travel

My Hoboken Favorites

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for things to do and where to eat in Hoboken. I would consider myself the farthest from a Hoboken expert. Having lived here for a year though, I’ve discovered some of my favorites spots. I also live more downtown in Hoboken, so my go-to spots are mostly there. Although, I do venture uptown for one reason or another on occasion.

So… just to reiterate, this is not a comprehensive Hoboken list, just my very favorite places! If you’re looking for very detailed Hoboken guides and resources, Hoboken Girl is my go-to. I read it every morning and stay on top of all local announcements and updates through them. (Like supposedly Shake Shack is coming….. 😱)

Shopping

SHOPPING:

Hoboken’s list of big brand retailers has grown so much even since I moved here. There’s an Anthro, Athleta, DryBar, Sephora, Warby Parker, etc. I obviously frequent those places but will keep the list of shopping to local Hoboken places.

The General Store: this is the cutest gift shop. I think it’s the best selection of housewarming gifts, baby shower gifts, cards, and more. The upcharge can be a little steep and usually, I don’t mind paying more for something at a “local” store, but just keep this in mind if you’re on a budget. Sometimes the convenience alone is worth the higher price just to have something perfect in hand without having to ship it or head into the city.

Hudson Paperie: I pop in here for smaller more event-based gifts and gift wrapping. The inventory is very curated and adorable. Lots of “Hoboken” specific items too.

Flowers: There are no shortages of flowers in Hoboken. There are a few florists and even a gorgeous flower shop on 1st street that seems straight out of a movie (SOHO Flower & Garden). My favorite spot for flowers though is a bodega on Washington between 8th and 9th called BB Gourmet. The selection is amazing and always overflowing. Pop into the bodega for even more– they keep some inside out of the sun!

Little City Books: I love all bookstores, but especially picturesque ones on the corner of a city block. This is where I buy a lot of my books and I get a ton of ideas for reads from their recommendations. There’s also an adorable children’s annex in the back where I buy a ton of baby/kids gifts.

Coffee Shops in Hoboken

COFFEE:

I love a good coffee shop. Especially now since I’ve stopped getting disposable coffee cups, I cherish an afternoon where I can spend 20 minutes enjoying a cup of coffee in a cafe or a leisurely weekend morning sipping and reading.

Choc O Pain: There are two Choc O Pain locations. I frequent the downtown the location the most and there’s also one uptown. The uptown cafe is beautiful with large floor to ceiling windows. If you’re going to get the perfect Insta of your latte, head uptown. If you want a cozier vibe, downtown is your friend. I love the upstairs of Choc O Pain. It’s not the prettiest but it feels like a home away from home. There are tons of toys for kids to play with so it has a super family friendly atmosphere and there’s always a good mix of people there. The coffee is great and their pastry selection is out of this world.

Jefferson Coffee: I mostly only frequent Choc O Pain, but if I’m in the mood to mix it up, I’ll go to Jefferson Coffee. In midtown, it’s also a good spot to meet a friend “in the middle.” They have delicious doughnuts and make a mean latte. I love sitting in the back and overlooking the secret garden-esque backyard.

Empire Coffee: This is my “neighborhood” coffee shop. I make coffee at home in the morning (well Mike does for me because he leaves for work super early ha), but if it’s going to be a big day, I’ll pop over to Empire to fill up a big travel mug with coffee. I don’t love their espresso-based drinks, but people rave about their flavored ice coffees if that’s of interest to you. This is also where I buy my whole beans from! They have a huge selection of beans so I typically try a new one every time I go in.

Hoboken Restaurants

RESTAURANTS:

So. Many. Restaurants. I’m always blown away by just how many restaurants there. And it seems like new ones are always coming in. Of course, as a creature of habit though, I end up going to the same favorites over and over again.

Anthony David’s: This is my favorite restaurant for dinner in Hoboken. Actually, it’s so good that I think it rivals NYC restaurants. It has such a nice, cozy ambiance. They used to only be BYOB and not take reservations, but last time I checked they serve a limited number of wines (you can still bring your own though) and take reservations through Resy. It’s worth the wait though. I don’t love their brunch (and I’m in the minority here), but the dinner is to die for. They serve Italian dishes and literally you could put a blindfold on and put your finger down on the menu and be happy with what you pick. I either get the ragu or one of the daily fish or pasta specials.

Bin 14: Bin14 is in the same restaurant group and is my next favorite restaurant. Mike and I have gone a bunch but it’s my go-to place to meet up with girlfriends. It’s technically a wine bar and also has a cozy vibe. I love to sit out back, even in the winter because they have heaters out there. Get. The. Bolognese. It’s divine. My girlfriends and I usually get a few things to split and share (truffle fries, meat/cheese board, calamari, pizza, etc.).

Onieals: This is like a neighborhood bar with a comfortable dining room in the back. There’s always a crowd. The menu is pretty big and not everything is 5-stars, but the burgers? They nail the burgers. The All-American is my favorite burger, of all time. It’s literally a 10/10 every single time we go and the fries are cooked to perfection.

Quality Greens: I thought this was a chain but apparently it’s unique to Hoboken! It’s THE BEST. I can’t believe it’s not in every major city (or on every block of NYC). It could absolutely be the next SweetGreen. It’s very casual (we get it to go 95% of the time) and it’s kind of like any other salad joint… just with really great food. The chef’s platters are my go-to. You pick rice, quinoa, or greens and then your choice of meat and two vegetables. I get Quality Greens more often than I care to admit.

Johnny Pepperoni: Favorite pizza in Hoboken (or NYC for that matter) is a very personal thing. People, I’ve learned, are passionate about their favorites. I love Johnny Pepperoni though! They have a super cute outdoor dining area (on the corner of the prettiest block with strung lights– straight out of a movie!) but they also deliver.

Bluestone Lane: While Bluestone Lane has multiple locations around the country, I couldn’t leave it off the list of my Hoboken favorites. I go here all the time. It’s best to go on “off hours” if possible because it can get super crowded, especially on a weekend. I try to time it where I miss the early morning stroller brigade and the early afternoon hangover crowd. 😂 Very specific, but if you’ve ever been there on a Sunday you know what I mean!!

Tosti: If you’re craving sort of healthy but sort of guilty breakfast items (oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, etc.), pop into Tosti. It’s one of the friendlier-feeling breakfast spots. Great for everyone.

Seven Valleys: This is a relatively new restaurant on Washington Street. It’s super tiny with only a handful of tables but the mood is just right. Maddie and I tried it right when it opened and we were both obsessed. It’s Persian and so, so good. We ordered the sholezard (rice pudding) for dessert and I’m still dreaming of it.

Halifax: Halifax is the restaurant underneath the W Hotel. While it feels a little corporate, it’s such a great spot for dinner or brunch. (Although in full disclosure I’ve never had the brunch myself.) It’s right on the water. What’s better than being in the city for dinner? Having the entire NYC skyline as your view!! My only complaint about Halifax is that I typically end up eating way too much– everything on the menu is great. No matter what you end up eating, definitely get the lemon meringue cake. It was the best dessert I’ve had in my entire life.

La Isla: I was spoiled growing up in Tampa with the Cuban food! I love a good Cuban sandwich and (good) cafe con leche is one of my ultimate weaknesses. La Isla totally scratches my itch for Cuban food. I always get the Cuban sandwich and taste whatever Mike orders. Everything has been a home run.

Grand Vin: Grand Vin is one of those restaurants that work for a million occasions. Dates, double dates, meals with family, drinks with colleagues, brunch with girlfriends, etc. There is usually live music and the ambiance is rustic and very well done. I do recommend making a reservation because it can get super crowded. I LOVE the skirt steak with chimichurri!!!

Antique Bar & Bakery: I think this is such a unique spot in Hoboken. It looks unassuming from the outside but it’s very good. It has one of the oldest ovens (it’s a 30 ton coal oven!!!) and apparently Sinatra loved the bread made it in so much that he’d have it shipped in. I’ve only been for breakfast/brunch and it doesn’t disappoint. They have big tables too so it’s a nice spot to go when you have a bigger group.

Things to Do Hoboken

THINGS TO DO:

Just sharing some other Hoboken favorites that didn’t fit into the above categories!

Hudson Table: I took one of their cooking classes this winter and loved it. I’m a tough critic when it comes to cooking classes (because I usually find them gimmicky and boring). This was the best I’ve ever done and would honestly be worth coming over from Manhattan to attend one. It was a blast, I actually learned some things, we had tons of incredible food, and the staff was SO HELPFUL.

Moonlight Spa: One of my favorite guilty pleasures it to get massages. I go fairly frequently. It’s not the fanciest spa, but it’s affordable and effective. I do the one hour massage for $45 and tip $10 and it’s seriously better than a massage at a spa where you might pay two or three times that. They take walk-ins, but I always call I leave my apartment just to make sure there’s an open table. It’s fuss-free so if you’re expecting like heated blankets and robes, go somewhere else, but if you’re looking for a really good massage and don’t need something fancy, this is your place.

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9 Comments

Samantha Findlay

This has come at the perfect time, as I am attending a wedding in Hoboken in two weeks, and have been looking for things to do while we are there. Thank you!

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Kate

This is great, Carly! I live in Philly and have been looking to venture out and explore new nearby cities and can’t wait to check some of these out. What is parking like in Hoboken?

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carly

It’s kind of a nightmare, but if you park on a white sign side (green side is residents only), they say you can park for four hours but they actually don’t ticket. You’re probably safe rolling the dice on that. otherwise, there are parking garages!

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Marisol

Have you tried the pizza at Benny Tudino’s? I think that’s what it’s called… it’s the place with the largest slice in NJ. And was hoping to see my fave…Grimaldi’s. I love Hoboken. Love walking down Washington and the waterfront and seeing a movie at the theater. Also, the little market next to Carlo’s Bakery has great flowers as well.

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Katie Sullivan

LOLA’S!! It’s the best spanish food around! you truly feel like you are transported to Spain there

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