Washington Street is Cape May’s Main Street. In 1972, three blocks of the central business district were turned into a pedestrian concourse called The Washington Street Mall. Each block is distinguished by fine stores, restaurants and architectural highlights.
In the 500 block, many a visitor has had his or her picture taken in front of the Cape May Bell – presented to the City of Cape May by the U.S. Maritime Administration in 1974. On the north corner of Washington Street Mall and Ocean Street is Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Constructed in 1911, it was then called St. Mary’s Catholic Church, established in 1848, and is an example of Medieval Norman design. The church has undergone a recent renovation, including the restoration of its magnificent stained glass windows.
On the south corner of the Mall and Ocean Street is a Christmas gift shop, but it was built as the New Jersey Trust and Safe Deposit Company, circa 1895. And be sure to stop by the little booth also at the end of the Mall at Ocean Street which is run by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) to see about Victorian house tours, ghost tours, lighthouse tours or whatever strikes your fancy.
Many of the stores on the Washington Street Mall date back to the 1800s but there are some new architectural additions as well, especially in the 400 block where the City Centre [mini] Mall boasts the only escalator in Cape May County that only goes up. Never fear though, you can ride the elevator down.
The Towne Crier, located dead center in the 400 block, is a recent addition constructed by a joint venture with the City of Cape May and the Cape May Chamber of Commerce. From time to time, events are scheduled in front of the Towne Crier, and other areas on the Mall. Keep an eye on our Events page to find out what’s happening.
The 300 block is called “The Block with the Clock.” The large town clock stands as a sentry to tell us it is time to start shopping. The 300 block ends at Perry Street right across the street from the historic Congress Hall hotel.
The Washington Street Mall is, to date, the most successful outdoor pedestrian Mall in the nation. So, please come visit us or if you are a returning visitor, come see us again for the first time.