Summer’s in full swing and there’s still plenty to do to soak up the season. The food; the beaches; the fun, crazy crowd — nothing beats a weekend down the shore, and believe it or not, each shore point is completely different from one another. This week, we’re shining a light on Asbury Park, a Jersey Shore destination that changes your typical day-trip to the beach to a full-blown cultural experience. Read on to start planning your trip to Asbury Park.
The town melds the new with the old such as The Asbury, a new hotel with the salvaged marquee of the Baronet Theater, complete with retro throwbacks like a popcorn machine and a rooftop movie theater overlooking the ocean. There’s tons of room to spread out, including large shaded sections of the beach if you want to read, and there are numerous options for food, drinks, shopping, live music, and even unique activities like glass blowing.
To make Asbury even better, it’s only a little under two hours on NJ Transit from Penn Station — and you know we love convenience. Listening to a live band perform covers of Led Zeppelin, eating nachos, drinkng a rum punch bucket, and watching the sunset over a rock formation are great ways to spend a Saturday night.
Grab a coffee, some sunscreen, and all your beach gear and head over to Penn Station. In a little under two hours, you’ll be in Asbury Park. Trains run frequently on the weekend — check out the NJ transit trip planner to plan your trip. Another option is to head to Secaucus or Newark to pick up the train line partway there without having to go into the city — though be warned, the train gets super crowded in the summer and you’ll be less likely to find seats together with a group if you don’t leave from the origin station.
Where to Stay
The Asbury Hotel | 210 5th Avenue
(Photo credit: The Asbury Hotel)
The perfect staycation destination, The Asbury is located two blocks from Asbury beach and boardwalk. With a mixture of Victorian meets rock-n-roll meets new wave, the hotel has something for everyone. If you’re into soaking up rays by the pool, rocking out to live music, getting your early-morning yoga on, or catching an outdoor movie at the rooftop lounge, Salvation, The Asbury Hotel has you covered.
Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel | 1401 Ocean Avenue
(Photo credit: Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel)
A classic landmark within the Asbury Park community, the Berkeley was designed by the Beaux-Arts architect Whitney Warren with classic Victorian details in a modernized luxurious space. A stone’s throw away from the Asbury Park boardwalk and the iconic music venue, the Stone Pony. Expect panoramic views of the beach from your mini-vacation getaway. The hotel also has a tiki bar and private cabanas to get you into full-on relaxation mode.
Where to Eat + Drink
Mogo | 632 Cookman Avenue + 850 Ocean Avenue N
(Photo credit: @eatmogo)
If you have a craving for tacos (who doesn’t after frolicking in the sun all day?!), Mogo is your place. Get the tofu taco, the baki cheesesteak, or the pork bowl with kimchi, and you won’t be disappointed. There are two locations — a stand on the Asbury Park boardwalk and a restaurant on Cookman Avenue.
Talula’s Pizza | 550 Cookman Avenue #108
(Photo credit: @talulaspizza)
Talula’s is a restaurant where you can find locally-sourced ingredients, homemade baked goods and bread, and Sunday brunch until 4PM. The environment is an ideal brunch spot, with a large marble bar, view of the wood-burning oven, and outdoor seating. Opt for the Bloody Mary and the sourdough strata – a savory French toast meets bread pudding.
Confections of a Rock$tar | 550 Cookman Avenue #104
(Photo credit: @confectionsofarockstar)
When you just need something sweet, Confections of a Rock$tar churns out freshly-baked pastries all day long. Owners Kimmee and Lisa created a space that blends their passions for music and baking, which is apparent in all of the cupcakes, pastries, and cakes. One of our favorite anytime treats is the “Don’t Go Bacon My Heart” sticky buns — trust us, it’s a good decision.
Asbury Festhalle + Biergarten | 527 Lake Avenue
(Photo credit: @apbiergarten)
An Austro-Hungarian Biergarten, Asbury Festhall and Biergarten serves up authentic European beers and tasty eats like Bavarian pretzels and bratwurst. Inside is a large dining and drinking space, but the best place to be is on the rooftop patio that overlooks Wesley Lake. There are often live bands playing rock, folk, and polka music that make the best accompaniment to throwing back liter mugs of a cold beer after a day at the beach.
Langosta Lounge | 1000 Ocean Avenue
(Photo credit: @langostalounge)
Langosta Lounge is a seafood and sushi restaurant on the main boardwalk. This spot attracts a dinner crowd, trendy locals, and nightlife seekers who come for the food but stay for the large stage in the dining room. Langosta Lounge features local live music Friday and Saturday nights. There is a large selection of cocktails, and our favorite is the Jalapeño and Pineapple-rita – wine and beer along with a selection of farm-to-table eats.
Things To Do
Asbury Park is home to the Stone Pony Summer Stage and the Asbury Park Convention Center, which are the old stomping grounds of Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors. There is a thriving and diverse music scene, from punk-rock to indie and blues as well as a mixture of national performers and local artists with numerous choices every night during the summer. We also really loved listening to the live band at the Beach Bar, which is situated in the sand with beach chairs overlooking the water.
(Photo credit: @asburyparkbazaar)
Located inside the historic Grand Arcade of Convention Hall on the Asbury Park boardwalk, the Asbury Park Bazaar is a must-hit spot. It began as a way to support local small businesses and artists and has now grown into a destination for beach-goers. The seasonal market not only has live bands but also vendors selling local art, vintage goods, and hand-crafted gifts. During the summer, expect to find events and classes throughout the season, like beach yoga brunch.
Hot Sand | 550 Cookman Avenue #103
(Photo credit: Hot Sand)
Hot Sand is a glass-blowing studio located in Asbury Park. Grab a few friends and sign up to blow your own drinking glass, paperweight, vase, bubble, and so much more. There is also a make-your-own drinking glass/candy dish for kids and private parties. Reservations are recommended here.
Silverball Retro Arcade | 1000 Ocean Avenue
(Photo credit: @silverballmuseumarcade)
Get ready to be a kid again at the Silverball Museum Arcade. Located right on the beach boardwalk, the museum features 1930’s style pinball machines and 600 other arcade games. If you work up a sweat and need something to cool you off, head over to the Silverball Café for funnel cakes, Nathan’s hot dogs, and some saltwater taffy. You can play all day for $25 or $10 for a half-hour.
Paranormal Books + Curiosities | 621 Cookman Avenue
(Photo credit: Paranormal Books + Curiosities)
Part gift shop, part exhibit, Paranormal Books and Curiosities carries books on all things Paranormal – think ghost hunting and fiction stories about vampires. The Paranormal Museum is a 60-minute guided tour through rotating exhibits such as an Ouija wall, prison ghosts, haunted objects, and famous haunts of the U.S.A. The store also hosts events such as guest filmmakers, ghost hunting classes, and paranormal investigations. Paranormal Books and Curiosities also host a variety of tours including a downtown haunted pub tour and a “ghosts of downtown” tour.