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Get to Know: Elizabeth, NJ

By Brianna Smiley

Location: Recognized as “the gateway to New Jersey,” Elizabeth is an ideal destination for meetings and events on a budget while boasting a New York City feel. Located 30 minutes outside New York City and 10 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, Elizabeth is easily accessible by plane, train, boat or major highway. With just over 132,000 residents, Elizabeth is the fourth largest city in the state of New Jersey after Newark, Jersey City and Patterson.

Restaurants: Elizabeth is home to cultural cuisine. The city offers authentic New York-style pizza at Mario’s, Spirito’s Italian cuisine transports guests to 1930’s Sicily, and on Morse Avenue, foodies will get a touch of Latin American influence at spots like Rancho Mateo, which features a Columbian ambiance. “Visitors in Elizabeth can travel the globe without even having a passport” says Jennifer Costa, director of tourism for the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization (DMO).

Venues: Elizabeth’s event venues are located 10-15 minutes from all hotels and offer creative alternatives to the usual options. Guests have access to unique event spaces such as Alexander Hamilton’s home— Liberty Hall—which can accommodate 150 guests, or the museum-turned-residence of William Livingston, the first Governor of New Jersey. At Liberty Hall Museum, history comes to life through original artifacts. Not only are these venues available for event space, but are also must-see attractions, according to the DMO.

Activities: Designer shopping is a city highlight. Known for its affordable, high-end fashion, The Mills at Jersey Gardens is the state’s largest indoor outlet mall. Recently recognized as one of the top five emerging destinations in the country, another attraction is the city’s Vegas-style nightlife. The trending bars, clubs and shows geared towards millennials and captivating celebrities from New York City are revolutionizing nightlife across the East Coast.

How the DMO Helps: “We are the planner for the planner,” says Costa, “We know the best-kept secrets of Elizabeth and we want to share those with planners.” The Elizabeth DMO provides itineraries, cooperative marketing opportunities, and group dining menus. With its partnerships and support from local venues, Elizabeth creates memorable group experiences at cost effective prices. “Whether it’s at a restaurant, historic attraction, nightlife venue, or anything that sparks their interest, we can tailor and customize those experiences for planners and attendees alike,” says Costa.