101 GuidescityTravel

hoboken city guide

by Stephanie

Today’s Hoboken City Guide comes from Louise Gale, an artist, writer and creative entrepreneur living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Louise authors the blog Dream, Inspire, Create and the Big Dreams, Small Wonders e-course, a site that helps others “live their dreams out loud.” Louise is British born and after living in Australia and traveling to other continents, she finally decided to make the town of Hoboken home to her creative life. Today she shares with us the wonders that make up this hip town across the Hudson River from New York City! Thanks, Louise, for this wonderful guide! — Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!

Welcome to Hoboken. A vibrant New Jersey town just a hop, skip and jump over the river from Manhattan. Hoboken was made famous as the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, the filming location of the Marlon Brando movie On The Waterfront and the music venue “Maxwell’s” where Bruce Springsteen filmed the video for “Glory Days.”

Hoboken is also the town of many firsts, including inventions like freeze-dried coffee, bubble wrap and ice cream, as well as the first organized baseball game and the first brewery. It boasts the most bars and restaurants in one square mile of its town’s boundaries, and the indie/designer/art scene is on its way up due to many artists and musicians living here. It is also home of the infamous Cake Boss from the Lifetime show.

If you get the chance to leave the hustle and of bustle of NYC, take the PATH train or ferry to spend an afternoon browsing the local boutiques, sipping a drink and admiring the gorgeous view of Manhattan as you stroll along the tree-lined waterfront.

Here are just a handful of great places I would take you if you were to visit. Whether you are into vintage stores, signs, brownstone buildings or just want to discover a new town, Hoboken is a lovely place to visit year-round. Each section is sorted into Downtown/Uptown, so if time is limited, you can plan your visit accordingly. For a walking tour of all the historical sights, visit the Hoboken Historical Museum.


Vintage Downtown

O Mistress Mine — Vintage clothing and jewelry, established in 1969, is a treasure trove for designers, stylists, performers, students and collectors. 211 Bloomfield St. (between 2nd & 3rd Streets)

Hoboken Antiques — This is a small, intimate store with furniture, costume jewelry, silver platters and a wonderful selection of bone-china teacups and saucers painted with flowers. 511 Washington St (between 5th & 6th)

MackeyBlue — Fun one-of-a-kind vintage items. 1200 Washington St. Store #E. 12th St (between Washington & Bloomfield)

Home, Gifts and Stationery — Downtown

Luxe — A modern apothecary store that also carries a lovely range of handmade jewelry by American artists and designers. They are always very inventive with their window displays, so pop by to check it out. 158 First Street (between Bloomfield & Garden)

Guitar Bar — You can’t fail to notice the large picture of Frank Sinatra as you pass this store. Hosting a huge range of vintage and new guitars, basses, keyboards and other stringed instruments. Also offering lessons. 160 First Street. (between Bloomfield & Garden)

William Howard Home — Gorgeous small homeware gift store. 138 Park Ave (corner of 2nd street)

Zin Home — Specializing in distinctive furniture, hand-woven rugs from around the world, hand blown glass lamps and lanterns. 257 First Street. (between Park & Willow)

Yes I Do Invitations & Gifts — Some lovely handmade cards and Vera Bradley paper to die for. 312 Washington St. (between 3rd & 4th)

Symposia Bookstore — The only bookstore currently in Hoboken. You will find tables of vintage, bargain books outside and window displays that spark a smile. Check out the website for book clubs, poetry readings and lots of other great events. 510 Washington Street.

Home, Gifts and Stationery — Uptown

Baskets of Distinction — This store run by mom and daughter offers customized gift baskets filled with high-quality items, as well as balloons, cards, dolls and baby items. 1102 Washington Street.

Clothing, Kids & Maternity Boutiques — Downtown

Air Studios Boutique — The walls are lined with framed covers of Bazaar, and the high ceilings and vintage decor add to the feeling of luxury. Named “Best in Fashion Boutiques” by New Jersey Life magazine in 2009, you can find vintage and classic clothing, jewelry and accessories. 55 First Street. (between Hudson & Washington)

Bellie and Katrina — A boutique clothing store dedicated to moms and kids. You’ll find wonderfully chic maternity clothing to keep moms-to-be feeling hip, along with a line of young boys and girls clothing. 159 4th St (between Washington & Bloomfield)

KC Kids — Bills itself as the one and only children’s retail, resale and consignment boutique in Hoboken. 463 Fifth St, Hoboken (between Adams & Jefferson)

Jessie James — This store offers everything for professional women in the office, on a date and out at a party. The back wall is covered with cutouts from poetry books; a funky chandelier throws soft lighting into the mix. 503 Washington Street

Beau Brummel — A trendy men’s store. This one’s for the boys! 504 Washington Street

Bella Ro — You can find lots of clothes in unique, colorful patterns here. The building alone is worth a visit with its theatre style façade, and balconies. 521 Washington Street (between 5th & 6th)

Clothing, Kids & Maternity Boutiques — Uptown

Ciao Belly — Boutique featuring affordable, hip maternity wear, fashionable children’s duds, and plenty of unique gifts and accessories. 730 Washington St. (between 7th & 8th)

Homeslice Décor — Love checking out the displays in this store that has a funky eclectic collection of clothing, shoes, purses, design objects, home decorations and jewelry. 1030 Washington Street (between 10th & 11th)

Food & Drink — Downtown

Scotland Yard — With vintage signs and an old English Red Telephone box outside, you cant miss this place with its live “jam” sessions and funky blues music. 72 Hudson Street

Clam Broth House — Originally founded in 1899 and re-established in 2010, the Clam Broth House is open once again as Hoboken’s most iconic destination. Check out the cool sign on the roof. 36-42 Newark Street. (between Hudson & Washington)

Bagel Smashery — For a different way to have your bagel, the smashery will “smash” it for you. Expect lines of hungover people craving carbs on a Sunday morning. 153 First Street (between Bloomfield & Garden)

Northern Soul — Rotates art on the walls from local NJ artists every month. 557 First Street (between Madison & Monroe)

La Isla — A family-owned 50s luncheonette-style Cuban restaurant. You will often find a line every weekend during brunch hours. Amazing mouthwatering menu. BYOB. 104 Washington (between 1st & 2nd)

Brass Rail — A fusion of old charm and modern chic, also offering an amazing prix fix menu all week. 135 Washington Street (corner of 2nd)

Arthur’s Tavern — Old fashioned burgers and steaks at this traditional neighborhood tavern. 237 Washington Street (between 2nd and 3rd)

The Chandelier Room at the W Hotel — Take your date here for colorful cocktails and a great view of the Manhattan skyline. 255 River Street (between 2nd & 3rd)

Cucharamama — Artisanal South American cooking. You will be blown away by the freestanding wood-burning oven in the centre of the space, the caipirinhas and oversized vibrant art on the wall. 233 Clinton Street (corner of 3rd street)

Trinity — Waterfront hangout. Great menu and good bar for sports and mingling. They host a quiz every Tuesday and there are some good views of Manhattan from the bar area. 306 Sinatra Drive (between 3rd & 4th)

The Quays — Wonderful Irish/American fused menu at this nautical-inspired restaurant overlooking the water and Manhattan. 310 Sinatra Drive (between 3rd & 4th)

3Forty Grill — Another stunning waterfront venue, with a fabulous menu. Well-known for its seafood and raw bar selection. They do a great prix fix brunch deal on the weekend. 340 Sinatra Drive (between 3rd & 4th)

Hoboken Gourmet Company — Cool spot for lunch or brunch. Pop in to sample the homemade quiche and view the photography on the walls. 423 Washington Street (between 4th & 5th)

Court Street — One of Hoboken’s oldest family-owned restaurants; they offer warm, local, friendly service, lobster fest on Wednesday nights year-round and legendary private wine-tasting events. 61 Sixth Street (between Hudson & Washington)

Food & Drink —Uptown

Amanda’s — You feel like you are in a friend’s dining room or library here with the quaint décor and friendly staff. They do a great early bird prix fix meal. 908 Washington Street (between 9th & 10th)

Maxwell’s — The original music venue to present local and touring indie-rock bands before they hit it big. They have an intimate show space in the back of the restaurant area. A must-go for live music in Hoboken. Springsteen filmed his video for “Glory Days” here. Try the extensive tasty Americana menu before seeing the show. 1039 Washington Street (corner of 11th). Cross over the street to see the baseball monument and metal bases on each corner of the streets at Washington & 11th.

Anthony David’s — A yummy gourmet food market and restaurant. BYOB and enjoy the amazing menu. One to save for a special occasion. 111 Tenth Street (@Bloomfield St.)

Elysian Café — Offers a French bistro-style menu. It’s the oldest continually operated bar/restaurant in Hoboken. Opened originally as Dillenger & Jeffson’s in 1895, it continued through prohibition as an ice cream parlor and as a hair salon. 1001 Tenth Street (corner of Washington)

Dino and Harry’s Steakhouse — Vintage details such as the 150-year-old clock, stained glass windows, the tiled floor, live piano, and an endless oak bar make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Also used to film scenes in the movies On The Waterfront and City Hall. 163 Fourteenth Street (corner of Park Ave)

Carpe Diem — A great local bar to meet friendly people. “Hello Stranger, Goodbye Friend” is their motto. They have a warming fireplace and the walls were hand-painted/sculpted by local sculpture artist Maximilian Pelzmann. 1405 Grand Street (corner of 14th St.)

For more bars and restaurants, visit eatdrinkHoboken.com.

Coffee, Cupcakes and Chocolate — Downtown

Carlo’s Bakery — The home of the infamous Cake Boss, shown on the Lifetime Channel. Get there early on weekends and holidays. 95 Washington Street (between Newark & First)

Pauline’s Chocolates — Everything imaginable covered in chocolate! Peanuts, pretzels, marshmallows — even potato chips — covered in light, dark, medium, or whatever type of chocolate. 207 Jefferson Street (between 2nd & 3rd)

Empire Coffee & Tea — There’s a buzz of hipsters and creatives hovering around this corner shop as well as a constant stream of artists, musicians, day-jobbers, freelancers, web designers and bankers sipping cups o’ Joe. 338 Bloomfield Street

The Candy Shoppe — Puts huge smiles on a child’s face while bringing adults back to their youth. 59 Fourth Street (between Hudson & Washington)

Sweet — Mouth-watering mini- and regular-sized cupcakes. Also serves other sweet things and great coffee. Check out the wonderful tree illustration on the back wall. 343 Garden Street (between 3rd & 4th)

Crumbs — Cupcakes galore and a super little café to sit in and watch the world go by. 409 Washington Street (between 4th & 5th)

Maroon — Try their bubble tea, mangle and green tea. Also provides some yummy breakfast rolls if you are on the run. 638 Willow Ave (corner of 7th)

Art, Craft Supplies & Galleries

Paul Vincent Studios — Photography studio and local art gallery. Set on attracting and featuring artists in Hoboken and Jersey City, this gallery hosts some of the best, funkiest parties in Hoboken. 49 Harrison Street (between Newark and Observer Highway)

Neumann Leather Building — Home to a wide range of artists and their studios. 300 Observer Highway

Patricia’s Yarns — This shop has a wide selection of specialty yarns, pattern books and classes for beginners and advanced knitters. 107 Fourth Street (between Washington & Bloomfield)

M. Avery Designs — Also home of the Hoboken Handmade Collective. If you love fabric, this is the place to visit. They also host classes and socials and offer open studios for use of their sewing machines. All items in the store are handmade and gorgeous. 266, 7th Street (at the corner of Willow Ave.)

Monroe Centre for the Arts — Five floors of artists’ studios, music, theatre and much more. Check out Open Studio Tours and the list of businesses to visit. 720 Monroe Street (between 7th & 8th)

The Crop Shop — This scrapbooking boutique has an extensive range of papers, products and cool scrapbooking supplies. Classes and scrapbooking socials are also held on a regular basis. Studio E504, Monroe Arts Centre, 720 Monroe Street (between 7th & 8th)

Bama Gallery — Showing work from local artists. 946 Bloomfield Street (corner of 10th)

Rotating Galleries — Hosting rotating works of art on a monthly basis and showing in empty storefronts, this venture seeks to get local artists more exposure, showing approximately 30 on each rotation. Currently at 1317 Willow Ave. 2nd Floor (between 13th & 14th)

Hoboken Historical Museum — Visit the museum for some educational exhibitions of the local area. There is also a mezzanine level where a different artist exhibits each month. They also offer talks, performances and other great events to learn about the Hoboken area. 1301 Hudson Street (between 13th & 14th)

Galerie Attienette — By appointment only. This gallery has a wide range of highly acclaimed exhibits. 2 Fourteenth Street, Suite 805

Places to Stay

W Hotel — Swanky hotel on Hoboken waterfront, recently opened in 2009. This is the only hotel in Hoboken’s square mile. 225 River Street (corner of 3rd street)

Nearby hotels can be found in Weehawken and Jersey City.

Suggested For You


  • Oh, I lived in Hoboken for 2.5 years and just moved to Baltimore two weeks ago. I already miss Hoboken… of course you would post this now. It’s a great place to bike, walk, it’s so close to the city (takes me less time to get into Manhattan than my friends in Brooklyn), and I always felt safe. It’s such a great place to live… even if it IS in NJ :-) Although, if I eventually move back to the NYC area, I’m moving to Jersey City (the nice part) because it’s cheaper (Hoboken is very expensive) and is slowly becoming a very cool place.

  • home sweet home! I lived in Manhattan for 7 years and I haven’t looked back since moving to Hoboken. I love it here!
    A few things to update, though. Maxwell’s (the vintage store) isn’t at that location anymore.. the owner just moved it into her brownstone actually 508 court street, and they’re not open until the 15th. definitely check it out when they’re open, it’s a great place and deb (the owner) is wonderful.

    beau brummel, the men’s store is going out of business soon, and not enough justice was done for william howard home! i LOVE that store!!

  • Already see here that some of the information is incorrect, and more than half of the links here are broken. ALSO you cannot drive into Hoboken without seeing signs for the Cake Boss. Yet, no fact checking here as the show is on TLC, and there has been a lot of recent online publicity about this as Buddy just got a third show…NOT Lifetime. This post is not up to Design Sponge’s usual standards.

    • Jackie

      I’ll check on those links- we test them before going live but sometimes a few slip through the crack. I’ll correct the TLC error as well- but I hope the fact that the incorrect “Cake Boss” channel was listed didn’t taint the entire guide for you.


  • A nice little guide to the amenities of Hoboken, one of our favorite towns. We don’t know about the broken or outdated links, but it would be nice to have a link to the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce (which presumably would feature updated, functional links to these businesses). Be that as it may, this article is still useful as a walking around guide, and for that…..many thanks!

    It’s nice to see Symposia Bookstore mentioned — it’s one of our favorite Hoboken stops.

  • I love this guide! I’m surprised that The Little Grocery wasn’t mentioned though – a truly delicious french cafe on Jefferson and 2nd. Off the beaten path but definitely worth the trip!

  • Hoboken used to be a place the mob would dump bodies. It was a grimy scary place to live, or even drive through. Now? What a revamp! It’s really undergone a major transformation over the past 15 years or so. Most everything is within walking distance. But i agree, take NJT or the PATH to get around. You can’t park on certain streets without a permit, and spots w/o permits? Good luck. The only bad thing to the revitalization, is it drove the rent sky high and shut down a lot of the old neighborhood stores & restaurants. Unless you make a nice salary, or don’t mind splitting the rent with 4-5 other people, it’s really not an affordable place to live. Except if you’re one of the lucky ones who live in rent controlled apartments near the high school. But it’s become a bustling yet charming mile long city. FYI: beware of buying/renting apartments near River St. or Washington. The weekend nightlife is quite live, loud, and can get a bit “jersey shore-ish.” (especially with Stevens Institute of Technology overlooking the area). Yes, the art scene is cool, summertime festivals are definitely somethings to look forward to.

  • I can’t believe our great mozzarella (aka mutz) was not mentioned. Fantastic sandwiches can be found at Vito’s, Fiore’s and 6th & Park. The mutz at Fiore’s is my favorite!

  • I am totally seconding what Natasha posted (she beat me to the mutz :-) and was going to add Italian bread, too. Nothing like some so-fresh-it’s-still-warm mozzarella from Fiore’s House of Quality on a loaf of bread from Antique’s or Dom’s.

    Awesome job on the guide, Louise! You’ve town our Gold Coast town proud.

  • Woo hoo, Hoboken is the best! Thanks Design Sponge for posting about us!

    Nice to hear from a fellow Hoboken blogger. Kudos to Louise for a great list. Some of my favorites made it (Mackey Blue, Megan Avery, Empire, Anthony Davids) but yes, the Mutz needs a listing too!

  • You forgot Dame’s Coffee on first street! The best espresso in town, and they do lovely patterns in the foam. The ladies who own it are sweet, and sell very nice scones from Balthazar. It’s my treat when I do laundry!

  • Hi guys. Love the list, although it’s a crying shame that Dames Coffee Espresso Bar, at 305 1st Street, is not on your coffee list. As a food writer who travels between Hoboken and Australia and who knows a good latte, I can confidently say it’s the only place in Hoboken that can make a decent coffee. It really should be in your guide.

  • My Great Grandmother owned and ran a restaurant in Hoboken for many years called the Betty Lu. I’m not sure where exactly it was or what is there now.. it must have closed in the 50’s. I still use the Fiestaware everyday. My cousins also have some of the original pieces of the barware. Hoboken has been a huge part of my family history… thanks for keeping it alive for us.

  • This was a lovely trip down memory lane Louise… I lived
    in Hoboken for 6 months when I was 21. I remember there being a
    dangerously good pizza slice available directly off the PATH train.
    I now plan to visit again when next in NYC after reading your great
    suggestions. Thanks!

  • Hi everyone, thank you so much for your thoughtful and constructive comments and to Grace and Stephanie for publishing this guide. I had alot of fun and challenges putting this together and soooo sorry I left out Dames, Fiores & Mutz :-( I also just found out that Lapore’s Chocolates just re-opened in a new location too! (105 4th street) Things around here change so fast – a new German bakery is due to open soon on Washington also! Thanks for the link to the Chamber of Commerce too. @Jackie – so sorry for the Cake Boss faux pas. The TV show is one of the main reasons people find themselves visiting these days, but there are so many fabulous sights to see that I hope you found useful in this guide. Thanks to all for the additions – so helpful for others reading and looking to visit this fabulous place. Xx

  • I’m glad you got around to Lepore’s Chocolate’s, a heavenly
    thirty year old chocolate maker that has fans around the world. The
    Carlo’s people are great (Is that a misuse of infamous?) try the
    strawberry shortcake – light and fresh! Uptown, Giorgio’s Bakery is
    classic Italian. Did I miss Aaraa? A lovely place for gifts,
    jewelry and items from India. They just moved off Washington St
    because of the rent, but they are still around. As far Hoboken
    becoming nice, I’ve been here thirty years and while it still has
    charm, I have to say I loved it more as an ungentrified sleepy
    town. Now it is over-developed with tall buildings and crowds, and
    everyone looks the same and is the same age. I wonder if it breaks
    a record for real estate businesses per square mile. It’s still
    convenient though, and the view of NYC is still the best.

  • I agree with Dina! as a 25 plus year resident, I liked it
    better back in the day – it struck me so funny that the writer
    mentioned in the intro that the indie/artist scene is on the
    upswing due to all the artists and musicians living here – I find
    just the opposite! In the early 80s all of the artists being forced
    out of nyc moved to either hoboken or brooklyn and there were
    numerous musicians, small art galleries and a great scene – as the
    real estate became valuable they were pushed on out – most of my
    artist/musician friends from those days had to leave – but some
    remain! Its still a great town – thanks for the guide – and I have
    to add that Lepores chocolates new location is right next door to
    Patricia’s yarns….chocolate and yarn…..a more perfect day? I
    think not!

  • I first heard about Hoboken when reading Dorothy Day’s
    memoir “The Long Loneliness.” (She was the founder of The Catholic
    Worker, a radical group which serves the homeless and poor in
    Manhattan.) Something about her description touched me and I
    remember saying to myself: “Someday I will live in Hoboken.” Sure
    enough, a few years later I met a man from India who was studying
    at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. We married in 1979
    and lived at 600 River Street for one of the most wonderful years
    of my life. I LOVED that city. When my husband arrived there from
    Mumbai in 1968, he was appalled by its poverty and lack of any
    cultural life at all. By the time I joined him in 79, the changes
    were already afoot. And now, of course, we all know how this
    once-depressed city has been discovered, transformed and renewed. I
    just feel a little sad that so many of its own residents must feel
    out-of-place now in their home. Surely gentrification doesn’t need
    to mean that the natives are no longer welcome??? I live in India
    (since 1981), but part of my heart will always remain in Hoboken.
    Thanks for this lovely post.

  • Hi louise, here in the uk i find myself so envious that you have such a wonderful place to live , i certainly will be printing all this great info to keep for when i do visit the U S. Keep up the good work and lots of love . PS your mum sent this to me xxx

  • My husband and I just moved back to Austin (our hometown) after living in Hoboken for 3 years. We called it our refuge from the city. It’s such an interesting mix of people–old Italians who gather outside “social clubs” all day and actually speak Italian, young city commuters, college students (at Stevens Tech), and so many pregnant women and babies you wouldn’t believe it.

    My personal favorite restaurant is Amanda’s–every single thing I ordered there was fantastic. It’s a perfect intimate, romantic date spot. I miss it!

    One thing that wasn’t mentioned: A couple years ago, Hoboken was named the #1 city for singles (above NYC!). I’m sure there are still some singles around… The bar scene is HOPPING on the weekends–which seem to include Thursdays, too!

    Also, some of the BEST pizza I’ve ever had is in Hoboken: Delfino’s, a Hoboken native’s hangout where everyone knows everyone–the atmosphere is better than the pizza (5th St @ Jefferson St); and Grimaldi’s, with the best cheese ever (2nd St @ Clinton St).

    And if you’re going to Sweet for a cupcake or Empire Coffee & Tea, take your treats across the street to Church Square Park–it’s adorable, overflowing with cute kids, and a great place to spend a morning or afternoon.

  • Great article. However, the buildings behind the clock tower are all in Jersey City – I used to live in one of them.

  • You made Hoboken sound way better than it actually is! That’s a compliment, honestly. ;) There are some great things about Hoboken, which, sadly, do not outweigh all the annoying things, but still, there are some great things and most of them are listed in this guide. The cake boss bakery is not one of those places. Anyone who has ever tasted their baked goods would wonder who they paid off to get on that show.

  • Great to see Hoboken featured on this blog. Im a small business owner in town and i feel all the family owned shops are part of Hoboken’s charm. I must say, I dont find many things annoying about Hoboken, and surely Cake Boss doesnt effect my opinion. If you have identification with a Hoboken address, you get to skip the line ;) They are huge when in comes to welcoming the locals. Thanks for the great post!

  • I am aghast I didn’t see anything about Benny Tudinos’ Pizzeria – home of the stunningly delicious, not to mention – elephant ear sized pizza – right near the path train! Synonymous with Hoboken for me…

  • A new directory may be in order for this neat little city. Many of the businesses have changed since this directory was published.

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