Information from VISITNJ.org
New attractions, famed trails, major events and celebrated festivals are just a few of the reasons travelers will want to pack their bags and explore New Jersey year-round in 2023.
Newly opened state-of-the art entertainment facilities, themed events and historical anniversaries are all in store for visitors and residents, as New Jersey gears up for an exciting year ahead. Travelers can take in the great outdoors with upcoming bike tours and summer festivals, then head out to enjoy any number of newly opened breweries and restaurants across the state.
With top-notch entertainment, shopping additions and hotel openings scheduled for the coming months, visitors are guaranteed to have 23 reasons to make the Garden State a “go-to destination” in 2023!
- Pedal to the Metal: RMP Raceway in Jersey City unveiled a new multilevel electric indoor track earlier this year, making it the longest kart racing experience in the world. Having hosted over 2 million races to date, RPM Raceway’s drivers will conquer a newly designed, unbeatable track, consisting of three levels of vertical elevation, lightning-fast straightaways, 90-degree hairpin turns and spiraling ramps that racing enthusiasts and thrill seekers will love. On its two new tracks, guests will put the pedal to the metal in an all-new fleet of OTL Italian electric adult and junior karts. Featuring digital dashboards, paddle shifters and speed boost capabilities, the RMP Raceway offers the latest technologies in electric kart racing.
- We’re Goin’ on Tour! MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford is hosting a heavy-hitter roster of artists in 2023. Just a few shining stars appearing on stage include country music’s Morgan Wallen, the fan-favorite Taylor Swift, and pop legend Ed Sheeran. Before any concert or game, do grab a bite and a brew at Yard House.
- Standing in the Hall of Fame: Start living the dream at American Dream in East Rutherford. Its new, “New Jersey Hall of Fame,” is expected to open this spring, featuring exhibits on legends like Thomas Edison, Gloria Gaynor and astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly, just to name a few! Among the exhibits, visitors will find a historic Model T Ford, gifted by Henry Ford to Edison, as well as a hologram karaoke stage and a virtual-reality car ride, complete with Hall of Fame inductees that feature their favorite Jersey go-to spots. The 10,000-square-foot Food Hall at American Dream opened in 2022, featuring a diverse array of food vendors and a unique wine experience, Vinoteca, which is an automated wine-tasting bar that allows guests to pay by the ounce. Visitors can sample from 64 different bottles, using a machine that dispenses 1-ounce, 3-ounce and 5-ounce pours.
- Morristown National Historical Park Celebrates 90 Years: Morristown National Historical Park will formally kick off its 90th anniversary year at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 4 in its museum auditorium. Morristown National Historical Park commemorates the sites of General George Washington and the Continental army’s winter encampment of December 1779 to June 1780, where they survived through what would be the coldest winter on record. The park also maintains a museum and library collection related to the encampments and General Washington, as well as items relating to pre- and post-revolutionary America.
- Bloomin’ Through Spring: Every spring, residents and visitors alike are called to view the largest cherry blossom collection in the United States. Branch Brook Park, which runs through Belleville and Newark, contains more than 5,200 Japanese cherry blossom trees that burst into full bloom during the annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival. The highlight of the festival is Bloomfest, a day of live performances and attractions on April 16. Attracting over 7,000 attendees from New Jersey and surrounding metropolitan areas, a packed schedule of events offers something for everyone, including Japanese cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, live music, a crafter’s marketplace, food and more.
- The Chic Shore: Stay in style just off the Bradley Beach boardwalk at The James Bradley. Opened in August 2022 and built in 1904 as a residential home, the building had been operating as a hotel since the 1960s. Starting out as a hostel, turned party hotel, and most recently as a family-run bed-and-breakfast, The James Bradley has “been there done that.” With a knack for artistic flair, the property features furniture sourced from eBay, Etsy, flea markets, as well as custom-made pieces created by local artists. Even hotel owner and woodworker George DiStefano joined in with pieces he crafted himself in the on-site wood shop. Each room throughout the property is distinctive, showcasing one-of-a-kind art pieces that are often for sale. With the space constantly changing, visitors can experience a true creative environment any time of year.
- Festival at Sea: Sea.Hear.Now 2023 is being held September 16-17 in Asbury Park and will feature two days of music with more than 25 bands on three stages: two in the sand and one in the park, all on the iconic Asbury Park Waterfront. Visitors and locals will experience headline performances from household names such as, The Killers, Foo Fighters and Sheryl Crow, as East Coast surf legends and emerging male and female pros compete in a team surf contest, held between the Surf and Sand stages. Explore the best of Jersey Shore boardwalk and restaurant fare with curated eats from Jersey, New York City, Philly and beyond!
- Keep Up! Supercharged Entertainment has officially opened the world’s largest indoor multilevel karting track in Edison, N.J. The 131,000-square-foot entertainment venue offers something for everyone, featuring Luxury Axe Throwing, a massive interactive gaming arcade with a prize center, virtual reality, bionic bumper cars, two-story Drop & Twist Tower Ride, and so much more.
- Tour de Elizabeth: Sunday, May 2, marks the annual Tour de Elizabeth Bike Tour, which will celebrate 20 years of biking! Participants will take a 15-mile bike ride around historic Elizabeth and see century-old buildings nestled up against market shops, passed down in families for generations. Depending on the chosen theme of the ride, riders may cruise past historic sites marked with statues honoring the brave soldiers of the American Revolution or twist through streets that provide the best views of arch-formed bridges. Music venues, waterways and restaurants are all highlights of Elizabeth, and riders will see plenty of incredible sites, regardless of the route.
- Cultural Cuisine: Elizabeth, N.J., has added two new restaurants with Latin fare on its food scene. Rancho Mateo offers Colombian style cuisine with their specialty, Carne a la Llanera (Colombian Steak), and a bakery offering traditional Latin pastries. Mexology is a new taqueria with a modern twist, featuring a bohemian patio that is surrounded by palm trees within a setting that will transport guests to Tulum, Mexico.
- Exclusive Mansion Retreat: Set on 14 acres of orchard-dotted rolling hills in Bernardsville, N.J., about 40 miles from New York City, Lindenhaus is set to open in September 2023 and will combine a members-only social club with a wellness retreat. With expert health guidance, personalized dining and accommodations, and a compassionate touch, every facet of Lindenhaus will contribute to total wellbeing.
- Full Steam Ahead! Take a ride on the Black River & Western Railroad in Flemington, N.J. This is the state’s oldest operating steam railroad, which transports visitors through scenic Hunterdon County: a perfect activity year-round for the whole family!
- Up, Up & Away! July 2023 marks the 40th annual New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, held in Readington, N.J. Operating as the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, the awe-inspiring skies of New Jersey fill up with 100 gigantic, colorful hot-air balloons, taking flight above and over the Central Jersey countryside. The festival features twice-a-day mass balloon ascensions, a live concert series with the biggest names in music, fireworks, a nighttime hot air balloon glow, New Jersey Lottery Land entertainment complex, family entertainment and attractions, hot air balloon rides, children’s amusement rides, food, fun and more!
- New Student on Nassau Street: Graduate Princeton is set to open in Princeton in late 2023. Created for travelers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels is a thoughtfully crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic “university-anchored” cities across the country. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives.
- Grounds for Sculpture: Visit Hamilton, N.J., for an immersive art experience like no other at Grounds for Sculpture with Night Forms: Infinite Wave, which is running its second season until April 2. Night Forms features an evening landscape of creative exploration through lighting, sound and video projection mapping, which is a process pioneered by Klip Collective. Designed to provide a dialog with specific sculptures in the collection, such as Carlos Dorrien’s, “The Nine Muses” and Bruce Beasley’s, “Dorion,” this audio and visual exhibition offers new perspectives on these works and multidimensional space.
- Wish You Were Beer: Hamilton is getting its first brewery in the fall of 2023! Bent Iron Brewing Co. recently broke ground at a ceremony held by Mayor Jeff Martin and Councilman Anthony Carabelli. Founded by Peter Brittian, Jon Kanuck and David Sass, Bent Iron Brewing will be located on a 55-acre farm at 70 Extonville Road. Dave Ascione will be the Brew Master at Bent Iron Brewing, where the owners hope to create a one-of-a-kind destination experience by offering top-notch craft beers in a fun, welcoming, and wide-open farm setting. The Brewery will include a large outdoor seating space with a walkable hop yard and fire pits.
- Nobu Nobu Nobu! Nobu Hotel Atlantic City is projected to open in 2023 within Caesars Atlantic City and will further position the city as a leading travel destination on the East Coast. Nobu Hotel Atlantic City is part of Caesars’ $400 million investment into the destination by 2023, including the Nobu restaurant which opened in Atlantic City in 2022. The debut of Nobu Hotel Atlantic City at Caesars Atlantic City will revitalize the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk and raise the hospitality bar by introducing world-class experiences to the market.
- Splish Splash: A brand new indoor water park is set to open in Atlantic City’s old Showboat building by Memorial Day Weekend! This $100 Million waterpark will feature a retractable roof for the indoor/outdoor feel. Island Waterpark will be connected to the Showboat’s Premier Lite tower, which will undergo a complete renovation as part of the project. The waterpark will also link up to the Lucky Snake Arcade, which spans 60,000-square feet and features over 300 games.
- Let’s Go to Battle: The Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial consistently ranks as one of the best museums in New Jersey, with good reason. Showcasing incredible exhibits of historic artifacts and hands-on activities, the museum provides visitors with an up-close look at the nation’s military history. The museum has recently reopened its overnight stays for visitors to enjoy a night inside the bunks that the crew of the USS New Jersey once did. Complete with breakfast and dinner, a guided tour of the ship and even the chance to fire the saluting gun, this overnight encampment experience is one to explore in 2023.
Cape May County
- Family Entertainment: Coming to Cape May this spring, Cape Square Entertainment Complex, in Rio Grande, N.J., will serve as the newest hotspot for entertainment on the Jersey Shore. Complete with over eight movie theaters, 16 lanes of bowling, arcades, and a golf simulator, there’s no shortage of family fun in 2023! Dining is also available on site with Cape Kitchen & Craft, one of two restaurants and one of three bars guests can experience in the Cape Square Entertainment Center.
- 21. 75th Anniversary of the Tram Car: The original Tram Cars were custom built for the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, New York. First introduced on the Wildwoods Boardwalk by local businessman Gilbert Ramagosa on June 11, 1949, with a one-way fare of $.10 cents, the Tram Cars are an iconic part of the Wildwoods Boardwalk experience, transporting tens of thousands of guests along the two-and-a-half-mile Wildwoods Boardwalk each year. Today’s Tram Cars, as well as the original 1939 Trams, are environmentally friendly, running on battery power. Each Tram Car can run for up to 12 hours on a single charge from their 2,000-pound electric batteries.
- Wildwoods’ Distinctive Doo Wop Architecture – The Wildwoods boasts the largest collection of mid-20th century architecture in the country. This iconic building style of the mid- 20th century is known as, ‘Doo Wop Architecture’. Take a self-guided tour on foot or by car, or hop on the Back to the Fifties Neon Bus Tour every Tuesday and Thursday night throughout the summer to witness the island’s unique aesthetic up close and personal. Stop by the Doo Wop Experience Museum, located on Ocean Avenue, to discover the local, musical, and architectural influence of Doo Wop on the island. The museum celebrates the mid-century architecture, culture and music known as Doo Wop with some of the country’s best-known local resort signs. Historic photos, a Neon Garden filled with famous neon signs from the era, and The Jukebox Café, a 50s-style malt shop complete with period furniture, all offer guests a glimpse into the past.
- On Cloud Wine: Southern New Jersey is quickly establishing itself as one of the premier wine regions of the Mid-Atlantic with over 1,500 acres of land in the state, operating as vineyards. Auburn Road Vineyards has renovated and revamped its grounds in the beginning of 2023 with the addition of their new Garden House. This elegant barn-style house is surrounded by vineyards and allows guests to experience tastings for private events, meetings, gatherings, parties and off-site team building. The European-style Vineyard Wine Bar, Patio and Courtyard surrounded by the vines combine a cool vibe and down-to-earth attitude with excellent wine.
For more information on New Jersey’s upcoming events, please visit www.vistnj.org.
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