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New Jersey Highlights!

New to the area or thinking of applying? Here we highlight some of our favorite things about New Jersey and the surrounding area. There is always fun stuff to do or go see, and our state though small is not lacking in different biomes to collect insects in!


New Brunswick:

In the local punk music scene, New Brunswick has been long nicknamed the Hub City—a major transportation hub to New York City or Philadelphia by car or public transportation, a major medical hub with two university hospitals, and a cultural hub with several arts venues and unique restaurants, the New Brunswick area can have a lot to offer if you know what to look for. If sticking close to campus is your goal, many graduate students will choose to live across the river in Highland Park rather than New Brunswick proper. Highland Park has a much more residential vibe versus the city feel New Brunswick offers. Highland Park may be more expensive, but the parking may be easier generally. Students who choose to live near Cook Campus can live on streets in the 1 block that extends north from Nichol Avenue between Suydam and Sandford while students living closer to the College Ave campus will usually live between College Ave and Easton Ave, with student rentals extending approximately 1-2 blocks West of Easton Avenue. Easton Avenue is like the student-oriented downtown with popular spots like Mamoun’s Falafel or Olde Queens Tavern bar.

If you are interested in college sports Rutgers is a big 10 school with a wonderful football stadium that is easy to get to from campus with public transportation. Also as students you get discounted tickets to the games!


New Jersey Diversity:

Want to get out of the city? In New Jersey, you have your pick of outdoor activities, all within a short drive from Rutgers campuses! Don’t let the state’s size fool you—New Jersey has a remarkably diverse geography, from the Appalachian Trail range in the northwest to the famous Jersey shore in the southeast. Here are some of our favorite ways to get outside in the garden state!

In the summer, you can’t beat the shore. New Jersey is famous for its boardwalks, lining the coast with games, rides, shops, and great food. Visitors can also spend the day parasailing, crabbing, or whale and dolphin watching! At night, shore towns like Atlantic City and Cape May are a great place to catch some live music and try out locally owned restaurants and breweries. New Jersey is home to four national parks and over 50 state parks, so you’re never far from a great hike! Many of these parks are built around lakes and rivers, great for boating, fishing, and tubing. We especially love floating down the Delaware River with friends on hot summer days! Campsites and cabins are available for rent, so you can spend your whole weekend off the grid.

New Jersey’s landscape does not have you wanting for much. The flat lands in the south have rich silty loam soils perfect for a large array of agricultural crops as well as a pick your own fruit for almost every season. Our biggest hits are our blueberries and peaches in the summer! In the north that sand turns to clay but the presence of crop production does not waver. The states vinification shines throughout, leaving you with tons of unique vineyards to meet up with friends to grab a glass of wine. Also don’t forget to get your Jersey tomatoes and sweet corn in the summer its practically desert!

You can’t beat fall in the Northeast. Your favorite spots will look totally different decked out in red, orange, and yellow. Apple and pumpkin picking are popular fall activities here, with farms offering regular hayrides out to their fields. Many farms also host annual corn mazes, which get extra spooky around Halloween! New Jersey has some terrifying haunted attractions, with old buildings and farms totally transformed throughout October. If you like to ski, you’ll love New Jersey in the winter! The northwest corner of the state is mountainous, with plenty of ski and snowboard resorts. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, head up to the Pocono Mountains in southern Pennsylvania for the biggest resorts. These parks have skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides! Nearby towns offer plenty of ways to warm up and relax after a day on the slopes. New Jersey also has some great ice skating rinks and ponds, some of which are open indoors year-round! While you travel to these various destinations throughout New Jersey don’t forget to give one of our hundreds of Wawa’s a try. Trust us it’s kinda a big deal.




If you prefer a city with a laid-back vibe you are only an hour away from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia! The city thrives on their array of restaurants and of countless cuisines. You can enjoy the finer flavor profiles from Steven Star restaurants or more laid-back vibe form all our gastropubs, food trucks, and of course the famous cheesesteaks at Pats and Genos in South Philly. It doesn’t stop with the food, Philly loves their craft beer, you can make a day of just brewery hopping though Fishtown or relax in one of are many beer gardens. If you have the time and you want to do something fun, money is not an obstacle in Philadelphia, they love hosting free events, clubs, meetups, or no entry fee days. If you want culture take a stroll down beautiful Old City where they signed the declaration of independence or take a page out of Rocky and run up the Art Museum stairs. You can also check out one of our favorites, the Mutter Museum, trust us there is nothing else like this museum anywhere.  I’m sure what you are thinking right now is “this sounds perfect for me!”. Hold on, I can sweeten the deal even more, right across the river from Philadelphia, in NJ is a town called Collingswood. This town not only embodies the essence of Philly but also provides a more suburban feel perfect for those who like the business of the city in small doses. This location is also perfect for individuals that plan to work at one of the Extension stations putting you within an hour of the stations as well as campus. There are also a bunch of concerts in the Camden area at the BB&T Pavilion.



New York:

Does the bright lights and hustle and bustle of the big city excite you, well New Brunswick puts you less than an hour from the Big Apple, New York City, with easily accessible public transport! You can hop on the train right by College Ave campus and get right to the center of the city. You can go to a Broadway show or shopping in Manhattan or grab dinner in Brooklyn or just walk around Chelsea market where you can sample a wide array of artisanal cuisines. I know what you’re thinking “how can I afford a Broadway show on a graduate student budget?” If you want to be spontaneous go to the box office same day and if they haven’t sold out of tickets for the show you can get them 50% off! If you are more into the cultural part of things, don’t worry NY has that as well in the form of the American Museum of Natural History. Going around the holidays is also a treat with the giant tree in Time Square and the skating rinks!

If you are interested in New York sports you can easily get to many of the stadiums. Also don’t be fooled the NY Giants and NY Jets stadium is actually in New Jersey!


Contributing authors- Kasia Madalinska, Mike Monzon, Zoe Narvaez, Stephanie Rainer