Things to Do and See in Hackensack, NJ

Hackensack, New Jersey is a vibrant city with plenty of exciting things to see and do. Whether you’re looking to spend an afternoon shopping or exploring the city’s rich history and culture, Hackensack has something for everyone, including luxury living at The Jefferson. From its many parks and recreational areas to its bustling downtown area, Hackensack offers plenty to do. There are so many ways to explore all the wonderful things to do in this New Jersey city, so grab your walking shoes and let’s get out and about in Hackensack! 

History of Hackensack 

Historic artwork of Hackensack, NJ Town.
Hackensack, NJ Source: Wikimeda Commons

Hackensack, NJ is one of the oldest cities in the state and has been a place of growth and development for over 350 years. The area was found in 1667 by Dutch settlers who called it Achinigeu-hach, which translates to “stony ground”. In 1668, the area was officially incorporated as a township and the name was changed to Hackensack.  

Over the years, Hackensack has become an important transportation hub. In 1709, a ferry route was established between Hackensack and New York City and became a significant route for freight and passengers. Additionally, in 1791, the Paterson and Hudson River Railroad opened, connecting Hackensack to other parts of the state. This further bolstered its economy and brought a great deal of growth to the city.  

In the 19th century, Hackensack saw a major economic boom, due to its prime location near New York City. During this period, manufacturing and industry grew rapidly, leading to the development of many large factories and businesses. It also became home to many wealthy individuals who sought out the city’s suburban atmosphere and luxury conveniences. 

Today, Hackensack is a vibrant city with many attractions, businesses, and educational institutions. It has become an important center for health care, finance, education, transportation, technology, and entertainment. There is something for everyone in Hackensack – from shopping and dining to recreation and entertainment. 

Bergen County Main Attractions 

Arial view of MetLife Stadium
MetLife Stadium Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bergen County is a great place for those who love to explore and experience something new! With everything so close to The Jefferson, you’re in a prime location to get everywhere!  

The Meadowlands Sports Complex 

The Meadowlands Sports Complex is home to Meadowlands Arena, New Meadowlands Racetrack, and hosts concerts and entertainment events throughout the year. It’s also home to MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, which can hold up to 82,500 spectators.  

Bergen County Zoo 

For animal lovers, the Bergen County Zoo is a must-see. Located on Forest Avenue in nearby Paramus, the zoo has been open since 1993 and is home to over 200 species of animals. 

Bergen Performing Arts Center 

For those looking for live entertainment, the Bergen Performing Arts Center (BPAC) offers world-class performances from internationally renowned artists. It also has a variety of educational programs for students, as well as family-friendly events. 


Three women in the kitchen at a dinner party

New Jersey is known for having diverse culinary experiences, and Hackensack is no exception. It boasts a wide variety of great dining options. Cap’s on Main is a popular Italian restaurant serving up classic Italian dishes like lasagna, ravioli, and eggplant parmesan. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, and the staff is very friendly. 

Casual Habana Cafe is a Cuban restaurant that serves traditional Cuban dishes like arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, and tamales. The restaurant has an inviting vibe, and the service is attentive and affable. 

White Manna Hamburgers is an iconic burger joint that has been serving delicious burgers since 1939. They use fresh ingredients, and their burgers are hand-formed and grilled to perfection. This is a great place for a quick bite or a casual lunch or dinner. 


Woman holding shopping bags.

Hackensack is a great place to go shopping. The Shops at Riverside offer a variety of luxury stores, including Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, and more. Here, you can find clothing and accessories for all your needs, in addition to dining and movie theaters.  

If you’re looking for more unique items, Downtown Hackensack has a selection of stores that cater to a variety of tastes. From vintage boutiques to eclectic home decor shops, there’s something for everyone in the heart of Hackensack. Other stores downtown include antique shops, jewelry stores, and gift stores. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s sure to be something for you in Hackensack! 


Dog getting groomed

Hackensack, NJ is home to a variety of services to meet your needs. Justin’s Barber Shop offers top-of-the-line haircuts, shaves, and styles in a modern, inviting atmosphere. The Fountain Spa Hackensack inside The Shops at Riverside is the premier spa experience in town, offering an array of treatments from facials to massages. Merci Soothing Touch Massage & Bodywork has been providing locals with massage therapy since 2008. Barking on the BLVD is the perfect place for pet owners who want the best care for their furry friends. With so many services available in Hackensack, there’s sure to be something for everyone. 


Joggers on trail

Hackensack and its surrounding areas offer plenty of opportunities for adventure and outdoor recreation. For those looking to stay within the city limits, Johnson Park has a playground, ballfields, and a pond with a fishing dock, as well as walking paths. The area is also home to two public golf courses: Hackensack Golf Club and Valley Brook Country Club, offering gorgeous greens and fairways. 


Grade schooler working on school work

Hackensack, NJ offers a wide range of educational opportunities for all ages.  

Elementary Schools: There are several elementary, middle, and high schools in Hackensack, including Fanny M. Hillers Elementary School, Fairmount Elementary School, Hackensack Middle School, and Henry P. Becton Regional High School. All these schools are part of the Hackensack Public School District and offer a comprehensive education for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.  

Middle Schools: For middle school students, there is Hackensack Middle School, which is part of the Hackensack Public School District. This school offers a comprehensive education for sixth through eighth-grade students.  

High Schools: High school students in Hackensack can attend either Hackensack High School or the Henry P. Becton Regional High School. Both schools are part of the Hackensack Public School District and offer a comprehensive education for ninth through twelfth-grade students.  

Colleges: For higher education, Hackensack is home to Bergen Community College and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Bergen Community College offers two-year degrees, certificates, and continuing education programs. Fairleigh Dickinson University offers four-year bachelor’s degrees as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. 

Medical Facilities 

Mother and daughter visiting doctor

Hackensack, NJ offers a range of medical facilities for its residents. Hackensack University Medical Center is the largest healthcare provider in the area and includes services such as cancer care, cardiology, maternity care, and neuroscience.  

For those seeking medical attention outside of a hospital, Hackensack also provides numerous doctors’ offices, such as Primary Care Associates of Hackensack and Hackensack Pediatrics. In addition to these offices, the city offers specialty services, such as the Heart and Vascular Hospital, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute. With its wide variety of medical facilities, Hackensack is committed to ensuring that its citizens can receive safe, quality healthcare.