Clifton Travel Guide

Planning a trip to Clifton, NJ? This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the city's must-visit attractions, hiking and biking routes, best things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Clifton, NJ

Introduction to Clifton

Located in Passaic County, New Jersey, Clifton is a small city with a population of just over 85,000. It’s located in the Gateway region of the state, and is just a short drive from New York City, making it a popular destination for those looking to explore the surrounding area. Clifton is known for its rich history, its beautiful natural surroundings, and its diverse cultural attractions.

List of Places to Visit in Clifton

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

If you’re interested in history and culture, Clifton has a number of unique attractions to explore. Some of the must-visit museums and historical places include:

  • Clifton Arts Center: The Clifton Arts Center is a community arts center that hosts a wide range of exhibitions and events throughout the year. It’s housed in a historic building that was once a library, and is a must-visit for anyone interested in the local arts scene.
  • Lambert Castle: One of Clifton’s most famous landmarks, Lambert Castle is a historic castle that was built in 1892. Today, it’s a museum that offers a fascinating glimpse into Clifton’s history and culture.
  • Garis Gallery of the American West: This small museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the American West, and features a range of exhibits and artifacts from the region’s past.

Natural Attractions of Clifton: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

If you’re looking to explore Clifton’s natural beauty, there are a number of outdoor attractions worth checking out. Here are a few of the top options:

  • Garret Mountain Reservation: This large park is home to over 500 acres of lush forests, rolling hills, and scenic views. It’s a popular spot for picnics, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
  • Clifton Skateworld and Fun Center: Located in the heart of Clifton, this family-friendly entertainment center features an ice rink, a roller skating rink, and a range of other fun activities.
  • Weasel Brook Park: This beautiful park features a winding creek, a range of manicured gardens and lawns, and several walking trails to explore.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Clifton

Clifton is home to a number of great hiking and biking routes, offering visitors the chance to explore the beautiful natural scenery of the area. Some of the top options include:

  • The Lenape Trail: This hiking trail stretches over 30 miles through Northern New Jersey, and runs right through Clifton. It offers hikers the chance to explore a range of natural habitats, from lush forests to rolling hills.
  • The Morris Canal Greenway Trail: This biking trail follows the path of the historic Morris Canal, which was once an important transportation route in the area. Today, the trail offers bikers a chance to explore the beautiful scenery of the area, including the Passaic River and the Great Falls of Paterson.

Best Things to Do in Clifton: Activities and Tours

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Clifton, there are a range of activities and tours to consider. Here are a few of the top options:

  • Clifton Paintball: This popular paintball park is a great option for those looking for an adrenaline rush. It features a range of different playing fields, from forested areas to open fields.
  • The Clifton Wine Tasting Tour: If you’re a wine lover, this tour is a must-visit. It takes you on a journey through some of Clifton’s best wineries, giving you the chance to taste the local flavors and learn about the winemaking process.
  • The Clifton Food Tour: This guided tour takes you on a culinary journey through some of Clifton’s best restaurants and eateries. You’ll have the chance to taste a range of different dishes, from classic American fare to international cuisine.

Week-Long Itinerary for Clifton

If you’re planning to spend a week in Clifton, here’s a suggested itinerary to help you make the most of your time:

Day 1 Explore the Garret Mountain Reservation and visit the Lambert Castle
Day 2 Take the Clifton Food Tour and explore the local dining scene
Day 3 Go hiking on the Lenape Trail
Day 4 Visit the Clifton Arts Center and see the latest exhibitions
Day 5 Take the Morris Canal Greenway Trail and explore the Passaic River and Great Falls
Day 6 Visit the Garis Gallery of the American West and learn about the history of the region
Day 7 Relax at Weasel Brook Park and enjoy a leisurely picnic

Food and Drink Scene of Clifton

Must-Try Dishes

Clifton is known for its diverse dining scene, with a range of tasty dishes to sample. Here are a few must-try dishes:

  • The Famous Clifton Hot Dog: This classic hot dog is a staple of the local food scene, and has been around for over 80 years. It’s topped with chili, mustard, and onions, and is a must-try for any hot dog lover.
  • Italian Ice: Clifton is home to a number of great Italian ice stands, offering visitors a refreshing treat on a hot day.
  • The Clam Pie: This unique pizza topping is a must-try for any pizza lover. It features clams, cheese, garlic, and other toppings, and is a local favorite.

Local Beverages

If you’re looking for a local drink to try, here are a few options:

  • Yoo-hoo: This chocolate-flavored drink was invented in Clifton, and is a local favorite.
  • Craft Beer: Clifton is home to a number of great craft breweries, offering visitors a chance to sample a range of local beers.

Where to Stay in Clifton: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

If you’re planning to stay in Clifton, there are a number of great lodging options to consider. Some of the top options include:

  • The La Quinta Inn & Suites Clifton: This modern hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms, as well as a range of amenities for guests to enjoy.
  • The Howard Johnson by Wyndham Clifton NJ: This budget-friendly hotel offers basic accommodations at a great price, making it a popular choice for travelers on a budget.
  • The Residence Inn by Marriott West Orange: Located just a short drive from Clifton, this upscale hotel offers spacious and luxurious rooms, as well as a range of amenities for guests to enjoy.

What to Buy in Clifton: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for a souvenir or local product to bring home, here are a few options to consider:

  • Hot Dog T-Shirts: These fun t-shirts feature the famous Clifton hot dog, and are a great way to remember your trip to the city.
  • Italian Ice: If you enjoyed the local Italian ice, be sure to bring some home with you to share with friends and family.
  • Craft Beer: If you’re a beer lover, stock up on local craft beers to bring home with you.

Local Culture and Customs of Clifton

Clifton is a diverse and welcoming city, with a rich cultural heritage. Some customs and traditions to keep in mind include:

  • Respect for Diversity: Clifton is home to a range of different ethnicities and cultures, and it’s important to be respectful of this diversity.
  • Casual Dress: Clifton is a fairly casual city, so most people dress in comfortable clothes.
  • Friendly Hospitality: Locals in Clifton are known for their friendly hospitality, and are always happy to help visitors feel welcome.

Best Time to Visit Clifton

The best time to visit Clifton is during the spring and fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. The summer months can be hot and humid, while the winter months can be cold and snowy. If you’re planning to visit during the summer, be sure to pack sunscreen and stay hydrated.

Do’s and Don’ts of Clifton


  • Explore the Outdoors: Clifton is home to some beautiful parks and natural areas, so be sure to spend some time exploring the great outdoors.
  • Try the Local Food: Clifton is known for its diverse dining scene, so be sure to sample some of the local specialties.
  • Be Respectful of Diversity: Clifton is home to a range of different cultures and ethnicities, so it’s important to be respectful and open-minded.


  • Be Rude or Disrespectful: Clifton is known for its friendly hospitality, so be sure to return the favor by being polite and respectful to locals.
  • Take Photos Without Permission: If you see something interesting you want to photograph, be sure to ask for permission first.
  • Litter: Clifton is a beautiful city, so be sure to keep it that way by properly disposing of your trash.

Safety and Health

Safety in Clifton

Clifton is generally a safe city to visit, with a low crime rate. However, it’s always important to take basic safety precautions, such as locking your car doors, avoiding walking alone at night, and being aware of your surroundings.

Health in Clifton

Clifton is home to a number of quality medical facilities, including hospitals and urgent care centers. If you require medical assistance during your stay, seek out one of these facilities for prompt and professional care.

Getting to Clifton: Transportation Options and Logistics

Clifton is located just a short drive from New York City, making it easily accessible from anywhere in the region. Here are a few transportation options to consider:

Airports Near Clifton

  • Newark Liberty International Airport: Located just 30 minutes from Clifton, this major airport offers flights to destinations around the world.
  • LaGuardia Airport: Located just over an hour from Clifton, LaGuardia is a popular option for those flying domestically.

Bus Stations Near Clifton

  • Clifton/City Hall: This bus station is located right in the center of Clifton, offering easy access to the city’s top attractions.
  • Newark Penn Station: Located just a short drive from Clifton, Newark Penn Station offers a range of bus and train services to destinations across the region.

Other Options

  • Car Rentals: If you plan to rent a car during your stay, there are several rental companies located in and around Clifton.
  • Taxis and Rideshares: Taxis and rideshare services are widely available throughout Clifton and surrounding areas.

How to Get Around in Clifton

There are a few different transportation options available for getting around Clifton:

  • Bus: Clifton is served by several bus routes, making it easy to get around the city without a car.
  • Car: If you have a car, Clifton is easy to navigate, with plenty of parking available throughout the city.
  • Bike: Clifton is a bike-friendly city, with a number of bike lanes and trails throughout the area.

Where to Go Next from Clifton: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you’re looking to explore the surrounding area, there are a number of nearby destinations worth checking out. Some popular options include:

  • New York City: Just a short drive from Clifton, New York City offers a range of world-famous attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park.
  • Jersey City: Located just across the Hudson River from New York City, Jersey City is a vibrant and diverse city with plenty of attractions to explore, including the Liberty Science Center and the Jersey City Waterfront.
  • Paterson: This nearby city is home to the Great Falls National Park, which offers stunning views of a 77-foot waterfall and a range of recreational activities.


Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, Clifton has something for everyone. With its rich cultural heritage, beautiful natural surroundings, and diverse dining scene, it’s a destination worth exploring on your next trip to New Jersey.