Fall Things to Do in New Jersey
We all know this time of year. The Jack-O-Lanterns have been removed, Halloween candy has been stored up high and out of reach, and the holiday season still isn’t upon us. What can often feel like an off-time in between more joyous occasions is actually one of the best times to get away with family, friends, or even yourself and enjoy the beautiful autumn season. We’ve curated a list of fall things to do in New Jersey and Jersey City as well as upcoming local events in our own backyard. So go make the most of our beautiful state before the bitter cold and holiday rush come barrelling towards us!
Fall Day Trips from Jersey City
One of my favorite day trips from Jersey City is to the gorgeous town of Princeton, NJ. Easily accessible on NJ Transit from Newark Penn Station, or by car, this stunning college town makes for the perfect day or weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle. Princeton is beautiful year round, but really seems to be in peek beauty during the fall season.
Walk around the stunning Princeton University campus and take in the castle-like scenery which has been used in cinema and television for years. Many of the trees blaze fire red, punctuating the campus with pristine color.
Across the street from campus you will find Palmer Square. Home to a unique variety of brick and mortar shops ranging in price and interest, this walk-able town is a shopping lovers paradise. Nestled among the boutiques and stores you will find a plethora of coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and casual and refined dining opportunities. If you have a major sweet tooth, head to House of Cupcakes, a past winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
Princeton, NJ is highly recommended for a visit if you’ve never been and if you have already spent some time there, you know it’s easily a place you can return to over and over again.
While you’re visiting Princeton or as a separate trip, head over to Terhune Orchards. Also located in Princeton, NJ, this family farm and winery offer a perfect fall day! This fun farm is open year round and has a variety of activities for both family and adult visitors.
In addition to romping around the farm grounds and barnyards, visitors can sample their gorgeous fruit wines in the winery or shop in their general store. Wine tastings for small and large groups are also available. Did you know, Terhune Orchards can also help you host your next birthday or event?! Check their website regularly for updated events and happenings.
New Jersey Botanical Garden
There is something about the crisp autumn air and fresh breeze that begs you to enjoy all that nature has to offer. If you love spending time outdoors, The New Jersey Botanical Garden is a must-visit. The NJBG is located on the Sylands Property of Ringwood State Park in Ringwood, NJ. This “Garden of the Garden State” boasts 96 acres of gardens surrounded by 1,000 acres of woodlands, which are open for exploring.
The New Jersey Botanical Gardens offers 13 specialty gardens, Skyland Manor House tours, and garden tours and family woodland walks. The gardens are open every day of the year from 8:00am-8:00pm and until 6:00pm in the winter. The Garden only closes for extreme weather conditions. The Botanical Garden is always free!
About a 2 hour car ride from Jersey City, you will find a gem of a town in Historic Smithville. This tiny lakeside village is home to 60 shops as well as cozy eateries and activities for children. The Historic Smithville Inn, the center point of town, is not only a restaurant, but offers Wednesday night jazz, as well as hosting weddings and events throughout the year.
Historic Smithville holds several events yearlong as well. After Thanksgiving you can catch their “Light Show on the Lake.” There are several places available to stay in the town if you prefer an overnight trip. Additionally, Atlantic City is extremely close for an extended trip and more accommodations.
High Point State Park
If you love merging outdoor fall leaf viewing with a more athletic venture, High Point State Park, home to the High Point Monument, offers gorgeous and scenic fall views of panoramic forests and farmland.
If you are into hiking and trails, the monument located at 1,803 ft. above sea level is sure to leave you breathless by its stunning views (and because you just hiked). High Point State Park is located between Wantage Township and Montague Township in Sussex County.
Fall Things to Do In Jersey City
Stock Up at the Local Farmers’ Markets
Fall screams beautiful harvest and bounty. Before the winter months creep in, make sure to take advantage of all of the local farmers’ markets available throughout Jersey City. The HDJC Market at the Grove Street Path Plaza runs until December 23rd from 4:00-8:00pm on Mondays and Thursdays.
Additionally, farmers’ markets occur throughout the city in places such as Van Vorst Park, Hamilton Park, Lincoln Park, Journal Square Plaza, and more through December. Check with your neighborhood park or market for updated hours. For a full list of markets and times, you can visit the Jersey City Culture page!
Catch a Football Game
For most, football and fall go together like peas and carrots. A high school football game can be unmatched in energy, excitement and fanfare. Jersey City is home to many public and private high schools with football programs. Check out your local schools’ Friday night schedule for some fall fun under the lights.
Zeppelin Hall Biergarten
Even after we’ve retired our lederhosen and giant pretzels, biergartens make for cozy fall evenings. The crackling fire pit, warming comfort food, and Bavarian vibe of Zeppelin Hall offers a seasonal night out with friends or loved ones. In addition to providing a fall feel, the biergarten hosts game nights, drink specials and other events.
Furthermore, it is a great place to watch sporting events with friends and family. In addition to a great indoor space, Zeppelin Hall has a great outside space that is both kid and dog friendly, when it is open. Now through November 24th, the venue is also hosting a Fall Cajun Fest, celebrating the cuisine of New Orleans.
Take in the Views
With bright blue skies and fresh air abound, the sunny days of fall give us those last opportunities for a leisurely stroll around Jersey City. Plan a picnic in one of our beautiful parks located throughout the city with your friends or family. If your up for a brisk walk, the views along the Hudson, as you make your way towards Hoboken, are quite stunning. The best part is that there are many great places to stop in between to catch a quick bite to eat or drink.
Not only is this a great way to get out and enjoy our great city but it’s free AND healthy. If you’re interested in learning more about the green spaces available throughout Jersey City, check out our page here.
Catch a Cultural Event
Halloween may be over and the winter holidays are still a few weeks away, but that does not mean there is a shortage of events and festivities around the city. Local performances, special festivals, and events give residents and visitors many options for entertainment and celebration during the last fall weeks. Check out the cultural events listings on Everything Jersey City here.
Upcoming Fall Events in Jersey City
5th Annual Parade of Veterans
Join the community of Jersey City on Saturday, November 9th in honoring our nation’s heroes. This commemorative parade, now in its 5th year, will start at 12:00pm at Dickinson High School (the top of Newark) and head down towards Christopher Columbus and Grand Street downtown. This event is free to the public.
If you would like to participate in the raising of the flag, join the Mayor and other Jersey City residents on Thursday, November 7th from 4pm-7pm for the official flag raising and art exhibition.
For up to date information, please visit: https://www.jerseycityculture.org/event/veterans-day-parade/
The Blaze in Hudson County (through November)
This incredible event doesn’t end in October! In fact, November can be one of the best times to go. Tickets for October days and times sell-out almost instantly, making people feel like they have missed out. However, this highly popular event runs through the 30th of November. Don’t delay too long, however. November dates also sell out.
Another bonus to visiting in November is the gorgeous fall scenery you can take in on your visit to the Hudson Valley. The historic valley is home to picturesque fall foliage, quaint towns, and amazing restaurants and shops. For more information on The Blaze, head to: https://hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze/.
LSC Afterdark Friendsgiving
We all know the Liberty Science Center knows how to rock out an adult event through their regular LSC Afterdark parties. November is sure to be no exception. On November 21st from 6:00-7:00pm they are hosting a Thanksgiving themed “Friendsgiving”. Guests, 21 years or older, are encouraged to gather their friends for this special get together. We all know how our friends are like a second family and why not celebrate together before heading off to spend time with your family?
Tickets are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door. Food available from Midnight Market is available for $5.00 a plate.
Happy Holiday Market
The end of fall bids farewell to Halloween festivities and beckons in the holiday season. Jersey City kicks off this special season with its Happy Holiday Market at the Grove Street Path Plaza. Every Monday and Thursday, in conjunction with the farmers’ markets, this seasonal market is open from 4pm to 8pm.
Jersey City Wine Fest
As the air gets colder, many of us love to snuggle up with a warming glass of wine. Why not cozy up with your fellow Jersey City friends and neighbors? The Harborside Atrium on Jersey City’s Waterfront is home to the Jersey City Wine Fest with over 100 varieties of wines to try. The event takes place on Saturday, November 23rd, from 6:00-9:30pm.
Local and international wines will be available as well as food and live music. For more information on this event and purchasing tickets please visit: jcwinefest.com.