutes. From there, you can hop on the subway, use a taxi or Uber, or even walk to your preferred destinations.
The other option is the subway from Exchange Place in Jersey City. It’s all mind boggling if it’s your first time riding the subway but it’s really not that difficult once you get the hang of it. The ride is $2.75 or you can buy an unlimited day pass for $10.50 if you plan to really go all over the place. In about five minutes you’ll go from the New Jersey side into lower Manhattan and you’re well on your way. Have any trouble along the way? I found that people (public transit workers and the general public) are mostly very friendly and willing to help if you think you’re lost.
When you arrive, you can take another subway car to wherever it is you want to go in New York City. Using Google Maps, I was able to easily navigate the subway as the app not only tells you which train to hop on, but what subway station is closest to you and the upcoming departure times. Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Wall Street, Broadway – all a breeze to get to.
During my visit, I was able to walk to the subway or ferry dock in Jersey City in about ten minutes. I enjoyed the walk each morning, looking over at the beautiful view of the New York skyline from across the river. Seeing it from this view at night was extra special.
If you’re wanting to experience New York City after dark, the subway runs all night while the ferry operates until about 10:30.
Another added bonus to staying in Jersey City – you can visit the Statue of Liberty from Liberty Park which is far less crowded than the dock you’d take if you stayed in New York City. You can park for free (with a bit of a walk) or pay less than $10.00 for a closer parking spot to the dock.
Don’t forget that Jersey City and the surrounding area has lots of things to see and places to explore as well! I loved walking around Frank Sinatra’s hometown of Hoboken and posing for a photo with his statue along the water!
If you are on a budget and looking for a more affordable way to explore New York City, staying in New Jersey is a great option.