Since its debut in 1955, the Ocean Grove Choir Festival has remained one of the most popular sacred music events of the Mid-Atlantic region. This annual festival is held in July and features hundreds of singers, exciting guest conductors, a brass ensemble, and a magnificent pipe organ. It’s a wonderful event for guests of all ages! Whether you’re a Jersey Shore local or are visiting for the weekend, attending the Choir Festival should be on your to-do list. Here are some of the things you’ll see there.
Experience the Ocean Grove Choir FestivalThe VenueThe Choir Festival is held at the historic Ocean Grove Great Auditorium, a beloved venue on the Jersey Shore. It’s considered the most impressive auditorium in the state and is known for its breathtaking architecture and acoustics. Constructed in 1894, the facility can seat over 6,000 people and hosts worship services, concerts, and other entertainment programs throughout the year. It even boasts one of the largest pipe organs in the world!
The EventUnder the baton of Dr. Jason C. Tramm, a number of renowned conductors and musicians lead the festival chorus in twelve beautiful anthems. The choir is composed of over 1,500 voices from all over the world, and they practice together for weeks before producing a thrilling concert of anthems, hymns, and readings. Feel free to bring a singing friend and enjoy a worship experience that’s not to be missed!
Note: If you’re planning to sing in the choir, women are requested to wear all white or a white top with dark skirts/pants. Men should also wear a white shirt with a dark tie and black pants.
Dining & RefreshmentsThere’s nothing better than dinner and a show. For a great meal after the concert, head to one of the many restaurants From sidewalk cafés to romantic bistros, there are plenty of fantastic eateries just steps from the venue! Reservations are strongly recommended so be sure to call ahead.
The Choir Festival also hosts an annual Choir Festival Dinner in the air-conditioned Youth Temple, located across the street from the auditorium.
No trip to Ocean Grove, NJ is complete without a stroll on the boardwalk. This half-mile promenade boasts spectacular views of the Atlantic and provides relief from the noise and crowds of other Jersey Shore beaches. Whether you’re traveling as a couple or with the whole family, the Ocean Grove Boardwalk is perfect for a relaxing afternoon by the sea.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage in Ocean Grove. Over half of the boardwalk was destroyed, and the fishing pier was significantly damaged. It cost $3 million to rebuild the boardwalk through FEMA and a community fund-raising drive. Today, we are happy to say that the Ocean Grove Boardwalk stands strong and proud! Here are some of the things you can enjoy there.
Explore the Ocean Grove Boardwalk1. Outdoor RecreationOcean Grove locals and visitors love the non-commercial aspect of the boardwalk. You can go for a peaceful walk and enjoy the ocean breeze, or watch a beautiful sunrise in the morning. There are also plenty of benches to sit back and watch the waves crashing onshore. The boardwalk is great for walking, jogging, and biking (during off hours) and there’s even yoga on the beach for yogis.
2. Boardwalk PavilionFor live entertainment just steps from the sand, head to Ocean Grove’s Boardwalk Pavilion. It’s situated in front of the Great Auditorium and hosts worship services and concerts during the summer months. Church services are held at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings and Summer Band performances are held on Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.
3. Dunes Boardwalk CafeDunes Boardwalk Cafe is a cooperative eatery on the Ocean Grove Boardwalk. It’s basically like an indoor food court, with local vendors selling pizza, burgers, waffles, lobsta rolls, and ice cream. Guests can dine at the picnic-style benches and enjoy gorgeous views of the ocean. There’s not a bad seat in the entire place!
Stop by the Asbury Park BoardwalkAfter you explore Ocean Grove, visit the neighboring town of Asbury Park for a totally different vibe. Their mile-long boardwalk features a great selection of restaurants as well as fun shops, a pinball arcade, and the historic Convention Hall. It’s just a short walk from Ocean Grove and is a great place to bring the kid
If you’ve ever been to Asbury Park, New Jersey, chances are you’ve noticed a tall structure at the end of the boardwalk. That’s the Asbury Park Casino, a concrete and limestone building that sits at 700 Ocean Avenue. Designed by Beaux-Arts architects Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore, (the designers of Grand Central Station), this casino was once a hotspot at the Jersey Shore. But what happened to all of its glitz and glam? Read on to find out.
History of the Asbury Park CasinoBuilt in 1929, the casino and its accompanying arcade made Asbury Park one of NJ’s premier resort towns. The complex boasted a wide range of amusements, from rides and concessions to year-round accommodations. It was also a popular place for entertainment like movies, theater, and concerts. With visitors flocking from all over the tri-state area, the city quickly became a beloved cultural destination.
When the 1960s rolled around, suburbs, TV, highways, and shopping malls pulled tourists away from Asbury Park. Like many urban areas, the city saw hard times from the 1970s to the turn of the century. Many buildings were abandoned and left to decay; some were even demolished, including part of the casino. Today, the casino’s original polished terrazzo and plasterwork are still visible – a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the town’s glory days.
Asbury Park TodayThanks to Asbury Park’s residents and newcomers, the Asbury Park Boardwalk is once again the place to be. This rejuvenated mile-long promenade boasts a warm, nostalgic feel and offers plenty of family-friendly attractions. You can spend the day shopping and dining, then stop by the Asbury Park Casino and snap some photos. Just a few minutes at this iconic landmark will leave you with a lifetime of wonderful memories.
Asbury Park also attracts visitors to its world-famous nightclubs. We recommend catching a concert at The Stone Pony, a legendary music venue that was established in 1974. Or check out the Convention Hall and the adjacent Paramount Theatre. Each has hosted performances by Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, and the Rolling Stones, just to name a few.
Having Breakfast at The James in Bradley Beach
Belmar offers so many local dining options, that there is sure to be something to please everyone. We certainly can’t list them all, but here are a few that we think you may just love!
Check out Belmar Tourism for upcoming event details.
In addition the surrounding area offers numerous music venues and attractions such as
Bicycles are prohibited on any of the sidewalks of Main Street in the Borough.
No person or persons shall ride bicycles, skates, roller blades, skateboards, scooters, motorcycles, mopeds or any other motor vehicles of any type on the promenade, or any of the public land located east of Ocean Avenue unless in an official capacity of the municipality; however, bicycles may be ridden on the promenade or public land between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 10:00 a.m. from May 15 through September 15.
From September 16 through May 14, only bicycles may be ridden on the promenade at any time. This subsection does not apply to any carts used to assist the handicapped.
Experience Tent Life in Ocean GroveYou might be asking yourself, “Why would anyone live in a tent for the entire summer?” The answer is simple: tradition. Ocean Grove’s tent colony dates back to 1870 when there were 200 tents for every house. Today, there are 114 tent structures nestled around the Great Auditorium. The canvas tents are attached to wooden cottages and used as living rooms; the cottages are used for bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Outside, tiny porches provide just enough room for two lawn chairs and a small table.
As you can imagine, this 150-year-old community is tightly knit. Descendants of founding families continue to carry on the tradition by coming back year after year. Plus, the 14 by 21 tents are so close, you can reach out and touch your neighbor! In the evening, tenters sit out on their porches drinking wine, reading, and telling stories. It’s a vacation experience unlike any other.
How to Become a TenterTents run about $4,000 to $5,000 for the summer season (May to September), and there are a few rules tenters must follow. Here’s what you need to know about the process.
If you’re an art collector, artist, or someone who appreciates creativity, then a trip to the Jersey Shore should be on your bucket list! There are so many incredible art galleries in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. Take a stroll by the sea and discover a spectacular array of work from local, national, and international artists. Then, purchase a piece to bring home with you!
Some of Our Favorite Jersey Shore Art GalleriesArt Galleries in Ocean Grove, NJMain Ave GalleriaFirst up on our list is Main Avenue Galleria, a unique facility that doubles as an art school. Stop in and browse a variety of fine pieces, or attend a class! You can choose from over fifteen workshops that range from painting to drawing to sculpting. One of the most popular is Sips and Serendipity, a guided, adults-only painting experience available every Friday and Saturday. Bring your favorite beverage and learn something new!
Jersey Shore Arts CenterThe Jersey Shore Arts Center is another great place to visit. It’s home to a variety of residents in different art forms, including painters, muralists, jewelers, designers, and contemporary masters. Visit the JSAC’s gallery during the Tenant Art Show to meet local artists and admire their most recent work.
Art Galleries in Asbury Park, NJParlor Art GalleryLess than a mile from Ocean Grove is Parlor Art Gallery. This inspirational space has showcased the best of New Jersey’s art community since 2009. Plus, it’s not stuffy or pretentious; the work is on par with galleries in San Francisco and New York City. Feel free to view innovative pieces from emerging and established artists. Or, attend one of the many gallery events offered throughout the year.
Exhibit No. 9Whether you’re interested in paint, mixed media, digital media, or photography, Exhibit No. 9 has something to pique your interest. The gallery focuses on large-scale works created by artists from across the globe. Most pieces are available for purchase, and there are plenty of interesting events to attend. We recommend experiencing an exhibition or artist talk.
Visits to Exhibit No. 9 are available by appointment only. Be sure to call ahead!
Art629Art629 is dedicated to the exhibition of fine contemporary art. Here, you’ll find one-of-a-kind works that may be considered “controversial” or “outsider” by other galleries. Art629 welcomes these pieces and provides a platform for artists who think outside the box. Gallery hours vary, so call ahead for information.
La Salle GalleryAnother must-see gallery belongs to Tony La Salle, an acclaimed painter from Pennsylvania. Using acrylic on canvas, he creates stylized portraits, abstract images, faraway landscapes, and massive, colorful flowers. You can admire his work on Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hot SandRounding out our list of fantastic Asbury Park art galleries is Hot Sand. This glassblowing studio was established in 2007 and was the first of its kind in New Jersey. Today, the studio sells pre-made pieces for purchase and offers workshops and kids activities. If you want to create your own piece, the gallery’s artists are happy to guide you in a 15 to 30-minute introductory glassblowing class.
Best known for its music and restaurant scene, Asbury Park offers another reason to visit – its street art. Bringing the artwork out of the galleries, Asbury Park’s street art adds to the community’s cultural awakening with countless murals along the boardwalk, pavilion, and downtown areas. Take a walk around Asbury Park and feel like you’ve discovered a hidden treasure where art pops up in unexpected places.
Where to find Asbury Park’s street artBoth local and international artists have come to Asbury Park to share their talents with larger than life murals. The boardwalk is filled with several mural faces, with some of the largest and most awe-inspiring pieces located under the beachfront Casino walkway and downtown on Bond Street.
Wooden Walls ProjectAsbury Park’s street art is part of a larger venture, The Wooden Walls Project. Led by local gallery owner Jenn Hampton, The Wooden Walls Project began in 2016 and is still going strong today, leading the way in Asbury Park’s art scene. Most of the murals from the Wooden Walls Project are found covering the Sunset Pavilion building with about 30+ murals to see.
Below are our top picks for Asbury Park’s street art and where to find the murals.
Our favorite Asbury Park’s street art pieces from the Wooden Walls Project are not only seen along the boardwalk but are also found downtown. Embracing the public art scene, the City of Asbury Park commissioned the latest piece painted on the side of City Hall.
“Harvest” – located along the Asbury Park boardwalk, see a version of a mythical Scandinavian creature…Jersey Shore style.
“Tribute to music legends” – Found on the higher and lower levels near Convention Hall, black and white murals showcase music legends like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Willie Nelson.
“Numbers” – Located on the Sunset Pavilion, local artist, James Vance, created a seemingly chaotic sequence of numbers that are placed in a symmetrical sequence. It’s one of the more popular murals located in Asbury Park.
“Mermaid eyes” – look deep into the eyes of a mermaid with this blue-hued mural that captures the spirit of the ocean and those who call it home.
Take a virtual tour Even if you can’t get out to see Asbury Park’s street art, bring the murals home to you with Wooden Wall’s latest app. The app will provide their first virtual tour of the murals along with the Sunset Pavilion while learning more about the artists and their works of art. Search for the Wooden Walls Project and download it for free on Android and IOS.