Take advantage of the Asbury Park preseason


The Asbury Park promenade passes through the convention center. Photo by James J. Connolly

With a thriving restaurant scene, plenty of shopping, abundant street art, and deep musical roots, Asbury Park is clearly the coolest place on the coast. The city, although small, offers both resort appeal and downtown entertainment. And May is the perfect month to beat the seasonal crowds.

Ambitious souls start the day with a sunrise walk on the boardwalk. For a revelation, grab a coffee at Asbury Park Roast, located in the historic Conventional Hall. Walk south to take in the ocean views or north to admire the colorful seaside murals. Restaurants and shops line the promenade, but for cutting edge shopping head to Cookman Avenue and the downtown district.

Every weekend starting in mid-May, Asbury Fresh, an open-air market at Kennedy Park (104 Grand Avenue), offers everything from fresh fruits, vegetables and pastries to artwork, jewelry and handcrafted clothing. If that doesn’t satisfy your thirst for shopping, Asbury is full of attractive physical stores. For clothes, enter Interlaced (511 Cookman Avenue), a funky-fun clothing store with trendy options for everyone. The Antique Emporium of Asbury (646 Cookman Avenue) has vintage clothing and more.

asbury park

Aerial view of the promenade and the beach. Photo by James J. Connolly

Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, refresh yourself with a pre-dinner cocktail at Asbury Park Distillation (527 Lake Avenue) or return to the boardwalk for a sip by the ocean Watermark (800 ocean avenue). For a more laid-back experience, try happy hour on the classic’s terrace Wonder bar (Fifth and Ocean – and dog friendly).

Although Asbury’s most iconic music spot, the Stone pony– along with other theaters in the region – has gone silent (at least until summer) thanks to Covid-19, there are other options after dark. Asbury Lanes (209 Fourth Avenue) offers bowling and beers every night; check out their online event calendar for live music offerings.

STAY: Asbury (210 Fifth Avenue) is a modern, ultra-chic hotel within walking distance of most of Asbury’s delicacies. Minimalist rooms, a seasonal rooftop bar, and lively lobby – complete with pool table, bar, coffee bar, and occasional live music – ensure a memorable stay. Closer to the beach, the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (1401 Ocean Avenue) is a more traditional overnight option, offering ocean views from large, comfortable rooms and a newly renovated dining scene.

HAVING DINNER: You have come to the right place. For fine French fare and a killer espresso martini, book a table at Pascal and Sabine (601 Bangs Avenue). Barrio Costero (610 Bangs Avenue) is the place to be for seasonal Mexicans, and the Bonney Read (525 Cookman Avenue) appeals to seafood lovers. Or enjoy top-notch pizza from the ever-changing menu at Talula (550 Cookman Avenue). For bratwursts and beer with a view, grab a rooftop table at Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten (527 Lake Avenue). To dine by the sea, consult Langosta Lounge or the Iron whale, both on the promenade.

Meet the arts and culture at Princeton
Pleasure of activities in downtown Montclair
Treat yourself to a spa break in Stone Harbor
Relax by the Delaware River
Take to the swing at a Vintage Resort

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