On the to-do list this week: Go out to eat beachside at the Jersey Shore — I’m talking ocean views, a cocktail (or two), and some seafood. We have a guide to the best outdoor, waterfront dining at the Jersey Shore to help you find your ideal dinner spot.
What’s on my personal to-do list: I’ll be swimming and hanging on the beach all weekend.
We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
Pennsylvania’s weird liquor laws, explained by Nick Vadala
Free things to do at the Jersey Shore by Michelle Reese
Best hoagies to eat in Philly right now by Jillian Wilson, Craig LaBan, and Michael Klein
Best vegan and vegetarian hoagies in Philly right now by Kiki Volkert
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
Bastille Day at East Market 🎉 (Bastille Day / in-person / outdoors / free) There’s an all-day Bastille Day festival happening at East Market (11th and Market Sts.) this Sunday where Iron Hill Brewery and The Wayward Brasserie will be serving French 75s, crepes, and more, while local musicians including Judah Kim perform for guests. Also look forward to giveaways from nearby City Fitness and pose for pictures at an on-site photo booth. (Free, July 18, 1-6 p.m., 1100 Market St., eventbrite.com)
For me, nothing says summer more than meals and drinks outdoors, especially when combined with waterfront views. We have a guide to 11 top-notch waterfront spots at the Jersey Shore, including a rooftop restaurant, a beer garden-style hangout, and a fancy spot for fresh oysters. I can’t pick a favorite, but here are some of the spots I’m looking to visit on my next trip down the shore.
The Boatyard: You can arrive by foot or by boat to this giant beer garden on the Barnegat Bay on Long Beach Island. It’s a great spot to bring the kids (of the human and canine variety), chill out, and play lawn games like giant Jenga, bean bag toss, and connect six. Picnic tables with umbrellas line the border of the massive spot and there’s more seating under a big central tent if you prefer the shade. Wash down a lobster roll, cheeseburger sliders, or crispy, golden-fried clam strips with a beer from nearby Icarus Brewing in Lakewood, N.J. New to the menu for this season: Fishers Island Lemonade’s ice pops for grown-ups made with vodka, barrel-aged whiskey, lemon, and honey. 📍 2304 E. Bay Ave, Manahawkin, 📞 609-494-1371, 🌐 theboatyardnj.com, 📷 @theboatyardnj, 🕑 Sun.-Thu., noon-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat., noon-9 p.m.
Sunset Pier: Aptly named, this BYOB is one of the best waterfront restaurants to admire a shore sunset. It’s on the much (much) quieter end of this busy beach town — far away from the crowds in their early 20s bouncing from one crowded, sticky bar to the next — and has a relaxing, laid-back ambiance. Sunset Pier has an extensive menu of kid-friendly American classics, including chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, and grilled cheese, in addition to fresh seafood, and the popular clam chowder or crab cakes. Grab a table on the dock, and don’t forget to bring a bottle of wine. 📍 86th St. and the Bay, Sea Isle City, 📞 609-263-5200, 🌐 sunsetpiersic.com, 📷 @sunsetpiersic, 🕑 Fri.-Mon. 7 a.m.-2 p.m., and 5-9 p.m.
Harry’s Ocean Bar and Grille: There aren’t many rooftop bars down the shore like Harry’s, with plenty of elevated deck seating, unobstructed views of the ocean, and daily live music from local cover bands and solo acts. It’s known for many things — outdoor space, weekly specials, frozen cocktails — but it might be best known for its clam chowder, which won the Cape May Chili & Chowder Cook-Off six times. Go for happy hour, which runs daily from 4 to 6 p.m., and get the chowder for $5 and a Miller Lite or Yuengling draft for $2.50. The menu also includes fresh local oysters and Cape May scallops. 📍 1025 Beach Ave., Cape May, 📞 609-884-2779, 🌐 harryscapemay.com, 📷 @harryscapemay, 🕑 daily, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Save some money
In a newly reopened world, everything feels expensive. We had a year-plus of meals at home, virtual (so, free) happy hours, and no need to ride in (expensive) Ubers or Lyfts. For those looking to save some dough while they get back to their normal routine, we have a guide to free things to do at the shore, ranging from activities for kids to grown-up adventures.
Looking for free fun with the kids? Visit a playground, of which there are many, including the community-built Brigantine Shark Park (complete with a giant wooden shark) and Wildwood’s Sunrise Park, which is also home to a beachfront splash pad. Or check out the always-free Cape May Zoo, a space that more than 500 animals call home, including giraffes, lions, monkeys, and camels.
For grown-ups, Brigantine’s Laguna Grill and Rum Bar is a free, live music destination most days of the week, and Cape May Brewery offers free tours of its super-popular craft brewery. There are also some free spots for swimming at the shore, which are key to any no-cost beach trip.
» READ MORE: Free things to do at the Jersey Shore
I have some very, very important news. July 18 is National Ice Cream Day 🍦 and it’s time to make your plans to celebrate. We’re here to help, though, and have plenty of ice cream resources whether you’re planning on being down the shore (see here for our guide to the best ice cream at the shore) or will be staying in Philly (here’s our guide to the best ice cream in Philly). And if you’re vegan, we have our picks for the best vegan ice cream, too.
On each list, there are shops that are known for their sundaes, places that mix unexpectedly delicious flavors, and spots where ice cream made with coconut milk is just as good as the milk-based original.