Temperatures are falling fast, holidays are approaching faster. In Atlantic City, big name entertainment is still a hot attraction, even in November, with chart toppers from today, yesterday and yuletide. Other shore points will rely on quaint Christmas shopping experiences to draw in tourism dollars.
It’s been three years since the R&B superstar, Usher has hit the road. He’ll bring his 27-city “UR Experience” tour to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, Nov. 15 in advance of his eight album (UR, expected to drop by year’s end). Fans are already familiar with the first singles released this summer, “Good Kisser” and “She Came To Give It To You”. Tickets are $39.50. Friday, Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m. – 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.
In the mood for a serious trip back in time to the 1980s? All four original members of Culture Club will be performing together at Trump Taj Mahal’s Etess Arena for the first time in 14 years. Until personal demons and drugs took their toll, Boy George and his band mates were known for their innovative multi-ethnic sound and defiant gender bending look. A new album is anticipated to be released in January. Tickets range from $24 to $95. Friday, Nov. 28, 9 p.m. – 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.
Music is perhaps one of the most treasured Christmas traditions, from carols to pop standards. Mannheim Steamroller will usher in the festive season with a holiday music concert at Harrah’s on Saturday, Nov. 29. Though they have three decades of recording history, the band is best known for their take on Christmas classics. The ubiquitousness of their synthesizer-heavy version of “Deck The Halls” has made the song as near a holiday playlist staple as Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. Tickets range from $45 to $75. Saturday, Nov. 29, 9 p.m. – 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Atlantic City, N.J.
Also on Nov 29, the Brian Setzer Orchestra rocks the holiday with signature rockabilly meets big band swing sound at Caesars Atlantic City. Tickets range from $55 to $85. Saturday, Nov. 29, 9 p.m. – 2100 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, N.J.
Cape May will be serving up some big names in jazz music early this month with the autumn rendition of its biannual Exit 0 Jazz Festival. The three-day happening features four headliners and more than 30 club sets at venues through-out the city.
Headline performances will take place on the Xerox Main Stage in Convention Hall and will include reggae-flavored jazz from Monty Alexander & the Harlem-Kingston Express, an Eartha Kitt tribute from vocalist Rene Marie and “social music” from Jon Batiste and Stay Human. Also headlining will be jazz supergroup, The Cookers (Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, George Cables, Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, Donald Harrison and David Weiss).
Tickets are available for individual shows or in three-day, two-day and one-day packages. Friday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov 9, various times and locations, Cape May, NJ.
After Thanksgiving, many of the shore points will try to lure visitors to spend their money, particularly on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, with Christmas holiday-themed weekends.
Cape May turns on the nostalgic Victoriana charm later in the month with its Holiday Preview Weekend, Nov. 21 through 23. A highlight is the free Christmas exhibit of trains, toys and holiday traditions of yore at the Emlen Physick Estate’s Carriage House Gallery. The estate will also have its halls all decked out in winter finery when Santa Claus visits on Saturday, Nov 22 at 7 p.m. for a tree lighting ceremony. The weekend will also offer Christmas tours of the estate (free on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.), heated trolley rides with Santa and holiday ghost tales. Friday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 23, various times – 1048 Washington St., Cape May, N.J.
Cape May will also hold a Holiday Craft Fair in Convention Hall on Black Friday. Admission is $2. Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 714 Beach Ave., Cape May, N.J.
Sea Isle City will again host its Holiday Extravaganza weekend following Turkey Day. On both Friday and Saturday, families can enjoy cookies and hot cocoa, ice skating, plus live entertainment at the band shell in Excursion Park. The city’s Christmas Parade takes place at 6:30 p.m., followed by a tree lighting ceremony with Mayor Leonard Desiderio. Old St. Nick arrives for the festivities at 7 p.m. On Saturday, tots can visit with Santa from 12p.m. to 2 p.m. while parents shop the Small Business Saturday specials. Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29, noon to 4 p.m. – JFK Blvd. and Pleasure Ave., Sea Isle City, N.J
Ocean City will have two shopping oriented weekends, before and after Thanksgiving. On Nov. 22 and 23, around 75 vendors will set up booth on the boardwalk’s Music Pier for the city’s Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival. That same weekend, downtown merchants will offer slashed prices as part of the “Earlier than the Bird” shopping event on Saturday morning from 8 a.m. until noon. Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk, Ocean City, N.J.
On Black Friday, Ocean City promises an old-fashioned downtown Christmas shopping experience with its “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue”. Besides merchant specials, there will be carolers, live music, as well as free horse and carriage rides. The evening caps off with Santa Claus’ arrival atop the roof of City Hall. The jolly old elf will then descend to light the official city Christmas tree. Visitors can have their photo taken for $10 with Santa from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the boardwalk’s Music Pier. Friday, Nov. 28., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Asbury Ave., Ocean City, N.J
Avalon’s Dune Drive shopping district hosts its Festive Friday with merchant discounts and plenty of free activities for the kids. The event culminates with a tree lighting by Mayor Martin Pagliughi and Santa Claus. On Saturday, the Avalon Elementary School Field will be transformed into a winter carnival for the second annual Snow Fest. The free event features a skating rink, train rides, amusement rides and midway games. Friday, Nov. 28., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 29, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Dune Drive and 235 32nd St., Avalon, NJ.
Stone Harbor gets into the spirit of the season with its annual Island Holiday weekend. Visitors will find all kinds of family-friendly activities in the 96th Street Shopping District (96th St., between Second and Third Aves.), such as a pet parade at 1 p.m., caroling, iceless ice skating, s’mores making, live music, plus visits from Santa and Frosty the Snowman. Merchant hospitality specials begin Friday night at 6 p.m.
Saturday, the town’s Christmas parade sets off at 6:30 p.m. on 107th St and travels north on Third Ave. to 96th St., where it heads east to Second Ave. and continues to 95th St. until it ends in front of the Beach Patrol building. Santa Claus will drop in for a visit at Coffee Talk (97th St. and Third Ave.) after the parade. Friday, Nov. 28, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. – 96th Street Shopping District, Stone Harbor, N.J.