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 Jersey, you have to know how to get from there to Manhattan. This is going to be explained in this article about the NJ Transit System and furthermore you´ll get more detail informations about where to stay, when you finally decided to chose a hotel in New Jersey.
Highly recommended are all towns, which are directly towards to Manhattan on the Hudson (you see these towns on the left side on the map). These towns are called: West New York, Weehawken, Hoboken und Jersey City. Especially for the young people is Hoboken a great place. Hoboken 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 of the cheaper (not so much cheaper, but cheaper) rents there. During the weekends you have a lot of great opportunities to go out and meet great people. Jersey City is right next to Hoboken. Weehawken and West New York are not so busy like Hoboken, but also very beautiful. Empire State Building is greeting you every morning, when you stay in West New York, or Weehawken. Could be worse, right? Nice Hotels are in every town there, but the best choice for you is to book an apartment through Airbnb.
Really, really good. It´s good to know in this concern, that in these areas of New Jersey the most people are working in the city and want to be connected very well and close to Manhattan. The perfect connection makes it possible and of course the facts, that you safe money in your monthly rent and get more value for your money there. In the morning during rush hour the NJ Transit System provides an amazing service. It feels like there are busses 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 busses, so that they don´t have to handle the crazy traffic during that time.
All in all there are 52 bus lines, which provide their service in Hudson County. A ride costs round about $4. Each bus has the same destination: Port Authority in Manhattan. A huge bus terminal close to Times Square on several levels, which might confuses you at first sight. A ride takes you 15-30 minutes depending on traffic. In the afternoon expect 10 minutes more than that.
Hoboken has the advantage over the other towns here: Take the PATH from the Hoboken terminal. Just two stops from there you arrive in Manhattan. There´s nothing faster than that. A ride costs $2.75 and can be paid with the New York MetroCard. If there´s a lot of traffic at the Lincoln tunnel you should think about the PATH. A lot of busses stop at Hoboken terminal as well.
Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of Newark. Okay, I love to fly from there, or to there, but thats it. I would never ever recommend a hotel there. What we have to say is, that they have a PATH connection to Hoboken and an excellent connection via the trains to Penn Station in Manhattan, BUT: there is no New York City feeling anymore, thats for sure. A friend of mine lived in Secaucus NJ, which has an amazing connection to Manhattan via their Secaucus Junction. This was close to his apartment and he just needed 10 minutes by train to Penn Station. A lot of hotels provide shuttle services to this station, which makes Secaucus an option, when you´re not want to have the New York City feeling. Secaucus is also connected by busses to the city. But don´t forget: This areas are real New Jersey and no comparison to Hoboken & Co.
To find out which bus line is yours, you just have to ask the NJ Transit Trip-Planner. Important to know is, 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.
At the at first sight confusing Port Authority you always have to remember your gate number, because this number always stays the same. Your bus starts always at this gate number. Just follow the signs and then you will never get lost. 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