Liberty Hall Museum
Built in 1772 by New Jersey’s first governor, William Livingston View More
If you’re on the lookout for free things to do in New Jersey, you’ll find plenty of options in Elizabeth. With lots of parks, trails, and historic buildings, you could enjoy an entire day here without spending a dime. Here is a list of some of the best free things to do in Elizabeth during your stay.
Elizabeth is home of the Historic Heartline Walking Tour, a 3.5-mile tour of midtown Elizabeth that’s entirely self-guided and completely free of charge. The tour takes you past lots of historical buildings and sites, including the Belcher-Ogden Mansion, historic churches, Liberty Hall, Ritz Theater, The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown, and the Bonnell House, which is one of the oldest houses in the state of New Jersey. To take the tour, all you need to do is download a free QR code reader app on your smartphone and then scan the QR code at each of the sites on the tour. From there, you press play on your phone and you’ll learn the intriguing stories behind each site. The Heartline Walking Tour is an excellent way to explore Elizabeth for free and learn all about the city’s rich history at your own pace.
If you want to spend the day outdoors soaking up rays by the waterfront, Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park is the perfect place for you. This stunning park is located right on the harbor, where you can gaze across the vast expanse of water to see the New York City skyline looming ahead in the distance, barges sailing by, and the towering cranes of the Elizabeth Seaport. The park has plenty of open spaces where you can enjoy a picnic lunch, play a leisurely game of frisbee, or kick around a soccer ball. You can also go fishing on the pier or bike or skate along the boardwalk while taking in the dazzling views of the harbor.
Another fantastic free activity is walking the Elizabeth River Trail, which you can pick up on South Broad Street, right across from the Elizabeth Public Library. The trail runs alongside the river where you can take in scenic views and check out the colorful artwork from local artists that’s on display along the trail. Only pedestrian traffic is allowed on the trail, which takes you along the river all the way to Bridge Street. Taking a walk along the Elizabeth River Trail is the perfect activity on warm summer days and crisp fall afternoons alike, and it’s one you can enjoy either on your own or with a walking companion or two.
Enjoy the great outdoors without paying a dime by visiting the 204-acre Warinanco Park. The park has the distinction of being designed by Frederick Olmstead, the same architect who designed Central Park in New York City. You can walk one of the park’s trails and take in the picturesque views of green fields, towering trees, and flower gardens, challenge yourself on one of the fitness courses situated around the park, or relax by the lake. And if you have kids, you can bring them to one of the park’s many playgrounds, go for a hike or nature walk, or take a family bike ride on one of the park’s bike trails.
If you love historic homes, Boxwood Hall is the place for you! This Georgian-style house was built in 1750 by Samuel Woodruff, the Mayor of Elizabethtown. Today, visitors can take a tour of this impressive home free of charge. Over the years, Boxwood Hall housed many famous guests, most notably Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and General Lafayette, a French military leader who fought with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Much of Boxwood Hall’s original frame, interior paneling, and floors remain intact to this day, and visitors can tour the hall to admire its architecture and learn about life in colonial America. Boxwood Hall is open to the public on weekdays and admission is free, though it’s advisable to call ahead to ensure a guide is available to give you a tour.
So what are you waiting for? Come enjoy the many free things to do in Elizabeth, NJ!