Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is located in Paterson, New Jersey, just a short drive from New York City. This national historical park has so much to see and do and a rich history of historical figures, the labor movement, and the immigrant contributions to America.
This location had a key role in the Industrial Revolution and is surrounded by historic landmarks and buildings. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors visit Great Falls National Historical Park to discover the history and beauty within its boundaries.
How To Get to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Where Is Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park?
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is located in northern New Jersey, about 30 miles from New York City. This national historical park is in the town of Paterson. The entire town is less than 9 square miles, and the park is within the city’s boundaries.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park Opening Hours and Seasons
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Sometimes, places around the park are closed, especially during the winter. It is wise to check the current conditions of the park before heading out for a day of adventures.
Nearest Airports to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is the closest airport to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This airport is a short 30-minute drive from the park.
This airport offers nonstop and connecting flights to and from dozens of international and domestic destinations. EWR services several popular airlines, including Air Canada, Alaska, American, and United.
Driving to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
When visiting Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, there are several different routes to take, depending on where you are coming from. For visitors coming from the Garden State Parkway, exit 155 to Route 19 is your route, and then Route 80 to Paterson.
Those coming from Interstate 80 will take exit 57B to downtown Paterson. The park is located on McBride Avenue, just a few short minutes from exiting the highway.
Taking the Train to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
For those who want to arrive at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, the New Jersey Transit offers service right to the town of Paterson. This is a great way to sit back, enjoy the journey to the park, and let someone else take over the stress of driving in an unfamiliar area.
Taking the Bus to Paterson Great Falls National Park
The New Jersey Transit offers bus rides to Paterson for those who want to arrive at Paterson Great Falls National Park by bus. The #190 bus line is the option that will take you to the park. Tickets are priced well at $2 to $7; the bus runs every 30 minutes.
Getting Around Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
The best way to get around Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is on foot. There is a parking area where guests can park for free for 2 hours. This parking area is called Overlook Park.
Parking and walking is the only option for exploring this national historical park. The park offers printable and interactive maps to help you plan your adventures.
What To See and Do in Paterson Great Falls
There are beautiful sights to appreciate, tours to participate in, and even programming for the youngest visitors to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. Let’s explore the most exciting sights and activities in and near the park.
Great Falls of the Passaic River
The main highlight of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is the Great Falls of the Passaic River. These falls can be admired from one of the walking tours available in the park.
The Great Falls is a National Natural Landmark, and their power and allure have a significant role in the story of Paterson and the Historic District. Don’t forget to take your camera in order to capture the spectacular falls rushing and flowing into the river.
Walking tours are a great way to explore Paterson Great Falls National Park and learn about the history of the park. These walking tours are free of charge and are one of the most popular activities in the park.
Visitors can choose from a ranger-led walking tour or a self-guided walking tour. These tours tell the story of Paterson, the Great Falls, and the history that helped to bring this national historical park into existence.
The tours last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and involve a 1-mile walk throughout the park. Visitors can participate in these walks Wednesday through Sunday at 2 p.m.
There are several activities available for youth at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. No matter how old a child is, there are fantastic opportunities they will love.
The Junior Ranger Program allows young explorers to complete different activities and record them in an activity booklet. Once completing each activity, they are able to submit it to the park for a Junior Ranger Badge and bragging rights.
Scout Rangers is another exciting opportunity for Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park youth. Any child who is a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout has the opportunity to become a National Park Service Scout Ranger. There are various patches Scout Rangers can earn as a part of this program.
What To See and Do Near Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is a small park with several things to see and do, but there are even more opportunities to discover within walking distance or a short drive from the park.
The park recommends visitors visit these nearby attractions to get a deeper understanding of Paterson and how the Great Falls have impacted the town’s history. Take a look at some of the exciting sites near the park.
Lambert Castle is in Paterson, a 10-minute drive from Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This castle is a beautiful sight to behold and has a captivating history.
Catholina Lambert was the owner of the castle. He was born in 1834 in Yorkshire, England. When he was just 10 years old in his hometown in England, he began working as an errand boy at a local mill. He worked there for 7 years and saved enough to move to America in 1851.
Once he married and began having children, he decided to move to Paterson and began working on a home called Belle Vista, named for his wife, but it was also known as Lambert Castle.
Lambert lived in the castle until he died in 1923. Now this castle is part home to the Passaic County Historical Society. Visitors can tour the castle library and museum and learn about the incredible history of the castle and the Lambert family.
Mary Ellen Kramer Park
Mary Ellen Kramer Park is the neighbor to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This park allows visitors to get close views of the Great Falls. Visitors enjoy picnicking and relaxing at Mary Ellen Kramer Park and can even feel the spray of the Great Falls.
This is a wonderful location for capturing amazing photos, learning about the history of key places in Paterson, and taking in the beautiful views of the city.
The Paterson Museum is just a 2- to 3-minute walk from Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. The park recommends guests visit this museum to better understand the culture of the Paterson area and the city’s technological and geological history.
This museum has artifacts, art and history exhibits, and displays for visitors to enjoy and earn from. Entry to the museum is on a donation basis, with a $2 entry fee recommendation. The museum is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is closed on the weekends.
Best Times To Visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Any time you are able to visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is a great time. However, certain times of the year are better than others, depending on what kind of experience you seek. Below you will find some of the best times to visit the park, which may help you plan what time to schedule your visit.
Best Time To Visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park for Viewing the Falls
Spring is the best time of year to visit to get breathtaking views of the falls. There is more volume in waterfalls at this time of year due to the snow melting and rainfall.
Best Time To Visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park To Avoid the Crowds
Winter is the least busy time at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. The frigid temperatures deter visitors from exploring the park. A good time to visit in the winter is in December when the park hasn’t reached its coldest temperatures and before snowfall starts to pick up.
Best Time To Visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park for Ideal Weather
Weather is a huge factor when traveling and can make or break your adventure. The best time to visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is in April. The temperature is comfortable and ranges from 40 to 61 degrees. This park receives 6 to 9 days of precipitation each year, so be prepared with rain gear just in case.
Cheapest Time To Visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Proper planning and research can help you to enjoy a trip and save money simultaneously. The cheapest time to visit Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is in mid- or late September. Prices of accommodations and flights are typically lower at this time of year due to school returning to session.
Annual Events in Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park has several events that take place on a regular basis, like its guided tours. There are also some events that take place on an annual basis.
Annual Art in the Park
The Annual Art in the Park event is a chalk art event that takes place in the park in September. Each year, there is a different theme, and artists are able to design a creation to fit that theme. This event celebrates Paterson’s history, ecology, and geology. Local artists spearhead this event each year; all skill levels are welcome.
Native American Heritage Festival
The Native American Heritage Festival takes place in November at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park each year. This special event honors the first inhabitants of New Jersey, including the Sand Hill, Lenape, and Cherokee tribes. The festival features great food, history demonstrations, guest speakers from the tribes, and activities for guests of all ages.
Where To Stay in Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Figuring out where to stay during a vacation is always a top priority. The great thing about the park is that there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. Let’s explore the top places to stay when visiting Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.
Inside the Park
No lodging or camping options are available in Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.
Towns Near Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Several small communities and townships are near the park. Paterson itself is in a wonderful town with plenty of places to set up a home base, and other towns are just a few miles down the road.
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is located in Paterson. This town is a great place to set up a home base during your trip.
There are several lodging options, from budget-friendly motels to modern chain hotels. Renting an Airbnb is another option that many guests prefer. Whatever accommodation style you are looking for, you will find a solution to meet your needs during your trip to this town.
Authentic Italian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern restaurants are just a few of the places available in Paterson when hunger strikes. There are also plenty of restaurants serving classic American cuisine. No matter what you crave, you can find a hunger solution in Paterson.
Most people staying in Paterson will spend their days exploring Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, Lambert Castle, and Paterson Museum. This town has so much history, so there’s always something to do and learn about. There are also several parks and hiking trails should you want to explore in nature.
Wayne, New Jersey
Just a 10-minute drive from Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, Wayne has several options for lodging, dining, and recreation.
There is a variety of accommodations, including luxury hotels and value motels. There aren’t dozens of options in this small township, but there are sufficient options available. From locally-owned diners to chain restaurants, there’s something for every palate in this New Jersey town.
The town has much to offer for recreation and entertainment. Shopping malls, ice skating rinks, botanical gardens, historical landmarks, and museums are just some of the noteworthy places tourists like to visit during their stay.
Wayne is just a short drive from Paterson Great Falls National Historical and an ideal place to stay during a visit. There are so many options for places to stay, dine, and explore, so you can’t go wrong booking a stay in this town.
Where To Eat in Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
There aren’t any options for dining in Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, but thanks to its location in the town of Paterson, there are plenty of options right down the road. Whatever you have a hankering for, you can rest assured you will find the perfect place for a bite to eat in this picturesque town.
Amore Ristorante is an Italian restaurant that is a little over a mile from Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This restaurant serves delicious Italian dishes for lunch and dinner 6 days a week.
Freshly-made salads, pasta dishes, soups, and sandwiches are just some of the items on the menu at Amore Ristorante. Customers rave about the Amore salad, the calamari fritti, and the lasagna. There are also menu items for those with special dietary needs, such as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.
Many customers say that Amore Ristorante is their favorite Italian restaurant of all time. With its proximity to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park and its incredible reviews, you will want to try this place during your park visit.
Chicken Supreme is half a mile from Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This restaurant serves chicken and seafood specialties for lunch and dinner daily.
The menu at Chicken Supreme features classic recipes like fried chicken, hot wings, chicken tenders, shrimp dishes, seafood sandwiches, and homemade sides like french fries, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and more. Some dishes loved by customers include the crispy chicken sandwich, fried shrimp, onion rings, and sweet potato pie.
Dining at Chicken Supreme is like going to grandma’s house for a delicious home-cooked meal. When visiting Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, stop by for a meal you won’t forget.
E&V Restaurant is an Italian restaurant in Paterson, New Jersey. This restaurant serves lunch and dinner 6 days a week and is loved by locals and tourists alike.
Cold appetizers, fresh salads, pasta, and chicken and seafood dishes are all featured menu items. Some of the most popular dishes include homemade gnocchi, capellini primavera, chicken parmigiana, and shrimp Marechiara.
E&V has been serving the Paterson area since 1967. When you need to take a break from your adventures at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, take a moment to enjoy the delicious dishes at this charming restaurant.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park Facts
1. A New National Historical Park
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park was established on November 7, 2011. It was the 397th unit in the National Park System.
2. Original People of the Paterson Area
The Lenape tribe was the original people of the Paterson area. They built their life around the Passaic River, which provided them with transportation, drinking water, and a way to clean and raise their crops. They also relied on the river for their food and created special dams called wiers to help them catch fish in large quantities. Some members of this people group still live in the Paterson area today.
3. What’s in a Name
This national historical park was named after the town where it lies. Paterson was founded by the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufacturers and named after the New Jersey governor at the time, William Paterson.
4. Oral Histories
Visitors can explore and listen to oral histories from prominent members of the city of Paterson throughout the years. Some oral histories are from former mayors, labor leaders, and activists. The narratives are continually collected throughout the years and offer wonderful stories of how this area has developed over time.
5. National Historical Landmark
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park was established as a National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976. This recognition means that the park is committed to preserving the stories and historical events, people, and places, for all visitors.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is an incredible park to explore and learn about early times in American history. From historic castles to guided tours, and from museums to gorgeous waterfalls, there’s no shortage of adventure and excitement at this national historical park.
Featured Image Credit: NPS
Frequently Asked Questions
There are no fees for entering Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park does not have public Wi-Fi. There is cellular access available throughout the park.
There isn’t a visitor center at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. The park hopes to have one built in the near future.
Unfortunately, the footbridge that crosses the Passaic River at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is closed indefinitely. The park system hopes to have a new bridge constructed in the near future.
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