With approximately 46 parks, there’s always a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy in Elizabeth.
Its main parks include Warinanco and Mattano park, both belonging to the County system, and the majestic Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park.
The City’s most extensive park is Warinanco Park, a county park designed by the noted landscape architect Frederick Olmstead, who also designed New York’s Central Park. It’s truly a park for all seasons, with winding trails, huge trees, flower gardens, ice skating rink, track, fitness course, tennis courts, football, soccer and baseball fields.
In the Spring, Cherry Blossoms sprout and turn the park into a colorful place that must be seen. Azaleas, tulips and magnolias surround the park. Also, a winding waterway with various birds and waterfowl crosses through the park. Rent a paddleboat and make your way through it.
At the eastern end of town is the Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park, which Mayor Bollwage dedicated in 1993. The park fronts the Arthur Kill, which flows into the New York Harbor.
The boardwalk recreation area contains a fishing pier, tables for chess, bike racks, and benches. There’s a City-run marina that has slips and dry-docking facilities for more than 60 privately owned pleasure and fishing boats.
At Mattano Park, there are more ball fields, kids’ playgrounds, and a water spray for children in the summer. There are beautiful views of green fields, and nearby flows the Elizabeth River.
The County of Union opened, on July 23rd 2008, The Phil Rizzuto Park which borders Elizabeth/Union/Hillside. In honor of the New York Yankee Hall-of-Fame baseball player. The park is a 10.4-acre multi-use facility that also contains a “Boundless Playground” area, which allows children with disabilities to play along side their peers.
The City has a number of recreation centers open to the public throughout Elizabeth. Residents also have access to the Thomas G. Dunn Sports Center, on the campus of Elizabeth High School. Home to the Elizabeth High School basketball team, the center is equipped with basketball courts, as well as an Olympic-size swimming pool, weight training, wrestling rooms, and a running track. The center also houses tennis, volleyball, badminton, and handball courts in addition to shuffleboard and gymnastics stations.
On Madison Avenue, residents can also visit and join the YMCA, and there are a number of private fitness facilities that are available throughout the City.
Elizabeth is within easy driving distance to a few golf courses in Union County, such as Ash Brook Oak Ridge and Galloping Hill. During the off-season, Galloping Hill is transformed into a winter wonderland with sledding, cross-country skiing and ice-skating.
For those who wish to venture throughout the region, New York City is about 30 minutes away via train from the Midtown Elizabeth, New Jersey Transit Train Station. Trains can connect you to just about anywhere you need to go in the state via the NJ Transit system.
Newark is ten minutes away, where visitors can take advantage of minor league baseball and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which features the biggest entertainment names in the business.
Many of the area’s professional sports teams play about a half-hour away up north at the Met Life Sports Complex, including the NFL’s New York Giants and, New York Jets. As well as, NJ Metrostars and New Jersey Devils. There are many major concerts, fairs and special events that are held in this venue as well. The Meadowlands Race Track is also onsite, providing the finest horse racing events throughout the year.
For those who prefer to ride horses, Union County’s Watchung Stables is about a 20-minute drive from Elizabeth, and it offers bridle paths, lessons and rentals.
Elizabeth is with in driving distance from Philadelphia, and Atlantic City. Along the way, residents can stop at the dozens of beaches that dot the famous “Jersey Shore”, chronicled so well by one of New Jersey’s favorite native sons, Bruce Springstein.
The City of Elizabeth itself has served as a backdrop for a number of famous movie productions, including one done by Woody Allen, and music videos for performing artists such as Sting, Brian Adams, and Rod Stewart. TV shows such as “The Sopranos” have also used the City as a backdrop for filming.
The City’s Department of Recreation boasts a wide array of programs that makes it one of the best in the state. Every kind of sport imaginable is offered: from youth sports leagues to tennis instruction, to basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, swimming and boxing. There are also day camps, ceramic and flower classes. The department runs one inground pool, six fountain sprinkler systems and a spray park from July 4th until Labor Day. Throughout Mayor Bollwage’s administration, a number of new playgrounds, and fields have opened, and the City’s recreation system has undergone a complete overhaul.
Children and adults are welcome to use one of the city’s five recreation centers open weekdays from 3pm -10pm and Saturdays from 10am -4pm. The department runs a popular summer lunch and milk program that serves more than 300,000 children with free meals. Special events include the City’s annual Easter Egg hunt and the annual "Tour de Elizabeth".
The “Tour de Elizabeth” bicycle tour of the City, is set to take place on Sunday May, 18th 2014. Due to its overwhelming success of this event it is now celebrating its 11th year.