Clifton, known fondly by its residents as “The City that Cares”, is a city in New Jersey. Located 10 miles west of New York City, there are many ways for travelers to take advantage of a day trip to the unlikely northern New Jersey gem.
Known as Acquackanonk Township from 1693 to 1917, the township was later incorporated as a city on April 26, 1917. The city’s total population based on 2010 United States Census data is 84,136, which ranks it as the state’s 11th largest municipality based on population. Divided into 14 unofficial communities – among which include Richfield, Albion Place, Botany Village, and Lakeview – the activities are plentiful depending on the time of year travelers visit the city.
The city holds a free concert series throughout its summers on Sundays at Main Memorial Park in the Lakeview section. Additionally, the Botany Village Music Series presents live bands on Fridays at Sullivan Square. During summer and autumn days, visitors can also stop at the local and traveling flea markets at Main Memorial Park and Jubilee Park, which is located in Clifton’s Richfield section. However, if nature is more appealing and weather permits, Garret Mountain Reservation is a 568-acre park that extends into Clifton and is accessible from Interstate 80 and the Garden State Parkway. Families visiting will likely appreciate the park’s recreational features for all ages, including picnic areas, basketball courts, and paths to walk and run. There is also the historic Lambert Castle Museum, built in 1892 and later restored and transformed into a museum and library in the late 1990s.
Art is also on display around the city, most notably accessible at Clifton Municipal Complex. The Clifton Arts Center Gallery and Studio, located on the municipal complex’s grounds in the Richfield section, features visual arts exhibitions. One of the features is the Sculpture Park, founded in 1994 by the Clifton Beautification Committee and Dr. Jerry Raphael. The park displays over 30 contemporary sculptures, and visitors can roam the grounds occupied previously by the former U.S. Animal Quarantine Station.
However, those traveling to Clifton may be looking to experience the infamous “Texas Weiners.” Although the hot dog phenomenon traces back to neighboring Paterson, many people know that when they pay a visit to Clifton, they need to commit time to making their way down to The Hot Grill on Lexington Avenue for one “all the way” hot dog or over to Rutt’s Hut on River Road for an unforgettable “ripper.”
One of the favored features in the city is its access to New York City by public transportation. NJ Transit operates rail and bus services through Clifton, with daily parking options available at the Allwood Road Park & Ride and the Clifton Commons Park & Ride bus terminals. Clifton Station, at Elm and Fornelius Streets, is also accessible and runs into New York Penn Station. Clifton is served by multiple major highways, including Route 3 and 46, as well as Route 19, Route 21, and the Garden State Parkway.