Asbury Park: Brilliant artwork, lively music scene creates a feast for the eyes and ears in the seaside town | Destinations
This isn’t your average vacation on the Jersey Shore.
While Seaside Heights, Brigantine and Wildwood have always been summer must-sees, Asbury Park has transformed into a cultural hub over the past decade.
In fact, Newsweek recently named it one of the 25 Most Popular Beach Towns.
“The famous New Jersey coast is lined with sandy beaches and quiet towns, like the small seaside community of Asbury Park,” Tom Fish explained in the magazine. “But there’s more to the city than its Instagram beach, as Asbury Park also has a vibrant arts and music scene and an assortment of independent shops.”
Art in Asbury Park exists on the street, along the promenade and in gallery spaces. The promenade brings together nostalgia and edge with the historic seaside promenade decorated with vibrant and colorful murals thanks to the wooden mural project.
Spaces such as Gallery 629, Parlor Gallery, and Whitepoint (formerly Exhibit 9) feature works by local artists and others from around the world.
Music connects the seaside town to places that host emerging groups through national acts. The promenade convention hall with the Paramount Theater has brought crowds together for decades. Its structure, completed in 1930, exudes an old-fashioned vibe, flanked by seaside staples like seahorses and anchors alongside intricate ironwork. The Stone Pony is a gritty rock club known as the launching pad for many New Jersey music legends, including Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Its Stone Pony summer stage overlooks the beach and is open May through September.
Grab a cocktail at Asbury Park Distilling or return to Watermark Promenade for a drink overlooking the ocean. Asbury Park is known for its LGBTQ + influence and has even been referred to as the unofficial “gay capital of New Jersey”. Get a feel for the scene with Georgie’s Bar, which bills itself as a “gay cheers”. For animal lovers, stop for a happy hour on the terrace of the dog-friendly Wonder Bar.
After a long day of fun, satiate your appetite at one of Asbury Park’s fabulous restaurants. Head to Barrio Costero if you’re in the mood for Mexican or Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten for rooftop views served with a side of beer and bratwurst. Stock up on fresh seafood at Bonney Read or head to Langosta Lounge or Iron Whale, both on the promenade, for oceanfront dining. Don’t forget Pascal & Sabine, a classic French brasserie, for a delicious and relaxing meal.
Asbury Park is also a great destination for families. Its beaches offer showers, bathrooms and play areas. Head to the promenade for a bite to eat at Toast City Diner or Talula’s Pizza for hearty sandwiches and delicious pies. Don’t forget the Silverball Retro Arcade and Museum, which has over 600 working pinball machines dating back to the 1950s for hours of fun.
Most attractions and sites require masks and social distancing and follow other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check with each establishment before going there.
Whatever your preference, style or budget, Asbury Park is sure to energize your summer.