Nature & Outdoors

Spring Things to Do

Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to start heading outdoors once again. With its unique mix of bustling urban life and serene picturesque parks and trails, Elizabeth is an incredible place to visit in the springtime. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful spring weather in Elizabeth, such as watching the Cuban Day Parade, biking in the annual Tour de Elizabeth, or just spending quality time in Warinanco Park breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sight of flowers and trees in bloom. To help you make the most of the season, we’ve compiled a list of things to do in Elizabeth this spring that people of all ages can enjoy.

Spring Events

Springtime in Elizabeth marks the start of festival season, with colorful and fun-filled celebrations for the whole family. The festivities begin in May with the Cuban Day Parade, a popular event celebrating Cuban culture and heritage. During the parade, members of Cuban-American organizations ride on vibrant parade floats, in cars, and on horseback all the way up Elizabeth Avenue to City Hall, where the Cuban flag flies proudly. After the parade, you can savor slow-cooked meats, fried plantains, empanadas, and other traditional dishes at one of the amazing Cuban restaurants in town.

The fun continues with the Annual Memorial Day Waterfront Carnival at the gorgeous Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park, which offers a striking view of the New York City skyline. At the festival, you can commemorate our nation’s heroes, gaze at the display of American flags flying high above the plaza, and share quality time with family and friends. A towering ferris wheel and other family-friendly carnival rides soar against this dramatic backdrop, and delicious aromas of authentic Latin American and Italian fare fill the air. Speakers from the main stage pour out a variety of musical styles so you can sing and dance to your heart’s content. As the home of residents from more than 50 countries, Elizabeth is a truly incredible place to celebrate this American holiday.

Tour de Elizabeth

One of Elizabeth’s most memorable annual events is the Tour de Elizabeth, a 15-mile biking tour that takes you all around the city. Hundreds of cyclists of all different ages and abilities participate in this tour, which takes place every May on the Sunday before Memorial Day. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to see hundreds of helmeted riders pedaling every imaginable style of bike, from street bikes to mountain bikes and even the occasional unicycle!

The route varies every year, so you might find yourself passing historic sites honoring Revolutionary War heroes, century-old buildings and storefronts, or colorful art installations on the Elizabeth River Trail. You might weave through narrow streets with views of arching bridges, through park lanes outlined by flowering trees, or cruise past popular music venues. No matter what route you take, you’re guaranteed to see glistening waterways, popular restaurants, and incredible architecture as you energetically pedal through the streets of Elizabeth alongside your fellow cyclists.

Outdoor Fun

When the first mild spring days arrive, it’s the perfect time to grab a light jacket and head outdoors. And Elizabeth offers lots of options for enjoying the spring weather.

You might opt to participate in Elizabeth's Historic Heartline Walking Tour, a self-guided 3.5-mile tour of midtown Elizabeth where history comes alive through the use of modern smartphone technology. Using a QR code reader app, you scan the QR code at each historical site and press play on your smartphone to learn fascinating facts about each site. On the tour, you’ll pass iconic buildings like the Belcher-Ogden Mansion and the Bonnell House, which dates back from the late 1600s and is one of the oldest houses in NJ. You’ll also see historic churches, Liberty Hall, the Ritz Theater, and the Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown as you explore the streets of Elizabeth and learn about the city’s past at your own pace.

One of the best ways to enjoy spring in Elizabeth is to relax in one of the city’s many parks. The expansive, 204-acre Warinanco Park is a great place to spend a leisurely April afternoon. Frederick Olmstead, the famous architect, and designer of New York City’s Central Park, also designed Warinanco Park. At the park, you’ll discover breathtaking views as well as many amenities such as boat rentals, fitness courses, playing fields, and kids’ playgrounds. Go for a bike ride, enjoy a friendly game of soccer, or hike along one of the park’s many trails, while taking in the sight of stunning cherry blossoms, tulip gardens, and magnolia trees in full bloom. 

Or you can lace up your running shoes and take a jog in Mattano Park, being sure to stop at the various fitness stations for an extra dose of physical activity. Mattano Park is also the place for skaters, featuring a skatepark with more than a dozen ramps and stairs to practice any trick you can think of. The park even offers a few chess boards so you can bring your chess pieces and play a lively game while breathing in the fresh spring air. 

If you prefer a fresh sea breeze and dazzling views of the Manhattan skyline, Veteran's Memorial Waterfront Park is the place for you. This harborfront park features a boardwalk, fishing pier, and plenty of spaces to enjoy a picnic with an excellent view of the boats sailing past. No matter what activities you prefer, Elizabeth offers plenty of opportunities for you and your whole family to enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

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