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Unique Holiday Shopping Destinations at the Jersey Shore-Part Two/Asbury Park

Don’t let your “list” get you down. We’ve got another great destination to get your shopping done and have a great time doing it. Take a trip to Asbury Park during the holiday season. Why not have fun while getting everything checked off that long list?

Asbury Park for the Holidays

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of Asbury Park. It’s been voted as one of the best (you fill in the blank) everything. Best beaches, boardwalks, downtown, hotel and we are sure there will be more top categories to add to the list. In a golden-age revitalization, Asbury has come back into its own and if you haven’t visited the City by the Sea, it’s time. With great restaurants, small cafes music venues and retail shops, Asbury should be on your holiday shopping destination list.

While you are there you can take in a great concert at the historic Stone Pony or stroll the famous boardwalk. If you plan on an extended visit, there are great places to stay like the Asbury Hotel, the Berkley Oceanfront Hotel and a number of B & B’s to accommodate all your needs.

Asbury goes all out for the holidays and you won’t want to miss a minute of it.

While a lot of the shopping district is located on Cookman Avenue, there are cool little shops located throughout town and there are quite a few shops that line the boardwalk. Historic Convention Hall also houses retail shops and bars. One of the largest events during the holiday season is the Holiday Bazaar. It’s a great place to find incredibly unique gifts presented by various artists, vendors and craftspeople from all over the region.

The Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar will feature a curated roster of talented local and regional artists, vendors, and local shops selling the cutest and coolest vintage, handmade, art, jewelry, home goods, foodstuffs, and more. The event will feature holiday performances, live music, DJs, Photos with Santa, holiday pictures, a 30-foot Christmas tree, and beautiful holiday decor. While you shop, enjoy a seasonally-inspired menu and holiday drinks at the Anchors Bend and Asbury Oyster Bar. Feeling creative? You can even take in art classes for the kids and holiday workshops.

The holiday market is inspired by the traditional "Weihnachtsmarkts" in Nuremberg, Germany. So be sure to stop by the hot drink bar to enjoy traditional glühwein (hot mulled wine), hot chocolate or hot cider while you shop.

Bring a toy or gently used coat for the AP Toy & Coat Drive and you will receive a 4x6 print of your Photo with Santa, along with copies of your photos emailed to you. Pets are invited to meet Santa as well and you must have that photo of the furry kids this year.

Enjoy shopping in both the Grand Arcade and Convention Hall this holiday season. It all kicks-off on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24th, noon - 10 pm! Tree lighting at 7 pm. The market will operate from 11 am to 6 pm: Sunday, Nov. 25, in Convention Hall.

Sat and Sun, Dec 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 in the Grand Arcade and Convention Hall.

Sat and Sun, Dec 22 & 23 - Last Minute Shoppers Bazaar in the Grand Arcade.

The shopping just rolls on in Asbury. Visit the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten for their Rooftop Holiday Market this year featuring over 25 vendors and live music. Find artisan gifts, handcrafted toys, European ornaments and gifts, specialty foods, hot drinks, and holiday cheer. The rooftop market is scheduled for November 24-26, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23. There is something for everyone on your list and you can get some great food and beer in the Biergarten. The Festhalle is located at 527 Lake Ave.

Shopping for someone who’s loves the pin-up life? Then you must stop at Bettie’s Bombshells. As Bettie’s says, they’re not just a store, they’re an attraction. Built to preserve the romance, significance, and awareness of legacies of the finest vintage Hollywood royalty. The pin-up lives on at Bettie’s. They are located in the Grand Arcade in Convention Hall5th Avenue Pavilion.

Is there a musician on your list? Because you are in one of the music capitols of the state, you know Bon Jovi and Bruce Sprinsteen got their start in Asbury right? You may want to stop in to Russo Music and marvel over the mind-boggling guitar wall. They have the largest selection of Gibson and Fender guitars in the state. Guitars, amps, effects, strings, drums, keyboards, and much more. The musician on your list will thank you…profusely.

Have a hard to shop for homebody? If you’re looking for that perfect home item, look no further. Carla Gizzi is a vintage inspired chic boutique located inside Convention Hall. This little shop features eclectic jewelry and goods for the home. It offers truly unique items that will make anyone on your gift list smile.

A must on your visit is something to commemorate your trip to Asbury Park. You must get that “Tillie” thing to take home. If you’re not familiar with Tillie, he’s the iconic “ambassador” of Asbury Park.

Sometime around the turn of the 19th century, George C. Tilyou who owned Steeplechase Park in Coney Island expanded his amusements to Asbury Park. The Steeplechase he built in Asbury like the Coney Island amusement was adorned with the “funny-face” as its mascot.

Some folks say that the face was modeled after Tilyou’s brother. After the Steeplechase passed into history, Tillie continued his reign on the famous Palace Amusement complex that was and still is one of the most beloved locations in town. Although the complex was torn down in 2004, the giant painting of Tillie was loving removed and is rumored to be stored somewhere in Asbury waiting for the day when he will emerge and once again reign over the city. Ah, but we digress, back to the shopping…

So where do you get that Tillie thing? Fun House/Shelter Home also located inside Convention Hall features original designed Asbury Park tees, tanks, & hoodies with iconic AP designs. Locally made tea towels and pillows, one of the many places where you can get your Tillie thing. Everything Tillie! Beach towels, magnets, mugs, and stickers. Collectible vinyl, plush, and unexpected toys for the whole family.

Everyone has that person that is “hard” to shop for. Flying Saucers is one of our favorite shops in Asbury, it has an amazingly cool collection of goods. It may also solve your problem of the “hard-to-shop-for” person on your list. Retro- kitchenware, cat clocks, and so much more. They carry new items that look retro and real vintage items from the 50's 60's and 70's. You are sure to find great gifts for anyone on your list. Flying Saucers is located at 658 Cookman Ave.

Have an avid reader on your holiday list? Words! should be one of the stops on your Asbury shopping tour. Words! is a highly curated, small, independent bookstore that promotes new ideas, aspiring authors and open discussions with authors and artists. They also feature a storytelling time for kids. Words! Is located at 623 Cookman Avenue.

Let’s not forget the furry family members this holiday season. They deserve some holiday goodies too. Paws Pet Boutique offers lots of great, unique and hand-made pet accessories. The furry babies can show off their new hand-made bow ties, hand-made bandanas, collars, leashes and of course, treats! K9 Confections all-natural dog and cat treats will be a welcome addition in their stockings.

Paws Pet Boutique is located at 658 Cookman Avenue (Shoppes at the Arcade).

Remember, most places in Asbury are pet-friendly, so bring the fur babies shopping too.

Need a great vintage for your holiday table or a perfect party gift? You must stop by Lush AP, the city’s destination for wine, craft beer, and spirits. Lush has a large selection of organic wines, local beer, mixers, whiskeys, vodka, gins, bitters, and more. The more holiday cheer, the better…

And last, but not least, everyone has a foodie on their list. Why not give a gift certificate from one of the dozens of amazing restaurants in Asbury. Know someone who loves Japanese cuisine? Try Taka, enjoy Japanese and seasonally-inspired small plates. They offer a full-service bar and lounge, perfect for your late-night sushi and sake craving. Located at 660 Cookman Avenue.

For American Grill-Mediterranean Style, Moonstruck has three levels overlooking Wesley Lake. Cocktail lounge on the first floor, dinner upstairs with wraparound porches for alfresco dining in the warmer weather. Located at 517 Lake Avenue.

For some great seafood, why not try The Bonney Read, a classic chowder house that offers sustainably procured and locally-sourced seafood in a variety of ways.

A raw bar features a rotating selection of oysters and clams shucked-to-serve and offered raw, hot, or in the rough. They also feature a full bar. The foodie on your list will be thrilled. Located at 525 Cookman Avenue.

For a different twist, try Barrio Costero, their name is Spanish for "coastal neighborhood," and the rotating seasonal menu uses market-driven ingredients for their tasty coastal Mexican cuisine. Located at 610 Bangs Avenue.

There are so many more shops and restaurants to visit so put your comfortable shoes on and get to Asbury Park this holiday season to fill your stockings and check off that list. You’ll have a great time in the process and that is what the holidays at the Jersey Shore is all about.

Visit our Dining in Asbury page for that perfect bite to eat after your long day of holiday shopping. If your looking for entertainment while in Asbury, we have you covered. Check out the Events in Asbury Park page too. It features music, movies, art exhibits, live performances and more.

Stay tuned for our next installment of Unique Shopping Destinations at the Jersey Shore. We’ve just gotten started…

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