Atlantic City has remained a popular tourist destination for decades, and with countless new attractions and things to see, it’s likely to stay popular for decades to come. The resort city makes for a great vacation spot because it has a bit of everything: beaches, casinos, outlet malls, and state-of-the-art restaurants.
But even if you don’t want to gamble you will have no trouble finding places in Atlantic City to visit. Since it was established in 1854, the city is full of history and interesting sights.
Here are 11 things to do Atlantic City besides gamble:
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- 1. Atlantic City Boardwalk
- 2. The Quarter at Tropicana
- 3. Absecon Lighthouse
- 4. Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
- 5. Tanger Outlets – The Walk
- 6. Caesars Atlantic City Casino
- 7. Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- 8. The Steel Pier
- 9. Lucy the Margate Elephant
- 10. Boardwalk Hall
- 11. Beach Bars
- 12. Scavenger Hunt
- Where to Stay
1. Atlantic City Boardwalk
Few tourists visit Atlantic City without taking a walk down the iconic Boardwalk. The four-mile long Boardwalk is lined with bars, restaurants, shops, and nostalgic carnival-style games. The Boardwalk connects many of the big Atlantic City hotels and casinos, making it convenient and easy to get from place to place. Bikes and roller blades are both allowed on the Boardwalk, that is if you prefer not to walk the four-mile stretch. The boardwalk is a family-friendly place and has something for all ages including restaurants, miniature golf in the dark, and an escape room.
You can also hire a rolling chair to take you down the Boardwalk. Atlantic City Rolling chairs date back to the summer of 1887. While originally only used by the handicapped, they have become part of the scene. Rides on a rolling chair start at $5 for 0-5 blocks for 2 people. You can take a one hour tour in a rolling chair for around $40.
2. The Quarter at Tropicana
Some of the best Atlantic City shops and restaurants can be found in the Quarter. The Quarter is a lively, Old-Havana themed shopping mall that is located in the Tropicana Casino Resort. It has more than 40 stores, eleven nightclubs, and even a spa, for when your feet get sore from a day filled with shopping. The fine-dining restaurants at The Quarter include Carmine’s, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, and The Palm. With its unique Latin vibe and many entertainment options, The Quarter is a popular destination for many Atlantic City tourists.
3. Absecon Lighthouse
Reminiscent of coastal Maine, The Absecon lighthouse was built in 1857 and is New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, standing 171 feet tall. After the completion of its restoration in 1999, the Absecon became open to the public. Visitors can climb the lighthouse’s 228 steps and enjoy the stunning panoramic view from the top. The Lighthouse is located just a few blocks from the Boardwalk and operates daily July and August, and five days a week during the rest of the year. Entrance to the lighthouse museum is free, however, if you’d like to climb to the top, you’ll have to pay a small fee.
4. Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
With 2002 rooms, the Borgata is the largest hotel in New Jersey. The Tuscany-style casino hotel features a 161,000-square-foot with over 4,100 slot machines and 200 table games. Located in the heart of Atlantic City, the Borgata Hotel Casino has 11 high-end restaurants and multiple dining and culinary events.
But, if gambling is not your deal, you can wind down and relax in the 54,000-square-foot spa featuring a full-service hair salon and a barbershop for men. If you like high-quality live entertainment, you can enjoy one of the many shows at the Borgata Event Center.
5. Tanger Outlets – The Walk
Another great spot for shopping in Atlantic City is the Tanger Outlets. With 109 stores, there are many options to choose from at this open-air outlet mall. You can find several big-name stores here such as Nike, Hilfiger, and H&M. There’s a lot more than just clothes at The Walk, you’re also able to enjoy some delicious crepes, chocolate, and ice cream. The enormous selection of stores at The Walk will keep shopaholics busy for the entire day!
6. Caesars Atlantic City Casino
It’s no surprise that the Caesars Atlantic City Casino is a must-see considering it’s one of the world’s most recognized casino brands. This Roman Empire and Greek-themed casino is one of the largest in Atlantic City and has been renovated and expanded several times within the last decade.
But you can skip the gaming tables and find the dining tables. Notable dining options at Caesars include the Gordan Ramsay Pub & Grill, KWI Restaurant and Noodle Bar, and Nero’s Italian Steakhouse. Due to its prime location, the Caesars Atlantic City Casino is commonly called the “Hub” of the boardwalk.
7. Ripley’s Believe It or Not
There’s no better place for family fun than the Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The wacky museum has some bizarre items on display, such as shrunken human heads and rare animal skeletons. Both adults and kids will stay entertained with over 400 unique exhibits. The museum is located right on the Boardwalk, just steps away from the beach and some of the major casinos.
8. The Steel Pier
The Steel Pier is a 1,000-foot-long amusement park that is connected to the Boardwalk. You’ll find rides suitable for both little kids and for thrill-seekers. With a full-service pub and bar, there are plenty of options for food and drink. Be sure to test your skills playing some of the old-fashioned games at the midway arcade. If you want the best view of the coastline and skyline, you can embark on a helicopter right from the Steel Pier.
9. Lucy the Margate Elephant
Many people don’t know that the oldest roadside tourist attraction in America is in Atlantic City, Lucy the Margate Elephant. The elephant statue is six stories tall and was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty. The full history of Lucy the Margate Elephant can be found here. You can find the elephant right along the beach in Josephine Herron Park, next to the picturesque Lucy’s Beach Grill. There’s no charge to view the elephant or visit the gift shop, but if you wish to go inside the elephant, you must purchase tickets for a guided tour.
10. Boardwalk Hall
One of the most iconic convention centers in the United States is Boardwalk Hall, home of the Miss America Pageant. Boardwalk Hall hosts concerts, sporting events, and more. An interesting fact about Boardwalk Hall is that it inside you’ll find the largest musical instrument in the world, a pipe organ that has over 33,000 pipes and eight chambers. Every Monday there is a free half-hour concert and tour of the organ.
Atlantic City is truly an iconic destination, full of history and countless things to see and explore. Whether you want to spend the day at a luxurious spa, gamble, or play carnival games, it all can be done in Atlantic City. The vibrant atmosphere of Atlantic City will certainly keep you coming back.
11. Beach Bars
In recent years the casinos have started adding beach bars in the summer. The beach bars allow you to get out of the artificial light of the casinos into the sunlight. They are generally open from noon until late at night.
Beach bars are available at:
- 2641 Boardwalk
- Bally’s Atlantic City
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
- Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Resorts Atlantic City
12. Scavenger Hunt
If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive activity for competitive people Operation City Quest runs a scavenger hunt for almost 120 different objects to find in the Atlantic City Area. The scavenger hunt takes about 2 hours and costs $10 per participant. You will need a smartphone to participate as clues and help will be given through an app.
Where to Stay
There a many different properties in Atlantic City at different price points. Here are some well-regarded hotels:
|Lago-mar Luxury Modern Waterfront Home
|1.3 miles from beach
|Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
|Chelsea Pub and Inn
|850 feet from beach
|Ocean Casino Resort
|Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
|1.5 miles from beach
|Caesars Atlantic City Casino
There are other great cities on the Southern Jersey shore including ones that are more family-friendly or more romantic. Check out our guide to Southern Jersey Shore towns and cities.
To learn a little more about the state of New Jersey, you can listen to Lisa Lubin from LLworldtour talk about her home state.