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Warinanco Park

Weekend Trip to Elizabeth: Social Distancing Edition

Need a little weekend getaway? Elizabeth, NJ should be at the top of your list. Why? We’ve got loads of history, a diverse food scene, and plenty of family-friendly outdoor activities. While not everything is business as usual, a relaxing weekend getaway is still possible as long as you practice social distancing and wear a mask. Plus, we’ve already drawn up your perfect weekend itinerary. No excuses!

Day One - All About Food

Start your weekend off right with a caffeine-fueled breakfast from Don Ricky Colombian Bakery, offering takeout or delivery via Grubhub. You don’t need a passport to eat at this Colombian restaurant. All you need is a good appetite. Start off any meal from Don Ricky’s with a café con leche (coffee with milk) or café Colombiano. Then, if you’re starved, dig into a plate of yuca bread, eggs, and an arepa (corn cake). You definitely won’t be disappointed!

Side note: Most restaurants are open for delivery, takeout, and drive-thru. Some are open for outdoor dining. The City of Elizabeth published a list of participating restaurants. New Jersey will allow indoor dining to resume at reduced capacity starting July 2.

Next up, visit The Mills at Jersey Gardens for some retail therapy. Featuring more than 200 stores, The Mills at Jersey Gardens is an outlet shopper’s paradise. While its stores have been shuttered for several months, as of June 29, you can enjoy window shopping and swiping your credit card again at all your favorite stores, including Coach and Abercrombie & Fitch. Masks are mandatory!

After you’ve shopped till you’re about ready to drop, rest your feet while enjoying an American-Latin lunch at Don Felix Bar & Restaurant. Your taste buds will sing while dining al fresco at Don Felix on Elizabeth Avenue. This trendy spot fuses Latin and American flavors, creating a diverse menu offering everything from burgers to skirt steak and rice and beans. Reservations are highly recommended to get a seat in their newly created outdoor dining area.

Follow up your lunch by satisfying your sweet tooth with a dessert at Oasis Pastry Shop, just up the street. The number of dessert options here can seem overwhelming, but whatever you choose, it’s bound to taste amazing. If you’ve got kiddos, they will love this! From eclairs and chocolate-dipped strawberries to your pick of assorted cookies, this shop truly has something for everyone.

Take your sweets to-go and set out on foot for a leisurely walk to Mattano Park. Once you’ve arrived, enjoy some quiet time in this urban greenspace next to the Elizabeth River. There’s plenty of room for you to spread out and maintain a 6-foot distance from other groups.

When you’re ready for dinner—perhaps after a nap—dine outside at El Nacho’s Tequila Cantina. If you don’t order nachos during your visit, you’re truly missing out. Try the queso fundido, a more simple nacho dish featuring Mexican cheese fondue, or the fully-loaded Tito’s Nachos that come with refried beans, cheese sauce, jalapenos, red onions, and pico de gallo. Wash the nachos down with a strong margarita or a shot of tequila.

Day Two - All About History

Put some sweetness into your morning at Velvet Café, another great restaurant in Elizabeth. This popular spot for ice cream and subs, also features breakfast or dessert crepês, pastries, and coffee. They’ve added a small area for sidewalk dining or you can take your meal to-go.

After breakfast, go on a self-guided walking tour of Elizabeth’s past. Learn about the city’s rich history dating back to 1664 via this tour through midtown. Make sure to bring plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes. You wouldn’t want to miss any part of the 3.5-mile tour that features the Bonnell House and Boxwood Hall, among other historic sites.

By now, you’ve probably worked up an appetite after putting in those miles of walking. Enjoy lunch at the century-old Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza. Pizza is always a good option, especially in New Jersey of all places. Enjoy a baked-to-order Sicilian pizza from Santillo’s on Broad Street. We guarantee you’ll love the pizza here, after all, this family-owned restaurant has been slinging pies for Elizabethans since 1918. Buon appetito!

Spend the rest of the day at Warinanco Park, a sprawling 205-acre park that opened in 1920. You can relax while gazing upon the lake, check out what’s blooming in the Chatfield gardens, or simply sit on a bench to take in the park which was designed by the same architect who designed Central Park in New York City.

End your weekend getaway with dinner and drinks at City Tavern, serving the city since 1994. The restaurant offers both takeout and outdoor dining at Winfield Park right across the street. Over a drink or two and a hearty meal from the expansive menu of Latin, Italian, and fusion options, you can plan your next trip to Elizabeth.

We hope to see you soon!

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