The Holidays are quickly approaching and we encourage you to shop small this year. Skip out on the long lines at the mall and head to a town near you with small and local businesses. We’ve put together a list of 15 holiday markets, bazaars and towns that are offering unique and homemade items crafted with love and attention so you can find the perfect gifts for your friends and family this Holiday Season.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Asbury Park! Their annual Holiday Bazaar is inspired by the traditional “Weihnachtsmarkts” holiday markets held in Germany. The Bazaar will showcase handcrafted goods and unique holiday gifts by local and regional makers and small businesses, holiday music and entertainment, Photos with Santa, food & libations, craft workshops, kids activities, festive décor, music, and more. Bazaar Dates – Black Friday, Nov 24 & Every Sat & Sun, Nov 25-Dec 17, 12-5 PM & at The Asbury Hotel, Every Sun, Nov 26-Dec 17, 12-5 pm. Grand Arcade of Convention Hall https://www.asburyparkbazaar.com/holiday-bazaar-2023
After you shop all the stands at the Bazaar, here are some local eats to check out in Asbury:
- Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten – Currently closed due to the flooding on Sept 29th, but they would love your support when they re-open soon. Stay tuned!
- Toast Asbury Park – Warm up at Toast with a cup of coffee and a delicious daily special, breakfast, brunch or lunch dish.
- Taka – Come get your sushi on at Taka where they serve the best Japanese cuisine on Cookman Ave.
- Mutiny BBQ Company – is Monmouth County’s Destination for High-Quality Craft BBQ. Try their pit to plate BBQ and scratch made sides.
Don’t miss Whitechapel Projects Small Business Saturday weekend celebration at their Holiday Bazaar. This gorgeous venue features an indoor space and giant Sailcloth tent for all your shopping needs! WCP is a beautiful arts, food and cultural venue featuring a sustainable restaurant and bar inspired by local ingredients, products and community collaboration. The event is free, all ages, and pet friendly. Saturday & Sunday, Nov 25th & 26th, 2023, 12-5 pm, 15 2nd Ave, Long Branch, NJ https://www.asburyparkbazaar.com/holiday-bazaar-2023
Here are some local eats and shops to check out around Long Branch:
- Mar Belo – Taste the authentic flavors of Portugal and Spain with fresh wild-caught fish, high quality organically-fed open-range meats and delectable house specialty desserts.
- Johnny Piancone’s – Located on Broadway, dine in for authentic Italian fare amongst a warm and inviting atmosphere.
- Complexion Corner – Try the November Special for the Procell Microchanneling Treatment that’s offered at a discounted price all November long!
- White Birch Wellness Spa – Start your Holiday Season off right at White Birch Spa with a discounted Hydrating Facial or Swedish Massage!
- Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – Offers picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Branch Boardwalk while providing innovative, diverse dishes with the concept of fresh seafood at the heart of its cuisine.
- Charley’s Ocean Grill – is a seaside restaurant & bar that offers quality meals, delicious cocktails and gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Trama’s Trattoria – When you dine at Trama’s, you will be transported to the warm hills of Tuscany. Each dish is made with the highest-quality local, farm to table ingredients.
- Shampoochies – Spoil your pet with the best grooming services and items from their Bark-A-Licious Bakery that has a huge selection of treats, birthday hats, toys and more!
Join Porta in Asbury Park for a series of shopping events featuring a curated collection of 25 local handmade artists and makers coming together for a wonderful holiday celebration. Market Dates – November 26th from 12-4pm, December 3rd and 17th from 12-4pm and December 21st from 5-9pm. 911 Kingsley St, Asbury Park https://www.asburyparkbazaar.com/holiday-bazaar-2023
Once you shop the vendors at the Holiday Market, head into town and check out these other local businesses:
- Hot Sand – is New Jersey’s first public glassblowing studio and is located right on Cookman Ave. Make a reservation to blow glass this Holiday Season.
- Kur Wellness Studios – provides a full menu of massage, skin care and waxing services with a unique yoga studio that doubles as a private personal training gym. Try some of their introductory specials!
Looking to do some Holiday Shopping in South Jersey? We have just the place! Visit Cape May Convention Hall on December 2 and 3 from 9am to 4pm for the annual Crafts at Christmas Show! Shop local vendors all offering handmade, unique items. Cape May Convention Hall 714 Beach Avenue https://www.capemaychamber.com/events/details/crafts-at-christmas-12-02-2023-10996
Take the day and explore Cape May after the Craft Show and check out some other local businesses:
- Cape May Cycle Cruises – Closed for the Season until April 2024, but book a trip ahead of time for this peddle party pontoon boat! Pedal, party, and explore the stunning sights of the Jersey Shore.
- Cape Atlantic Book Co – Real Books for Real People. They are a full-service independent bookstore located in historic Victorian Cape May, New Jersey selling books, games and puzzles.
- Cape May Winery – This local winery has grown over the past two decades to produce some of South Jersey’s most distinguished wines. Our vineyard encompasses over four different vineyards, containing over 70 acres, from which we produce over 16 different varieties of grapes.
- West End Garage – Check out antique furniture and accessories, vintage memorabilia, artwork from local and regional artisans, estate jewelry, and more. This is a gift-shopping paradise; you can find unique gifts for the most discriminating person.
The Noyes Holiday Market & Gingerbread Village is taking place Saturday & Sunday – December 2 & 3, 2023 from 12 – 5 PM at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University. Admission is free so come check out some craft vendors, take photos with Santa, enter the Atlantic City themed gingerbread house competition, make some crafts and grab a snack from their food and drink vendors. 2200 Fairmount Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 https://www.artsgarageac.com/noyes-holiday-market
Explore all Atlantic City has to offer after the Market and check out some local eats:
- Angelo’s – This Italian restaurant’s menu has aged like a fine Italian wine. Throughout the years, Angelo’s has become one of the favorite Atlantic City restaurants known as perennial gathering place for friends and a haven for the hungry.
- Irish Pub Inn – Nostalgic former speakeasy with low lighting, typical fare & antique bar pouring beers & whiskeys. The pub is conveniently located close to the boardwalk, casinos and beach.
- Fresh Harvest Buffet – Located in the Hard Rock Casino, the Buffet is the place to embark on a culinary tour of the world where every meal is a show-stopping chef’s performance. Fresh Harvest Buffet brings guests live-action cooking and carving stations, brick oven pizzas, dim sum, delicious desserts and everything in between.
Downtown Toms River’s Town Hall courtyard will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland Village on December 2nd and 9th from 12-6pm. Vendors, kid’s activities, hot chocolate station, holiday music and more will be available. Downtown businesses will also be open for some local shopping and food sampling. 33 Washington St. Toms River, NJ 08753 https://downtowntomsriver.com/event/winter-wonderland/
Explore Downtown and try some of these local businesses:
- Capone’s – This family owned and operated business makes homemade pasta, ravioli and stuffed gnocchi daily and they also are a wood-fired pizzeria. Homemade Italian dishes are served with up-scale service.
- Battle River Brewing – Located Downtown, they have IPAs, Pilsners, Stouts, Porters, HefeWeizen and more. You can also take a tour of the brewery and on tap you’ll find hard seltzers, lagers, Blonde ales and so much more.
- Uncle Dood’s – Made fresh to order donuts with a new menu every single month, you’re in for a delicious treat at Uncle Dood’s.
FRESH markets returns to Red Bank for their holiday pop-up market at the Basie Center On December 9th and 10th from 12-8pm. There will be up to 20 vendors to check out for unique items and well as food to purchase. 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank 07711 https://www.asburyfresh.com/markets/2023-holiday-pop-up-weekend-at-the-basie-center
If you need a place to stay or some dinner options, these are the places to be!
- Pazzo MMX – Rustic Italian classics, daily fish, meat and pasta specialties, Coal Fired Pizza Oven, open air kitchen. These are just some of the things that make Pazzo the hot new Italian eatery in Red Bank, NJ!
- Molly Pitcher Inn – Overlooking the scenic Navesink River in Red Bank, stands Molly Pitcher Inn. Built in 1928, this historic landmark echoes charm and elegance. Molly Pitcher Inn is dedicated to providing the highest level of elegant accommodations, fine dining and exceptional service.
- The Oyster Point Hotel – Dining at the intimate Pearl restaurant at Oyster Point is upscale and serene – a perfect spot to relax and enjoy knock-out contemporary American cuisine with tastes of Asia and the American Southwest from seasonal ingredients.
- The Pour House – is a family owned and operated restaurant in Tinton Falls for nearly 30 years! Great food, service and best of all – great prices! Come check out their new look and fantastic menu.
Don’t miss the 27th Annual St. Paul’s Craft Fair November 18th from 9am-4pm, always on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, to get a head start on your holiday shopping for everyone on your list! Support local artisans and hand crafters by purchasing one-of-a-kind gifts from a huge selection of items displayed on 50 tables throughout the huge Fellowship Hall. Stop by the kitchen for some baked goods and lunch that will directly support the church’s missions. Admission is always free and so is the raffle to win handmade gifts! 80 Embury Avenue Ocean Grove, NJ, 07756 https://www.oceangrove.church/calendar/holiday-craft-fair
Ocean Grove is an adorable small town located next to Asbury Park. Support these local shops!
- The Ocean Grove Bake Shop – Enjoy a variety of freshly baked muffins, pastries, cakes, Danish, artisan breads, and specialty puddings at this family owned Bake Shoppe.
- Purple Zebra Boutique – this gem of a shop offers unique items and positive vibes. This Artistic Boutique features jewelry, home décor, clothing and bed and bath products.
When you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, plan a day at Smithville to slow it down, enjoy your family and be reminded of the simpler pleasures of the holidays. Smithville in December is just what your holidays need! The shops at Smithville are open November 24 – Dec. 23 2023 – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday : 10am – 7pm, Friday and Saturday: 10am – 9pm and Sunday: 11am – 7pm. The Holiday Train Ride runs all throughout December and Light Show on the Lake is everyday in December 5:30-8:30. 615 E Moss Mill Rd, Smithville https://www.historicsmithville.com/smithville-events/december-smithville/
After exploring everything Smithville has to offer, you’re going to want to fuel up at one of their eateries:
- Fred & Ethel’s – Lantern Light Tavern is Historic Smithville’s own special bar and grill. They offer homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and a variety of dinner entrees, along with cocktails beer and wine.
- Lakeside Grill‘s – Staff is filled with amazing people striving to build delightful American Cuisine. Their menu includes breakfast, lunch and now offering catering trays.
- Smithville Bakery & Coffee Shop – is a delicious destination in The Smithville Village. The Bakery serves fresh baked on premise pastries, donuts, breads, cookies, pies and cakes. A full breakfast menu is served daily in the 50 seat restaurant.
Celebrate Downtown Haddonfield‘s many brunch and breakfast locations and Shop Small all in one weekend. Don’t miss “Brunch Big, Shop Small” during Small Business Weekend on Saturday, November 25th & Sunday, November 26th! Downtown Haddonfield merchants will open early, and many restaurants will host breakfasts/brunch specials. Downtown Haddonfield, https://downtownhaddonfield.com/events/brunch-big-shop-small-business-weekend/
After you shop small and try all the brunch spots across town, here are so other local food stops worth indulging in:
- Sweet T’s Bakeshop – Specializes in all baked goods including cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, birthday, wedding and specialty cakes. They also offer a variety of other delicious pastries and baked treats.
- Saxby’s Coffeeshop – In a community chock full of these beloved gems, Saxbys robust food menu and family friendly vibes have quickly cemented its status as a neighborhood staple.
- Sanook Thai Cuisine – Nestled in the historic small town of Haddonfield, Sanook brings the bold flavors found on the streets and homes of Thailand with a modern flare of elevation. Offering only the freshest ingredients for guests to savor in.
Enjoy all thing local at Bell Works Fresh first holiday market of the season! Join Bell Works on November 25th from 1-6pm with live music by DJ gray from 2-5pm in the Main Atrium! Come check out up to 75 vendors and find the perfect gifts for your friends and family this Holiday season. The Market will also be open November 29th, December 2nd, 6th, 9th, 13th and 16th. 101 Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel https://bell.works/events/bell-works-fresh-saturday-holiday-market/
Bell Works is such a cool place to explore with local eats, shops and activities:
- Jersey Freeze Bell Works – open 7 days a week inside Bell Works, satisfy all your ice cream craving at Jersey Freeze and take home some of their to-go desserts.
- Bar Bella – Transports its guests to a cozy, coastal getaway, right in the heart of Bell Works. A relaxed, chic vibe, Bar Bella is the destination for your weekly night out, local entertainment, and beyond.
- Escapology – New Jersey’s newest premium real life escape game experience. Play in private teams of 2-10 players in exciting games and search carefully for clues, solve puzzles and try to escape one of their nine rooms within 60 minutes.
Red Bank is a shoppers paradise home to a mix of family-owned mom and pops all the way to nationally admired brands. From gorgeous couture clothing to trendy boutiques, vintage wares, antiques, exclusive retail shops, world-class jewelers and bohemian-chic apparel, Red Bank retailers have a little something for everyone. Come on out this Holiday season and shop under the lights on Broad Street. Red Bank BroadWalk, https://www.facebook.com/RedBankVisitorsCenter/
If you need some holiday catering, these businesses are who you need to reach out to!
- Toast Red Bank – Toast’s mantra is Peace, Love & Pancakes. They combine great food with a great staff and a great attitude right in the heart of Red Bank.
- Monmouth Meats – is a full service, old fashioned butcher shop and meat market that continues to be a valued family tradition for decades.
New Egypt Flea Market Village is a unique shopping village, located in New Jersey, that offers a wide variety of vendors in a quaint and convenient location. From collectibles to furniture, new and old, you can find almost anything there. Come on out on Small Business Saturday November 25th and explore the Market Shoppes, additional vendor stands, food trucks and take photos with Santa! On December 1st from 5-9pm, come on out for the Holiday Market & Tree Lighting and join in on the festivities and show some small town holiday spirit. 933 Monmouth Rd, Cream Ridge https://newegyptfleamarket.com/events/
After finding the perfect gifts at the flea market, head into town for some local eats:
- Anthony’s Italian Restaurant – is the right place for a delicious pizza in New Egypt, NJ! You can always count on them for a fresh meal and excellent service.
- Tootie’s – their famous ice cream bar is closed for the season until spring 2024, but you can still dine in 7 days a week 6am-2pm for delicious food and warm dishes.
- El Aguila Deli & Take Out – this authentic take out Mexican Restaurant is becoming one of the best places to enjoy authentic and fresh Mexican food in the New Egypt area.
The Keansburg Fire Company #1 will be hosting their 3rd Annual Holiday Bazaar on Monday, November 27th from 6-9pm. The Holiday Bazaar will be taking place next to the tree lighting at Friendship Park so come on out, support local and enjoy the holiday cheer. Pictures with Santa will also be available! 11 Manning Place, Keansburg https://www.facebook.com/keansburgfirecompany/
Spend the whole day in Keansburg before the Holiday Bazaar and fill up on breakfast, pastries and beer:
- Jillaney’s Luncheonette – Serves delicious American cuisine and daily specials. Their staff is friendly, inviting and they offer free delivery everyday.
- David Burke’s Dixie Lee Bakery – Celebrates old traditions and creates new ones. Celebrity Chef David Burke newly directs this Classic American Bakery with his award-winning team.
- Grin Brewing – this beloved local establishment is dedicated to crafting exceptional beers that put a smile on your face. With a cozy and inviting atmosphere, Grin Brewing is the perfect place to grab a pint with friends or relax with a book.
Join Belmar Clay Project for an enchanting Holiday Market! This festive season, experience the joy of giving with unique, handcrafted pottery treasures that will warm hearts and homes. Their talented artisans have been hard at work creating an exquisite array of one-of-a-kind ceramics that make perfect gifts for your loved ones and beautiful additions to your holiday décor. Come on out December 16th & 17th 1-7pm and support local artists and artisans as they showcase their passion and craft. Hot cocoa and treats will be available as well as seasonal tunes, and cozy vibes. 710 10th Ave, Belmar https://fb.me/e/41X4G4xu1
There’s so much to see and do in Belmar so here are a few spots to check out:
- Miss Belmar – Come aboard one of the largest, cleanest and fastest ships in all of NJ for an unforgettable experience! Miss Belmar has been in business for more than 85 years, so join them for a fishing or whale watch tour.
- Klein’s Fish Market – Klein’s has been a family-owned business for over 93 years! Come and experience Klein’s Fish Market and Waterside Café conveniently located with scenic Shark River views. There’s something for everyone at Klein’s with their vast selection of fresh seafood, soups, salads, burgers, and pasta dishes.
- 10th Ave Burrito Company‘s – fresh, from-scratch Mexi-Cali menu, legendary tequila selection, and live music have made 10th Ave Burrito the locals’ hangout. They bring laid back eats to the Jersey Shore.
Join Colonial Nursery in Lincroft for a lovely Christmas Market. Shop over 20 unique, boutique and specialty vendors set up within the holiday décor of the cozy greenhouse indoors! Buy for your self and a loved one. Finish your Holiday shopping at this fabulous holiday Market, try their food trucks and bring the kids for the pony rides. 1124 W Front St, Lincroft, https://www.facebook.com/events/847620949844328/
- Nicholas Barrel & Roost – Offers Chef-Driven Comfort Food. Unwind over irresistible bar snacks, oysters, brick-oven pizzas, or short-rib burgers with house-made pickles. Or linger over seasonal desserts you can’t help but say yes to.
- Luigi’s Famous Pizza And Catering – NJ / NY Style thin crust crispy Pizza. They have been serving the community since 1939 and now serve their Famous Pizza Nationwide through 2nd Day Air Delivery to all 50 States.
- Almost Home General – Think big and shop small. They believe in putting the community first by supporting local farms and small businesses and they list all of their suppliers on the back of their menu so you can check them out, and know what you’re eating!
Here’s your chance to take the stress out of holiday shopping! Shop Stress Free at Body Boutique for unique gifts sales on services enter this years raffle to win great prizes and browse local vendors! Come on out to Keyport November 25th for Small Business Saturday and shop throughout the town during Miracle on Front Street! 52 West Front Street, Keyport, https://www.facebook.com/events/303601332497853/
- Drew’s Bayshore Bistro – Intimate, friendly, and focused on good cooking, the Bistro has become the region’s go-to place for great food inspired by Gulf Coast and Low Country cuisines.
- McDonagh’s Pub – Featuring a menu of Irish Pub fare, they are located in the heart of historic downtown Keyport in the turn of the century brick building near the bay. They combine old-world charm with modern, hip cuisine.
- Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits – prides themselves on using only the freshest and finest ingredients available while supporting local fisherman, farmers and selling the highest quality meats, produce and seafood available. They also have one of the area’s largest selections of canned beer.
Holiday Made in Monmouth will take place on Saturday, December 9th. The event will be held at Brookdale Community College in the Robert J. Collins Arena and Recreation Events Center from 10 am to 4 pm. Over 200 vendors of products made in Monmouth County will be on display and for sale. Made In Monmouth is a program for both vendors and visitors to encourage people to shop locally and to create new and important items that the public will want to buy! All events are free to both vendors and the public. Brookdale Community College, https://fb.me/e/6BVq1ye6d
- Rainbow Sushi – offers an authentic Japanese menu with hibachi and a sushi bar. Come try their highly experienced chef’s creation of their own unique flavor sauce and top quality ingredients to make their sushi one of a kind.
- Oriental Gourmet – serving amazing Chinese cuisine in a pleasant atmosphere. All dishes are made with fresh ingredients and tasty exotic sauces.
- Aleo Italian Specialties – Enjoy their daily lunch and dinner specials, a la carte menu, specialty sandwiches, fresh homemade mozzarella, homemade sausages, daily soups, special salads and desserts.