Lying between the Hudson and Hackensack rivers, with the George Washington Bridge to the north and the Statue of Liberty to the south, New Jersey's Meadowlands Liberty region presents groups with a wealth of unique venues and sports, entertainment, ecological and cultural offerings. The destination also affords easy access via all transportation modes: It's just minutes via car, train or bus from Midtown Manhattan and Times Square, 15 miles from Newark Liberty International Airport and connects to all major interstate highways. New projects are making the region even more attractive to groups.
Welcoming the American Dream
One of the most exciting developments is the long-anticipated American Dream Meadowlands, a vast 3 million-square-foot complex that will include a number of shopping, dining and entertainment options upon opening in early 2019. Components will include a DreamWorks Water Park, the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, a 16-story Big Snow Indoor Ski & Snow Park, a live performing arts theater, a 285-foot-tall observation wheel, luxury movie theaters by CMX, an NHL-size ice rink and two 18-hole miniature-golf courses.
The complex also will feature The Collections, a glitzy luxury and fashion area; and the Dining Terrace, featuring 15 full-service restaurants showcased in one location in the heart of the action.
American Dream will include an international tourism center targeted to global visitors, with a focus on China, South America, the Middle East and Russia. The center's reception team will be able to converse with and assist guests who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese and Arabic. Among other services, a dedicated concierge will be on hand to book hotels and flights, check luggage and packages, and arrange pickup and delivery of purchases to visitors' hotel rooms or the airport.
New places to stay
The Meadowlands Liberty region offers more than 10,000 hotel rooms at a variety of price points. The most recent entry, which debuted last month, is the dual-branded Hampton Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites at Teaneck. The 15-story property, with a combined 350 guest rooms, affords guests sweeping views of the New York City skyline. Developed and owned by Alfred Sanzari Enterprises and managed by White Lodging, the hotel is on the Glenpointe Campus at the intersection of I-80 and I-95. Among the property's amenities is Crossroads -- a bar area for guests to meet, eat and relax -- as well as a shared lobby area, a 24-hour fitness center and an indoor pool. The hotel has 1,230 square feet of shared meeting space for groups of up to 100 attendees.
Guests of the 190-room Hampton Inn & Suites receive a complimentary hot breakfast or On the Run breakfast bags. Each guest room includes HDTV, a refrigerator and a coffeemaker. The 160 rooms under the Homewood Suites brand feature a combination of studio and one-bedroom accommodations, with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas. Amenities include free hot breakfast daily and a grocery shopping service.
In the same complex is the newly renovated Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe, with 346 stylishly updated guest rooms, a new Great Room lobby experience, concierge floors, the M Club, Pancetta Regional Kitchen + Bar and 26,500 square feet of updated meeting and event space.
Another recent entrant is the 100-room Fairfield Inn & Suites North Bergen. Notable features include a living area with a natural stone hearth, a 24/7 Corner Market, a fitness center, and complimentary hot breakfast and WiFi. Guest rooms have work areas, ergonomic chairs and in-room entertainment technology that allows guests to access their Hulu and Netflix accounts, as well as YouTube, Pandora and Crackle through the HDTV.
The hotel's meeting space accommodates up to 68 people. Transportation options include a complimentary shuttle to anywhere within a three-mile radius, as well as a free shuttle to the Secaucus train station. The hotel provides shuttle service to Midtown Manhattan for a modest fee.
Newark Airport gets an upgrade
The region's Newark Liberty International is undergoing major improvements, with a $2.7 billion project that will replace the outdated Terminal A. The new terminal should be finished by the end of 2022, though some gates will be in service by late 2021.
MetLife Stadium and more
One of the most famous venues in the Meadowlands Liberty area is MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL teams. The stadium rents out all of its spaces, including the field, to groups of 20 to 10,000. Among the unique offerings are event branding via TVs, video boards, ribbon boards and gate pylons.
Nearby, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment provides a number of event spaces, including private rooms, open-air decks, a rooftop terrace and the Victory Sports Bar & Club.
The Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus hosts events in its 61,000 square feet of exhibit space, along with six meeting rooms. The venue is within walking distance of six hotels as well as shopping and dining.
All this -- and nature, too
Within view of the New York City skyline, the Meadowlands is named for is natural attractions, bordered by the region's two rivers. Visitors can enjoy acres of trails, estuaries and protected marshlands, on foot or on bicycles, alone or in guided groups.
Fishing, boating and kayaking expeditions reveal tall grasses, wetlands, nests and wildlife. The Meadowlands is beloved by bird-watchers, with 265 unique species of residential and migratory fowl calling the area home, 25 of which are on New Jersey's endangered or threatened species lists.
And in Jersey City, Liberty State Park showcases more than 300 species of plants, many from around the world, and planted when immigrants arrived at Ellis Island and scattered seeds from their native lands.