Fort Lee is a city in Bergen County. This town is comprised of a large residential community that includes Fort Lee natives, transplants from New York, and immigrants, especially from Korea. This cultural diversity is represented through the vast variety of international restaurants and small business, and in particular, there is a strong Korean presence that can be seen in retail and dining storefronts.
Fort Lee sits between the Paramus, NJ retail corridor and Upper Manhattan.
Fort Lee is a city of 40,000 (2020 Census) that is piled high with apartment buildings. Because Fort Lee sits above the banks of the Hudson River, there are breathtaking views from almost any window facing the river. The New York City skyline and 4th of July fireworks are spectacular over the river. Although it is highly built up, Fort Lee has many playing fields and recreational parks as well as bike and running trails. And although there is a great deal of vehicle traffic to and from the George Washington Bridge, which connects Fort Lee with Manhattan, one of the largest perks of this town is the walking access to many restaurants, convenience stores and mass transit, in the form of buses and vans that frequently run across the bridge and up and down major streets.
This article also covers the neighboring community of Palisades Park.
Fort Lee is bordered by seven municipalities in New Jersey. To the north, there’s Englewood, Englewood Cliffs. To the south, there’s Cliffside Park, Edgewater. To the west, there’s Ridgefield, Leonia, Palisades Park. The Hudson River forms its eastern boundary, as well as the state line with New York. Across the Hudson River, it also borders the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York, NY.
Being the home to the George Washington Bridge, it’s understandable Fort Lee would be easy to traverse in a car, whether passing by or doing local travel. In transit to the city, most of the highways cut through the northern neighborhoods and residential areas, such as: Interstate 95 and the New Jersey Turnpike, US Highway 1-9, US Highway 46, and NJ State Route 4. The Palisades Interstate Parkway also runs north-south of the city, heading north along the Palisades after entering New Jersey, while US Highway 9W runs parallel to the PIP going north of Fort Lee. Together, I-95/New Jersey Turnpike, US Highway 1-9, US Highway 46, US Highway 9W, and NJ State Route 67 (running above those aforementioned highways on a north-south route) form the George Washington Bridge Plaza, where all of those highways converge from the GWB toll plaza, to the bridge crossing over to New York. If coming from New York City, take the George Washington Bridge; Fort Lee is the first town on the New Jersey side of the bridge, and the first of several exits for those highways.
By bus or jitneyEdit
Fort Lee’s primary bus stop is at the foot of the George Washington Bridge Bus Plaza (GWBP), where there’s bus service offered by New Jersey Transit, Rockland Coaches, or Spanish Transportation (“dollar buses/vans” usually with a green color). Eastbound, all routes go to either the George Washington Bus Station in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, or to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Westbound, the destinations would usually differ between the different transit carriers. New Jersey Tranist buses transport their customers between local stops in Fort Lee, and out of town in Bergen/Passaic/Hudson Counties. Rockland Coaches offers service between Fort Lee and Rockland County, New York. Spanish Transportation offers bus routes either on their Route 4 service , terminating at Paterson’s Broadway Bus Terminal, or their Bergenline service, traveling down Bergeline Avenue to Jersey City’s Newport Mall. Some of New Jersey Transit’s buses run for 24 hours.
Ask any bus or jitney driver leaving from the Port Authority George Washington Bus Station on 177 St. whether s/he can let you off in Fort Lee.
Although there isn’t a ferry in the city, Fort Lee can also be accessed by boat or ferry from New York City via Edgewater (Edgewater Ferry Landing) and Weehawken (Port Imperial Ferry) docks, on the NY Waterway service.
The nearest airports to Fort Lee are Newark Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Teterboro (TEB IATA) (general aviation only), JFK and Westchester County Airport.
With the George Washington Bridge not only doubling as an iconic landmark for the city, but as a crucial connection to New York City’s northern neighborhoods (and beyond), it allows for pedestrian and bike travel, with two different walkways (north, or south). From 6AM-midnight, the paths are open for travelers to walk between Fort Lee, and New York City, usually the south walkway is opened unless if maintenance or construction is done. On average, it would take 20-25 minutes to traverse the nearly 1 mile span, and 10 minutes (or less) on bike. The north walkway has a convenient pathway to the Palisades Interstate Park, while the south walkway is in easy reach of Fort Lee Historic Park.
Most people choose cars, but if headed to a central area, such as Main Street, it is best to drive there, park in a municipal parking lot, and walk around from there. Since so much of the town's retail area is clustered in 3- or 4-block radius, it would be beneficial to walk around, but might also be dangerous given the high traffic intersections. If walking use caution, and if parking, make sure to feed the meter with plenty of pocket change; the meter maids take their job very seriously. Since fort lee is situated in such a convenient area for those commuting to and from the city, there is often high traffic and congestion on the roads. If you are planning on being somewhere at a certain time, one might suggest leaving a good 10 to 15 minutes to escape local traffic before hitting any major roadways.
For local transportation or air-port/train station services, there are several local taxi companies that are reliable.
- [dead link] A-1, 2470 Lemoine Ave, ☏ +1 201 944-3737.
- Babe's, 185 Bridge Plaza North, ☏ +1 201 944-6800.
- G W Taxi, 1696 Bergen Blvd, ☏ +1 201 363-0555.
Fort Lee is known and named for the story of how General George Washington was forced to evacuate the area in November 1776 and begin his famous retreat through New Jersey during the winter of 1776-77 in the protection of "Fort Lee".The Visitors' Center provides information on the role of Fort Lee in the War. Audio-visual displays, detailed exhibits, gives visitors a sense of what this town was like centuries ago.
- 1 Fort Lee Historic Park, Hudson Terrace, ☏ +1 201 461-1776. Revolutionary re-enactments, and breathtaking views of the GW Bridge, the Little Red Light House, Hudson River and majestic city skyline.
- Alongside the banks of the Hudson River, you can also see the Palisades Interstate Park. There’s a few hiking trails in Fort Lee to go either to the upper/main level paths, but there’s no entrance for cars themselves in Fort Lee, the southern entrance is shortly after crossing into Edgewater. It’s a popular park for watercraft, hiking, fishing, and camping.
- The George Washington Bridge can be crossed by bicycle or on foot as well as in a motorized vehicle. Open 6AM-midnight for pedestrians/bikers.
- 2 Field Station Dinosaurs, Fort Lee Rd, Leonia, ☏ +1 855 999 9010.
Other than eating, or shopping, or shopping for food, there is not much else to do unless you work in Fort Lee. Fort Lee also has a great community center open to all borough residents. The community center has dance, yoga, and other exercise classes, offers open gym hours for basketball or other recreation. During the summer their outdoor theatre is used for performances and "movies in the park" every Friday night.
- Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center, 1355 Inwood Terrace, ☏ +1 201-592-4699. Contact for membership information, and upcoming events.
- iPic Hudson Lights, 2023 Hudson St. ☏ +1 201-582-7100. Premium movie theater chain at the Hudson Lights complex, offering dine-in options and drinks. Also has a full fledged bar/restaurant inside (City Perch).
There is an abundance of supermarkets, one the most famous and unique being Caffasso's Fairway Market. There are also many nail salons, frozen yogurt shops, coffee shops and gas stations.
- Cafasso's Fairway Market, 1214 Anderson Ave, ☏ +1 201-224-7900. M-F 8:30AM-7PM, Sa 8:30AM-6:30PM, Su 9AM-3PM.
Main Street is the primary retail section of Fort Lee, and features stores such as Borders and liquor stores, and you can find a deli or drug store on every corner. There are tons of specialty boutiques and gourmet caterers, as well as clothing and sporting good retailers. Also on Main St. is Metropolitan Plants, a haven for flower lovers, with a very large selection of products for gardeners.
In Fort Lee, the main attraction would be its collection of restaurants. Fort Lee offers international cuisine and is famous for their pizzerias, delis and 24-hour diners, in addition to its Korean restaurants. They have a warm local atmosphere and taste great.
- Hirams Roadstand, 1345 Palisade Ave, ☏ +1 201-592-960. This "joint" is the real deal for burgers, fries, and famous hot dogs. For a small price to pay, you will be talking and dreaming about this meal for years to come. It's a one of a kind, ma and pop shop.
- Linwood Pizza, 144 Main St, ☏ +1 201 461-422. Open every night till 3AM. Great pizza, a favorite of Fort Lee Police Department and many other locals. Open late, and great for late night snacks, or to order in for the big game.
- It's Greek to Me, 1611 Palisade Ave, ☏ +1 201-947-2050. A family business turned franchise. The definition of success, as a couple from Greece opened their first location locally they now operate 9 restaurants. Each restaurant is friendly, has a comfortable atmosphere and sparks a desire for Greek food and specialties. The sunny Greek Island decor is the restaurant's signature and provides a cheerful atmosphere for an informal and moderately priced lunch or dinner.
- Plaza Diner, 2045 Lemoine Ave, ☏ +1 201-944-8681. Open 24 hours.
- Pizza King Restaurant, 807 Abbott Blvd, ☏ +1 201 224-3070. Family-run pizzeria and restaurant. Native to Calabria, Italy, this family's business has thrived for almost 4 decades. Dine in or take out.
- Baggio's, 210 Main St, ☏ +1 201-585-7979. A cute place to fall in for lunch or dinner, and has great delivery service available. Reasonably priced, Baggio's makes an authentic Italian pizza, and other specialties.
- Sally Ling's, 1636 Palisade Ave # 5, ☏ +1 201-346-1282. M-Th Su 11AM-9:45PM; F Sa 11AM-10:30PM. Authentic Chinese cuisine. More of an upscale atmosphere, with an extensive menu for lunch of dinner.
- JD's Steak Pit, 124 Main St, ☏ +1 201-461-0444. Open for lunch 11AM-4PM, dinner 5PM-11PM, bar 11AM-midnight. Specializes in Canadian baby back ribs and steaks, in very large portions! A mature atmosphere and bar scene is often present at JD's.
- [dead link] Poonglim, 2053 Lemoine Ave, ☏ +1 201-944-8699. 11AM-1AM. Korean BBQ restaurant
- Totowah, 337 Broad Ave, Palisades Park, ☏ +1 201-592-7020.
- [dead link] Armando's Restaurant, 144 Main St, ☏ +1 201-461-422. Armando's Restaurant is a family-owned casual dining experience in an upscale, yet relaxed atmosphere. Great for special occasions, and has banquet room for private parties.
- InNapoli, 16 Main St, ☏ +1 201-947-2500. Serving southern Italian food since 1984. Their menu ranges from steak, seafood and pasta, and this family-oriented restaurant also has a great cocktail menu, and separates their bar from the dining area.
There are many bars within restaurants, and almost every restaurant has a liquor license, or is BYOB.
- Double Tree by Hilton, 2117 Route 4 East, ☏ +1 201-461-9000. On the outskirts of town.
- Holiday Inn, 2339 Route 4 East, ☏ +1 201-944-5000. Near the Double Tree, this hotel offers a similar landscape, with lower rates and comparable amenities.
- Best Western, 2300 Route 4 West, toll-free: +1-800-780-7234. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Across Rt. 4 from the Holiday Inn. This hotel is a little more secluded from the busy roadways, and offers great group rates. This is located on Rt 4 West Bound, and does not have as much of a view as the others situated on a mountainside. Good for people who are spending most of their time in New York City, and definitely not a destination hotel.
- The Borough of Fort Lee, Town Hall. Here you can find information about the involvement of Fort Lee residents in the community as well as many of their municipalities. Information also includes upcoming events in the town.
|Routes through Fort Lee|
|Dover ← Englewood ←||W E||→ END|
|New Haven ← Manhattan, New York ← ends ←||N S||→ Englewood → Philadelphia|
|New Haven ← Manhattan, New York ←||N S||→ Jersey City → Philadelphia|
|Albany ← Manhattan, New York ←||N S||→ Jersey City → Cape May|
|Albany ← Piermont ←||N S||→ END|