Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Englewood, NJ

  • Published 2022/09/19

Englewood is a city in Bergen County, New Jersey, bordered by the municipalities of Bergenfield, Englewood Cliffs, Port Lee, Leonia, Teaneck, and Tenafly.

Originally a part of Hackensack Township, the town became a city thanks to an act passed by the New Jersey Legislature in 1899.

The new city included portions of the Ridgefield and Englewood Townships.

Before European colonization, the Lenape Native Americans occupied the area.

In 1607, the Dutch settled in the area and eventually drove most of the natives away by 1832.

When the Dutch surrendered their colonies to the British, the European population increased as the new colonizers generously granted land and rights.

Despite the Dutch and French presence, the area became known as the “English Neighborhood,” one of the supposed origins of the city’s name.

Today, it is a bustling metropolis with close-knit communities that make it feel like a small town.

Its proximity to Manhattan makes it the perfect urban escape if you want a break from the big city.

Here are the best things to do in Englewood, New Jersey:

Catch a Show at the Bergen Performing Arts Center

Performance at Bergen Performing Arts Center

Eugene Parciasepe /

The Bergen Performing Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts center offering world-class performances at affordable prices.

Located along N Van Brunt Street, bergenPAC originally opened as a movie theater in 1926.

In 1967, the United Artists organization purchased the building.

Then, in 1976, it became the John Harms Center under the leadership of organist and teacher John Harms.

Grammy award winner Michael McDonald performing at Bergen Performing Arts Center

Eugene Parciasepe /

Today, the center serves as a venue for approximately 200 shows yearly, having hosted notable artists like Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross.

Through donations, the center runs the bergenPAC Performing Arts School that teaches talented Northern New Jersey students from as young as three months old up to 21 years old.

Check the Bergen Performing Arts Center’s website for event listings and the latest ticket prices.

Go Nature Tripping at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

The Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is a 150-acre reserve and environmental education center located on Van Norstrand Avenue, just two miles from the George Washington Bridge.

The center is the result of the efforts of volunteers and activists that rallied for the area’s preservation in 1973.

It is ideal for self-guided tours, with 3.6 miles of nature trails leading to wetlands, wildflower meadows, quarry cliffs, and woodland.

If you are traveling with the whole family, you can also join the one-hour guided group walks that you can customize to your specific needs and interests.

To cap off your visit, try adopting non-releasable raptors for a donation fee to help cover the cost of the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center’s wildlife preservation efforts.

Feast on Dry-Aged Steak at Sofia

Sofia prides itself on locally-sourced produce and dairy products from farms around New Jersey, Upstate New York, and Vermont.

Located at the heart of downtown Englewood, the restaurant is best known for its dry-aged USDA prime steak, fresh seafood, and modern Italian dishes cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Sofia has also curated an extensive wine list and craft beer to complement its food menu.

They also make cocktails.

Its two-story space has a beautifully-decorated interior and a retractable roof that will make your photos Instagrammable.

Alfresco seating is also available on a private backyard patio or the sidewalk—both heated during the colder days.

Try their ribeye steak and pasta or attend one of their liquor and cigar tastings.

Try Handcrafted Cigars at Casa Hispaniola Fine Tobacconist

The Casa Hispaniola Fine Tobacconist is a cigar lounge on Engle Street with an excellent selection of premium cigars made by their master blender, pipes, and accessories.

Their “torcedores,” or cigar rollers, carefully craft each cigar, packing them in boxes made of Spanish cedarwood for optimal storing conditions.

Their cigar box sets are an excellent gift for tobacco enthusiasts or as souvenirs to remind you of your trip to Englewood.

Memberships are available in-store and include exclusive cigar-tasting events with live music.

Drop by the Casa Hispaniola Fine Tobacconist shop and enjoy the finest cigars in New Jersey.

Taste the Croissants at Balthazar Bakery

Balthazar Bakery is a well-loved local bakeshop on Dean Street serving French-inspired pastries since 1997.

They have since expanded to SoHo in New York, bringing their artisanal bread to Lower Manhattan.

Balthazar’s pastry stand will make your mouth water with tarts, pies, and cakes beautifully laid in a spread, with their commissary in the background.

Some of their must-tries are the sticky pecan bun, almond croissant, and kouign-amann.

If you’re lucky, Balthazar Bakery also bakes holiday favorites and pastries from in-season ingredients.

Go Boating at Englewood Picnic Area

The Englewood Picnic Area is a riverfront area in Englewood Cliffs that offers boat slip rentals and access to crabbing and fishing spots.

Located near the southern end of the Henry Hudson River, it’s an ideal launching pad for canoeing and kayaking.

However, make sure you can carry your equipment from the parking area to the launch sites.

Picnic tables and grills are available on-site if you’re looking for a more laid-back afternoon.

As part of the 2,500-acre Palisades Interstate Park, the area connects to the Fort Lee Historical Park via a short trail, giving you a relatively easy route for a walk with a view of the George Washington Bridge.

Try spending a weekend at the Englewood Picnic Area for a different view of the New York skyline.

Enjoy Breathtaking Views at the Rockefeller Lookout

The Rockefeller Lookout is one of the best viewing spots if you’d like Instagrammable photos of the Hudson and Manhattan skyline.

It is one of the three pull-off vista points on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, a 42-mile stretch of riverfront highway that begins on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge.

The three pull-off vista points give you stunning views of the Palisades Cliffs, Hudson River, and the northern NYC skyline.

You can also access the lookout via the northbound lanes of Parkway Exit #1, so consider if you’re visiting.

If you’d like a relaxing escape from the crowds, consider taking a detour and visiting the Rockefeller Lookout.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Walk across the George Washington Bridge

George Washington Bridge lit up during twilight

Rudy Balasko /

The double-decker George Washington Bridge crosses the Hudson River and connects New York and New Jersey.

Stretching 4,760 feet long with a main span of 3,500 feet, it’s the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge.

Likewise, it was once the longest main bridge span until the Golden Gate Bridge’s construction in 1937.

Bird's eye view of George Washington Bridge

JonathanCollins /

Its upper level has four lanes in each direction and carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic, while the lower level has three lanes in each direction.

Suppose you want to walk across the bridge.

In that case, go to the south sidewalk entrance around the corner of West 177th Street and Cabrini Boulevard.

Otherwise, you can go to the north sidewalk’s access near the intersection of West 179th Street and Cabrini Boulevard.

Enjoy the best view of the Hudson River and its surroundings by walking atop the George Washington Bridge.

Make the NYC Loop with Sinterra Marine Charters

Located in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Sinterra Marine Charters offers chartered boat tours around New York City on a luxurious catamaran.

You can choose from their pre-planned half- or full-day trips in Manhattan, Oyster Bay, Sandy Hook Beach, West Point & Newburg, and the NYC Loop.

Otherwise, customize a four- or eight-hour trip of your own.

Their catamaran, named Sinterra, can accommodate up to six passengers.

Sinterra comes with a sun pad to help you get the perfect tan, a swimming platform and ladder, a kitchen, a fridge for your drinks, and a grill for an onboard barbecue party.

Book your tour now with Sinterra Marine Charters to admire the New York skyline from a different perspective while sipping a glass of wine.

You can find them after driving 12 minutes from Englewood.

Celebrate African Culture at the African Art Museum of SMA

Located near the border of Tenafly and Englewood, the African Art Museum is inside the headquarters of the American province of the Society of American Mission.

It features an extensive collection of paintings, woodwork, and tapestries collected by the Society through its religious missions in Africa since 1865.

Two of the museum’s most prized pieces are a wooden mask from the Ivory Coast, and a door from the Nupe people of Nigeria made from blackened wood that dates to the 1950s.

Admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcome.

Discover the colorful history of the black continent through the artworks at the African Art Museum of SMA.

This place is in Tenafly, New Jersey, seven minutes from Englewood.

Take Pictures at the Little Red Lighthouse

View of Little Red Lighthouse

Popova Valeriya /

Officially named Jeffrey’s Hook Light, the Little Red Lighthouse is a 40-foot lighthouse located in Fort Washington Park.

Its nickname came from Hildegarde H. Swift’s 1942 children’s book, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.”

The lighthouse’s early structure was in Sandy Hook from the 1880s until 1917, when it became obsolete.

Scenic view of Little Red Lighthouse with ducks swimming on the river

Victoria Lipov /

In 1921, the United States Lighthouse Board reconstructed it in its current location to improve the navigation of the Hudson River.

Still, the construction of the George Washington Bridge overwhelmed the small lighthouse, and they decommissioned and abandoned it in 1947.

In 1951, a nationwide campaign prevented the demolition of the Litte Red Lighthouse.

Little Red Lighthouse with George Washington bridge in the background

Belikova Oksana /

Today, it’s a designated New York City Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Little Red Lighthouse opens for tours where you can climb the iron stair to the top of the tower and take photos of the beautiful Hudson River.

Drive 11 minutes from Englewood to reach this tower.

Teach Your Kids about Dinosaurs at Field Station: Dinosaurs

Field Station: Dinosaurs is an outdoor theme park in Leonia, New Jersey, that boasts 32 full-sized animatronic dinosaurs set against Bergen County’s beautiful landscape.

It has appeared on several “best lists,” including Time Out New York’s Best Local Theme Park in 2021 and Fox News’ Top 4 Dinosaur Theme Parks in 2013.

Your kids won’t run out of things to do as the park has over 30 live shows, games, and activities throughout the day.

Field Station: Dinosaurs partnered with paleontologists to ensure every detail in the park’s amenities is historically accurate, so you can be sure you and your kids will learn while having a good time.

You can download a trail map from their website if you want to make the most of your time in the park.

Take a Quick Dip at Hazard Beach

Hazard Beach is a beach in Fort Lee, New Jersey, near the George Washington Bridge.

The beach takes its name from the Hazard Powder Company, an explosives manufacturer from Connecticut.

This company passed the area to deliver explosives for the Carpenter Brothers’ quarry in the 1890s.

The white sand is the perfect sun pad, with excellent views of the bridge and the city skyline, completing your chill afternoon at the beach.

If you’re not fond of swimming, the area is also great for biking.

Otherwise, if you feel like being adventurous, the nearby Hazard’s Dock at the foot of George Washington Bridge is an easy launching pad for boats and other small watercraft.

Try visiting Hazard Beach, 19 minutes from Englewood.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to its proximity to New York City, Englewood can offer you a mix of urban and rural life.

Its rich history and stunning geography make the city feel like it’s not a stone’s throw away from a bustling commercial hub.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Englewood, New Jersey!

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