Within miles of the beach and a multitude of restaurants, many consider Monmouth University to be an ideal location. Although college can be stressful, it’s important to remember to take a break and explore the area around campus every once in a while. When looking for something to do with friends, family, for date nights, or just for some self-care, here are some activities close to campus that are sure to be fun and memorable.
- House of Independents
Located in Asbury Park, House of Independents is a venue that holds concerts, fundraisers, plays, private events, and so much more. “The House,” as it calls itself, can transform its two-story venue space as needed to fit any type of occasion.
House of Independents attracts people of all ages looking for a fun, enjoyable night out. The House is open to guests 18 and older, but both the upper and lower areas feature bars available for the 21 and older crowd.
Having a great sound system and flattering lighting, it makes a fantastic venue for music events. Some of their main events each month include dance parties with themes like “Gimme-Gimme Disco”—a night inspired by the best disco bands of the 1970s—and “Best Night Ever”, inspired by the 2010s and featuring artists like Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Justin Bieber.
Megan Zennario, a sophomore marketing student, expressed, “House of Independents has such a lively atmosphere and is a great experience to have with your friends; whether you like the theme or not, it’s a great time.”
- Pier Village
Only six minutes from Monmouth, Pier Village features unique shops and delicious restaurants located on the oceanfront. While this destination has a lot to offer in the summertime, the winter features one of its main attractions: ice skating.
Surrounded by bright lights and speakers, Pier Village builds an ice rink at its center every holiday season where people can lace up their ice-skates and twirl, or awkwardly stumble, to their heart’s content.
Julia Cuti, a sophomore social work student, added, “It was a great time for all of my friends to hang out. Even though we all can’t skate, we still had a great time, and it was a fun thing to do around the holidays.”
The rink returns on Nov. 18 and will be available until Feb. 27 for all the winter wonderland fun this season.
- The Grove at Shrewsbury
The Grove at Shrewsbury is an outdoor plaza located 15 minutes away from campus that offers a wide variety of shops and dining options perfect for an enjoyable day out with friends or for upcoming holiday shopping.
Featuring 49 stores, The Grove includes both locally-owned shops and name brand stores like Nike, Lululemon, and Sephora. Places to grab a quick bite include Starbucks, sweetgreen, d’jeet, and Alabriño. With plenty of outdoor seating and beautiful landscaping, it makes for a great place to walk around and shop.
The Grove West, which is located across the street, has a similar setup, featuring shops such as Billabong, Loft, and Vanilla Sky. The Baker’s Grove is also located in The Grove West and serves hand-crafted pastries and desserts featuring local, seasonal ingredients.
- The Count Basie Center for the Arts
The Count Basie Center is located in Red Bank and features a number of performances and concerts all year around. The Basie offers entertainment for all musical genres and has showcased artists like Charlie Puth, Jon Pardi, Frankie Valli, and many more.
The Count Basie Center also hosts a “Broadway at the Basie” performance series that features beloved musicals such as Hairspray, Annie, and The Sound of Music. The Basie also has plenty of holiday shows including The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The Basie is a non-profit organization that strives to spread the culture of different art forms to everyone. It’s an amazing entertainment venue rich with musical history and is a must-go place during your time at Monmouth.
- Solve It Sherlock Escape Room
Solve It Sherlock Escape Room is an exciting activity for all the adrenaline junkies looking for a good mystery to solve. This escape room is located in Neptune City, which is only 13 minutes away from campus.
The escape room is a race against time to solve puzzles and crack codes to “escape the room” in under one hour. Relatively cheap and great for any size group, Solve It Sherlock Escape Room is the perfect activity to test your detective skills.
They feature a variety of escape rooms, such as Pirates of the Golden Skull, The Magician’s Secret, Quarantine, Legend of the Pines, and Sacred Stones. Each room has a different scare factor and difficulty rating, both rated out of ten, with a different objective for every theme, whether it’s solving a 100-year-old mystery or finding buried treasure.
Hop in your Mystery Machine and head over to The Solve It Sherlock Escape Room to live out your Scooby-Doo dream with the interactive, thrilling, full-of-detail experience in each escape room.
This list merely scratches the surface of the unique activities to explore near campus. Due to their close proximity and decent price ranges, these venues are perfect for Monmouth students looking for some diversions from their semester-long grind.