OK. I admit it. I’m biased. I pretty much grew up in Monmouth County. I’ve seen a lot of different downtowns around the state during many radio station events and appearances. And we do have some beautiful, historic, and quaint downtowns.

But if you want to see a downtown that has everything, the best of New Jersey all crammed into a square mile or so, you’ve got to go to Red Bank.

Red Bank's vibrant downtown is iconic, as anyone who has been there will tell you. The area, which features a wide range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, is historic, yet with a contemporary feel that rivals any Hoboken or Jersey City vibe.

The downtown area is also home to the Basie Center for the Arts, a renowned performing arts center that hosts a variety of concerts, shows, and events throughout the year.

The Basie Center
The Basie Center for the Arts / Facebook

Red Bank is also conveniently located near major highways and public transportation options, making it easy for visitors and residents to get around. The town is situated along the Navesink River, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation such as fishing and boating.

And oh that river view! On a warm summer night, there’s basically nothing as romantic as a walk along the river and during the day it’s an amazing place for a riverfront picnic.

Navesink River via Google Maps
Navesink River via Google Maps

In addition, Red Bank has a rich history, dating back to the colonial era. So, while its restaurants can rival those of many in New York City or Philadelphia, it’s all dressed in a beautiful historic framework with many of its venues containing the original architecture and stunning façades and brickwork and unique architectural details.

The town of Red Bank itself has many historic buildings and landmarks, but the downtown area also has some of the best shops, boutiques and eateries in the state.

Wintertime has downtown Red Bank dressed in all its holiday finery with beautiful lights and banners along Broad Street, the main thoroughfare. And summer, of course, makes it perfect for all the various events and festivals that take place there.

Molly Pitcher Inn via Google Maps
Molly Pitcher Inn via Google Maps

If you crave an overnight stay, the downtown area is the perfect place. Whether it’s the historic Molly Pitcher Inn which has stood flanking the river in all its grandeur for almost 100 years, or the more modern oyster point hotel with its stunning views of the river.
It basically has everything.

You’ll find Red Bank on just about every list of great downtowns in New Jersey. But on mine, it’s number one.

Wouldn't it be nice to have enough money for these towns?

Just saying the names of these towns immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, luxury cars, and ritzy restaurants. Read on to see which town in your home state took the title of the richest location and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows—your hometown might even be on this list.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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