15 Best Things to Do in Bayonne, NJ

Bayonne NJ skyline
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Bayonne is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, just some 10 miles southwest of New York City.

A peninsula on Newark Bay cradles the 247 acres landmass of the city of Bayonne.

Given this wonderful location, this city offers plenty of things to do in its recreational destinations.

These fun places notably came about along with the long years of history and development of Bayonne.

It was known originally as Bergen Neck, south of the Dutch settlement Bergen (now Jersey City).

Bayonne became the territory of the British in 1664 after they defeated the Dutch.

It was incorporated as a township in 1861 and as a city in 1869 after the American War of Independence.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Bayonne, NJ:  

Visit the Tear Drop Memorial

Aerial view of the Tear Drop Memorial
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A 10–story sculpture, this is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Also called the Tear of Grief, the memorial is located on the eastern terminus of Port Terminal Boulevard at the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne.

USA flag in front of the tall Tear Drop Memorial
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The sculpture, titled Struggle against World Terrorism, is the work of Zurab Tsereteli, an artist originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, who later moved to Moscow.

The Tear Drop Memorial is a gift to the US from the Russian government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended its ceremonial groundbreaking in 2005, and former US President Bill Clinton guested the memorial’s dedication in 2006.

Closer details of the Tear Drop Memorial sculpture
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Go Italian at Café Bello

This mellow local eatery doles out classic Italian specialties, pizzas, and drinks on its location Avenue C.

Cradled in a comfortable space, Café Bello was opened in 1992 with a mission to surpass customers’ expectations.

It serves high-quality Italian cuisine using the freshest and finest ingredients at all times to maintain the caliber of its customer service.

A variety of weekly food specials and an innovative cocktail and wine menu are the elements upon which Café Bello has expanded its customer following.

Here, one of the diners’ favorites is linguine pasta with clams sautéed in garlic and oil.

Orders for Zuppa Alle Vongole, littleneck clams in a garlic broth with fresh herbs, also keep Café Bello’s kitchen staff busy.

Chill Out at the Stephen R. Gregg Park

The view of newark bay bridge from Stephen R. Gregg Park
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This is a large, scenic park of almost 100 acres on John F. Kennedy Boulevard along the east bank of Newark Bay.

It has a half-mile waterfront promenade where you can chill out and enjoy the water views, including the Newark Bay Bridge.

The facilities of this park include a running track, an exercise/cross country course, ball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and bocce courts.

There is also a gazebo fishing pier on the northern side of the park near 48th Street.

Strolls can likewise be enjoyed on the network of pathways in the park, particularly along its pond and lush, well-landscaped garden.

A children’s playground is another attraction at Stephen R. Gregg Park, where there’s a spray pool in the summertime.

Explore the Hackensack RiverWalk

This waterfront walkway is along the Hackensack River and Newark Bay and accessible at Bayonne’s Richard A. Rutkowski Park, a wetlands preservation area on West 48th Street.

The Hackensack RiverWalk stretches southward to the Stephen R. Gregg Park and is set to traverse farther south to the Veterans Park and G. Thomas DiDomenico City Park.

The Hackensack RiverWalk incorporates a quaint quarter-mile wooden pathway along a bird sanctuary at the Richard A. Rutkowski Park.

Besides its section of the Hackensack RiverWalk, this park also exudes charm with its natural amphitheater and butterfly garden.

This garden is a project of the Bayonne Nature Club that hosts bird walks and shoreline cleanups.

Visit the Bayonne Community Museum

Front exterior of Bayonne Community Museum
Hudconja, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is housed in the historical building of Bayonne Trust Company on Broadway corner West 9th Street.

The building, constructed in 1912, is a classic example of the Beaux-Arts architectural style.

Its two-story structure is of Vermont granite cladding, and its front door struts fluted Ionic columns.

In 2006, this building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Bayonne Community Museum, which is building up its artifacts for exhibit, has become a regular venue for local events like vendor fairs.

Have a Drink at the Refinery Tavern

Located on the corridor of Broadway, the Refinery Tavern offers a cozy and updated bar open till 2:00 a.m.

It has 13 gig flat-screen TVs to showcase all-important games and playoffs of major sports leagues.

The Refinery Tavern’s sound system is cutting-edge much capable of playing all your favorite hits.

It likewise serves as the right platform for live entertainment with a DJ spinning acoustic mixes.

The Refinery Tavern provides outdoor dining and has its kitchen open until 10:00 p.m. for late dinners.

Its menu features traditional American food for all tastes, including specials of crispy chicken sandwiches, sizzling rib-eye steak, and fried shrimp baskets.

Keep tab of its daily specials, such as Taco Tuesdays, Wing Wednesdays, and Margarita Thursdays.

Salute First Responders at the John T. Brennan Fire Museum

Exterior of John T. Brennan Fire Museum
Hudconja, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is located in the historic Bayonne Truck House No. 1 on West 47th Street.

The fire station’s building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, as this was where Bayonne’s first fire company convened in 1870.

This building is notably one of just two buildings in the city listed on the US registry of historic places, the other being the 1912 Bayonne Trust Company building on Broadway.

The Bayonne fire museum was named after the state of New Jersey’s longest-tenured fire chief, John T. Brennan.

The museum celebrates the history of the Bayonne Fire Department and its first responders through its collection of artifacts and old photographs.

Play Tennis at Bayonne’s City Parks

Tennis aficionados visiting Bayonne have several public courts to choose from, including 10 at the Stephen R. Gregg Park on John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

Four tennis courts are also among the facilities at the G. Thomas DiDomenico City Park on West 16th Street.

This 16th Street Park also features the Bayonne municipal pool, where guests of city residents can be accommodated for a small fee.

Special events, such as movie nights and float nights, are scheduled during summer in this pool.

Spacious ballfields and a basketball court are likewise among the facilities in the G. Thomas DiDomenico City Park.

Play at the Bayonne Golf Club

Aerial view of Bayonne Golf Club
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This high-end, 150-acre golf club opened its course in 2006 and boasts a picturesque castle-style clubhouse with an attached lighthouse.

The Bayonne Golf Club’s course is an 18-hole layout offering par 71 play over 7,106 yards from the longest tee mounds.

Members and guests of this golf club have access to a customized club-owned ferry to bring them to the course from Manhattan.

Daytime view of the Bayonne Golf Club
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This trip via the club’s private boat is a scenic 20-minute ride passing by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty along the way.

The club has a private marina and as well as a helipad to receive its members and guests conveniently.

The Bayonne Golf Club provides a four-acre short game area for chipping and putting practice plays which can be supervised by resident pros.

Fish for Bass at Brady’s Dock

Located on East 1st Street and the southern terminus of Lexington, this dock was a former municipal transshipment facility converted into a recreational space.

Brady’s Dock is direct across the Kill Van Kull, a tidal strait between Bayonne and Staten Island, New York.

White perch and striped bass are among the fish species to go for in Brady’s Dock, which has a paved direct pathway toward the west to several park amenities.

These recreational facilities include the playground, baseball fields, and skate park in Dennis P. Collins Park.

There is also a dog park in this area, which affords picturesque views of the Bayonne Bridge leading to Staten Island.

Go Kayaking on Newark Bay

Kayaking is one of the popular water-based recreational activities in Bayonne, with the city holding an annual “Paddle the Peninsula” kayak event since 2017.

This event is typically held sometime September-October and reels off at the kayak/boat launch of the G. Thomas DiDomenico City Park.

Access to the water from this park is easy, particularly if you arrive at low tide when the beachfront is wider.

This free and fun event is open to kayakers 18 years old and over.

The Bayonne fire department and The New Jersey State Police deploy multiple vessels in the Newark Bay for safety measures during the “Paddle the Peninsula” event.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Rev It Up at RPM Raceway

Enjoy the adrenaline rush at the kart race tracks of RPM Raceway on Caven Point Road, Jersey City, only about 4 miles northeast of Bayonne.

This is RPM Raceway’s first established location and features two one-fourth long tracks with plenty of hairpin turns.

You will steer European-style karts along these exciting tracks, which are combined every Monday for a longer spin of a half-mile challenge.

Just be advised of braking while in a straight line before each turn to avoid possible spin-outs or contact with barriers.

Also, never press the accelerator pedal while braking.

You have the option to skip the kart tracks of RPM Raceway and instead go for the simulators in its arcade.

You can pick RPM SIM and RPM VR here from among the hundreds of the world’s most famous race tracks.

In all, RPM Raceway’s arcade boasts 150+ game choices, ranging from favorite classics to brand new and innovative games.

The RPM Raceway also offers billiard plus food and drinks at The Clutch Snack Bar.

Tour the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

This attraction in Staten Island is on Richmond Terrace, about 7 miles south of Bayonne.

This facility revolves around a 19th-century home for retired sailors, which was built during the 1800s and has been repurposed for cultural events.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden spreads over 83 acres where the points of interest include gardens, museums, theaters, sculptures, and seasonal activities.

Here, you can enjoy visiting its 23 historical buildings, nine botanical gardens, and 10 acres of wetlands.

A Smithsonian affiliate, this sprawling facility’s attractions include the Noble Maritime Collection, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, the Staten Island Children's Museum, the art school Art Lab, and the Staten Island Museum.

This cultural center is also home to one of the oldest concert halls in New York City.

One of its gardens, the Richmond County Savings Foundation Tuscan Garden, is notably patterned after an 18th-century Italian garden in Florence.

Join a League in Hudson Lanes

This long-running bowling alley offers 60 lanes with automatic scoring plus a pro shop, an updated bar/lounge, and party rooms.

It is located on Garfield Avenue, Jersey City, less than two miles to the north of Bayonne.

Hudson Lanes is home to several leagues that players can join, such as a daytime seniors’ league, LGBT-friendly league, mixed doubles, and youth bowling.

This family-friendly bowling alley also features a full-service bar and grill.

Learn All about Lighthouses

Visit the National Lighthouse Museum on Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island, 9 miles southeast of Bayonne.

Here, you will have the chance for an intimate look at the history of lighthouses, especially the local ones.

This museum occupies the grounds of the former super depot of the US Lighthouse Service on Staten Island’s North Shore.

Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design, an award-winning integrated designer, crafted many of the exhibits of this museum as well as the interior of its Educational Resource Center in Building 11.

The museum and its gift shop selling souvenirs are open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

After a museum tour, you can proceed to Pier 1 of its grounds, where the scenic views of New York Harbor provide a perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo.

Final Thoughts

A visit to Bayonne is more than a side trip when traveling to New York City, which features many iconic attractions.

The city of Bayonne is more than a satellite of the “Big Apple” but a destination with a charm of its own.