The “Monopoly City,” which is better known as Atlantic City, is located in Atlantic County, New Jersey. This seaside vacation destination is known as the gaming capital of the East coast. This miniature version of Las Vegas is famous for its beaches, casinos, boardwalks and lavish hotels. It welcomes almost a million tourists annually and it can be fun for all ages. Starting from the bay area to the boardwalk, to various amusement parks for kids and adults, to casinos and luxurious hotel, Atlantic City is just an amazing place for a family holiday or a romantic getaway. The city is always charged up with excitement due to mouth-watering cuisine, elite shopping, extravagant spas, stunning casinos and so much more. Those looking for a great overview of Atlantic City will want to check out my podcast interview with the author of “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.” Atlantic City is just a 1 hour drive to Philadelphia (60 miles), a 2½ hour drive to NYC (125 miles) and a 3½ hour drive to Washington DC (188 miles).
Top 10 Attractions
1. Boardwalk – Have fun exploring the world’s first ever boardwalk, where you can walk from from casino to casino and enjoy the ocean breeze. The festive atmosphere gets quite a bit rowdier at night (anyone ever heard of The Jersey Shore TV show?) so you may want to keep the kiddos in the hotel. There is a wide variety of shopping options but most are full of a lot of cheap, touristy junk. Enjoy rides on Steel Pier, including a hand-made carousel, and redemption arcades to cash in on all the fun. Here you’ll also find the Atlantic City Historical Museum and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. Also: since the early 1800’s, rolling chairs have been in effect; they are pushed by friendly guides ranging from a short walk to entire boardwalk. You can pay up to $5 plus the tip for one ride. Additionally, keep in mind that it’s better to park your vehicle somewhere other than the casinos, because the parking is so high. In case you’re wondering, the popular MTV show Jersey Shore (that ended in December 2012) was mostly shot in the nearby town called Seaside Heights, NJ. It’s about a 1 hour and 10 minute drive (60 miles) from Atlantic City.
2. Hit The Beach – Atlantic City’s beaches are wide, clean, and free. Lifeguards are even stationed at more than fifty points along the Atlantic City beach for your safety, which is really a nice feature that is hard to come by these days. You and your kids can enjoy the white sand fresh blue water of the ocean in the presence of well- trained life guards. You can enjoy swimming, sun bathing, fishing, surfing, kayaking, and even horseback riding on the beach! Several of the casinos have beach bars where you can catch some rays while sipping a pina colada and enjoying live entertainment.
3. Atlantic City Aquarium – Bring the entire family to this 25,000-gallon aquarium, which includes eight tanks and numerous interactive, hands-on exhibits that allow you to touch horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, stingrays, and sharks. The aquarium also offers a fun and educational look into more than 100 varieties of fish and marine animals, with exhibits including the popular “Fish of the New Jersey Coast.” The admission fee is quite reasonable when compared to other aquariums, at $8 for adults and $5 for kids.
4. Caesars Antlantic City – While it may not be quite as elaborate as it’s sister over in Las Vegas, but this Roman Empire is a gamers paradise. The multi-level casino features plenty of slots and table games, Keno, Poker, Simulcasting rooms an Asian gaming area called Palace East. It’s located near the center of the Boardwalk in a prime location. The founder of Caesers Atlantic City feels that a person staying at Caesars must feel like an emperor and this is reflected in their spectacular services, fine dining, and tranquilizing spas.
5. Storybookland – Bring the children to this twenty-acre “theme park” to walk through classic children’s literature. Timeless stories and nursery rhymes are brought to life through more than 50 attractions and family rides. Admission is $23.50 for adults and children.
6. Tropicana Resort and Casino – Play the slots here at this highly themed hotel, which boasts over 124,000 square feet of casino space. The classic table games are a feature and offer limits for the traditional player.
7. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum – Check out rare and peculiar exhibits from Robert Ripley’s travels. Mr. Ripley was a world famous explorer, reporter, collector, illustrator, cartoonist, adventurer, and seeker of the strange and uncommon things; his life can only be summed up by the statement he made himself; “Believe It or Not!” This extensive auditorium has among its eccentric assets, a 27-room miniature wood carved castle, a lock of George Washington’s hair and so many more wacky exhibits. Admission is $15.99 for adults and $9.99 for children.
8. Bluemercury Spa At Tropicana – Go for a tranquil visit to one of the best spas in Atlantic City at Bluemercury at the Tropicana Casino and Resort. They offer the largest variety of highly coveted cosmetic, innovative, and unique skin care products around. Bluemercury is widely known as America’s fastest growing spa retail chain and beauty products. They provide proficient advice, matchless technical product knowledge, and a welcoming service. This spa is a home to the final results-oriented treatments, including the world famous microdermabrasion, oxygen facials, waxing and glycolic peels.
9. Absecon Lighthouse is New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse and the country’s third tallest lighthouse at 171-feet-tall. Step back into time as you walk the 228 steps of the Absecon Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the US. You can view the magnificent scenes of the Atlantic City skyline from atop this landmark. It costs $7 for adults and $4 for children to climb the lighthouse.
10. Lucy The Elephant is dubbed as “the world’s greatest elephant.” It is located in nearby Margate, NJ. This ninety-ton National Historic Landmark, elephant shaped building is part museum, part architectural curiosity, and all fun! It was built in the early 1880’s in hopes of attracting buyers to real estate mogul James Lafferty’s beach property. Woodrow Wilson and Henry Ford have visited here. Tour the interior and enjoy the view from atop her back. Disrepair forced her into retirement during the early 1960s, but she’s back on the job thanks to ongoing renovations that began during the 1970s. What’s not to love about sixty-five feet of wooden pachyderm? There are no admission prices to visit the grounds here, but it costs $8 to take a guided tour and it costs $4 for children.
Wolfgang Puck American Grille – Located within the Borgata hotel and featuring contemporary American cuisine, this is Puck’s first east coast venture. It features Wolfgang’s Kitchen Table,” where you can watch the celebrity chef’s crew as they brew up a masterpiece.
Steel’s Fudge – While on the Atlantic City boardwalk, be sure to visit Steel’s Fudge, the oldest continuously owned and operated fudge company in the world. And for your taffy fix, hit James’ and Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy.
Tony Boloney’s is Atlantic City’s only genuine and native pizzeria. It boasts a variety of creative pizzas, salads and subs. This inlet has been a popular eat-out place for both residents and visitors. This inlet is located in one of the historic oldest buildings in town.
Mia – If you are looking for some contemporary Italian/Mediterranean cuisine, Mia will offer grand dining, perfect service, a thrilling nightly setting and a completely amazing experience for your culinary experience.
Breakfast in the Sky – As featured on the Food Network’s “World’s Weirdest Restaurants” TV show, this restaurant is located about 55 minutes outside of Atlantic city (at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, NJ), but every bit worth the drive. What makes it so unique is the fact that you get to have breakfast on this giant ferris wheel, with panoramic views of the Jersey Shore. Up to four guests are allowed in each car and space is limited so I recommend making reservations ahead of time. It is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from the last week of July through all of August. It costs $85 for two guests, $125 for three guests and $165 for four guests.
Getting to Atlantic City has become much easier with the presence of Atlantic City International Airport. It’s about two and a half hours from New York City and only an hour from Philadelphia, which makes it the a great tourist destination. The train service is provided by NJ Transit which operates via the train station next to the Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and Atlantic City Convention Center.
The Borgata is a $1.1 billion resort featuring over 2,000 rooms – making it the largest hotel in New Jersey. You can check out one of Atlantic City’s hottest nightclubs, the Mixx, which has a 161,000-square-foot casino floor, including 4,100 slot machines and 200 table games. Do take a visit to Spa Toccare to get relaxed and rejuvenated, they provide facials, body massages and so much more. This resort includes six levels of luxury lodging with two 5,000-squar-foot residences. Chic amenities include floor-to-ceiling windows, Egyptian cotton sheets and bath sheets, ultra-comfy customized Sealy Plush mattresses, over-sized glass-enclosed showers, huge bathrooms with granite countertops with therapeutic showerheads and body sprays and marble walls and floors. Hotel’s thirteen destination dining brings a world of flavorful foodie experiences to Atlantic City.
Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel gives you panoramic ocean views and outstanding sights of scenic sunsets. It offers over 2,000 deluxe hotel rooms and extravagant suites, which exemplify the real meaning of “true luxury.” Trump Taj Mahal has been voted Best Hotel by readers of Casino Player Magazine. Of course you have to hang around to see how this place further pumps up the heat at night, with the hottest nightlife in town. They have everything from lazy lounges to cool dance clubs to exhilarating concerts by today’s hottest celebrities. The Taj gives you boundless ways to let loose, chill out and make memories that are sure to last a lifetime.