The famous diving horse and flagpole sitters are gone, but the beautiful sand, water and Atlantic City Boardwalk remain rejuvenated. New casinos, world-class shopping, ever-expanding dining options, and round-the-clock activity prompted Atlantic City now define Atlantic City. Forget the news reports you might have seen in 2012 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Contrary to what many of those reports implied, the casino portion of the Boardwalk survived the storm intact and in fine shape. The same is true of Bluegreen at Atlantic Palace. And the city is moving forward at full speed with efforts to transform the Boardwalk from casinos and kitsch into an environment that offers something for every kind of visitor. Longtime family businesses now mix with ultramodern high rises and pricey upscale boutiques and exotic restaurants mingle with bargain outlets and all-American cooking.
The Boardwalk received a face-lift as storefronts along four blocks are renovated to the tune of $100 million, with decorative touches like brick and stucco facades, cupolas and new rooftop signs. A $24 million Shore Protection Project includes sand replenishment every three years for the next 50 years, ensuring that Atlantic City beach goers will enjoy a beach that is always at least 200 feet wide.
See the Sights of Atlantic City
When you’re weary of sun and surf and especially if you have kids with you, you may want to visit some of Atlantic City’s other daytime entertainment attractions. Climb the 228 steps to the top of the historic Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, to enjoy the sights!
In Margate City, once known as South Atlantic City, you’ll climb a little more. This time your destination is the “howdah” (carriage seat) on the back of Lucy the Elephant, a six-story structure that indeed strikingly resembles an elephant. Though Lucy was built in 1881, she was built to last. She, too, remains intact after Sandy.
The $4 million, three-story Atlantic City Aquarium — Ocean Life Center features both mid-Atlantic and more exotic fish in 11 tanks. Look for “Nemo” in the tropical tank. You can see moray eels, venomous fish and live jellyfish; watch shows where a diver handfeeds the sharks, rays and more; and “pet” starfish, crabs, sharks and other sea life in the Touch Tank. The Atlantic City area is also host to numerous natural attractions including coastal salt marshes and wildlife refuges.
In May 2013, a stunning, $35 million Margaritaville complex opened within the Boardwalk’s oldest gaming establishment, Resorts Casino Hotel and has drawn big crowds. Beyond the giant blender that greets you at the entryway, you’ll find a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant, a LandShark Bar & Grill and the Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar as well as a casino, shopping and more.
Other Foodie Favorites and Just Good Eats in Atlantic City
Here again the city’s contrasts are in play—trendy, eclectic establishments rising alongside home-style, mom-and-pop locales and classic Boardwalk cuisine. Visitors and locals alike recommend the “incredibly wonderful” White House Sub Shop. There’s likely to be a line, but it’s worth the wait. If you’re looking for more “Old World” AC, try Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern in the Ducktown section of the city—an Atlantic City tradition since 1935, run by three generations of the Mancuso family.
For world-class snacking, AC’s Boardwalk was birthplace of salt water taffy. The story goes that in 1880, Mr. Bradley, a young candy merchant, had a taffy stand on the Boardwalk. One night the little stand was swamped by an evening storm. Bradley sarcastically told a customer that he was now selling “salt water taffy” and, well, the name stuck. One of the most famous originals is Jame’s Candy and Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy, still manufactured in Atlantic City, a family-owned and operated Boardwalk business since the 1920s. The Boardwalk Peanut Shoppe, another Atlantic City icon, has four locations on the Boardwalk. Visitors also go home raving about (and devouring) Steel’s Fudge, the oldest continuously family-owned and operated fudge company in the world.
Retail Therapy in Atlantic City
High end and high value share space for those out to shop. Atlantic City is home to the Atlantic City Outlets—The Walk featuring 100 outlet stores, including Adidas®, Nike®, Banana Republic, H & M, Calvin Klein and more. This year there are nearly 40 new stores at The Walk. But the real buzz is in the new, very upscale shopping. The Quarter at Tropicana Casino and Resort brings the charm and sophistication of Old Havana to Atlantic City and features amix of well-known retailers and unusual shops. Pier Shops at Caesars, which juts out over the Atlantic Ocean, raises the bar on shopping with retailers not seen before in AC, like A/X Armani Exchange, Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, and Tiffany & Co.
Nightlife of Atlantic City
With casinos, headliner entertainment, revue shows, nightclubs, lounges and bars, and comedy clubs, Atlantic City nightlife is as easy to come by as sun and sand. Everything from rock concerts to boxing to the circus is available at venues like Historic Boardwalk Hall, which underwent a $90 million renovation to make it Atlantic City’s premier event arena, hosting acts from The Rolling Stones to the stars of American Idol.
Of course gaming is what AC is known for worldwide. Atlantic City casinos offer slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, keno, race books and specialty table games with nonstop action along the Boardwalk and in the Marina District. With poker being America’s new favorite game, Atlantic City casinos offer dedicated poker tables, daily and weekend games and tournaments, and free poker instruction. The Trump Taj Mahal Poker Parlor, home of the ESPN United States Poker Championships for 10 years, is the largest poker room in the city and has an exclusive high-limit section.
No, it’s not your parents’ Atlantic City. In 1978, when the Resorts Casino Hotel opened its doors as the first casino there, Atlantic City entertainment changed forever. The city attracted just over 7 million visitors that year, but the number now is closer to 35 million, including movie, music and sports celebrities. Folks who return to AC with fond memories of their childhood summer vacations will be in for a pleasant surprise. Some of the old landmarks are gone, but new ones have risen in their place as Atlantic City continues to reinvent itself. Visit now and make some great new memories!
The part of the Atlantic City rebirth vacationers are most excited about is Bluegreen at Atlantic Palace, right on the historic Boardwalk. Each suite is a comfortable home-away-from-home, complete with a cozy kitchen and whirlpool tub. Studio suites feature an open floor plan with queen or double beds. One-bedroom suites feature a private bedroom and living room, while the two-bedroom suites also include a dining area. The outdoor pool is seasonal, but the toasty indoor hot tub is perfect all year. Look for the Atlantic Palace tower high above the Boardwalk and come experience the renaissance of Monopoly®’s own home town.