Despite being home to multiple New York sports teams, MetLife stadium is not actually in New York. MetLife Stadium is located across the Hudson in East Rutherford, New Jersey. If you’re headed to an event from New York City, your best option is to take the train to MetLife Stadium.
In this post, we’ll explain exactly how to take the train from New York City to MetLife Stadium. We’ll explain where to go, how to get tickets, and how long it will take. It’s not necessarily the smoothest experience, but it’s not that bad either and it’s usually the fastest and cheapest option.
Keep reading to learn how to take the train from NYC to MetLife Stadium for a concert or NFL game.
The Basics: Taking the Train to MetLife Stadium from NYC
MetLife Stadium is home to the NY Jets, NY Giants and hosts concerts for major touring artists to the tune of Taylor Swift and Beyonce. If you’re coming from New York City, MetLife Stadium feels so close yet so far. There’s no direct train, so you’ll have at least one transfer to deal with.
Here’s a preview of the route before we dive into the details.
- Start at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan
- Take NJ Transit (Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast) to Secaucus Junction (1 stop, 10 mins)
- Connect to Meadowlands Rail Line to Meadowlands station (1 stop, 10 mins)
- Walk to MetLife Stadium (3-10 minute depending on your entry gate)
The return trip from MetLife Stadium to NYC is basically the same, but in reverse. Take the commuter train from Meadowlands station outside MetLife Stadium to Secaucus Junction, then switch to a New York-bound NJ Transit train. This direction takes longer after the event because everyone is leaving at the same time.
How long is the train to MetLife from NYC?
Plan for the trip from New York Penn Station to MetLife Stadium to take about one hour. Each of the two train rides are only about 10 minutes, but it’s not that simple. You’ll need to arrive at Penn Station a little early to get to the right track on time, you might have to wait up to 20 minutes for the Meadowlands train, and there might be crowds that make each step take longer.
In my recent experience, it took 45 minutes from the time the track was announced at Penn Station to the time I got off the train at MetLife. Plus we were actually at Penn Station about 15 minutes early, so the whole experience took an hour.
My return trip was about 1.5 hours from MetLife Stadium to Penn Station. Most of that extra time was spent waiting in line to board the train at MetLife Stadium after the concert.
Neither of these time estimates include the 30-40 minutes it took to actually get to Penn Station.
NJ Transit Tickets
The trains between Penn Station, Secaucus Junction, and Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium) are operated by NJ Transit. You will need to have a valid ticket for each leg of the journey including from Penn Station to Secaucus and from Secaucus to Meadowlands.
You can buy a ticket in advance in the NJ Transit app, from self-service ticket kiosks at Penn Station or from an agent at the ticket window at Penn Station. The ticket kiosks are very intuitive and in my experience never had lines. However you buy your ticket, you will need to know that your destination is “Meadowlands” — that’s the name of the station stop at MetLife Stadium.
A roundtrip ticket from New York Penn Station to Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium) costs $11. There is no price break for buying tickets roundtrip versus one way. The perk to buying roundtrip is that you don’t have to worry about lines or poor service on your way home. The downside to buying roundtrip paper tickets is that you risk losing them.
I’d recommend getting roundtrip tickets in advance in the app. You can buy your tickets anytime, and then activate them in the app when you’re ready to ride.
MetLife Stadium Train Schedule
To get from NYC to MetLife Stadium, you’ll have to take two trains.
The first is the regularly scheduled NJ Transit trains that operate between Penn Station and Secaucus Junction. Most NJ Transit trains from Penn Station stop at Secaucus, but the Northeast Corridor Line (red) and the North Jersey Coast Line (blue) run most frequently. During busy times, these trains run every 10 to 30 minutes. Sometimes they have more frequent service for major events.
NOTE: A handful of Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast trains do not stop at Secaucus, but most do. Be sure check the schedule for the most accurate routes and times.
You can view the schedules online in advance for the Northeast Corridor Line (red) or the North Jersey Coast Line (blue). Google Maps is also helpful for finding the right train time. You can set the “Arrive by” date and time, and then Google Maps will tell you the scheduled train that will get there by that time.
The second train is between Secaucus Junction and Meadowlands station (MetLife Stadium). This train only runs on NFL game days or for events expected to have over 50,000 attendees.
The train to MetLife Stadium usually starts running 3.5 hours before the event’s scheduled start time. The train runs every 10 to 20 minutes until the start of the event. During the event, the train service drops down to hourly. After the event, the train runs every 10 minutes until 1 hour after the event or until crowds have cleared. (In my experience, the Meadowland train schedule wasn’t precise. They just kind of ran the train when it filled up.)
The train start time is consistent for NFL games, but it can vary for concerts. The exact schedule changes for each concert and event. For example, I attended the Taylor Swift concert in May 2023. For that concert, the scheduled concert start time was 6:30 PM, doors opened at 4:30 PM and the first train was scheduled to leave Secaucus at 4:07 PM.
In my experience, MetLife was really good about communicating the train schedule. I received a detailed email the day before the event that included the first train departure time. Keep your eye on your inbox for that. (However, it was Taylor Swift, so it might be have been a special case.)
How to Take the Train to MetLife Stadium from NYC
In this next section, we’ll walk through the journey from NYC to MetLife stadium in detail. It’s a little clunky, but it’s not so bad. Honestly, for $11 and less than an hour, it’s pretty darn good.
Let’s go to MetLife Stadium.
Step 1: NJ Transit from Penn Station to Secaucus Junction
The journey from NYC to MetLife Stadium starts at Penn Station.
Enter Penn Station from the corner of 7th Avenue and 31st Street. There is a sign for NJ Transit, but as of May 2023 it was pretty well hidden behind construction walls. Head down the escalator and you’ll be in the main concourse.
To your left, you’ll find several ticket kiosks. To your right, there is the ticket window where can purchase a ticket from an agent, plus more kiosks. Buy your ticket if you haven’t done so or continue forward to the waiting area.
From the waiting area, you’ll see that each track is clearly numbered. There are signs by each door with the track number, plus signs above that point to different track number locations.
Look for one of the monitors around the concourse that displays the upcoming trains. Each train listed on the monitor is color coded and has a departure time, destination and line name listed. Shortly before departure (usually 5 minutes), the board will update with a track number.
Look for the soonest train that is red (Northeast Corridor Line) or blue (North Jersey Coast Line). When the track number is displayed, head to that track. At the track will be a train, and you can board any open car. Each car is basically the same, but the first and last car on the Northeast Corridor Line is technically a quiet car. (I’m not sure how much that is enforced on event days, though.)
Shortly after departure, a conductor will come through the train and check for tickets. If you have a paper ticket, they will punch it. If you have a digital ticket, they will make sure it’s activated and then scan it.
Ride 1 stop to Secaucus Junction – about 10 minutes.
Step 2: Transfer at Secaucus Junction
Exit the train at Secaucus Junction. Follow signs for “Meadowlands” which will guide you up the stairs and toward the main terminal.
Scan your ticket (either paper or digital) at the automated gates to enter the terminal. In my experience during heavy crowds, there were several agents available to assist and expedite getting people through.
TIP: There are bathrooms at Secaucus Junction and they are clean and bountiful! I’d suggest making a stop here, especially if the gates to the stadium won’t be open when you get there. The parking lot at MetLife only has Porta Potties and the lines were long before a concert.
Then look for signs for MetLife Stadium. Since the Meadowlands Rail Line only operates during events, it doesn’t have permanent signs in the terminal. There were also several agents directing people to the MetLife Stadium train.
Remember, if that train is running, there are at least 50,000 people going to the same place and roughly the same time, so there will be plenty of people making the same journey. Following the crowds is definitely an option.
When you get to the track, board any open car. They pack these trains full so there’s a good chance you have to stand.
Step 3: Commuter Train from Secaucus Junction to MetLife Stadium
Ride the Meadowlands Rail Line for 1 stop (the only stop) to Meadowlands station. The ride takes about 10 minutes. Meadowlands station is basically right outside of MetLife Stadium and closer than most parking spots.
The station is closest to HCLTech Gate, which takes about 3 minutes to walk to. There are 4 other gates to the stadium, which take a bit longer to get to — about 10 minutes tops.
Return Journey from MetLife Stadium to NYC
Getting back to NYC from MetLife is the same, but in reverse. The good news is that you’re familiar with the trip at this point and can sort of run on autopilot. The bad news is that it takes longer because it’s more crowded.
When you leave the stadium, there are huge signs pointing toward the direction of the train. Follow signs to the station. It was crowded, but it honestly wasn’t that bad. It was 50 minutes from the second the concert ended till we were on the train.
The biggest call out for your return journey is that you actually enter the station in a slightly different spot than you exited earlier. This is to manage crowds and help to form a queue. I’ve noted these locations in the map below. (You can also view the stadium map on MetLife’s website here.)
The Meadowlands Rail Line train from MetLife will go back to Secaucus Junction. Follow signs up the stairs toward trains to NYC. There will be monitors displaying upcoming trains and their destination. Follow signs (and the crowds!) to the track for the NYC bound red (Northeast Corridor Line) or blue (North Jersey Coast Line) trains.
The trains are coming from somewhere else, so it will not likely be waiting there when you arrive. You can check the schedule online in advance, but you don’t have a lot of control over the timeline at this point.
Ride 1 stop to New York Penn Station.
Other ways to get to MetLife Stadium from NYC
If you aren’t keen on the train, there are a few other ways to get to MetLife Stadium from New York City. Compared to the other prices and times, the train actually seems pretty reasonable.
Here’s a quick look at the other options.
- Drive: It takes at least 45 minutes to drive from Manhattan to MetLife, and that’s excluding event traffic. Parking at MetLife typically costs an additional $40 per car.
- Rideshare: The Rideshare pickup location is in Lot E. Taking an Uber or Lyft takes longer than driving because you also have to connect with and find your driver. According to MetLife’s website, rideshare wait times can be an hour or more after events. Without surge pricing, I was quoted $75 from MetLife to Queens. It could easily be double that after an event.
- Coachbus: Bus service is offered from Port Authority Bus Terminal to MetLife Stadium Lot K for NFL games and major events. It costs $14 and is scheduled for 30 minutes, though I expect traffic makes this take longer.
- Limo / Car Service: There are several NYC and NJ car and limo companies that offer private rides to and from MetLife. I did extensive research on this for Taylor Swift. I really wanted it to work, but it was just too expensive. The best option I found was Precision NY who quoted me at $327 for a 1-way trip from the stadium to my apartment in Astoria, Queens (for a black car for 2 people including tip and a 10% first time discount). Several car services I talked to would only provide roundtrip, hourly pricing for MetLife events. Harrison Car Service quoted me at $1,350 for that.
2023 Events at MetLife Stadium
- June 10-11: Ed Sheeran +–=÷x Tour
- July 6: Twice – 5th World Tour ‘Ready to be’
- July 22: Manchester United vs Arsenal
- July 29-30: Beyoncé – Renaissance World Tour
- August 4 & 6: Metallica – M72 World Tour
- August 11-12: Blackpink World Tour [Born Pink]
- August 15: Guns N’ Roses – North America 2023 Tour
- August 30, September 1 & 3: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
- September 7-8: Karol G “Mañana Será Bonito” Tour
- September 16: Toyota HBCU NY Football Classic
- All New York Jets Home Football Games
- All New York Giants Home Football Games