The Top 7 Things to Do at Night in OCNJ

The Top 7 Things to Do at Night in OCNJ

We all know what it feels like to have such a great day that you wish it could last forever. While that dream isn’t technically possible because everyone has to sleep at some point, your vacation time presents the perfect opportunity to extend each day just a little bit longer.

In Ocean City, we keep the fun going even after the sun sets. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide on what to do in Ocean City, New Jersey, after dark.

  1. Family Activities in OCNJ
  2. The World Famous Boardwalk
  3. Mouthwatering Meals
  4. Downtown Shopping District
  5. Mini-Golf Galore
  6. Live Music and Theater
  7. Special Events

1. Family Activities in OCNJ

OCNJ is known as a safe, relaxing destination for guests of all ages, from infants to older adults. That reputation comes from our dedication to providing fun, family-oriented entertainment options. Many of our attractions are open well into the night, including:

  • Theme parks: Thrilling rides, fun games and all the delicious fair food you can eat are included in OCNJ’s theme parks. Two are located on the Boardwalk, while others are further inland.
  • Tiki tours: Enjoy the Boardwalk lights from afar on a tiki-themed night tour of the island. OCNJ has multiple companies that run tours for groups of different sizes.
  • Go-karts: Race the rest of your group on one of the island’s go-kart courses. Most are located within another attraction, so you can really get the most out of your evening.

While most attractions allow you to purchase same-day tickets, we recommend buying yours in advance if the option is available. You’ll guarantee your spot, and you might also be able to get your tickets for a lower price.

OCNJ also features plenty of indoor attractions open during the day and at night, so you have plenty of alternative options in case the weather turns on you:

  • Indoor experiences: From challenging mirror mazes to thrilling virtual reality (VR) games, there are plenty of fun nighttime activities for guests of all ages and ability levels to enjoy.
  • Escape rooms: Work together with the rest of your group to solve the puzzle and escape before time runs out!
  • Arcades: It wouldn’t be a Boardwalk without the bright lights and sounds of an arcade. Play the night away with Skee-Ball tournaments, classic video game matches and more. You might even win some fun prizes to take home with you.

Hours tend to change based on the season, so it’s best to look before you go. Check our business directory for a complete list of amusement destinations and nearby businesses. 

2. The World-Famous Boardwalk

There’s nothing quite like strolling along the famous Boardwalk at nighttime in Ocean City, New Jersey. People come from all over to shop, eat and unwind, and many of the businesses there stay open well after dark to accommodate late-night visitors. And with 2.5 miles to walk one-way, you’ll get a little exercise in, too.

The lights along the Boardwalk, combined with the moon’s reflection on the water, lend the Boardwalk a nostalgic, warm vibe for making memories with family, friends or a romantic partner. Whatever you choose to do here, make sure to savor your time and take plenty of pictures — you’ll want to remember these summer nights.

Surf Shops

OCNJ is one of the East Coast’s top surfing destinations, so we naturally have a lot of surf shops along the Boardwalk. You’ll have to wait until the next day to get into the water, as the beaches close in the evening, but the friendly service you’ll get and the quality of the items make our surf shops some of the best around.

Whether you need to rent a board for the next day, pick up some new gear or set up a surfing lesson, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.


It wouldn’t be a trip to the beach without a souvenir T-shirt or a little magnet to stick on your home fridge. The OCNJ Boardwalk features an assortment of novelty and apparel shops with an incredible variety of mementos to remember your trip by.

Of course, the Boardwalk offers more than souvenirs. While you’re walking, you’ll see shops selling everything from homemade fudge to delicate jewelry. You can easily make an evening out of exploring what’s available and then returning to purchase your favorites before you head in for the night.

Amusement Parks

The Boardwalk has two amusement parks complete with carnival rides, skill games and haunted houses that will excite you and your kids. Some parks are open pretty late, so you’ll have plenty of time to hit all the rides and attractions you like. 

Visiting during the off-season? Some attractions offer discounted rates in late spring and early fall, so be sure to check their website and buy your tickets in advance.

3. Mouthwatering Meals

After a long day of surf and sand, the last thing you’ll want to do is cook a complete meal for your group. Let the experienced chefs of Ocean City take care of your dinner for you, and maybe stay a while for a tasty treat afterward. 


Whether you’re looking for an upscale seafood restaurant for a romantic dinner with your partner or a spot to grab a slice of pizza with the family after a long day on the beach, the Ocean City Boardwalk has something for everyone

The downtown shopping district offers even more eateries to explore, so you could try something new every night of your stay. And if you’re here during peak tourist season, you’ll definitely want to make a reservation. While OCNJ is a quieter beach town, it still draws thousands of tourists every summer — and a little proactivity can help make your trip that much better.

Ice Cream and Sweets

Are you in the mood for something sweet or to make the night last a little longer? Stop by one of the Boardwalk’s many dessert stops for:

  • Frozen treats: Ice cream is the essential beach dessert. From soft serve ice cream to elaborate sundaes, water ice to smoothie bowls, you’ll find a cold and creamy treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. 
  • Chocolate and candy: Indulge in fresh fudge, artisan chocolates, handmade candy and more from one of our many sweet shops. Make sure to pick up a box of saltwater taffy before heading home! 
  • Baked goods: Our cafes and bakeries craft decadent sweets with a local flair. You’ll find everything from trendy mochi donuts to soft, fluffy pastries in shops throughout the Boardwalk and Asbury Avenue.

4. Downtown Shopping District

Ocean City’s lively downtown shopping district, which stretches along Asbury Avenue between the bay and the beach, offers more than novelty gifts and souvenirs. 

More than 100 locally owned businesses — many run by families — line both sides of the street with everything you could ever need and more. Many shops are open late, so you and your family or friends can take your time browsing.

Fashion, Home Goods and Gifts

Fun knickknacks are essential for every beach vacation, but the shops on Asbury offer far more than simple souvenirs. You’ll find everything from old-school bookstores and local art galleries to fine fashion retailers and everything in between. 

If you want to give a unique gift, there’s no better place to find one. Stop by one of the artisan furniture stores for lovingly handcrafted home decor, or pick up a rare copy of a classic for your favorite bookworm. 

And, of course, the district includes far more than just shops. You’ll find salons, houses of worship, home repair companies and more for anything else you might need during your trip.

Dining and More

Like the Boardwalk, downtown OC has amazing variety when it comes to dining. Whether you’re in the mood for Greek gyros, high-end seafood dishes or all-day breakfast, Ocean City’s shopping district has something for everyone in your group.

We recommend exploring the shops in the late afternoon and early evening before sitting down for a delicious meal at one of Asbury’s many restaurants. If you’re still feeling a little peckish after supper, why not stop for a little dessert before you head back for the night?

5. Mini-Golf Galore

Do you love friendly competition and elaborate decorations? Putt-putt is the ultimate game for families and friend groups of all ages. When the sun goes down and the course lights switch on, it takes on a whole new vibe. 

Our putt-putt scene is vibrant, with most courses open past dinner. Come with a date, your kids or a big group of friends to play the night away on creatively themed courses like:

  • Pirate adventures.
  • Rock canyons.
  • Medieval fantasy.
  • Spooky haunted houses.
  • African jungles.
  • Seaside villages.

Once you’re done, be sure to stop by a nearby ice cream shop or candy store to treat the winner to a well-deserved reward. There are plenty to choose from, so you could even sample several on the way back to your lodging.

6. Live Music and Theater

Our live music and community theater scene is a vital part of the nightlife in Ocean City, New Jersey. Ocean City Music Pier, our city’s main stage, frequently welcomes well-loved artists as well as tribute bands and local talent throughout the season. For a complete list of who’s playing this summer, check the summer concert series page

There are still plenty of opportunities to catch a show if you’re visiting during the off-season. Many of our eateries and cafes host local artists throughout the year, so you can enjoy a little music while you eat. Check the establishment’s website, and make a reservation in advance to make sure you can get a seat!

Looking for something a little more artistic? Various local community theater companies also perform at the Music Pier and are always producing something new. Check our box office page for more information on all upcoming shows and events.

7. Special Events 

While we’re well-known for daytime events like the annual Baby Parade, we don’t stop celebrating at the end of the day. There’s always a list of evening activities in OCNJ running throughout the summer and off-season to entertain both young and old.

Some examples of ongoing special events include:

  • First Night: If you love live entertainment, OCNJ’s annual First Night is for you. Choose from more than 70 shows at 22 venues throughout the island, and enjoy fun activities like outdoor ice skating, amusement park rides, magic shows and more.
  • Fireworks: The city puts on several beach fireworks displays throughout the season to commemorate holidays and other important OCNJ events. 
  • Mummers Night: During the summertime, watch a parade of brightly colored costumes and songs every Tuesday night between 6th and 14th Streets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Family Night: In July and August, experience free, family-friendly entertainment every Thursday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. between 6th and 14 Streets. 
  • Beach walks: Also in July and August, join a group to get some evening exercise on 59th Street and Central Avenue every Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.

Be sure to leave room in your itinerary to attend one of these family-friendly events. They generally end at 9 p.m., so anyone who enjoys an early bedtime can stick to their usual sleep schedule.

What’s So Special About Ocean City Nightlife?

When you compare OCNJ to other East Coast beaches like Ocean City, Maryland, or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, you might wonder what it is that sets our nightlife apart. To put it simply, it’s our mission to deliver a consistently excellent experience to our guests and to stay true to the town’s original vision.

Part of what makes us so unique is our dedication to maintaining the consistently safe environment our founders created. Our officials strive to ensure you and your family will be able to focus on enjoying your vacation without the rowdiness of similar beach towns. 

For example, the city enforces a curfew for unaccompanied teens under the age of 18 to keep them safe and maintain a welcoming, fun atmosphere for the rest of our guests. The curfew time varies based on the season.

As a historically dry town, most Ocean City businesses still follow the rule prohibiting the sale of alcohol on the island. While it might seem old-fashioned to some, many visitors see this practice as a positive, as it limits the potential for public disturbances that disrupt their vacations.

We’re also committed to promoting local, family-owned businesses over chains and franchises. Unlike many other beach destinations, you’ll find few chain restaurants, hotels or retail stores on the island. OCNJ is home to a host of thriving small businesses, and we aim to keep it that way for the good of the city and for the enjoyment of our visitors.

The Fun Never Stops in Ocean City

Planning your family vacation? Ocean City, New Jersey, is the place to go. We’re a thriving beach community with plenty of excitement for visitors of all ages, and you can enjoy many of our attractions well into the evening hours. 

And who knows? You might even start an exciting new family tradition while you’re here! 

There’s always something going on in “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” Check our events calendar for a complete list of upcoming OCNJ nighttime events, and be sure to download your free visitor’s guide to help you plan your trip. We can’t wait to welcome you!

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