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!