Just as I did last year, here’s my annual end-of-year rundown of what you can expect in Ocean City this coming year. We’ll start with some of the major business developments that 2018 saw, then move on to all the new hotels, restaurants, programs, and big event dates you can expect to find in 2019. Here’s to a great new year!
The Hyatt Place on the Boardwalk at 16th Street opened in late September, and a Home2 Suites by Hilton just opened on 67th Street bayside. A Residence Inn by Marriott opened by the Route 90 bridge in the spring, and a Fairfield Inn & Suites opened its doors on 25th Street. A DoubleTree Hilton replaced the Quality Inn on 33rd Street, adding a Marlin Moon to OC’s restaurant lineup along with it.
Mad Fish Bar & Grill in West Ocean City held its grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony in June, and Tailchasers on 122nd Street also opened at the beginning of the summer, adjacent to a brand new Starbucks on 123rd. A new craft brewery called Ironweed Ale Werks opened its doors this summer and replaced OC Brewing Company on 55th Street bayside. Albertino’s Brick Oven Eatery on 131st Street is also new this year, and Victoria’s Seafood & Crabs opened a second location on 15th Street. A new Denny’s replaced JR’s Ribs on 61st Street. Phillips Seafood in North Ocean City became a Mexican restaurant, Bayside Cantina, which promptly closed after its first season in business. The building is now vacant.
If you took a walk through Ripley’s Believe It or Not this year, you may have noticed that they’ve undergone extensive renovations and have introduced new exhibits this year, too. Jolly Roger also saw some changes this year, including a refurbished, revamped ferris wheel. Another recreational business of a completely different kind, Ocean City’s second medical marijuana facility Hi-Tide opened in March.
We’ve also covered all the new businesses and shopping plazas that opened in West Ocean City this year, including a second location for Tequila Mockingbird and an additional location for Park Place Jewelers.
The Aloft Hotel in the 45th Street Village is slated to open this March (and so far it’s looking pretty cool, with a sizable common area that’s not seen in many Ocean City hotels). The Sea Bay Hotel on 60th Street bayside will be doing a top-to-bottom renovation in 2019, and the old site of Planet Maze (RIP) is to be replaced by a Hilton TRU. A Hampton Inn will be opening in West Ocean City.
A Cambria Suites just off the Route 50 bridge on 1st Street and the Bay is expected to remain under construction through 2019 and open in the spring of 2020. The Cambria is expected to have a noticable impact on Ocean City’s downtown and result in a significiant increase in tax base for Ocean City and Worcester County.
This year, a second Shotti’s Point restaurant is slated to open on the Boardwalk between 6th and 7th Streets. Additionally, The Treehouse Bar and Pub will be opening on the north side of Fat Daddy’s on S. Baltimore Avenue between Dorchester and Talbot Streets.
The new Bad Monkey in West Ocean City is still under construction and will be opening in 2019. The Big Easy on 60 was recently sold, but there’s no word yet on who will fill its place. Applebee’s in West Ocean City has also permanently closed. The Fun Cycles scooter store on 26th Street will soon become a restaurant called Omega Eats.
A shopping plaza will soon be under construction in the Hooper’s overflow parking lot in West Ocean City. It will be used for retail space, and there’s currently a permit in place for a Starbucks in the new shopping center. A new Candy Kitchen will also be opening in West Ocean City this year, as well as a Flagship Premium Cinemas movie theater in the White Marlin Mall, coming spring 2019.
New developments and programs downtown
The site of the now-demolished Taylor House on the corner of S. Baltimore Avenue and Talbot Street will become home to a new mixed-use building designed with the same Queen Anne-style Victorian architectural qualities of the Taylor House. The building will include a first-floor commercial space under two floors of seasonal housing. This project will likely start after the summer of 2019.
The Town of Ocean City will be installing permanent safety barriers on the Boardwalk and at the Inlet. The Town will also begin construction this year on a new tram facility at St. Louis Avenue and 2nd Street.
The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) will be expanding its alley light-up program along Washington Lane, adjacent to the Boardwalk, providing financial incentive for business owners to increase lighting levels by installing LED lights.
OCDC will continue assisting business and property owners in renovating their older buildings downtown. Facade Program funds will be available for exterior improvements, Green Building Program funds for increasing energy efficiency, and Business Assistance Program funds for fixed interior improvements. Contact OCDC for more information.
Big event dates in 2019
Mark your calendars and start planning your vacation to coincide with these landmark events happening in 2019.
April – 28-May 11: Spring Restaurant and Hotel Week
July – 4: 4th of July Concert and Fireworks
October – 10-13: Endless Summer Cruisin’
November – 21-Dec. 31: Winterfest of Lights 2019
December – 7: OC Christmas Parade
This 2019 preview was organized with the help of OCDC, the Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association, and Worcester County Economic Development.