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Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, you’ll find many reasons to visit cultural sites in New Jersey. Boasting over 150 museums, nearly 100 professional theaters and dozens of concert and art venues, the state offers an exciting mix of arts and entertainment.
The Newark Museum features a variety of exhibits and events for all ages and interests. See 80 galleries filled with displays on art and science, stargaze at the planetarium, or take a stroll through the sculpture garden. Ballantine House, a restored 1885 mansion, is a National Historic Landmark. The Morris Museum in Morristown is one of New Jersey’s oldest cultural organizations.
Tour the Frelinghuysen Mansion, designed by Stanford White, and explore galleries on the arts, sciences, and humanities. Musical Machines & Living Dolls is a permanent exhibit with more than 750 musical instruments. Visit four facilities in one at the New Jersey State Museum and Planetarium. See exhibits on cultural history, fine art and natural history, view archaeology and ethnology collections, or watch a mesmerizing program on the solar system at the state-of-the-art planetarium. The Monmouth Museum in Lincroft is known as the museum of ideas.
See exhibits on history, science and art, and enjoy a variety of interactive programs. The Noyes Arts Garage & African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey features permanent and rotating exhibits. The Atlantic City facility covers many aspects of African-American life from early advertising stereotypes to memorabilia from places like Club Harlem. Fans of architecture and furniture design will enjoy the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in Morris Plains.
Tour the gorgeous estate of designer Gustav Stickley and see exhibits on his creations and the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts in Millville features one of the world’s most extensive collections of glassware. See more than 20,000 pieces including Victorian art glass and the world’s tallest glass bottle.
The Jersey Shore Children’s Museum at Mays Landing offers a wide array of hands-on experiences. Learn how musical instruments work, dress up as a firefighter, or build a skyscraper from blocks. The Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill is another popular museum for children featuring interactive exhibits, animals, a theater, and special events.
Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg is the fourth oldest mine in the United States. Tour the rock and fossil centers, view the fluorescent rainbow tunnel or visit the laboratory. The Burlington County Prison Museum in Mount Holly was built in 1811. Used as a jail for 154 years, it once held more than 100 inmates. Visit the Discovery Sea Shell Museum in Ocean City and see a collection of more than 10,000 seashells.
The Doo Wop Experience Museum in Wildwood offers exhibits on 50s and 60s architecture and music. See fun pop culture artifacts, iconic posters, and more. The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown presents more than 200 live performances a year. Built in 1937 and restored in 1994, the historic theater offers live concerts, comedy shows, and an annual performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet.
The Broadway Theatre of Pitman once hosted comedy legends Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello. Today the 1926 theater features musical performances and plays. The Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park is a fun place to attend professional theater productions, jazz concerts, classical music performances, and special events like film festivals. Fans of dinner theater have several fun choices in New Jersey.
Elaine’s Famous Dinner Theater in Cape May was voted one of the top five dinner theaters in the country by the Food Network. Hunterdon Hills Playhouse is situated on a 90-acre estate in Union Township and offers all-you-can-eat homemade desserts. Both kids and adults love the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament combining jousting, falconry, and a four-course-meal at a castle-style setting in Lyndhurst.
Jazz fans won’t want to miss the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. Named for the jazz legend, the club features a mix of jazz, rock and blues performers along with comedy shows. Fans of Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi will have a blast at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Both rock veterans got their start playing at the concert venue and it’s not unusual for them to stop in for a jam session. Catch A Rising Star in Princeton features top name comedy acts and fresh new faces in an intimate cabaret-style setting.
Art lovers will find much to admire at New Jersey art museums and galleries. Both Princeton and Rutgers offer university art museums open to the public and you’ll find a variety of galleries and art centers scattered around the state. The Beacon Fine Arts Gallery in Red Bank offers paintings, sculptures, and glasswork from regional and national artists. 800 Gallery & Rotary Ice House Gallery at Monmouth University in West Long Branch features exhibits, student art, and seminars.
The Cape May Artists Cooperative Gallery features an eclectic array of paintings, photography, jewelry, glass, and woodcarvings. The Noyes Museum of Art at Stockton University specializes in American fine art and folk art. Stop by the Glasstown Arts District in Millville to view the works of local artists. Browse the shops, see a live theater production, and grab a bite at quaint eateries. Artifacts Gallery in Trenton specializes in historical memorabilia and collectibles. It’s a great place to purchase antique photo frames, stationery, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.