(This blog post originally appeared on Growing in Jersey City)
I used to drink a lot. Like…a lot. I’d spend so much money on alcohol and have nothing to show for it other than a hangover, random bruises, cringe-worthy Facebook photos, and way too many transactions being posted in my bank account. Since I’ve stopped drinking a little over a year ago, I’ve found a few ways to have fun here in Jersey City without booze:
1. Get a Braid at The Hair Room ($20)
I get my hair colored and cut at The Hair Room (Grove & Montgomery) because I felt an instant kinship to the owner, Anatalie David, being a fellow Texan. Not only do I feel at home in Anatalie’s adorable salon, but they offer quality services for a good price and one service being offered is $20 braids. Make an appointment, get a fabulous braid, and walk around feeling like the beautiful bad ass that you are. A $20 braid will last longer than a $20 buzz from happy hour. Don’t forget to tip your stylist!
My favorite work outs in Jersey City are yoga classes at Yoga Shunya and barre classes at Jane Do. Yoga Shunya (Grove & Montgomery) provides an intimate yoga setting which is nearly impossible to find in a Manhattan yoga class. Whether I prefer a relaxing Restorative class or a challenging Level 2 flow, this studio has my back. Fun fact: Yoga Shunya is also owned by a fellow Texan.
Jane Do (On Newark, right by the Grove St. PATH train) offers several work-outs including two of my favorites: Barre Naked (basic barre) and Sports Barre (cardio barre). The instructors teach high energy sweat sessions that leave me feeling refreshed for the rest of the day. The only down side: My quads might have a hangover the next day.
4. Go For a Run, Enjoy the View (FREE!)
One of my favorite things about living in Jersey City is being a quick train ride away from the city that never sleeps. This short distance provides an incredible view of Manhattan. I enjoy the view by going for a long run from Liberty State Park through Paulus Hook and Exchange Place. If you’re not a runner, there’s plenty of restaurants and hang-outs with beautiful views of the city. Check out Tap Haus, Gregory’s Coffee, or Whealth & Co. Trust me, the view looks better without beer googles.
5. Go to a Book Signing/Reading ($20-$25)
Word Book Store, right off the Grove St. PATH train, has lots of fun events. I’ve attended readings/book signings by Amy Schumer, Michael Ian Black, Matt Pinfield, Nick Offerman, and more. The events are always “free” with the purchase of the author’s book. Spending money on a book, getting it signed, and reading at home creates a more memorable experience than chugging margaritas at happy hour.
6. Eat Banana Pudding ($5)
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m from the south so I’m quite particular about Southern foods. I’ve found one of the best Southern-style desserts…ever. Baonanas Banana Pudding. OH. EM. GEE. Baonanas is made right here in Jersey City and it’s freaking delicious. The adorable couple behind this dessert has gotten the texture and flavor just right. Their banana pudding is carried at several local spots like Word, Dark Side of the Moo, the Grove Street farmers market (when in season), and Baking Mamas Bakeshop in Hoboken. Giving up booze has me craving sweets on the reg. and thanks to Baonanas I can satisfy that sweet tooth while helping a local business.
7. Go to the Movies ($12)
Bow Tie Cinemas in Hoboken (14th & Grand) is technically Hoboken, but it’s still pretty close to JC. Like most theaters, Bow Tie plays the most current films, but they offer some pretty cool other features. A movie ticket is $12, but on Tuesdays the tickets are half-off. Bonus: The seats are oversized and super-cozy. Bow Tie also hosts fun watch parties for classics like Wayne’s World, The Wizard of Oz, and Rocky Horror. My mind and body thank me for sitting in a dark theater instead of a dark bar.
8. Play with your Four Legged Friends (FREE!)
If you don’t have a pet, stop by Fussy Friends (On Newark, right off the Grove St. PATH train) and play with the kitties that are up for adoption. This activity is technically free but if you’re feeling generous, you can donate some money to help Fussy Friends care for the kitties in the interim of their adoption. If you do have a pet, take your dog outside for a walk or to play fetch. Sit on the couch and watch a movie with your cat or utilize the abundance of cat toys all over the floor. Play with the creature that loves you unconditionally instead of playing with your phone. There’s no hangover from loving your fluffy friends!
Copy Editor: Jenna Firshein of Growing in Jersey City
Photographer: Courtney Collins of Nonlinear Knitting