15 Best Things to Do in Union, NJ

Union, NJ
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Union is a township in Union County, New Jersey, on the Elizabeth River and five miles northwest of Elizabeth town.

The place was once the site of the Battle of Connecticut Farms and bears two nicknames, “Havana on the Hudson” and “Embroidery Capital of the United States.”

Both monikers reflect significant characteristics of that history.

Union boasts different attractions, drawing visitors locally and worldwide to watch the yearly Cuban Day Parade of New Jersey.

Leave your stress behind and discover the best things to do in Union, New Jersey.

Hike the Rahway River Parkway

Located on Elmwood Road, Rahway River Parkway is a network of parks joined by woodlands that continues on Rahway River.

It comprises 950 acres of wooded land and parks throughout multiple Union County towns and cities.

Designed as a refreshing haven for urban settlers, Rahway River Parkway provides residents with a place to walk wooded trails and enjoy the privacy and serenity of nature without driving for hours.

Experience the 3.29-mile out-and-back trail, an easy route fantastic for birding, hiking, and fishing.

If you’re a sports enthusiast, you can play in the park’s baseball field, football field, soccer field, and softball field.

Kids can play in the playground or spray fountain, and there’s a picnic area always ready when you want to eat your food.

You can bring your dogs along; ensure they are always on a leash.

Spend the Day at Phil Rizzuto Park

Phil Rizzuto Park is an excellent place with various activities for the entire family.

Located on North Avenue, Elizabeth, the park features several amenities for your enjoyment.

Your kids will love the playground because of the dinosaur-shaped tunnel, slides, climbing walls, monkey bars, hanging loops, swings, and others.

While you do your fitness routine on the fitness trail, children can also spend their time playing on the soccer field or getting wet in the spray fountain, especially during hot days.

Don’t worry about sunburns because Phil Rizzuto Park has a covered pavilion and playground.

Gaze at the Union Watersphere

The world’s tallest water sphere is in Union, the Union Watersphere.

Also called the Union Water Tower, it’s a water tower capped with a sphere-shaped water tank.

It is located in Union, neighboring U.S. Route 22, New Jersey Route 82, and Garden State Parkway.

It also stands 212 feet tall.

Initially constructed by Iron Company and Chicago Bridge, this water tower can hold 250,000 US gallons of water.

Union Watersphere is now grey-white, but it was initially blue, with the town’s name, “UNION,” written across the sphere.

Learn Local History at Liberty Hall Museum

Front view of Liberty Hall Museum
Dmadeo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1772, Liberty Hall Museum opened in 2000 to impart history to the public.

Located on the Kean University campus, this 23-acre national historic landmark documents over 240 years of New Jersey and American history through the perspective of the Livingston and Kean Families.

The museum highlights the accounts of public servants and dauntless industrialists and features an artistic English parterre garden and maze.

Interior view of Liberty Hall Museum
Renata3, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the collections of antique furniture and elegant artifacts accumulated by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean households.

You can take a guided tour of Liberty Hall Museum and the gardens or see the transitioning exhibits in the museum.

New Jersey’s first elected governor, William Livingston, lived in this 14-room Georgian-style home, which transformed into a 50-room Victorian mansion.

Interior view of Liberty Hall Museum
Renata3, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Holiday Train Show and Open House at A. Paul Mallory Model Railroad Center

The railroad club got its name from its founder, Master Model Railroader Paul Mallery, who started the club in 1949.

Located on Jefferson Avenue, the A. Paul Mallory Model Railroad Center is an 11,000-square-foot facility.

The Model Railroad Club, Inc. designed, funded, and constructed the establishment and donated it to Union County.

The A. Paul Mallory Model Railroad Center offers free parking and is wheelchair-accessible, allowing visitors to enjoy distinctive displays.

Likewise, get a glimpse of how they expanded the Railroad Center and how they laid the track, to name a few.

You’ll see popular trains such as the  Super Chief, Pennsylvania Railroad’s Broadway Limited, and AMTRAK’s Acela Express at the Holiday Train Show and Open House.

Practice Your Aim at RTSP Union- Range, Firearms & Training

If you want to do something out of the ordinary, visit RTSP Union — Range, Firearms & Training.

Located on US-22, this fantastic facility is the leading indoor shooting range firearms retailer and training facility in New Jersey.

RSTP  Union - Range, Firearms & Training features more than 60 shooting ports, hundreds of gun rentals, and the finest firearms training in town.

After your session, relax and try the delicious, aromatic coffee beverages at the Black Coffee Company.

Whether an expert or a novice, you can test your skills in the facility’s Shoot House, Dojo, Digital Simulator, and six indoor ranges highlighting electronic target retrieval systems.

You’ll feel comfortable with their accommodating and knowledgeable staff, who will guide you throughout the process.

At RTSP, you’ll learn how to shoot the right way, clean your gun, hone your shooting skills, take an NRA Certified Class, and much more.

Commune with Nature at Rabkin Park

Rabkin Park is one of the most scenic parks in Union, providing visitors with a comforting natural environment.

It is ideal for walking, reading, or taking pictures with nature as your lovely backdrop.

John Rabkin developed this area to enhance his property, now a park maintained by several organizations and public volunteers.

Located in Swanstrom Pl E, Union, this beautiful park is famous for its numerous trees and breathtaking views.

It offers an open space accessible to pedestrians and bikers coming from any point in the park.

The park has new pathways, picnic tables, benches, and various gardens to emphasize the natural beauty of Rabkin Park.

Visitors should also appreciate its serenity and splendidness.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Learn the Art of Glassware at the Morris County School of Glass

If you’re tired of walking, biking, or running, glass blowing is another exciting and stress-busting activity you might want to try.

The Morris County School of Glass is in Morristown, New Jersey, 17 minutes from Union.

This place allows visitors to make glassware.

The facility is a glassblowing studio focused on introducing the art of glassblowing to the local neighborhood, offering.

Kids and adults will have a great experience blowing into the molten glass and seeing what form you can make.

The glassblowing pipes and other tools are always disinfected to ensure the safety of visitors blowing into the pipe.

The Morris County School of Glass offers a wide array of hot glassblowing classes chiefly fashioned for novices who want to head to more advanced courses.

Explore Reeves-Reed Arboretum

View of Reeves-Reed Arboretum
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Reeves-Reed Arboretum preserves the past and imagines the future of American gardening.

Formerly known as “The Clearing,” this arboretum is nearly six acres of woodland with almost a mild of trails.

The place encompasses natural forestlands and formal gardens that epitomize the Country Place movement of the early 20th century.

View of Reeves-Reed Arboretum
Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The beautiful arboretum also offers gorgeous vistas and the tallest tulip poplar in Summit, including native shrubs and herbaceous plants.

In Summit, New Jersey, Reeves-Reed Arboretum also hosts events, such as weddings, perfect for its historic grounds and many gorgeous gardens.

Hike the woodland trails or view art displays in the Wisner House gallery.

This place is ten minutes from Union.

View of Reeves-Reed Arboretum
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Explore Warinanco Park

View of Warinanco Park
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Warinanco Park features 205 acres of spacious land with various establishments offering exciting young and old activities.

This fantastic park is in Roselle, New Jersey, 11 minutes from Union.

It features the Warinaco Sports Center, which boasts pleasing, brand-new meeting areas designed for events and social functions.

View of Warinanco Park
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It offers a shaded and semi-covered area ideal for hosting outdoor occasions, with many pavilions and park benches.

The delectable foods served at the Warinanco Café inside the sports center are also a must-try.

This fantastic park is a one-stop for the whole family to enjoy and experience various activities they will never forget.

View of Warinanco Park
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Meet the Fairies of South Mountain - Fairy Trail

Do you believe in fairies?

Go to Millburn, New Jersey, to visit their kingdom.

Located nine minutes from Union, Fairy Trail in South Mountain is a half-mile trail occupied by none other than the magical fairies.

Along the white-blazed path are where these cute little tiny beings chose to live, establishing their homes in tree hollows and roots.

Local artist Therese Ojibway strongly believes there’s nothing wrong with believing in fairies.

She founded the South Mountain - Fairy Trail to build these “fairy houses” for the young and old.

After the hike, you can rest and eat at some picnic tables at the end of the parking lot.

Take a Hike at the South Mountain Reservation

One of the many good exercises is hiking, and South Moutain Reservation is the perfect place to start.

Located on Cherry Ln, West Orange, New Jersey, this park spans 2,100 acres, comprising five marked hiking trails, the magnificent sight of the falls, carriage roads and bridle tracks, millponds, and a dog park.

This park is ten minutes from Union.

The five trails range from 1.2 to 6 miles and 27 miles of carriage roads, perfect for jogging, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

Lenape Trail is the longest trail, while Kiwanis Trail is one of the fastest and easiest approaches.

Enjoy the South Mountain Reservation’s incredible views and heritage landmarks.

The South Mountain Reservation also features skating rinks and the Turtle Back Zoo that kids will enjoy.

See the Cherry Blossom Trees at Branch Brook Park

Located in Newark, New Jersey, Branch Brook Park is the biggest park in Newark and the first county park to open its doors to the public.

Situated 11 minutes from Union, this 360-acre park boasts the most extensive and remarkable collection of 4,000 cherry blossom trees.

It also has expansive lawns, winding paths, playing fields, and great distances of pools, streams, and lakes.

Don’t forget to visit significant landscape features, including the Octagon Shelter, the Prudential Lions, and the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Take advantage of free admission and get a guided tour of the park to understand its essential history better.

Branch Brook Park was once on a Civil War training ground and adjacent swamp.

In 1900, the city commissioned architect Frederick Law Olmsted to change the park’s landscape from its original Romantic design.

Swing and Win in Baltusrol Golf Club

In 1895, Louis Keller founded Baltusrol Golf Club as a country refuge for him and his friends during weekends to escape New York City.

Keller aimed to develop this leading golf club for America’s central city, turning this course into a private 36-hole golf club that served as Baltusrol’s decisive mission for the last 125 years.

Baltusrol got its name from the land’s former owner, Baltus Roll, a Dutch farmer murdered in a robbery attempt in his house in 1831.

After 60 years, the name “Baltusrol” emerged from the late farmer’s name.

Baltusrol Golf Club started with only nine holes.

As the years passed, it expanded to 18 and hosted five United States Golf Association (USGA) championships.

This golf club is in Springfield, New Jersey, 12 minutes from Union.

Try Outdoor Activities at Watchung Reservation

View of Watchung Reservation
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Located on Mountainside, New Jersey, Watchung Reservation is a stunning 17-acre reservation open to local wildlife for residents and visitors to enjoy recreational activities.

Bring your cameras and binoculars to watch and take photos of foxes, ocelots, wild turkeys, deer, mountain goats, mountain lions, migratory birds, and badgers.

View of Watchung Reservation
CE Photography / Shutterstock.com

Watchung Reservation provides many recreational activities for every family member to cherish and enjoy.

The family can go hiking, bird watching, biking, strolling, or biking together.

Pink blazes mark the six-mile trail, beginning and ending at the Trailside Nature & Science Center.

However, you can also access it from the Deserted Village of Feltville and Lake Surprise parking areas.

This reservation is 12 minutes from Union.

View of Watchung Reservation
Robert Colonna / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Sometimes people need to take some time off to think and feel better.

Going elsewhere is an excellent way to relieve stress and have quality time with family.

Start planning your next vacation and explore the best things to do in Union, New Jersey.

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