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Tourism

Tourism

From the shores of the port to the beautiful greenery of Elmora, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Elizabeth—one of America’s most ethnically diverse and exciting cities.

MIDTOWN AND MORE
Now it is time to explore more of Elizabeth’s history and sample the diversity that makes this city so great. Wander up to historic Midtown Elizabeth, where you can enjoy more than a dozen historical sites and markers, which recount the days leading up to the founding of the U.S. You can also stop and shop, have a quick bite to eat in the Midtown shopping district or explore the history in this area with a walking tour.

Start your walking tour at the historic Elizabeth Public Library and check out an ongoing exhibit there. This elegant building was a gift from Andrew Carnegie in the early part of the past century. Make your way past the grand Union County Courthouse and take some time to admire the historic monuments and fine architecture.

Follow the road along Broad Street to the First Presbyterian Church, which was also an important battleground during the Revolutionary War, and check out its fascinating cemetery. Going north on Broad Street, you will find St. John’s Episcopal Church, a brooding masterpiece. The church has a beautiful interior with elegant stained glass, fabulous woodwork and another fascinating cemetery to boot.

Located further north on Broad Street is the historic Art Deco Hersh Tower, built during the height of the depression as the tallest building in Union County. Across the street is the old “United County” bank building built in the early 1900s—an example of that time period’s style of bank.

Just up West Grand Street is the city’s main NJ Transit train station, with its Plaza, a focal point of outdoor events. The city’s 9/11 Monument is located here.

Back on East Jersey Street, there is the historic Ritz Theatre, an Art Deco masterpiece. With 2,772 seats, the theatre is one of the largest—and oldest—operating theatres in the state dating back to 1926. The Ritz has been magnificently restored.

Further down East Jersey Street is historic Boxwood Hall, the home of Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress; and Jonathan Dayton, the youngest signer of the Constitution. Across the street is a rare treasure—the last remaining original Royal Governor’s mansion in the U.S., the Belcher Ogden Mansion, the residence of Royal Governor Jonathan Belcher.

The Bonnell House is also nearby. The residence stands as Elizabeth’s oldest building, as well as one of the oldest in the state. The 17th Century house was home to owner/builder Nathaniel Bonnell, who arrived in Elizabeth around the time of its establishment.

Elizabeth is a city of many statues and monuments as well, something that will become apparent as you make your way through it—some of the finest examples are in Midtown and the Elizabeth Avenue corridor.

biking

Just off East Jersey Street is Winfield Scott Park, named after an important military figure. In this park, you will find a huge Veterans’ monument, as well as monuments to Martin Luther King Jr., the crew of the Challenger and the extraordinarily impressive Vietnam Memorial.

Proceed south to Elizabeth Avenue and you begin to get a sense of the kaleidoscope of ethnicities that is Elizabeth today.

Elizabeth Avenue is known as “The Market” because anything you could ever want is located on these blocks. Also an important portal during the Revolutionary War, history buffs can find a marker and statue of a Minuteman at historic Union Square, where a key battle was fought.

SHOPPING
Elizabeth is the state of New Jersey’s largest Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), a very important fact to shoppers. Participating stores are eligible to charge a sales tax rate that is half the normal sales tax throughout the rest of New Jersey. Another important sales tax fact is that in New Jersey there is no sales tax on clothing. Armed with these facts, you now will understand why Elizabeth has such a wealth of retail opportunity for shoppers.

You can start your day with a stop in the eastern end of the city at IKEA, the Swedish chain’s best-selling furniture store in Northern America. In between shopping for furniture, you can also enjoy a taste of Swedish foods and great cinnamon buns in their cafeteria.

From IKEA, you can stop and admire the sweeping views of one of America’s most well known roadways, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the spectacular view of Newark-Elizabeth Airport. Approximately 32 million passengers come through the airport every year.

Drive across Center Drive from IKEA to the newly renovated The Outlet Collection/Jersey Gardens, the state’s largest mall, and enjoy a wide selection of shopping opportunities. The Outlet Collection/Jersey Gardens is completing a major renovation and remerchandising in 2013. New stores include Tommy Hilfiger, Seiko, The Lego Store and Banana Republic. The mall offers visitors from around the world over 200 premium outlet stores and restaurants. You will revel in the bargains you will find in the mall’s stores. More than 22 million people visited the mall last year, including a large international contingent due to its proximity to the airport. This figure is continuously on the rise.

Once you have tired of the dizzying shopping opportunities, you can stop for a movie and some popcorn and ice cream in the AMC Movie Theatre, which has 20 screens, also the state’s largest. The theatre is designed in the same vein as an old-fashioned movie palace.

From the eastern side of the mall, you will enjoy wonderful views of the Bayonne Bridge and the Newark/Elizabeth Seaport, which is one of the nation’s largest import/export facilities. If you look south from the mall parking lot, you can also see the massive red brick Singer Sewing Building, which for years employed tens of thousands of people, fueling Elizabeth’s inner-city economy. Further inland is historic St. Patrick’s Church—with its majestic soaring twin spires. The park adjacent to St. Patrick’s has many wonderful statues, including one of Cuban Patriot Jose Marti and one of a former Monsignor of the Church.

LODGING
With its proximity to Newark Liberty Airport, Elizabeth is home to New Jersey’s finest hotels. The city ranks second only to Atlantic City in total hotel rooms in New Jersey.

Shopping

Among its many choices, the city is home to a Hilton Hotel and the Crowne Plaza, along with a Marriott Renaissance, a Courtyard, a Residence Inn by Marriott and the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson. Joining that list is the new Embassy Suites Hotel. In addition, several further hotel sites are either in the planning stages or are currently under construction in Elizabeth. All these hotels, plus many others close to the Newark-Elizabeth Liberty International Airport, are convenient to IKEA and The Outlet Collection/Jersey Gardens shopping district, with shuttle service to these locations.

DINING
Elizabeth is well known for its many different varieties of food. Everything from American to Italian to Portuguese to a wide variety of Latin American culinary delights is accessible in Elizabeth. A host of produce stores and meat markets hold court around the historic Union Square area. The Elizabeth Avenue area features a farmers’ market, an annual tradition since 1890, throughout the spring, summer and fall, and free concerts during the summer months.

FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
The city’s ethnic diversity is reflected in its special ethnic days, festivals and parades. The Elizabeth Latin Carnival is held in early September, drawing crowds in excess of 250,000 people, as does the Elizabeth Latin Waterfront Festival, which is held in the spring. Colombians, Cubans, Haitians, Dominicans and Portuguese show their pride and culture with festivals and parades throughout the year. The Mayor’s Office and the Elizabeth Public Library celebrate various flag raisings for Colombians, Peruvians, Italians, Polish, Irish and more. Elizabethport Day, Julyfest and Unity Day are special festival days. African-American History and Hispanic Heritage Months are also widely celebrated at many of the city’s institutions.

The city introduced the Tour De Elizabeth, an annual bike tour of the entire city, in 2003. Since its inception, the event has grown from 100 riders to over 750 riders. Held the third Sunday in May, this is an event not to be missed.

REGIONAL CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
The Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and the city of Elizabeth, in conjunction with the Newark Regional Business Partnership and the city of Newark, have created a Convention and Visitors Bureau to represent the burgeoning hotel industry, retail opportunities and entertainment venues in the Newark area, such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Prudential Center, which is home to the New Jersey Devils NHL team. The Bureau has been successful in the past in attracting several major events including the 2011 NCAA Eastern Regional “Sweet 16” and “Elite 8.” The CVB continues playing an integral part as an organizing arm of the NY NJ Host Committee for the 2014 NFL Super Bowl. It is also working with the 350th Anniversary Committee to help celebrate and market its yearlong celebration.

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