A lot more tourists are searching for cheap alternatives to find a great hotel in New Jersey, which is so close to New York City. Only a stone’s throw over the Hudson River you’ll find New Jersey and of course, there are a lot of small, beautiful towns down on the Hudson River, where you can stay cheaper than in the city.
But before you book your hotel in New Jersey, you have to know how to get from there to Manhattan. We’ll explain that in this article about the NJ Transit System and furthermore you’ll get more detailed information about where to stay, when you decide to choose a hotel in New Jersey.
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The New Jersey Towns We Recommend
We highly recommend staying in the towns that are directly across from Manhattan and along the Hudson (you see these towns on the left side on the map). The towns are West New York, Weehawken, Hoboken and Jersey City. Hoboken is a great place, especially for younger people. The area is known for its great restaurants, bars and the amazing view of Manhattan’s Skyline. People living in Hoboken mostly work in the city and profit off the cheaper (not so much cheaper, but cheaper) rents there. During the weekends you’ll have a lot of great opportunities to go out and meet great people. Another town we recommend is Jersey City which is right next to Hoboken. Jersey City is arguably the most popular out of all the places on here. You have the Hyatt right along the Hudson River and there are vintage stores everywhere. A lot of creatives are making their way to Jersey City. Weehawken and West New York are not so busy like Hoboken, but very beautiful and a great choice to stay as well.
What’s the Commute like to NYC from New Jersey?
It’s good to know that it is very easy to get to NYC from New Jersey. Remember that most people work in New York City and have to commute into Manhattan. Convenient connections make this possible. By staying in New Jersey, residents can save money on their monthly rent and get more value for their money. In the morning during rush hour the NJ Transit System provides amazing service. It feels like there are buses running every 5 minutes from 7 am to 9.30 am. Lincoln Tunnel (the connection under the Hudson between NJ and NY) opens a lane just for the NJ Transit buses, so that they don’t have to handle the crazy traffic during that time.
All in all there are 52 bus lines which provide service in Hudson County. A ride costs round about $4. Each bus has the same destination: Port Authority in Manhattan. It’s a huge bus terminal close to Times Square. There are signs to direct you to your destination! The commute takes about 15-30 minutes depending on traffic. In the afternoon expect it to be about 25-40 minutes.
Overview of All Bus Lines of Hudson County
Alternative – The PATH
Hoboken and Jersey City has the advantage over the other towns here. The PATH is basically a subway system that takes people from New Jersey to certain major stops in NYC. From Hoboken you can take the PATH from the Hoboken terminal. Just two stops from there you’ll arrive in Manhattan. Also, from Jersey City, you can take the PATH from Exchange Place Station and get dropped off near One World Trade. However, just to give you a heads up, Exchange Place Station will be closed to the public on the weekends for up to two years. Hurricane Sandy did a lot of damage to the station and has to go through renovations. One the weekends, you can take the ferry which will drop you off in Lower Manhattan. The PATH is definitley the fastest way and a ride costs $2.75 which can be paid with the New York Metro Card. If there’s a lot of traffic at the Lincoln tunnel you should think about the PATH.
What about Newark, Secaucus and the rest?
Honestly, we aren’t the biggest fans of Newark. We would never ever recommend a hotel there. However, they do have a PATH connection to Hoboken and an excellent connection via the trains to Penn Station in Manhattan. BUT, if you’re looking for that New York City feeling, you won’t get it here. As for Secaucus, we say it’s an OK choice. The Secaucus Junction provides NJ Transit trains to Penn Station which is only about a 10 minute commute. A lot of hotels provide shuttle services to this station, which makes Secaucus an option if you don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of New York City. Secaucus is also connected by buses to the city. But don’t forget, these areas are more suburban and not comparable to Hoboken and Jersey City.
Tips & Tricks
To find out which bus line is right for you, you just have to check out the NJ Transit Trip-Planner. It is important to know that you can purchase your bus tickets at the bus in New Jersey, but you cannot do the same in New York. In Manhattan you have to buy your tickets at the ticket machine. If you have no ticket, when you enter the bus, you have to leave the bus immediately. The reason for that is not explained.
Port Authority can be confusing, but with the right information you will make it through! You always want to make sure that you find out what bus terminal you are leaving from. There are television screens that will tell you where to go based on your destination, but there are always people to ask as well who work for the bus company. Just follow the signs and ask for help from STAFF if needed. Do not listen to people that try and stop you. They’ll give you the wrong directions and then ask for a tip. Ignore them. You’re going to be surprised how big a bus terminal can be.
Attention: The last bus leaves Port Authority at 2am at night. The first bus starts around 6am in the morning.
And a final tip: In New Jersey every passenger thanks for the ride and wishes a great day, or good night. So if you don’t want to be spotted as a tourist make sure, that you do the same.
I wish you a great ride with New Jersey Transit
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!