In its infancy, Atlantic City was settled on Absecon Island by clam diggers and oyster harvesters. By the 1800s, it grew into a robust seaside health resort served by two railroad lines, becoming the home of the Miss America Pageant and the model city for the board game, Monopoly. Today, it is a gleaming gambling mecca with glamorous high-rise hotels and casinos, and an enviable calendar of shows, concerts and events. Atlantic City, New Jersey, has grown and matured into a desirable international travel destination worthy of your attention.
Atlantic City’s most famous feature, the boardwalk, is still standing and awaiting your visit. You can enjoy strolling the historic walk, all the while taking in the sea air and buying traditional souvenirs, saltwater taffy and fudge. On that same stroll, you can drop into exclusive spots like the Pier Shops at Caesar’s for some rather upscale trinkets from shops like Tiffany, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. You can also stop into one of a dozen large casinos for gaming, dining and entertainment on a scale once reserved for glamorous cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.
The approval of gambling in the 1970s served to draw investments that now allow you to enjoy the amenities of gaming resorts like Bally’s, Harrah’s, Caesar’s Palace, Resorts International and Trump Plaza, tucked up against the boardwalk and shoreline. Atlantic City has transformed its early success into a modern empire capable of entertaining visitors from all over the world. A host of film festivals, food and wine events, tournaments, races and concerts fill the schedule of the city’s venues, making this a hot spot.
In addition to the boardwalk, Atlantic City’s beaches are its next biggest attraction. With long, undisturbed expanses of sand and inviting surf, the city’s free beaches draw crowds all summer. Surfing, fishing, boogie boarding, body surfing, kayaking, beach volleyball and cycling are all common activities for beachgoers, along with grilling on the beach, or enjoying a nibble and sip at one of the beach clubs or beach bars.
Steel Pier’s reputation for thrilling rides, carnival games and interesting acts continues to charm kids of all ages. With a fistful of extreme rides and many others dedicated to even the littlest riders, there are choices appropriate for a wide range of ages and adventure levels. The Steel Pier Pub and the Ocean Reef Bar & Grill both serve family-friendly pub meals. For a little something extra, helicopters are waiting to take you on an aerial cruise up and down the Jersey coast.
With over a hundred lodging choices, there are accommodations from “fits the budget” to “break the bank” status. Many of the casinos are affiliated with in-house hotels that are loaded with amenities, often including beach access, important for watching the Sand Sculpting World Cup, the fabulous Fourth of July fireworks display set off from two ocean barges over the water, and everyday fun along the waterfront. Most choices also have indoor pools, gyms and movie options as backups in case of inclement weather.
Dining is as dramatic as the casinos and waterfront, with an abundance of nationally recognized brand fast-foods and short-order sit-down spots, but a few real gems should add sparkle to your culinary experience here. One of the city’s oldest and most revered dining establishments has been around since 1912, when it was an exclusive men’s club dedicated to cocktailing and gambling, with generous pours. The Knife & Fork Inn weathered Prohibition, emerging on the other side as a continual favorite for many reasons, the Ladies’ Dining Lounge and the third floor wine room among them. Buddakan, Stephen Starr’s delightful sister restaurant to his New York and Philadelphia digs, is decked out in all its Asian glory, feeling more like a movie set than a dining room. The menu remains the star, however, with creative Asian fusion dishes created from a stylish repertoire.
Conferences and events expand the opportunities to enjoy this seaside resort, ranging from the annual airshow and LPGA Classic Golf Tournament, to the Food and Wine Fest, the Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Series, the Grape Stomping Festival and Chefs at the Shore.
Whether you’ve come to swim, gamble, dine, ride or simply enjoy the entertainment, Atlantic City continues to be a destination of choice for its alluring features, two of which have been at the forefront since the city’s first steps: the boardwalk and the beach. The rest is just the icing on the cake, so come celebrate, Atlantic City style, where both your tuxedo and your swimsuit are welcome every day.
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