What It’s Like Dating in Jersey City v. The Suburbs: A Look at Regional Dating Differences


While we love nothing more than writing content for our audience, we also know that some of the best ideas can (and have) come from our readers. As such, The Hoboken Girl is kicking off a brand new series of Reader Submissions where we highlight articles written by you. To get us started, Jersey City-local Julianna Lubbe is covering how her dating life completely changed when she moved from her parents’ home in the suburbs to her own home in Jersey City. Julianna was formerly a resident of Robbinsville, New Jersey in Mercer County and has lived in Jersey City since August of this year. When she’s not exploring the dating scene, she works as a Registered Nurse on a Medical/Neurology/Oncology unit. Read on for an inside local look at dating in Jersey City, written by one of our HG readers, Julianna.

PS: If you have an idea for a Reader Submission article, send us a note at [email protected]

From the Suburbs to the City: A Reader’s Journey

The Challenges of Suburban Dating

My name is Julianna. I am 25 years old, a Registered Nurse, and my love language is, “I’m going to Taco Bell, do you want anything?” 

All of these things you could learn by looking at my Hinge profile. There are many challenges that come with the ‘second puberty’ that is your early twenties, but figuring out how to date as a young adult might be my least favorite of them all. Between the cheesy pickup lines and the awkward hot potato of, “Well where do you wanna go?”, dating can seem like a big inconvenience. An inconvenience that I was doing from my parents’ suburban home in Mercer County — that is up until two months ago, when the dating game changed. 

Read More: 14 Ways to Make Friends + Meet New People in Hoboken

Living at home has its benefits for sure — privacy not being one of them. I love my parents more than anything, but it was difficult to live in a space that did not feel like it was my own. I know I am not alone in this feeling. Many of my peers are also young professionals, living at home to save money. 

Feeling like I never truly had alone time for myself was challenging and made spending quality time with a potential partner difficult. 

Even looking past the mindset of dating at home, there were some setbacks to the dating scene in the suburbs — the main one being there was no walkable ideal date location. Driving to all my dates added the extra stressful layer of parking, especially if the date involved getting drinks. I would have to be extra mindful of what and how much I was drinking so I could safely drive myself home. 

Nevertheless, she persisted. I considered myself a dating app warrior. I had been on countless dates in the suburbs, ranging from getting coffee in Princeton to hanging out with goats on a farm. (Side note: regardless of whether the relationship sticks, learning how to pick up a chicken is a great life skill.) 

The Move to Jersey City

In August of 2022, I moved to Downtown Jersey City, ready to enter the dating scene in my newfound territory. 

After a few weeks of liking, matching, and messaging, my first date was set up. Starting with the very first steps of getting ready, everything immediately felt so different. I made myself a cocktail, had a Harry Styles-themed dance party with my roommate, and curated the perfect playlist for the 10-minute walk to my date. 

All of these steps felt liberating, and it was only just the beginning. We got drinks at The Archer, a cocktail bar with a vintage ambiance and Speakeasy lighting. We then wandered over to The Keyhole, a cash-only dive bar, where the banter between the bartender and patrons made me feel like part of a Cheers

On a different occasion, I loved enjoying a refreshing margarita poured with a generous hand on the patio of Taqueria, waiting for my date to arrive as my pre-date anxiety melted away like the salt on the rim. The energy of exploring different spots in the neighborhood is one that carries opportunity and excitement. 

All drinks aside, there are so many other ways to cultivate connections within Jersey City. Going for a walk along the waterfront is a fun and unique way to get to know someone while enjoying the fresh air and breathtaking views of the New York City skyline. There are different street festivals and markets, especially near the Grove Street Path station. I even feel like my roommate’s dog, a 10-month-old Shiba Inu puppy named Larry, has become my best wing man. Together, we explore Jersey City, wandering to dog parks and meeting new people along the way. 

As I previously mentioned, dating is hard. Messages go unanswered, connections get dropped, and feelings get hurt. But I believe that, within all of the unknown, the potential to meet someone in Jersey City outweighs the risks. So I recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and getting out there; whether it’s on the dating apps or sans technology. 

See More: Romantic Restaurants for Date Night in the Montclair Area

Talk to the barista or the bartender, make friends at the dog park. Enjoy the changing of the seasons and living in a city that feels like one big cozy neighborhood — packed full of way more opportunities than afforded in more suburban areas. Cherish the independence that comes with living away from home. The opportunities and connections are out there waiting for you. 

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