New Jersey has countless big cities, easy access to New York City, 130 miles of coastline, and charming green spaces, giving it the nickname the “Garden State.” From lake towns and coastal cities to small towns and villages that step back in time, there are plenty of reasons to live in New Jersey. 

But if you’re new to the area you may be wondering – what is New Jersey known for? Whether you’re buying a home in Newark or renting an apartment in Trenton, read on to find out what New Jersey is famous for.

Job opportunities and economy

In New Jersey, key job industries include pharmaceuticals, financial services, and telecommunications. Major corporations that drive the state’s economy include Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial, and Verizon Communications. 

New Jersey’s top five employers

  • Wakefern Food Corporation
  • Rutgers University
  • Hackensack Meridian Health
  • Verizon Communications
  • RWJBarnabas Health

Tourist attractions

  • Jersey Shore: A legendary stretch of coastline famous for its sandy beaches, vibrant boardwalks, and lively atmosphere. From the attractions of Ocean City to the nightlife of Atlantic City, people flock here for sun, surf, and entertainment.
  • Liberty State Park: In Jersey City, this spot offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as access to historic landmarks like the Empty Sky Memorial and the Liberty Science Center.
  • Princeton: The picturesque town is renowned for its prestigious university, charming downtown area, and rich history.
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: Spanning the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this area offers rugged landscapes, scenic waterways, and opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and camping.
  • Cape May: Located at the southern tip of New Jersey, this town is a Victorian gem known for its historic architecture, pristine beaches, and birdwatching opportunities.

Popular regional cuisine

New Jersey’s culinary scene reflects its rich history and innovation. The state is renowned for its iconic thin-crust pizza, with Trenton-style tomato pies and boardwalk slices along the Jersey Shore being particularly beloved. Taylor ham (or pork roll) sandwiches epitomize Jersey breakfast culture, while disco fries, smothered in cheese and gravy, offer a satisfying indulgence. Additionally, saltwater taffy and Italian subs are cherished local treats, showcasing the Garden State’s culinary flair.

Top restaurants in New Jersey

Jersey City aerial skyline at twilight

Music industry and entertainment

New Jersey is known for its entertainment scene, particularly regarding music and arts. Cities like Newark and Jersey City have creative energy with theaters, galleries, and performance spaces. The state’s artistic legacy is seen in institutions like the Newark Museum and the Princeton University Art Museum, which house impressive collections spanning different genres and periods.

New Jersey’s contribution to the music industry is undeniable, with legendary artists like Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi, and Frank Sinatra hailing from its shores. Music festivals such as the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival and the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival draw crowds from around the state and beyond. In addition, the state’s film industry has also left its mark, with iconic movies like “On the Waterfront” showcasing its urban landscapes.

Five great places to experience a show in New Jersey

Fun fact: The world-famous board game Monopoly was originally based on Atlantic City. Charles Darrow created the game during the Great Depression.

Bridge in New Jersey

Range of landscapes

New Jersey is known for its variety of landscapes. From the picturesque Delaware Water Gap, carved by the flowing waters of the Delaware River, to the rolling hills of the Piedmont region in the northwest. Along its eastern coast, you’ll find sandy beaches stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, offering scenic views and recreational activities. There are also countless beach towns in New Jersey to call home.

National and state parks in New Jersey

  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park: Located in West Orange, this park preserves the laboratory and home of Thomas Edison.
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park: Situated in Paterson, this park is the site of one of the largest waterfalls in the eastern US.
  • Liberty State Park: Located in Jersey City, this park offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline. There are also areas for picnicking, fishing, and jogging.
  • Island Beach State Park: Situated on a barrier island along the Jersey Shore, this park features pristine beaches, dunes, and maritime forests. You can find opportunities for swimming, fishing, and birdwatching.
  • High Point State Park: Home to the highest point in New Jersey, this park offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Additionally, there are hiking trails, picnicking areas, and a monument marking the summit.

Professional and collegiate sports teams

Whether it’s the NFL, soccer, or basketball, New Jersey has a passion for professional and collegiate sports teams.

  • New Jersey Devils (NHL)
  • New York Giants (NFL): They’re technically based in East Rutherford and play their home games at MetLife Stadium.
  • New York Jets (NFL): Similar to the Giants, they are based in East Rutherford and play at MetLife Stadium.
  • Sky Blue FC (NWSL): The National Women’s Soccer League plays their home games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
  • Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Competing in NCAA Division I sports including football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling.

cape may lighthouse and home

Popular New Jersey phrases

In the Garden State, you’d quickly become accustomed to a colorful array of expressions that reflect New Jerseyeans. 

  • “Down the shore,” is shorthand for heading to the coast for a day at the beach. 
  • “Jughandles,” are peculiar road features used for making left turns. 
  • “Fuggedaboutit,” is a classic Jersey phrase implying dismissal or disbelief, made famous by TV shows like The Sopranos. 
  • “Taylor Ham” or “Pork Roll” – You’ll hear this popular breakfast meat called, depending on which part of the state you’re from.
  •  “Exit 13A,” is synonymous with the bustling industrial area near Newark. 

More things New Jersey is known for

  • Higher education: Home to Princeton University, the state’s only Ivy League School, and Rutgers University, there are plenty of amazing universities to choose from.
  • The Garden State: New Jersey’s nickname reflects its lush farmland and beautiful gardens. It contributes to its reputation as a green and vibrant state despite its industrial areas.
  • Atlantic City: Known as the East Coast’s answer to Las Vegas, Atlantic City is famous for its bustling boardwalk, iconic casinos, and lively entertainment scene.
  • Revolutionary history: As a key battleground during the American Revolutionary War, New Jersey is has historic sites in Trenton and Princeton.
  • Industrial innovation: From Thomas Edison’s laboratory to modern pharmaceutical giants, New Jersey has a legacy of industrial innovation. The state shaped advancements in technology, science, and medicine.

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