The Gateway, in northeastern New Jersey, encompasses the six most urban counties in the state that are part of the sprawling metropolitan area of New York City. It is culturally and geographically diverse, home to the state's largest cities and some of its most affluent suburbs.
- 1 Elizabeth , which was the original though short-lived capital of the state, has a bustling midtown, an 18th-century historic district, a huge IKEA, and Jersey Gardens mega-mall located south of Newark Airport.
- 2 Edison , named for Thomas Edison, with a growing suburban Chinatown and a large Indian community.
- 3 Fort Lee — a residential community across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan that has a strong Korean-American presence
- 4 Hoboken — Tree-lined streets with well-preserved brownstones typify this former dockworkers' town on the Hudson. Millenials are taking over Hoboken's old Italian and Irish neighborhoods, but the city still has the highest number of bars per square mile in the country! Birthplace of Frank Sinatra and the location of the world's first recorded baseball game.
- 5 Jersey City — New Jersey's second largest and most diverse city, directly across from Lower Manhattan. A city of distinct neighborhoods, it is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, across from Liberty State Park
- 6 Newark — New Jersey's largest city hosts the NJ Performing Arts Center, Prudential Center (a sports/concert venue opened in 2008), Newark Museum, the nation's second biggest Cherry Blossom Festival
- 7 New Brunswick — Home of Rutgers University, a college town that feels more Mid-Atlantic than North Jersey
- 8 Passaic
- 9 Paterson — The third largest city in state was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1791 beginning the industrial revolution in America, as seen around the many mills and factories around the Great Falls of the Passaic. Lambert Castle, on Garret Mountain, is a restored mansion museum in a state park. A downtown rebuilt after a big fire at the turn of the century is lively and Latin.
- The Great Falls in Paterson is the tallest waterfall in New Jersey
- The Newark Museum has 80 galleries of art and science, a mini zoo, planetarium, a schoolhouse from the 1780s, and a restored 1885 mansion that is a National Historic Landmark
- Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange near Maplewood
- Fort Lee Historic Park has Revolutionary War re-enactments, breathtaking views of the GW Bridge, the Little Red Light House, and views of the Hudson River and majestic city skyline
- Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange near East Orange
- Field Station Dinosaurs near Fort Lee in Leonia
- The Hermitage Museum in Ho-Ho-Kus near Ridgewood
- Lambert Castle in Paterson
- Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park in Edison
- Liberty Science Center in Jersey City's Liberty State Park hosts the largest planetarium in the Americas
- South Mountain Reservation in West Orange, near Maplewood
- The American Labor Museum in Haledon near Paterson.
- Metlar Bodine House Museum in Piscataway, near Maplewood
- Perth Amboy City Hall is America's oldest municipal building, and where New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
- Richard Dekorte Park and Medieval Times in Lyndhurst near Rutherford
- Liberty State Park in Jersey City is known for its views of New York, and a historic railroad terminal.
- Branch Brook Park near East Orange has the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the United States.
- The Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford is made up of the Meadowlands Racetrack, the MetLife Stadium, and the Izod Center which hosts games and concerts annually. Home of the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets.
There are several ethnic enclaves in the Gateway where the cuisine of its residents can be had in an authentic (as well as touristic) way. They include India Square and Little Manila in Jersey City, the Ironbound, a Portuguese neighborhood in Newark, and Bergenline in Union City, where Cuban and other Latin American cultures are concentrated. A large Korean community in the towns near the George Washington Bridge create a sort of suburban Koreatown, while the growing Chinese population in Edison has brought many restaurants with it.
A North Jersey tradition is the diner, many of which are open 24 hours, and offer breakfast and blue-plate specials.