This month is hectic, with the kids going back to school and all of their extracurricular activities starting up, but that’s only more reason for carving out some time for yourself. We’ve taken the planning off your to-do list by rounding up some of the best things to do sans-kids in NJ this month.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
End summer on a delicious note in Oceanport from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the Boar’s Head BBQ & Craft Beer Festival. Head to Monmouth Park on Labor Day Weekend for craft brews, horse racing and barbecue faves like pulled pork, ribs and brisket. Get your fill at the beer garden before heading home. On Sept. 7, bring your appetite to the NJ Taco Festival. Hit Augusta for an endless supply of tacos, margaritas and music. Stick around for the Reaper Pepper Eating Challenge (there’s a $1,000 prize!), a mixology competition, a Chihuahua Beauty Pageant and luchador wrestling matches. Chocolate, Wine and More, also on Sept. 7, is all about a perfect match. Bring your sweet tooth to iPlay America in Freehold for treats from chocolatiers, bakeries and food markets. Pair it with shopping vendor tables and a glass of vino. On Sept. 21, make the trip to Wildwood for a Fall Fest Food Truck and Music Festival by the shore. Get your fill of food truck fare and live tunes while shopping at vendor booths and playing Knockerball. Also on the 21st, in Mays Landing, you can also flex your foodie knowledge at the 2019 South Jersey Wine & Food Festival. Top winemakers and chefs will be there sharing local bites and NJ vino. There will also be cooking demos, crafters and live music. Still hungry? Chow down at South Toms River Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival on Sept. 28. Sip craft beer and wine, explore vendor goods, play games and see live demos.
Sit Back and Enjoy the Show
See live jazz performances in Flemington, New Brunswick and Somerville from Sept. 13-15 at the Central Jersey Jazz Festival. The lineup includes a jazz quintet, a Dizzy Gillespie afro-latin tribute and tons of talented headliners. If you’re a big fan of Billy Joel or Elton John, snag a seat at Castle Theater’s Piano Men on Sept. 14, a tribute concert to both artists. Not only does vocalist Lee Alverson cover their hits, he also has exact replicas of Elton’s stage costumes! If a laid-back movie night is more your speed, see The Goonies on Sept. 14 at UCPAC. This screening is part of the theater’s Classic Film Series on 35mm.
Mix Up Your Usual Date Night
Go back in time at the Old Barracks Museum’s Tavern Night on Sept. 13 in Trenton. Munch and sip the night away as if you were in an 18th-century tavern, down to the card games, dances and wooden nickels. Don’t miss out on the silent auction. Get to know the libations of Lone Eagle Brewing at Crafts and Drafts on Sept. 15 in Flemington. Sip NJ beer while shopping an autumn craft market featuring 16 artisans, then fill up on food truck fare. Ready for a night of games? Hit Bingo Night on Sept. 20 hosted by the Maplewood theater troupe The Strollers. Try your luck to win a prize. On Sept. 21, hit Fort Lee for a murder mystery meal by The Dinner Detective. Munch on hors d’oeuvres, salad, an entree and dessert while you figure out this scandalous whodunnit. If dancing is your idea of the perfect date night, hit Belleville every week for the rest of the year for Super Swing Tuesdays, where you’ll learn plenty of steps from West Coast Swing.
Break Out Your Lederhosen for Oktoberfest a Little Early
Hit the shore for Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest in Wildwood on Sept. 20-22. Catch a German yodeler and an alphorn player at the ceremonial keg tapping, then hit Wilhelm’s Bier Garten for real-deal food. There’ll also be live music by the beach. Celebrate this German holiday early at The Wurst BeerFest in NJ on Sept. 21 in Blairstown. Try brews from NJ staples like Alementary, Czig Meister and Man Skirt, plus sink your teeth into authentic fare like kielbasa, kraut, bratwurst and more. Play Jenga or cornhole on the lawn before heading home. A week later at Monmouth Park, Oktoberfest at the Track will be underway on Sept. 28. Eat traditional German food, explore the beer selection and show off your muscles at the stein holding competition. Also on the 28th, you can also hang loose at the 7th Annual Original Downtown Somerville Oktoberfest. Local beer will be flowing as local restos show off their best bites. Not a beer drinker? Try the sangria, mead or cider instead. Practice your aim playing giant beer pong, flex your art skills painting at Brews & Brushes and come hungry for the Brat Eating Competition. Click here for more Oktoberfest celebrations in NJ.