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Traveling to New Jersey: Tips for Sports Fans

If New Jersey was a family member, it would be that neglected middle child with a serious chip on their shoulder, often overshadowed by its siblings – New York and Philadelphia. Despite being the fifth smallest state in the US, New Jersey is the 11th most populous and brings plenty to the table. 

There’s a lot to see and do throughout the state, whether you’re traveling to a sports event or just exploring a new part of the country. So, if you’re planning on traveling to New Jersey, here are some tips for what you can do and see during your time in the Garden State. 

Visiting the New York City and New Jersey Area

When most people talk about visiting New Jersey, they also throw New York into the equation. New York City is just a stone’s throw from New Jersey, and easy to navigate to and from using both the New York subway system and NJ Transit. 

If you’re attending a specific event in New Jersey, you might prefer to stay in NYC instead – it will be more expensive, but there’s so much to do and see in the city to make it a must-visit, at least once. If you decide to skip NYC, you’ll still find plenty of places to stay in Jersey. 

New Jersey 2024 Sports Events

So, what’s on the calendar for New Jersey in 2024?As a sports traveler, while there are usually festivals, events, conferences, and other entertainment happening every week in Jersey for you, here are some of the best events the city has to offer, and our highlights for New Jersey activities in 2024 (and some nearby events in NYC). 

New York Yankees – April to September

The New York Yankees play baseball at the iconic Yankee Stadium, located in the Bronx. Although technically in New York, Yankee Stadium is easy to reach from New Jersey, and is an absolutely iconic venue. It’s well worth a visit for baseball fans and non-fans alike, and Yankees games never fail to entertain! 

Yankee Stadium is also home of Major League Soccer’s New York City FC (NYCFC). Yep – a pro football team plays their home matches in a baseball stadium! If you’re more interested in catching an NYCFC game, their schedule runs from March to October. 

Cape May Music Festival – May to June

New Jersey hosts a lot of different music festivals throughout the year, but the Cape May Music Festival is probably the most iconic. The festival has a focus on classical and jazz music, with both the New York Chamber Ensemble and the New Jersey Symphony Chamber set to make an appearance at the 2024 edition. There’s also usually a healthy dose of indie music and local artists performing too. 

The festival is held in beautiful Cape May, a seaside city at the very tip of southern New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula. The peninsula is worth a visit even if you don’t catch the music festival – it features some old iconic Victorian buildings and museums, as well as the famous Cape May Lighthouse, which remains operational to this day. You can climb the lighthouse stairs for beautiful views out over the ocean. 

MLS and NWSL at Red Bull Arena – March to October

The other New York-based MLS team is the New York Red Bulls, who, despite the name, play their matches at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. The 25,000-seat stadium is a great place to catch a soccer game, especially given the Red Bulls’ hot start to the 2024 season. 

If you’re a fan of women’s sports, Red Bull Arena is also the place to be. NJ/NY Gotham FC (more commonly just known as Gotham FC or “The Bats”) plays in the NWSL and contains a stacked roster loaded with US Women’s National Team players and international talent. 

Tri-County Fair – June

With free entry and just $5 parking, the Tri-County Fair is one of the best value and family-friendly activities New Jersey has to offer. With all the classic rides and games you’d expect from any self-respecting fair, as well as amazing food and great entertainment, the fair in Rockaway is the place to be in New Jersey in June. 

Copa America – June and July

Outside of the FIFA World Cup, Copa America is the biggest event on the football calendar in the Americas. This year’s edition features 16 teams, the 10 CONMEBOL South American teams, and six qualifying CONCACAF nations from North and Central America. 

The 2024 version of the tournament is being held in the United States, across 14 different Copa America host cities. New Jersey is hosting three matches, two in the group stage and one semi-final. Matches are being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the home of New York’s two NFL teams, the Jets and the Giants. Although it’s in New Jersey, the stadium can be easily reached via car or public transport from Manhattan. 

Here’s the schedule for the Copa America matches held at MetLife Stadium: 

  • Tuesday, June 25th at 9 pm: Chile vs Argentina (Group A)
  • Thursday, June 27th at 9 pm: Uruguay vs Bolivia (Group C)
  • Tuesday, July 9th at 8 pm: Semi-final

Of course, one of the biggest stars at Copa America is Argentina’s Lionel Messi, making tickets a hot commodity for the first match at MetLife Stadium. Should Argentina make it to the semi-finals (it would be a shock if they didn’t, but stranger things have happened), Messi will be back in New Jersey hoping to punch a ticket to the final, which is being held in Miami on July 14th. 

U.S. Open – August and September

New Jersey is a great city for all sports lovers. The U.S. Open is the final tennis grand slam event for the calendar year. Although it’s technically held in New York at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (usually referred to as Flushing Meadows), the tournament is worth checking out if you happen to be in that general part of the country. 

The 2024 edition of the U.S. Open is set to kick off on Monday, August 26th. Tickets are usually cheaper for the early stages, and then increase substantially for the later rounds. Understanding how tickets work can be a bit complicated, but this guide does an incredible job of breaking it all down for you. 

New York Giants / Jets – September to February

There are two NFL teams based in New York/New Jersey, the Jets and the Giants. Both teams play their home games at MetLife Stadium and although neither team has enjoyed a lot of post-season success in recent years, the matches are still a big deal. Tickets for the upcoming season aren’t on sale yet, but you can keep an eye out at Newyork jets website.

What Else Does New Jersey Have to Offer?

So, those are some of the main events you can enjoy during a visit to New Jersey, but what if you’re not visiting during any specific event? Don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself occupied any time you’re in the Garden State! Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Tour the Statue of Liberty

One of the most iconic symbols of freedom in the world, the Statue of Liberty stands tall in the New York Harbor, just a short ferry ride away from New Jersey. While technically located within the borders of New York, accessing Lady Liberty is often more convenient from the New Jersey side, with ferries departing regularly from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. 

There are lots of different tours available – some simply give you a view from the harbor, others let you get off and see Lady Liberty up close, and some even let you go inside the statue. Make sure you understand what your tickets include – if you can tie in a tour of Ellis Island at the same time I’d highly recommend it for a brilliant look at immigrant history in the US. 

Check Out the Jersey Shore

No visit to New Jersey would be complete without a trip to the legendary Jersey Shore. Stretching for over 140 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, this coastline boasts an eclectic mix of sandy beaches, vibrant boardwalks, and charming seaside towns. 

From the family-friendly attractions of Ocean City to the lively nightlife of Seaside Heights, there’s something for everyone along the Jersey Shore. Spend your days soaking up the sun, sampling the fresh seafood, or trying your luck at the many amusement parks and arcades along the coastline.

Hop Across to New York City

Yes, New Jersey and New York are separate states, but if you haven’t been to NYC before it’s almost criminal to be so close and not check out one of the world’s most iconic cities. Take a stroll through Central Park, catch a Broadway show, or soak in the madness that is Times Square. 

New Jersey: Paradise for Sports Event Travelers

Whether you’re attending Copa America 2024 in New Jersey, hoping to catch a Jets game, or checking out the city’s MLS and NWSL teams, there’s no shortage of sporting action waiting for you in New Jersey. So, pack those bags, plan your trip with our travel guides, and give the East Coast’s f