Some people like to go to vacation hot spots around the world, like London, Las Vegas, Tokyo, or Madrid, to tick off bucket-list items. Others who like to explore travel options may gravitate towards more off-beat locations away from major cities, or destinations that have novel attractions. At one-point, Atlantic City, New Jersey, was seen as an up and coming city, the east coast’s Sin City, but it lost much hype this millennium.
In the years since, however, Atlantic City has been building itself back up as a top destination for those seeking great food, exciting nightlife, and even a touch of the supernatural. Helping bolster its general appeal has been a stack of Hollywood movies and series featuring “America’s Playground,” including Ocean’s Eleven, American Hustle, The Godfather Part III, and especially Boardwalk Empire.
With millions being invested in the famous boardwalk and beyond, the city has reportedly seen “modest growth” through 2021, despite global circumstances. It’s rising in popularity once again and is a unique and exciting potential location to base your travel plans around. Before you book anything in, though, here are a few things to know about and do in Atlantic City.
A great place to snap some pics
Atlantic City did earn a reputation for being a bit run down, but it’s certainly bounced back and boasts a huge array of photogenic locations and points of interest. This is important as, for many people, being able to take gorgeous pictures and put them up on your Instagram social feed or any other platform is a key part of the experience and lets you hold on to beloved memories.
For landmarks and historical sites, the first place that many people will go is 9200 Atlantic Avenue to see the great Lucy the Elephant. Not only does Lucy stand six stories tall, but you can climb on her back to take wide-spanning panoramic pictures of the surrounding area. As well as the great elephant, you can keep an eye out for the Neptune Statue, 44th National Encampment, and the possibly haunted Absecon Lighthouse.
Beyond these locations, you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, which hosts over 400 exhibits of interactive oddities and optical illusions. If you go during the winter, you can venture to the Christmas Lights at Sooy Lane, which are very impressive. For the rest of the year, check out the Atlantic City Aquarium, as well as the famous beach and boardwalk.
Experiencing the nightlife that made the city famous
If there’s one aspect that gives Atlantic City its standing as “Mini Vegas,” it’s the myriad of nightclubs and casinos. The nightlife in the area has evolved tremendously in recent years, benefiting from millions in investments and the subsequent waves of tourists coming to have a great time. There’s even an app adventure called All Bets Are Off that will take you on an Atlantic City scavenger hunt.
Of course, gambling has long been one of the main attractions of Atlantic City. Some would ask why go to AC when Vegas offers much of the same, but Atlantic City’s games and the general culture does differ. As a specific example, as is showcased in online blackjack, Atlantic City blackjack differs from Vegas Downtown and Vegas Strip blackjack. In AC blackjack, you can surrender hands, and the dealer is forced to stand on soft 17 – which many players prefer to the higher house edge of LV blackjack games.
Enjoy a superb meal out in AC
You’ll struggle to find a tourist who doesn’t want to enjoy great food on their travels. A lot of what compels people to explore countries like Spain and Thailand is the prospect of trying incredible foods from native chefs. Now, while New Jersey is best known for its hoagies, pork rolls, and saltwater taffy, if you’d like a great meal out, AC has more than enough options for you to explore. Perhaps the most eye-catching is the Gordon Ramsay duo of restaurants.
Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill is the more expensive of the two, found in Caesars, while Gordon Ramsay Steak in Harrah’s is generally a bit more affordable but no less in its world-class quality. As well as the British chef’s venues, you can venture to Angeline, Dock’s Oyster House, Cafe 2825, Izakaya, Pancho’s Taqueria, or Sandpiper to tour the world’s cuisines and love every bite. It also helps that AC is far cheaper than LV when it comes to eating out, despite the presence of internationally renowned names and venues.
On top of these traditional tourist activities, you could go out to explore the haunted regions of New Jersey, explore the folklore, and perhaps even find the Jersey Devil in the Pine Barrens to the north of AC.