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What Is New Jersey Known for and Famous For?

New Jersey has a rich history and offers many features that give its local population a lot to be proud of. It has always been a popular destination for immigrants, contributing a lot to its great diversity and cultural heritage. New Jersey also boasts beautiful shorelines and luxury resorts, but there are even more attractions to draw the crowds.

New Jersey is known and famous for its beautiful beaches, wealth, great education system, and busy roads. It’s also known for being a great melting pot, where many different cultures have met and mingled, and being a place with an amazing local cuisine that caters to many different tastes. 

Let’s look at what exactly makes New Jersey unique and its most significant cultural and historical landmarks. We’ll look at the most important sights, the food, and some other traits that make the state what it is. 

Busy Expressway

New Jersey has an excellent system of roads and railways that can get you pretty much anywhere. The state is equipped with the densest network of roads, highways, and railways in the nation, and getting to Philadelphia and Manhattan is quick and easy. 

However, New Jersey roads can get exquisitely busy. The state is the tenth worst state when it comes to rush hour traffic, and it’s widely seen as one of the worst states for drivers. This congestion is primarily due to its dense population and many people commuting into New York.

Tolls

Driving in New Jersey usually doesn’t come cheap due to the tolls, which can range widely but can come up to $13. USA Today reports that New Jersey pays about 20% of all tolls in the US, which is quite stunning for such a small country. 

If you’re planning a trip there, you might want to set aside some extra cash for the tolls. They even went up last year, making it even more expensive.  

Traffic

New Jersey is well known for having very dense and congested traffic and drivers with a less than sterling reputation. This reputation comes as no surprise since the state is very densely populated, so it follows that there will be many drivers rushing to get to places.

In fact, even during lockdown, its roads were heavily congested, which is the opposite of what happened during the period. 

New Jersey is actually the third-safest state for drivers despite its bad reputation. So It seems that its reputation for having bad drivers may not be one hundred percent accurate.

  

Beautiful Beaches

As Jersey Shore may have made you believe, New Jersey is a great place to swim, surf, and bathe in the sun. It is full of beautiful beaches and resorts that can fulfill your needs and make you feel like a king. 

Cape May, Avalon, and Ocean Grove are some of the most recognizable and exquisite beaches. You can also visit “America’s Greatest Family Resort” in Ocean City. 

One thing is sure; New Jersey is an excellent choice for holiday-goers of all kinds. Whether you’re a party animal or a family person, New Jersey’s got you covered. 

Diverse Culture

New Jersey has always been a place of tolerance and great diversity. It has always been a sought-after destination for immigrants, which has led to many different cultures coexisting and coming together. 

This trend continues nowadays, and New Jersey’s diversity has increased even more since 2009. What’s more, Jersey City is the most ethnically diverse city, according to a WalletHub study. It is also the top city in the number of languages spoken. 

The state generally ranks high in cultural, racial, linguistic, and ethnic differences, making it a true melting pot. It even surpasses some greater cities and states, such as New York. 

Italian Population

It’s impossible to talk about cultural diversity in New Jersey without mentioning its large Italian population. Considering the number of people who claim Italian ancestry, it is the most Italian state in the US. 

A total of 1.45 million New Jersey residents are of Italian ancestry. This demographic is quite large compared to its total population of almost 9 million. 

Some cities are even more Italian than that, with about 50% Italian-American population. The city of Fairfield is the leader here, with a thin majority of 50.3% of Italian-American residents. 

Interestingly, the number of Italian-Americans has been increasing in recent years. It seems that New Jersey is a driving force behind this, with its thriving Italian-American population.

Sports

New Jersey hosts major league soccer, football, hockey, and minor league baseball. It has a die-hard fan base and a pretty intense culture built around sports.  

The central hub for soccer in the state is the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, home to the New York Red Bulls. It is possibly the best soccer stadium in the country and one of the best globally, with some pretty intense matches. 

When it comes to football, New Jersey is home to both the New York Jets and the New York Giants, who play at the Metlife stadium in Rutherford. The energy and the atmosphere created at the stadium are practically unmatchable.

The New Jersey Devils are probably the state’s biggest sports attraction. They have a dedicated and passionate fan base that closely follows the team and creates a spectacular atmosphere at their games at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Jersey Pride

The culturally diverse New Jersey community makes the population more open-minded to issues such as sexual preference. This open-mindedness is evident in the fact that New Jersey is one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the country, and it boasts many different pride activities all around the state. There are also many LGBT-friendly or LGBT-owned establishments.

Close to New York City

New Jersey is right next to the state of New York and New York City. As we know, Living in New York is a dream for many people. It offers many different opportunities for work, business, culture, and entertainment. Still, its exorbitant prices make it very difficult for the average person to live there.

A good choice might be living in a New Jersey city close to New York City. Doing this will allow you to get many benefits of NYC (you’ll still have to commute, of course) while saving some money. Some of the top NJ cities for this are:

  • West New York
  • Edison
  • Edgewater
  • North Bergen
  • Weehawken
  • Secaucus

New Jersey Is Famous for the Following Foods

Pork Roll

Pork roll, or Taylor ham (depending on whether you’re in North or South Jersey), is a type of processed meat popular in New Jersey and the neighboring states. It is usually cut into slices and then fried, seared, or grilled. It’s a common ingredient of breakfast sandwiches and is often coupled with eggs and cheese. 

Italian Hot Dogs

 An Italian hot dog is typically deep-fried and then served in an Italian roll or pizza bread, topped with bell peppers, onions, and potatoes. It’s a mouthwatering delicacy that’s a must-try for everyone who visits NJ.

Salt Water Taffy

Salt water taffy is another unique local treat. Salt water taffy is a type of taffy first created in Atlantic City by candy maker David Bradley. According to an anecdote, his shop was flooded by seawater, and all his taffy was soaked in it. 

He jokingly offered to sell some to a girl who had come into the shop, which she accepted and liked the product. However, there is no salt water in the salt water taffy. Most recipes call for salt and water, but it actually tastes sweet and is a rather nice treat.

Tomato Pie

The New Jersey tomato pie is another local twist on traditional Italian food. The pie is even closer to pizza than traditional tomato pie, as it’s thinner and circular and often topped with cheese, among other things. It’s part of the classic New Jersey Italian-American culinary experience, and it’s highly advisable to give it a try. 

Jersey Hoagies

As you’ve probably noticed, New Jerseyans love their food; and one of the most popular food items is the hoagie, a.k.a., a sandwich. You can find many different sandwich places in the state and some of the most popular ones are Italian-style hoagies with cold cuts of meat and fresh vegetables.

Rippers

Rippers are another hot dog variation popular in the Garden State. For this type of hot dog, they use sausages like frankfurters, with harder casings that tend to crack or rip (hence the name) in the hot oil. They’re topped with some relish and served with a side of onion rings or fries. 

Texas Wiener

Despite the name, Texas Wieners is another native New Jersey product from the city of Paterson. They were first served by an “old Greek gentleman” who served hot dogs with various spicy sauces. 

One of those sauces was a Greek-inspired spicy sauce with tomatoes and meat, which went well with the dogs. Unfortunately, his name and the reasons for calling the hot dog Texas wieners are not documented, but the dish still remains very popular and must be given a try. 

Disco Fries

Disco fries are fantastic comfort food, similar to Canadian poutine. The fries got their name as it was the ultimate dish after a heavy night in the 70s disco scene.

The dish consists of fries bathed in homemade gravy and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. This creates a rich, decadent combination that scratches every itch for fatty food pleasures. 

Fat Sandwich 

New Jersey has a passion for sandwiches and fatty foods, so a fat sandwich is no surprise. A fat sandwich typically contains mozzarella sticks, fries, gyro meat, chicken fingers, and everything is stuffed into a bun for an ultimate hunger buster or hangover cure. Be warned; things could get messy!

Sloppy Joe

In New Jersey, a sloppy joe might not be what you’re used to eating. In the North of the state, a sloppy joe is a sandwich made of thin slices of rye bread with various deli meats, such as pastrami, ham, and beef tongue. The Joe gets even more decadent with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. 

Beefsteak

While beefsteak is not exclusive to New Jersey, it’s still very popular and well-loved in the state. The New Jersey-style beefsteak is typically served on bread and served with french fries. Some locals follow a tradition of stacking the bread on the side to measure how much steak has been eaten. 

Atlantic City

Atlantic City might just be the most iconic place in NJ, as it is a top-rated tourist resort famous for its gambling, beautiful beaches, and boardwalk. It faces a lot of competition from other cities of a similar kind, like Las Vegas, but it’s still a lot of fun and can give you a good time. 

Atlantic City Boardwalk

The boardwalk in Atlantic City is the first and oldest boardwalk in the world and, as such, has been one of the most iconic places not just in New Jersey but in the whole country. You can take advantage of it year-round and have a pleasant stroll down the boards or even a bike ride between 6 and 10 a.m.

Gambling

The state has always been more permissive of gambling than the others and thus has a long gambling history. However, its modern reputation as a place for gambling started in 1976, when casino gambling was legalized in Atlantic City, which ended Nevada’s monopoly on casinos. 

It’s still a very popular attraction for casino gambling lovers and pulls in many tourists from all around the country. 

Ellis Island

Ellis Island is only partly in New Jersey. Half of the island is in New York, and the other is in NJ. This island has contributed significantly to the state’s cultural diversity. It has shaped it into what it is today due to the great influx of immigrants for whom Ellis Island was the first stop upon arriving in America.

Thomas Edison

While Edison was not a native of New Jersey, he moved there at the age of 29 and developed most of his inventions at his laboratory in Jersey. Edison lived in Jersey until, at the age of 83, he died in the state

Most famous for the incandescent light bulb, Edison developed many devices in fields such as mass communication, motion pictures, and sound generation. For this reason, he’s often included in the notable people of NJ.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Edison’s home and laboratory in New Orange, NJ, have been turned into a national historical park dedicated to his life and work. Edison arrived in Jersey in 1876 as a penniless man and died both famous and wealthy. 

Labeling itself as the “place where modern America was invented,” it’s an essential destination for every lover of history and science. 

Part of the Tri-State area 

New Jersey is part of the tri-state area, which is an informal term for the region that occupies the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. This area is an excellent location as it grants New Jerseyans easy access to New York and other important metropolitan hubs. This centrality makes Jersey popular for those who commute to the city.

Big Pharma Loves New Jersey 

Many big pharma companies have manufacturing facilities in New Jersey. This popularity is due to the state’s favorable conditions, including legislation, for such businesses. 

Some pharmaceutical giants that call New Jersey their home are:

  • Novartis
  • Merck & Co
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb

High Point State Park

High Point State Park is a state park in County Sussex, shared by the townships of Wantage and Montague. It is home to High Point, a monument built in honor of war veterans, and simultaneously marks the highest point in the state, at 1,803 feet (549.55 meters). 

Six Flags Amusement Park

Six Flags Amusement Park is a theme park in Jackson, owned and operated by the Six Flags company. It is one of the most remarkable attractions in the state, as it only follows Disney’s Animal Kingdom in size. 

The park offers everything from live shows and hot air balloons to its own safari park with over 1200 animals, including elephants, lions, and tigers. 

Diners

New Jersey is known as the diner capital of the world. Even though diners were not invented in the state, they are so ubiquitous that they are seen as a uniquely New Jersey thing. You can find one pretty much anywhere; in fact, the NJ locals love diners so much that there are about 525 diners in this Diner State!

Final Thoughts

Don’t be fooled by “Jersey Shore” shenanigans because New Jersey has a lot to offer despite its sometimes bad reputation. New Jersey is a mecca for food lovers and cultural enthusiasts and is a great place for you to visit or live. That’s not to mention its beautiful beaches, casinos, amusement parks, and Jersey’s dizzying nightlife. 

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