With its close proximity to the bustling George Washington Bridge — a major thoroughfare in and out of New York City — many people drive right through Fort Lee without realizing what they’re missing. It encompasses less than three square miles, but this suburb of roughly 40,000 has history, culture and fun amenities in spades.
The city is home to a thriving Korean population — 42% of residents identify as Asian — and boasts hundreds of Korean restaurants and shops. Residents and visitors especially love Obalton, which serves up Korean barbecue on Abbott Boulevard, and Sa Rit Gol on Main Street. There are Korean bookstores, grocery stores, beauty supply stores, and karaoke bars, too.
In recent years, luxury apartment buildings with sweeping views of the New Jersey Palisades and the New York City skyline have sprung up along the perimeter of Fort Lee — as have a laundry list of new retail offerings.
Cinema buffs will appreciate Fort Lee’s rich history: the town was the epicenter of the burgeoning American motion picture industry in the early 20th century, and was home to the Universal, FOX and Solax film studios. The Barrymore Film Center, which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating that history, is slated to open in Fort Lee later this year. If that’s not your cup of tea, check out the 33-acre Fort Lee Historic Park, where you can learn about the city’s role in the Revolutionary War or take advantage of the many cycling and walking paths in the area. — Sarah Hansen
Fort Lee, New Jersey
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Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.