Elizabeth’s community represents over 50 countries and 37 different languages, which makes us a true melting pot. On Elizabeth Avenue, you will find these various cultures displayed through goods and services. But where can you find the city’s mecca of arts, music, and culture? Look no further…
The city’s diversity is reflected in its special ethnic days, festivals, and parades. The Elizabeth Latin Carnival is held in early September, and its popularity draws crowds in excess of 250,000 people. The Mayor’s Office and the Elizabeth Public Library celebrate various flag raisings for Colombians, Peruvians, Italians, Poles, the Irish, and more. Portugal Day and Julyfest are special festival days, and African-American History Month is also widely celebrated at many of the city’s institutions. The diversity of our community is also reflected through our dining options, which boast delicious cuisine from around the world.
On East Jersey Street, there’s the historic Ritz Theatre, an Art Deco masterpiece. With 2,772 seats, the theater is one of the largest and oldest-running theaters in the state, dating back to 1926. The Ritz has been magnificently restored and currently features world-class performances. Famous acts such as the Marx Brothers, George Burns, Jack Benny, Ray Charles, Harry Chapin, Maya Angelou, Chaka Kahn, Rodney Dangerfield, Miles Davis, and so many others have performed there throughout its storied history.
We also have Premiere Stages at Kean University. The mission of Kean Stage is to educate, entertain, and challenge audiences by presenting professional, high-quality programs that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the central and northern New Jersey region. Kean University also offers stunning programming and varied musical performances at Gene & Shelley Enlow Recital Hall, which often boasts sold-out performances.
The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown is one of the oldest historic sites in New Jersey, dating back to 1664. Once attended by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, today the academy tells the story of New Jersey residents from 1664 through the American Revolution. The recently renovated auditorium features Classical Revival designs and state-of-the-art event equipment. Permanent exhibits showcase artifacts, and guides lead tours through the historic Burial Grounds. The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown is now home to a local art studio. Local artists and school art projects are displayed on the second floor of the Snyder Academy.
Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University houses collections of antique furniture, textiles, toys, and other artifacts owned by the Livingston and Kean families. The museum is located on a 23-acre National Historic site and houses over 240 years of American history. Visitors can explore many rooms in Liberty Hall mansion, which once housed George and Martha Washington, William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, and many other distinguished guests.
Browse our recommended cultural sites below to learn more about all of the amazing cultural experiences that await you in Elizabeth. We’re preserving small-town charm in a big city kinda way!
Altenburg Piano House
Altenburg Piano House, founded in 1847, is the oldest family-run piano house in the United States. Through all the years that have passed, one thing that has stayed constant is our passion for great pianos. Altenburg Piano House can trace its origins to the Otto Altenburg Piano Co., founded in 1847 in Germany. The Altenburgs immigrated to […]
The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown
Snyder Academy traces its roots to the founding of the city of Elizabeth in 1664 as one of the oldest and most historic sites in New Jersey, serving the city of Elizabeth and Union County for over 350 years. Today, Snyder Academy operates in a newly renovated, 20,000 square foot building adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church and […]
Built in 1926 and known for its Art Deco design, the Ritz Theatre includes seating for 2,772 people. This fully restored facility is one of the largest and oldest fully operational theaters in New Jersey. Over the years, many legendary performers have graced this majestic theater’s stage, from the Marx Brothers, George Burns and Jack […]
Elizabeth Public Library
The Elizabeth Public Library, which was built in 1912, stands at the site of the Red Lion Inn in the 1700’s. The Inn, owned by Samuel Smith, was here during the Revolutionary War era. During the war, it was the site of at least one Court Martial, on March 8, 1779. The Red Lion Inn survived […]
Elizabeth River Trail
The Elizabeth River Trail highlights the history of Elizabeth with artwork from local artists displayed along its path. The trail restores some of the natural beauty of the urban waters that played an important part in Elizabeth’s development as a city. It is a place for pedestrian traffic that provides many recreational and educational opportunities. […]
Premiere Stages at Kean University
The mission of Kean Stage is to educate, entertain and challenge audiences by presenting professional programs of high quality that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the central and northern New Jersey region. These programs extend and supplement the intellectual life of the classroom, increase opportunities for community and university interaction, and provide affordable access […]
Liberty Hall at Kean University
A 23-acre National Historic site built in 1772 by New Jersey’s first governor, William Livingston, Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 240 years of American History. The museum also houses extensive collections of furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families. The Firehouse Museum, […]
Minute Man Statue
As one of the oldest streets in North America and an important portal during the Revolutionary War, Elizabeth Avenue is anchored by Union Square. A marker and statue of a Minuteman marks the avenue at the sire of the Continental Outpost at the battle of June 8, 1780 when a column of 5,000 British Regulars […]
The Market at Elizabeth Ave.
Located within Elizabeth’s Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), this shopping district runs from Bridge to Fourth streets and includes the Peterstown Farmers Market area, as well as the New Point Road Triangle, between South Seventh and Marshall streets. It is one of the oldest commercial corridors in the city. Known simply as “The Market” to area […]