Best Places to Live in New Jersey When Commuting to Manhattan

Bus Commute from New Jersey into Manhattan

So you finally scored your dream job in Manhattan. You’re on Cloud 9, thrilled at this exciting opportunity, but that drops off as you start to look for apartments in the city. With prices constantly skyrocketing, it’s no wonder why so many people have moved into New Jersey and are commuting into the Big Apple. 

Commuting to NYC can seem overwhelming, but depending on the town you move to, your commute could actually be as short as 20 minutes!

We’ve created a list of some of the best places to live in New Jersey with the shortest commute times. Don’t worry; the commute isn’t the only element we’ve taken into consideration. In addition to commute time, we’ve factored in each town’s history, arts, and things to do.

New Jersey Cities

Jersey City

Jersey City is quickly becoming one of the most happening spots in all of the Garden State. With only a 40 minute commute to Manhattan during rush hour, many employees have taken to living in Hudson County and label Jersey City as the best place to live to commute to NYC! 

Living in Jersey City would also give you options as to how to get into the city. This means you’ll never be stuck with just one available route. You have the opportunity to take the PATH train or the ferry. 

When riding the PATH train, you can expect to be in Manhattan in a little over 30 minutes, but if you choose to take the ferry over the river, you’ll be in the Big Apple in under 10 minutes!

While there are many million dollar apartments available in Jersey City, just like Manhattan, you will be much more successful when searching for an affordable apartment. 

If you decide to move to Jersey City, you’ll have plenty of entertainment options to populate your weekends. The city contains countless restaurants and community events. With three movie theaters and the Jersey CIty Theater Center, you’ll always be able to find a show or movie to watch. 

Jersey City is also home to the beautiful Liberty State Park. The iconic, educational, and fun Liberty Science Center is also in Jersey City. Great for children and adults, you’ll always be able to learn something at the Liberty Science Center. 

Another appealing aspect of Jersey City is its colleges. With both Saint Peter’s College and New Jersey City University, the city has many younger residents. If you’re worried about losing the fun and youthfulness of living in New York City, Jersey City might be the perfect spot for you. 

Union City 

While there is no PATH station, Union City offers residents quick access to the Lincoln Tunnel. There are countless NJ Transit bus lines that can take you from Union City into Manhattan in well under 30 minutes.

With its location so close to the Lincoln Tunnel, driving your car from Union City into Manhattan is no hardship. Even during peak rush hour traffic, you can expect to make the commute from Union City into Manhattan in about 20 minutes. 

If you decide to move to Union City, not only will you be able to take advantage of the cheaper cost of living, but you’ll have plenty of activities and opportunities to have a vibrant social life in the bustling city. 

Union City offers unbelievable views of the iconic skyline at Washington Park. It is also home to a thriving community of artists. With the Park Performing Arts Center and the Grammy Museum Experience both in Union City, you’ll have your choice of entertainment. 

The city is often referred to as Havana on the Hudson because of its large Hispanic and Latin American population. Because of this, there are a multitude of local shops and restaurants that offer authentic, Latin American cuisine. If you decide to move to Union City, you’ll be able to say goodbye to long commutes and spend that added free time exploring the city’s vibrant culture. 

Newark

If the New York City prices aren’t within your budget, consider moving to Newark. Their public transportation will get you into the city with plenty of time to spare. They also have a variety of housing options, depending on the section of Newark you chose. With the right real estate agent and some proper planning, you should be able to find a comfortable and affordable home in Newark of any size or budget.

One of the most alluring aspects of Newark is its resident’s easy commute into Manhattan. A train ride from Newark Penn Station to Penn Station in Manhattan takes just under 20 minutes. Driving into the city should give you an average commute time of about 40-45 minutes. 

The city of Newark has a lot going for it. It is home to two prestigious universities, Rutgers Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology. 

Newark also has a very prominent art scene. With both the Prudential Center and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJ PAC) located in Newark, residents can always find a performance to enjoy. 

It is also known for its rich and diverse history, with local landmarks including the Jewish Museum of New Jersey, the Newark Museum, and Thomas Edison National Historic Park. Furthermore, there are an abundance of old churches filled with history. 

Furthermore, Newark is known for its Ironbound district, which is a four square mile neighborhood that’s home to over 150 small restaurants. If expanding your palate and supporting small businesses are things you enjoy doing, Newark just might be your best bet. 

Hoboken

Hoboken is a small but bustling city that gives residents a variety of options for their commute into Manhattan.  

Hoboken has a PATH train station that makes commuting into Manhattan painless. Taking the train from Hoboken into 33rd Street will take just over 15 minutes. Also, with easy access to the Lincoln Tunnel, Hoboken residents can drive into the city in about 35-45 minutes during peak rush hour traffic. Another fantastic perk of living in Hoboken is its ferry, which can also take you into Manhattan in less than 10 minutes.

With an abundance of bars and clubs, the city has a reputation for its spirited nightlife. Between countless bars, the beautiful Pier 13, and Pier A Park, residents of Hoboken always have the opportunity to party. Hoboken is also home to the highly regarded Stevens Institute of Technology.

If you’re not into the party scene, you’ll still be able to find plenty to do in Hoboken. Its restaurant industry is booming, with new delicious spots opening up regularly. It is also home to the original Carlo’s Bakery from Cake Boss. The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway extends through Hoboken, so if you’re looking for a scenic route to exercise or just a casual stroll, you’ll be able to soak up unbeatable views. 

Between Hoboken’s vibrant nightlife and easy access to Manhattan, it is a dream destination for many commuters. If you’re looking to cut your longest commute time down considerably, consider moving to Hoboken.

West New York

It’s not New York City, but it’s pretty close. West New York, New Jersey is just north of Union City, so it has also become a prime location for commuters. 

West New York is another city that offers its residents multiple options when choosing their commute route into Manhattan. Since it is so close to the Weehawken, residents are just one quick ferry ride away from being in the Big Apple. 

You’ll also have the chance to take a bus into the city. The 128 Bus can get you from West New York to Port Authority Bus Terminal in roughly 30 minutes, meaning you can say goodbye to your longer commutes. Even in the worst rush hour traffic, commuting into Manhattan from West New York should not take longer than, at maximum, 45 minutes.  

With its diverse population and abundance of restaurants, West New York sometimes still feels like New York City, but the rents are considerably cheaper. The city doesn’t have too many nightlife options, but with its close proximity to Hoboken and Union City, you’ll have no issues making plans. 

New Jersey Towns

If the city life isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. New Jersey has plenty of towns with quick commute times into Manhattan and a variety of things to do when you’re not working!

Teaneck

Teaneck is a small and historic town in Bergen County, NJ with a lot to offer its residents. For example, Teaneck locals have multiple options to choose from when commuting to work in Midtown Manhattan. 

They have the option of taking the 167 or the 168 NJ Transit bus from Teaneck directly into Port Authority. Alternatively, they can also take one of the cheaper buses on Route 4 in Teaneck. These buses take riders into the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal. From there, riders can take the subway directly to their destination. 

During rush hour, you can expect a bus ride from Teaneck into Manhattan to take between 35-50 minutes, while you can aim for a similar time when driving yourself into the city in the morning. 

Also, due to Teaneck’s location in Northern Bergen County, residents also have the option to drive in. They can take either the George Washington Bridge or the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan. 

With so many options of how to get into New York City, Teaneck residents will have the ability to gauge the traffic patterns before they leave, so they can make sure they’re riding on the fastest option. 

Teaneck has a lot going for it, other than just its commuting options! In 1965, the town’s school district was the first in the nation with a white majority to voluntarily integrate. The town remains a thriving artistic and cultural hub for North Jersey. Home of Puffin Cultural Center and the Teaneck International Film Festival, residents will oftentimes find themselves surrounded by their town’s diverse culture. 

Additionally, Teaneck is home to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus. It’s also home to Overpeck County Park, where the Teaneck Creek Conservancy is. If you live in Teaneck, you’ll have lots of options on commuting and spending your free time!

Hackensack

Hackensack is another Bergen County town with a rich and vibrant history. 

With the bus terminal located in the center of traffic, commuting anywhere from Hackensack is easy. Even if you can’t make it to the terminal, that’s okay because a plethora of buses ride through the town, so you’ll always be able to hop on a bus heading to either Port Authority of GWB station. 

An NJ Transit train or bus ride from Hackensack into Midtown could take as little as 30 minutes! Similarly, if you choose to drive into Manhattan, you can get there from Hackensack in between 30-45 minutes, even during rush hour!

Hackensack is the capital of Bergen County, New Jersey, and is one of the most diverse towns in NJ. It’s home to all kinds of varied attractions, including the Ice House (home to dozens of Olympic athletes), Bowler City, the New Jersey Naval Museum, and the Shops at Riverside Square Mall. 

Secaucus

Located in Hudson County, Secaucus is another New Jersey small town that offers quick and painless commutes into New York City. The train station, Secaucus Junction, is located in the center of town. Here, residents can hop on a PATH train and arrive at Penn Station in just 15 minutes! 

During rush hour, a bus ride should take a little under 30 minutes when leaving from Secaucus, Those who choose to commute via car from Secaucus into Manhattan can expect to be in the city in roughly half an hour. 

That east commute from New Jersey to New York City might be enough on its own to make you want to move to Secaucus, but the town has a lot more to offer!

It is just across the Hackensack River from the new and already iconic American Dream mall. In addition to countless stores, this mall includes a ski rink, waterpark, and Nickelodeon theme park. Perfect for everyone from young children to adults, the American Dream mall can become one of your frequent stops if you live in Secaucus. 

Are you a fan of the New York Giants or the New York Jets? Because again, just across the Hackensack River is MetLife Stadium, home to both teams. While it, like American Dream, is technically in the town next to Secaucus, East Rutherford, it’s close enough that you would be able to take advantage of season passes! Also, right next to MetLife Stadium is the Meadowlands Racetrack, meaning Secaucus residents have plenty of options!

If sports aren’t your thing, you can still find lots to do in Secaucus. You could go catch a movie at Kerasotes ShowPlace 14 or you could shop locally at the Secaucus Street Fair! It’s no surprise why so many commuters are choosing to move into Secaucus; the town has so much going for it!

Paramus

Paramus is often referred to as the Shopping Mecca of New Jersey. It’s home to three malls, Paramus Park, The Outlets at Bergen Town Center, and Garden State Plaza, the biggest mall in New Jersey. Because of this, the town’s taxes are lower than adjacent New Jersey towns. 

If you’re thinking about commuting to New York City from Paramus New Jersey, it’s very easy and manageable. There are two direct bus routes; the 163 and the 171 buses travel directly into the Port Authority. When leaving during peak rush hour traffic, these bus lines should take roughly 50 minutes to reach the city, still making your commute under an hour! If you choose to drive in via car, you can expect the trip to take about 45-55 minutes during rush hour. 

Paramus residents can also travel to neighboring town Ridgewood to take the train into Hoboken transfer over to the PATH into lower Manhattan, with options to get off at the World Trade Center or Penn Station. 

When living in Paramus there’s lots to do. In addition to your abundance of shopping choices, there are countless restaurants, bars, and pubs to try. Paramus is home to Van Saun Park and Zoo as well as Besen, Reid, and Petruska Park. If you’re a history buff you can check out Paramus’ historic Easton Tower. If you’re looking to catch a movie, Paramus’s AMC Garden State 16 has plenty of options for you!

Bloomfield

Tucked away in Essex County is Bloomfield, New Jersey. From Monday through Friday, NJ Transit offers busses that go directly into the city. Residents can take a bus from Broad Avenue directly into Port Authority. They can also take The Montclair Boonton Line right into the city. These bus rides from Bloomfield into the city should take between 40-50 minutes, making Bloomfield another fantastic potential destination for commuters. When driving during rush hour, the commute into Manhattan should take just roughly 1 hour. 

On the weekends, the direct lines stop, but Bloomfield is only a short train ride into Hoboken, where riders can transfer to the PATH Train and get into Manhattan. 

There are plenty of county and state parks within the Bloomfield area, including the lovely Brookside Park. If you’re looking for an art museum, Bloomfield is home to the Westminster Art Center and The Museum of the Historical Society of Bloomfield. History buffs will find plenty of museums to occupy their free time in Bloomfield, as it also offers many “Washington Stopped Here” tours within its historical society. 

Bloomfield residents can get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City and enjoy the small, community aura while not having to deal with a difficult commute!

As you can see, there are plenty of places to live in New Jersey that will not cause your entire life to revolve around commuting in and out of Manhattan each day. The commutes are bearable and there is so much to do in the Garden State! For more information, check out our post Everything You Need to Know About Commuting into NYC.