Asbury Park

Asbury Park is a popular resort town among gay people and original live music fans at the Jersey Shore, in the state of New Jersey in the United States. It was made famous in the 1970s by musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Southside Johnny.


Asbury Park was founded as a Christian retreat in the 1800s by a man named James A. Bradley. It remained one of the most popular family resorts in the United States until 1970, when race riots burned down much of the downtown area.

Soon radicals, beatniks, hippies, and musicians moved in, making Asbury Park a very diverse place. In 1988, the city had about enough of its new cultures, and a plan to redevelop the entire waterfront went into affect. Most businesses were ordered to be closed, so the boardwalk, casino, hotels and amusements all closed for the redevelopment. High rise hotels and condos began construction, but were then abandoned before they could be finished, leaving the waterfront an odd mix of abandoned buildings and rotting construction.

The city declined in the 1990s, after almost all businesses failed. Crime rose, and Asbury Park had higher crime than any other town in Monmouth County.

However, in 1998, Shep Pettibone converted an abandoned Hotel into a gay nightclub, drawing thousands of gay travelers to Asbury Park. Every Friday night the city became the only place on the East Coast that could rival Fire Island! Gay couples and artists began buying cheap homes, abandoned bars and nightclubs, closed storefronts downtown, and abandoned pavilions on the boardwalk, and restoring them to they way they once were.

Today, Asbury Park is popular amongst even mainstream tourists for its shopping, beaches and restaurants. Major summertime events hosted in Asbury Park include; the Wave Gathering, the Gay Pride Parade, Garden State Film Festival, Asbury Park Jazz Festival, "Road Trip", and the Tri-City Arts Tour.

Asbury Park was recently rated #5 in the top ten beaches of NJ.

Get in

By car: Parkway to exit 102. Take Rt 66 / Asbury Avenue into Asbury Park. Follow Asbury Avenue Directly to the beach.

By Train: From New York City, take the North Jersey Coast Line directly to Asbury Park Train Station.

By Bus: NJ Transit offers bus service to Asbury Park from Philadelphia, Freehold, Long Branch, Red Bank, and Point Pleasant. See schedule for more information.

Travel time from Philadelphia or New York is approximately one hour, fifteen minutes.

Get around

Getting around in Asbury Park is easy by foot or by bike. Bikes can be rented at the boardwalk at hourly or daily rates. A car is not necessary for visiting Asbury Park.

Fall 2011 the city of Asbury Park numbered most of the downtown parking spots, so you need to pay up. This link is helpful.

During the summer months there are three lots near the beach that have an attendant - pay them the rate $5 or $10 to avoid feeding the meter. Off season these lots are usual free, so avoid the spaces.

If you are visiting Asbury Park for First Saturday or a special event, trolley service is often provided at no cost. The trolley schedule and stops may vary depending on the event.

Taxi service is also available at the train station and by calling ahead.


Visiting art galleries, going to the beach, shopping, dining and more can all be done on foot and are within close proximity to each other. The downtown shopping district offers antiques, beach accessories, cafes, art galleries and more. The first Saturday of the month is celebrated with local discounts, events, and other promotions.

There are a smattering of shopping and restaurants on the boardwalk as well. As of June 2009, most shops are open. There are two clubs, the Stone Pony and the club at the Empress Hotel. The renovation of the Paramount Hotel and Convention Center is complete.

Nearby Wesley Lake connects the beach to downtown. On the south side of the lake are fresh condominiums, beach houses, and bed and breakfasts. The north side is split between the commercial area of downtown, a small patch of new luxury housing, and a rougher neighborhood with several active construction sites.

The city's website lists current events, has a feed from the radio station WKTU, and accepts contributions from visitors.



At The Boardwalk



Go next

Routes through Asbury Park

Woodbridge Allenhurst  N  S  Bradley Beach Bay Head

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 10, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.