Absecon Island was first settled between 1795 and 1800 and began as a quiet fishing village. The settlers finally named the settlement Atlantic City in 1853. Today, it offers long sandy beaches and an immense range of entertainment and amusements such as the boardwalk, casinos, festivals, shows, and myriad of other things to do in Atlantic City. It’s considered as the Gambling Capital of the East Coast, and currently has eight large casinos and several smaller ones. It also has non-casino luxury hotels, elite shopping retailers, and a wide array of incredible food options. It was the inspiration for the original version of Monopoly the board game, and has 37 million people spending upwards of four billion dollars at its attractions. The following list is just a taste of what this urban destination has to offer.
10. Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival
This festival has been a staple of the city’s entertainment scene since it was first created in 1995. Currently, it is among the country’s largest beer festivals. It showcases over 150 different breweries from around the corner and across the country and it’s an opportunity to discover and taste new brews and special “limited release” beers and ales. Along with beer, this festival also features culinary demonstrations from area chefs and live music. In 2016, the festival will be held at the convention center on April 8 and April 9.
9. Storybook Land
If you’re looking for an enjoyable amusement park experience minus crazy thrill rides and super-sized crowds, take a day trip to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. It was establishment in 1955, and for over 60 years, it has been keeping the spirit of childhood alive in an entertaining and educational atmosphere. The timelessness of childhood comes to life as your family literally walks through 20-acres of storybook attractions depicting children’s stories and nursery rhymes in a lovely park setting. The young ones can cool off during the summer months at Storybook Seaport, which features a small spray area. It was created with younger kids in mind; the rides and attractions are all geared towards the under 10 crowd. It’s open from mid-March through December and admission for children and adults is $24.95 plus tax; however, children under two are free.
8. Atlantic City Seafood Festival
The Atlantic City Seafood Festival is a two-day extravaganza of fun, food and entertainment celebrating the ocean’s treasures. It hosts over 50 restaurants and culinary personalities, unique exhibitors, local artists, Paddle boarding, children’s activities including face painting, a visit from the Cape May Zoo, amusements and games for kids off all ages; along with live music, wine seminars and tastings, and much more. Parking is $10 but the festival is free to attend. This annual celebration of ocean eats gives attendees the opportunity to experience this metropolis as a culinary destination.
7. Atlantic City Historical Museum
The town’s history is so fascinating, so lush, and so evocative of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century that the Atlantic City Historical Museum is a must-see for any first-time visitor. The museum’s collection contains books, photographs, postcards, audio, video, digital files and memorabilia. The exhibits include the famous Boardwalk’s beginnings, Mr. Peanut, original sand art, Heinz pickle jars, the Miss America Pageant, archival Thomas Edison beach photographs, and the famous high-diving horse from the Steel Pier. It always has free admission and hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
6. Tropicana Casino
The Ambassador Hotel, designed by Warren & Wetmore was built in 1919 and contained 400 rooms. The hotel eventually closed in the early 1970s but was purchased by Ramada in 1978 who built Tropicana Casino from the old hotel’s framework. Today, it is a luxury hotel, casino, and spa resort with over 3,000 slot machines, 135 table games, many different dining options, nightclubs, and 2,000 rooms. They also feature The Quarter which is a shopping mall located within the complex and IMAX which happens to be the only theater in town. The nightlife includes clubs like Boogie Nights, which is full of polyester and platform shoes, Providence which brings the New York Club Scene to Tropicana, Ri~Ra Irish Pub for nightly entertainment including traditional Irish dancing, clogging, and live music, and much more.
5. Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is a $1.1 billion destination resort located at Renaissance Pointe in the Marina District. It is a perfect choice if you are visiting for the weekend with easy access to nearby casinos and attractions. It offers 2,002 rooms, 161,000 square feet of gaming with 200 gaming tables and 4,100 slot machines, 13 dining options, and 11 retail boutiques. It features The Music Box Theater which has hosted musicians like The Who, Eric Clapton, Pearl Jam, and Carrie Underwood; it is also home to the Borgata Comedy Club. When you’re ready to relax, visit the 5,000 square feet Spa Toccare which is complete with a salon, fitness center, and barbershop. Or find respite from the indoor pool and outdoor gardens.
4. Absecon Lighthouse
Take an amazing journey into time for a more unique and romantic getaway. Visit New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse and climb the 228 steps to see breathtaking skyline views. The Absecon Lighthouse, which is 158 years old, was first lit in 1857 because Dr. Jonathan Pitney, later called the Father of Atlantic City, was concerned about the loss of ships and lives along Absecon Beach, which gave the beach the nickname the Graveyard Inlet. It has had a recent multi-million dollar restoration which includes a stunning replica of the Light keeper’s dwelling, an educational museum, charming gift shop, Fresnel Lens exhibit in the original Oil House and expansive grounds.
3. The Boardwalk
Take a walk along the famous four-mile-long seaside promenade and you’ll be partaking in a tradition that goes back to 1870, when America’s first boardwalk was a mere eight-foot-wide strip that was dismantled at the end of each season. Now, the four-mile great wooden way is the backbone of this seaside resort town, winding past flashy casinos, glitzy hotel towers, cavernous arcade halls, and a neon-lit amusement pier. The boardwalk is one of the most well-known beach attractions within the state and has been rated as the United States best boardwalk according to National Geographic.
2. Steel Pier Amusement Park
The iconic Steel Pier is a 1,000-foot-long amusement park that extends over the commanding ocean. It features more than 25 extreme rides, an amusement arcade filled with fun and challenging games suitable for kids of almost any age. Some rides, such as the Beach Buggies, Grand Carousel and Kiddie Bumper cars are perfect for smaller children, while the more thrilling attractions such as Freedom Flyer, Mix and Monster Plunge and the Drop and Twist Tower is sure to peak your teens interest. For the ultimate ride, you can take helicopter rides up and down the beach for unbeatable shore and skyline views for a reasonable price. It also offers food and drink options that anyone can enjoy; from pizza and ice cream for the kids to Philly Cheesesteaks and alcoholic beverages for adults.
1. Atlantic City Aquarium
One of the best tourist attractions in Atlantic City is the aquarium, which is home to over 100 varieties of fish and marine animals. A few of their most popular exhibits include the Live Diver Feeding Show where you can watch and interact with divers as they hand feed the fish, the Stingray Feeding where you get to help feed the rays, and Ocean Oddities where they showcase the interesting, and unusual, organisms from oceans around the world. They also have a tropical shark touch tank that gives visitors an opportunity to touch several species of sharks and the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Zone which encourages visitors to touch a variety of local organisms such as Horseshoe Crabs and Sea Urchins. Hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm daily and admission is $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $4 for children over age 3.
This city not only has gambling and entertainment, it’s right on the beach at the Jersey Shore; you can go swimming, tanning, fishing, or surfing. Other places to visit in Atlantic City includes Steel’s Fudge, which is the oldest continuously family owned and operated fudge producer in the world, The Pier Shops at Caesars, and Izakaya, a modern Japanese pub. For great temperatures, the best time to travel is March through August. For the best deal, winter months are your best bet. Regardless of when you go, it is the perfect place for family, friends, and loved ones to enjoy their time together.