Construction of the Cape May, NJ Washington Street Mall

Construction of the Washington Street Mall was completed in June 1971 as part of the City of Cape May’s Urban Renewal Program. City leaders were trying to attract new vacationers to the city, but merchants who owned stores along the affected blocks were not on board at first including former Ugly Mug owner Sam Kahn. He complained the work was “ruining his business,” but at the end of the Mall’s first summer, Sam said “it was the best year he’s ever had.” It was hailed a huge success and, in the years following its construction, the idea was emulated in cities all around the country.

Learn more about the history of the Washington Street Mall and Cape May in The First Resort. Purchase online at or visit their retail store at 110 Sunset Boulevard. Info by Exit Zero. Visit them online @

1960’s Photo by Exit Zero

The picturesque Washington Street Mall, located in Cape May, New Jersey, includes over 75 establishments in the heart of America’s original seaside resort. A variety of unique boutiques, shops, fine dining restaurants, bars, quick eats, activities, and services are located along a three block stretch of Washington Street, which is closed to vehicular traffic, as well as adjoining portions of Ocean Street, Decatur Street, Jackson Street, Perry Street, Carpenters Lane, and Lyle Lane. The Mall serves as Cape May’s town square, and features numerous benches, luscious gardens, shady trees, historical markers, gas lamps, bistro-style string lights, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, and more. Attracting not only visitors to Cape May, the Mall also attracts visitors to other Jersey Shore towns as well those from up and down the East Coast.

1972 Photo by Exit Zero
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