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 cites and some of its most affluent suburbs.
- 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.
- Edison, named for Thomas Edison, with a growing suburban Chinatown and a large Indian community.
- Hawthorne — Small town in Passaic county. Borders Paterson.
- Hoboken — Tree-lined streets with well-preserved brownstones typify this former dockworkers' town on the Hudson. Yuppies 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.
- 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
- 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
- New Brunswick — Home of Rutgers University, a college town that feels more Mid-Atlantic than North Jersey
- Montvale — The last exit on the Garden State Parkway before New York State. Not much of a downtown but lots of service industry and conveniently located between shopping areas in Paramus and Palisades Center mall in West Nyack. Home to one of the oldest Dairy Queens in the country and the establishment remains the same since its opening.
- 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.
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.