Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Hoboken, NJ

  • Published 2023/03/06

Hoboken is a pocket city in New Jersey near the Hudson River in Hudson County.

Despite its size, this city in Hudson County boasts some of the most gorgeous views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and surrounding areas.

Historically, Hoboken is home to a vital tri-state region terminal which is now one of its historical treasures.

Besides, Hoboken is known throughout the nation as the host of the first baseball game in history.

There are more fascinating things to discover in Hoboken other than being another city across the Hudson River.

Don’t be fooled by its size because this small city has attractions and activities you won’t expect to be there.

On top of that, you can enjoy most of them without breaking the bank.

So, what awaits you in Hoboken?

Read the rest of this post about the free things to do in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Relax at Hoboken Riverside Park

Sunny day at Hoboken Riverside Park

Elena_Suvorova /

Hoboken Riverside Park is an excellent place to shake off stress and bask in the tranquil ambiance and scenic view of the Hudson River.

You can visit this park along the famous Sinatra Drive.

Visiting this park allows you to relax, enjoy outdoor activities, and go sightseeing.

Sitting at one of this park’s benches lets you see New York City’s wonderful skyline and towering skyscrapers across the Hudson River.

At the same time, you can hike, bike, or jog through its walking paths, meandering the Hudson River.

Besides, the park has a vast green open space, perfect for more outdoor recreation.

You can do anything you feel is fun at Hoboken Riverside Park, making it a recommended place to drop by upon arriving in the city.

Chill at Pier A Park

The grounds of Pier A Park

ben bryant /

Pier A Park is a waterfront attraction that offers parkgoers a breathtaking view of the New York City Skyline and Manhattan.

This park along Sinatra Drive is where most locals and visitors spend their mornings, afternoons, or free time chilling and enjoying various outdoor recreation.

Also, this park is an excellent alternative in case other parks in Hoboken get crowded.

It’s a beautiful place to visit, especially with your family or friends.

View of Hudson river from Pier A Park

KazT /

Enjoy a picnic, sunbathe, or chill and enjoy the fantastic view of the Big Apple across the Hudson River.

It has a gorgeous promenade and spacious green open space, which you can use for a more fun experience.

If you don’t want to get a tan, Pier A Park has plenty of trees for shade.

People at Pier A Park

Brian Logan Photography /

Stroll through Sinatra Drive

Sinatra Drive is named after the iconic singer Frank Sinatra, a proud son of Hoboken.

This stretch of road is home to Hoboken’s charming shops, century-old buildings, historical sites, art galleries, and other attractions.

Those who visit Hoboken spend time browsing the establishments along this street.

At the same time, free concerts and art exhibits happen every summer as part of the City of Hoboken’s summer streets program.

Strolling through Sinatra Street is one of the best ways to get acquainted with what Hoboken truly is about.

So, remember to list this famous street in your itinerary for a worthwhile experience.

Roam the Edwin A. Stevens Hall

Exterior of Edwin A. Stevens Hall

Antony-22, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Edwin A. Stevens Hall is part of the Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT).

Hoboken is home to the SIT, which houses this famous building constructed in 1870.

Historically, it is one of the main buildings in the university and holds plenty of significant history.

With that in mind, it was officially listed in 1994 on the National Register of Historic Places to preserve its historical value.

Today, you can sign up for a guided tour inside to see its intricately-designed Victorian-era architecture, elegant interiors, and historical exhibits.

You can also pose outside Edwin A. Stevens Hall for some souvenir photos.

Have Fun at Pier 13 Park

You won’t run out of waterfront parks and outdoor recreation spots during your trip to Hoboken.

One of the recommended spots to check out is Pier 13 Park.

This vibrant waterfront park is situated along Sinatra Drive.

Unlike most quiet parks in Hoboken, this one regularly hosts activities such as free concerts and water activities for everyone.

Besides concerts, Pier 13 Park hosts movie nights and plenty more wholesome activities.

See the Hoboken Ferry Terminal

Exterior of Hoboken Ferry Terminal

Brian Logan Photography /

For a more historical side trip, head to the Hoboken Ferry Terminal.

This old ferry terminal is the last surviving waterfront station of the Hudson River on New Jersey’s side.

Amazingly, this ferry terminal remains operational today.

It still fulfills its original function of ferrying people and goods back and forth daily between New York and New Jersey.

Launch at Hoboken Ferry Terminal

splask /

What makes this old ferry terminal distinctively gorgeous is its restored Beaux-Arts Style architecture initially designed by Kenneth M. Murchison.

The terminal underwent numerous restorations to preserve its historical value and for future generations to see it themselves.

Visiting the Hoboken Ferry Terminal lets you learn more about the city’s rich maritime history.

Interior of Hoboken Ferry Terminal

Brian Logan Photography /

Join the Italian Festival of Hoboken

The annual Italian Festival of Hoboken is a great way to celebrate this city’s Italian heritage and population.

Hoboken is home to thousands of Italian immigrants.

Besides the Italian heritage, the festival also celebrates the Feast Day of the Madonna of the Martyrs, or “Madonna Dei Martiri.”

Joining this festival is a solemn and fun experience.

There are numerous religious activities, including a procession of the image of Mother Mary.

At the same time, the festivities offer everyone mouthwatering Italian food and drinks, games, and plenty of activities.

Visit Hoboken in September to witness the annual Italian Festival, which has existed since the 1950s.

Feel the Vibes of Washington Street

Street sign of Washington Street

Natalia Bratslavsky /

Washington Street offers the opposite vibes from Sinatra Street.

This street in Hoboken has a unique, lively atmosphere defined by its vintage storefronts lining the city sidewalks.

Many people love to spend their time seeing these vintage storefronts and old buildings.

Street scene at Washington Street

quiggyt4 /

Each of these old buildings has unique backstories dating back to Hoboken’s early days.

Besides its rich history, Washington Street is home to the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival which is responsible for its lively vibes.

Buildings along Washington Street

quiggyt4 /

Celebrate the Hoboken Spring & Fall Arts and Music Festival

The Hoboken Spring & Fall Arts and Music Festival is an annual gathering of the city’s finest craftspeople and musicians.

This festival which started in 1994, happens every Fall, featuring dozens of bands, musicians, artists, vendors, and visitors around Hudson County.

Everyone converges along Washington Street, which is the festival’s official venue.

The entire street is closed to traffic to celebrate this unique festival.

You’re guaranteed to have fun watching free concerts, playing games, and seeing gorgeous artwork from artisans around New York and New Jersey.

At the same time, wine, beer, and food overflow from over a hundred vendors along Washington Street during the festivities.

So, visit Hoboken every Fall to catch the Hoboken Spring & Fall Arts and Music Festival.

Hike through the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

A person at Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

el_cigarrito /

The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway is the most famous outdoor attraction in Hudson County.

This long stretch of waterfront walkway allows you to explore the beauty of the Hudson River and the Big Apple from a distance.

The walkway stretches over 19 miles, connecting various towns and cities, including Hoboken in the south.

While hiking, you’re guaranteed to get the best views of the New York City skyline.

At the same time, you’ll see gorgeous parks, natural areas, and charming neighborhoods along the way.

If you don’t fancy hiking, you can always bring your bike or wear your running shoes for jogging.

Of course, don’t forget to make stopovers along the Hudson River Waterfront for some souvenir photos.

Paddle on the Hudson River with the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse

One of the best activities to enjoy in Hoboken is canoeing or kayaking on the Hudson River.

The City of Hoboken, through the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, offers everyone free water activities for all ages.

These activities include kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and plenty more for free.

This extraordinary experience usually happens at Maxwell Place Park intersection of Maxwell Place and Sinatra Drive.

Locals and visitors enjoy this free water activity allowing them to paddle through the vast waters of the Hudson River.

Grab this chance to paddle on the Hudson River with Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse.

Discover the History of the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal

A railcar at the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal

David Pimborough /

The Hoboken / NJ Transit Terminal is a century-old multi-transport terminal connecting Hoboken to New York City and other regional destinations.

This place blends a ferry terminal, train station, light rail, and bus station, which has operated for a century already.

Like most historical treasures in the area, it also underwent numerous restorations.

Train tracks at the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal

Brian Logan Photography /

The restoration efforts took more than 17 years to preserve its historical value.

You can visit this historic terminal to dive deeper into Hoboken’s history.

Of course, remember to take photos or enjoy a self-guided tour at the Hoboken / NJ Transit Terminal to explore its fascinating past.

Daytime at the Hoboken/NJ Transit Terminal

KazT /

Uncover the Mystery of Sybil’s Cave

Entrance of Sybil's Cave

Jim.henderson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sybil’s Cave is one of Hoboken’s most unusual but fascinating historical attractions.

You can find this small cave along Sinatra Drive.

Historically, this artificial cave plunges 30 feet deep, excavated in 1832 because of its natural spring.

A Gothic-style gate was built before the cave to attract visitors.

Visitors enjoyed the cold spring on a table and chair back in the day.

However, it became infamous after a girl was found murdered there in 1841.

Unfortunately, the cave was destroyed in the 1930s and was forgotten by many.

To preserve its historical significance, Sybil’s Cave was excavated again in 2007.

It became one of Hoboken’s most famous historical attractions, which you can visit today.

Enjoy a Sweeping View of NYC at Castle Point Lookout

Castle Point Lookout is one of the best places to enjoy a great vantage point of New York City and Hoboken’s waterfront.

You can visit this place within the Steven’s Institute of Technology along Frank Sinatra Drive.

This lookout stands among the rest of the vantage points of Hoboken since it has a 100-foot elevation.

It treats you to some of the most breathtaking views of the surrounding areas and a different perspective of the New York City skyline.

At the same time, you’ll also see Steven’s Cannon, used during the American Revolution.

This cannon symbolizes the university’s protection and its official trademark.

Drop by Castle Point Lookout to see the best views of New York City, the Hudson River, and Hoboken.

Strike a Pose at the Firemen’s Monument

Front view of Firemen's Monument

Jim.henderson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Firemen’s Monument is another historical attraction you mustn’t miss in the city.

You can visit this monument at Church Square Park.

Caspar Buberl, an American sculptor, designed the 28-foot-tall monument, erected in 1891.

The monument commemorated all of the Volunteer Fire Department of Church Square Park.

Visiting this monument allows you to learn more about Hoboken’s rich history, particularly its fire department.

The Firemen’s Monument is also a lovely place to take souvenir photos from your Hoboken trip.

Final Thoughts

Hoboken is unlike your typical New Jersey neighborhoods along the Hudson River.

This charming pocket city is full of surprises and top-notch attractions you can enjoy without burning a hole in your wallet.

Budget travelers, families, historical enthusiasts, and backpackers should have a splendid time in Hoboken.

Start planning your adventure with this post about the free things to do in Hoboken, New Jersey!

© All rights reserved.