It’s a world-renowned music and concert capital. It’s art. It’s Opera at Convention Hall. It’s a guitarist at a coffee shop. It’s a poetry reading. It’s The Asbury Book Cooperative.
Asbury is downtown shopping. It’s Industry. It’s Cyber-Business. It’s lakes and parks to play in.
It’s more than 75 places to eat, drink and have fun. It’s got the highest concentration of houses of worship in New Jersey. Asbury Park is fast becoming the cultural and residential capital of the northeast. It’s laid out in about 1 square mile, so you can walk to all of it.
Yet the very best part of Asbury Park is its residential community, with families that have been here for over 100 years, welcoming visitors and new residents for more than a century. Its youth and high school sports are legendary in New Jersey, boasting state and national championships through the years. Imagine your day at home in Asbury Park.The architecture is as varied and interesting as its people. You can wake up in a quaint, post-war home on the bucolic westside that borders Ocean Township or Neptune.Or you can rise in shine in your glorious east side sprawling house that once was home to notables such as the Woolworth family, the Steinbach family, the Leon Hess family, author Steven Crane (Red Badge of Courage), and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Margaret Widdemer, or actors like Bud Abbott, Cesare Romero, and Danny DiVito. Of course, as always, expect to run into hundreds of musicians at an eatery or bar, including Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen. The southwest quarter is now the fastest-growing neighborhood, with new Townhouses lining Springwood Avenue. Perhaps ocean views are where you’d like to see the sunrise from your window or balcony.
Asbury Park’s latest redevelopment includes New Jersey’s most sought after high-end, luxury condominiums on the market, with glorious views of the Atlantic Ocean, or Asbury’s other water gems, Wesley Lake, Sunset Lake, and Deal Lake. After the sunrise, you jog on the boardwalk or around a lake. You can join in the yoga classes on the beach or in parks, as you marvel at the public art that the Art Commission puts up all over town. Take your surfboard just past the dog-friendly north end beach when the waves swell. You can’t avoid being drawn into half a dozen shops with coffee freshly ground on-premises like America’s Cup, Asbury Park Roastery, Booskerdoo, Café Volan, High Voltage, Kula Café, and more. Is breakfast hungry? You’ve got more than a dozen places to get your pork roll and much more, like local favorites Frank’s Deli, Sunset Landing, and Chat n Nibble, to downtown spots Toast, Cardinal Provisionsand DJ’s Delights. Many of the fine dining establishments have a buffet. Grab some donuts at PurpleGlaze.
If work is on your agenda and your commute, Asbury Park is minutes from major highways and the Garden State Parkway. If you want to bring your work local, Asbury has grand office space and a great selection of shared and virtual office options too. If you’re off from work, you and your family can sit on what both Travel & Leisure and Money magazines call one of the best beaches in America. The boardwalk boasts delicious restaurants like famed chefMarylin Schlossbach’s Langosta Lounge, Pop’s Garage, Tim McCloone’s Robinson Ale House, the Iron Whale, Stella Marina, the Oyster Bar, and the gorgeous ocean views at Sea Horse.
As you walk the boardwalk and listen to buskers play guitars, saxophones, drum circles, and more, you can stop at a number of great eateries including Mogo, the Mayfair, Tower Dogs, Pucker, The Crepe Shop, and others. Snacks and Ice Cream call to you. Don’t forget to play a round of mini-golf and get in some pinball and classic skeeball at the Silver Ball Museum.
Even the retail stores are great on the boardwalk, like Style Rocket and the not to be missed Betty’s Bombshells with all originally designed, one of a kind clothing. You can spend the afternoon shopping at Downtown or Main Street. The Chamber of Commerce lists 300businesses operating in the Asbury Park area. You’ll find new clothes, vintage clothes, several antique shops, specialty stores, a beautiful woodworking shop and so much more. You can make your own glass art at Hot Sand. Don’t miss Heaven, whose owner tours the world bringing back nowhere else to be found gifts, jewelry, and clothing.
There’s always an art show at one of the galleries like Parlor Gallery and Art 629. Check out some or our resident artists like Danny Clinch’s photography gallery and Rubens World Gallery by the spectacularly talented Ruben Martinez. Creative? Make your own art at Local’s Art Space or Uncorked Paint and Sip, or take a lesson at Lakehouse Music Academy.
After shopping, have a picnic in one of the parks that are on the lakes, like the beautiful and “hidden in plain sight” St. John’s Island. You can while away the day on a paddleboat on Wesley Lake or go kayaking or paddleboarding on Deal Lake. Bring along some subs from Vintage Subs or sandwiches from Speakeatery while you catch up with local pulp in The Coaster and the TriCityNews. Too rainy for a picnic? Choose one of the movies at The Showroom or the outdoor screen on the Asbury Hotel. Are you an angler? Join Asbury Park Fishing Club, America’s oldest saltwater fishing club, dating back to 1888! You’ll want to make time for the extraordinary once a year events like the east’s best music festival Sea Hear Now, the Garden State Film Festival and Awards, The Zombie Walk and Porchfest, the day musicians give concerts on 100residential front porches throughout Asbury. There’s usually a 5K run for your workout and a St. Paddy’s Day Parade you’ll never forget. Dinner in Asbury Park’s only problem is deciding where to go! Let’s start with the international flavors:
Italian? Molto bene we’ve got plenty! There is Belmonte’s, Pasta Volo, Jimmy’s has complimentary meats, cheeses, and olives at the bar while you await your dinner, and if you have a pork chop at Brando’s Italian Restaurant, you’ll never order another anywhere else. There are pizza parlors galore, including TJ’s famous pizza on Main Street, Crust and Crumble, The Galley Pizza, and Maruca’s on the boardwalk. Reyla is the hottest European spot on this side of Europe. Mexican? We have 8 of them, including the popular La Tapatia and the wonderful Barrio Costero. Ethiopian and Dominican food is raved about at Ada’s Gojjo, Colombian is hot at Aloha Café and Jamaican served at Mark’s place. Asian food? Taka is an Asbury Park staple, Mogo is Korean and in 2 locations, Rice Asian Cuisine is delicious and all are complemented by several take out restaurants. We have terrific Cuban food in Cubacan on the boardwalk and Cuban Café on Memorial. The finest French fare in all of New Jersey is right at Pascal and Sabine downtown. German food is at Biergarten and oh my the beers and giant pretzels!!
Smell that home cooking? It’s Soul Sistah’s Southern Cuisine. Seafood? Enjoy today’s catch at The Bonney Read. Don’t forget to catch tonight’s game at Asbury Ale House, Asbury’s own sports bar. All of that is complemented by American and other eclectic fares at popular restaurants including Moonstruck, Kim Maries, Porta, Brickwall, Talula’s (try the gin and jam), Cross & Orange, Medusa, Capitoline, The Restaurant at the Tides, The Asbury Kitchen and many more. Time for dessert. Like Ice cream? We’ve got Cookman Creamery, Coney Waffle, Eddie Confetti, Betty’s Icebox, and Ralphs. Want a more “adult” dessert?” Try a flaming bourbon with your gelato at Lola’s Café! For all the gold in Fort Knox, you can walk past the cupcakes at Confections of a Rock Star. Now it’s nighttime. Now comes to the party. There are best-selling artist concerts to be caught in Convention Hall and Paramount Theater, the prized, near-100-year-old beaux-arts masterpiece designed by Warren and Wetmore, designers of Grand Central Station in New York. Soon you can go down the Boardwalk and catch an outdoor show at the newly refurbished Arthur Pryor Bandshell.
The whole world knows about the legendary Stone Pony and the rock and roll you can hear inside or on the summer stage by renowned artists. Right down the road are really great bands at The Wonder Bar (best cheeseburger in town too), where you can also bring your dogs in the afternoon for “Yappy hour.” The Saint is an iconic stop for bands. Asbury Lanes and Diner is an incredible live music spot (stop at the diner for an egg cream). You’ll never know what kind of music is at House of Independents each night, but you’ll count on being there often.
Watermark is a special place in the afternoon and at night, boasting not only the best ocean views, but complemented with the finest collection of spirits in Asbury Park, as well as beautiful décor.
Asbury Park has always been a welcoming City to the LGBTQ+ community and that community has lived here happily and openly since WWII. Check out Shep Pettibone’s Club Paradise down the beach and Georgies just off Main Street. Remember – everyone in Asbury is welcomed everywhere in Asbury, including those two great places. Summer will bring you the best Pride events anywhere. The City is filled with other nighttime spots like Johnny Mac’s, Bond Street Bar, The Beach Bar, Asbury Park Yacht Club. Laylow, The Annex, two bars at Asbury Hotel including the casual Soundbooth and the rooftop Salvation (oh the views up there!) Many of the venues have live entertainment. Here’s some fun – see if you can find Little Buddy’s Hideaway, the Gilligan’s Island-themed bar tucked away somewhere in Asbury with no signs. One more important part of your day – there are 249 charities and non-profits on file for Asbury Park to volunteer for, because the only time Asbury Parkers stop the whimsy and fun and spirited living, is to make the world a better place. Now get some sleep – there’s plenty more to do in Asbury Park tomorrow.
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