HOW TO VISIT NEW YORK CITY ON A BUDGET – MAKE JERSEY CITY, NJ YOUR BASE

Many potential visitors ask themselves if it is possible to visit New York City on a budget. The answer is, yes!  And you do not need to compromise much to achieve it. With accommodation being a substantial part of your travel expenses, choosing the right location is crucial. For that, let me introduce you to Jersey City, NJ.  This beautifully revitalized city, located just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, delivers not only the best possible views of the NYC skyline but also a wide range of lodging, and for less! It offers fast and inexpensive ways to reach Manhattan, so you will not miss a beat. Read on to learn why Jersey City should be your base for visiting New York. 

How to visit New York City on a budget. View of the skyline form Jersey City.
Jersey City delivers unobstructed views of NYC skyline.

I visited New York City many times and truly enjoyed each trip. Still, getting there from Pennsylvania was always a struggle. On a few occasions, the heavy traffic around the tunnels and bridges leading to Manhattan added hours to my trip. And then, of course, there was a money factor. Stying in the city could eat up my budget quickly. Add to it the nerve-wracking driving in the city, and you can easily see why I was searching for other solutions. I discovered Jersey City when I realized that instead of paying big bucks to stay in NYC, I could use my Hyatt credit card anniversary and stay in Jersey City for free. Righ upon my arrival, I knew I made the right choice. Ever since then, I stayed loyal to this location.

Well developed Jersey City waterfront offers many beautiful areas to relax with the view of New York City.
Well developed Jersey City waterfront offers many beautiful areas to relax and enjoy the views of NYC.

Jersey City, NJ – Facts

Practically speaking, Jersey City is an extension of Manhattan. It provides the convenience of being minutes from Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and a quick commute to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. In recent years, when businesses and residents of Manhattan started to migrate there in search of affordability, the city has transformed into a modern urban community. Redevelopment of the waterfront created one of the largest centers of banking and finance in the United States and has led to the district and city being nicknamed Wall Street West.

Skyline of Jersey City, as seen from the Hudson River.

How to visit New York on a budget – why to stay in Jersey City

Jersey City hotels are less expensive than in the Big Apple

Lodging will be your most significant saving when staying in Jersey City versus in NYC. I have three hotel recommendations for you. All of them offer high-quality accommodation and a great location. You would have to pay much more for the same standard in NYC, and your room will be much smaller.

Hyatt Regency Jersey City on Hudson

Hyatt Regency is my longtime favorite. It is the most expensive option, but you will get a lot for your buck – exceptional location, the energy of New York City, and the tranquility of the waterfront. Every room at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City has a view of the Hudson River and New York City. Vu Restaurant offers a wall of glass overlooking the Hudson and Manhattan’s skyline. NYC skyline PATH train next door will take you to NYC in minutes.

Hyatt Regency in Jersey City praticaly sits on the Hudson River. How to visit New York on a budget.
Hyatt Regency in Jersey City practically sits on the Hudson River.

Hyatt House Jersey City

Hyatt House residentially inspired extended-stay hotel offers spacious and modern suites featuring home-like amenities. With its kitchen facilities, it certainly speaks to the budget-conscious visitors.  The area offers a wide variety of dining and shopping choices at your fingertips, including inexpensive street food. The hotel is hidden behind taller waterfront buildings so do not count on views other than from its rooftop bar. Still, you can reach the river on foot in two minutes.
Hyatt House Jersey City offers home conveniences. How to visit New York on a budget.
Hyatt House Jersey City offers home conveniences.

Candlewood Suites Jersey City – Harborside

Candlewood Suites is another budget-friendly hotel but farther away from the water. It offers apartment-style suites with a walking distance to Newport PATH stations, making travel to NYC’s World Trade Center or 33rd street speedy and convenient. You can also choose to sail across the Hudson on the NY Waterway Ferry to Brookfield Place or Midtown.

Jersey City offers many lower budget hotels and apartments for rent. The price drops when you move farther away from the waterfront.

You will not find inexpensive accomodation at Time Square. How to visit New York on a budget.
You will not find inexpensive accommodation at Times Square.

Parking in Jersey City is not as costly as parking in New York City

Since space is limited in Manhattan, parking prices are very high. Some hotels charge as much $70 per day. If you are lucky and do your research, you can find better rates, but it will not be a designated hotel parking. Meanwhile, lots in Jersey City are significantly cheaper. Find your parking garage here.

You do not have to pay a bridge or a tunnel toll

If you are visiting New York and plan to drive, you will have to pay a bridge or tunnel tolls. Keep in mind, that many of the toll facilities in New York are turning to Cashless Tolling. You would not be able to pay tolls with cash at most of the toll roads, tunnels or bridges. One option would be to pay tolls later using Toll By Mail. But it can be more expensive. Obtaining an E-ZPass is your best choice.

A ferry ride from Jersey City to Manhattan is as scenic as a more expensive boat cruises

One of the must-do experiences in New York is to see its skyline from the water. You will find plenty of boat cruises that offer just that, but you can save money by taking a ferry ride from Jersey City. The views are equally fantastic, and the price is right.

The Vessel, NYC newest attraction can easily be reached by ferry from Jersey City.
The Vessel, NYC’s newest attraction, can easily be reached by ferry from Jersey City.

Other pros of staying in Jersey City

Quick commute to Manhattan

The PATH is a 10-minute train commute to NYC, but the New York Waterway Ferry is even faster. Learn more details on how to get from Jersey City to Manhattan. 

Find a rooftop bar in New York City to enjoy the views from within.
Find a rooftop bar in New York City to enjoy the views from within.

Avoiding driving in New York City

Even if you are used to driving in large cities, you need to know that the New York traffic is a class on its own. Forget about the rules, everyone is just forcing themselves forward. Sometimes the traffics is so heavy, it is not moving. I remember a situation when I could see my hotel right in front of me, but it took 40 minutes to get there.

Jersey City delivers stunning views of Manhattan’s skyline

New York City has a lot to offer from within, but its skyline can only be seen from the outside. From Jersey City side, the views will take your breath away.

You can't beat these views of Manhattan's skyline.
You can’t beat these views of Manhattan’s skyline.

You can easily visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty directly from Jersey City

Liberty State Park is the only location in New Jersey with ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. You do not need to go to NYC to take these excursions. Nearby parking is available for a fee.

Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty can be reached by short ferry ride from Jersey City.
Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty can be reached by a short ferry ride from Jersey City.

Jersey City is an attraction on its own

The city offers diverse neighborhoods, rich history, excellent restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.

Jersey City delivers a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC

Yes, New York City is all about action, but at the end of the day, you may want a change of pace. Jersey City’s waterfront is perfect for that. You can sit there on one of many benches and enjoy the view or try one of many bars or restaurants. Start your next day strolling along the Hudson River and watching NYC waking up while enjoying your solitude.

The Vessel in NYC as seen from the ferry.
The Vessel at the base of skyscrapers in NYC, as seen from the ferry.

Find other ways to visit New York on a budget here.

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