25 Best Things to Do in Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ
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If you plan to visit the world's playground, this is your time.

Atlantic City, New Jersey's hotspot, is the best place to be from March to May and during the summer, from June to August.

If you're not one of the people who want to spend their weekend at Atlantic City's dazzling casinos, then saddle up because there are many more places for you to check out.

From the world-famous Boardwalk to stunning beaches, this popular tourist destination has so much for visitors to see and experience.

These are the best things to do in Atlantic City, New Jersey:

Take a Stroll on the World-Famous Boardwalk

People walking along Atlantic City Boardwalk
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If you're in Atlantic City, you must not miss out on a trip to the Boardwalk.

It is inexpensive, and you get to enjoy the real essence of America's favorite holiday destination.

Couples can take a leisurely stroll down the Boardwalk, which stretches four miles across the sea.

Night scene at Atlantic City Boardwalk
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The best thing is that you'll feel you are within a Hollywood movie set with all the glamorous casinos, brilliant restaurants, and quaint shops lined up on the roadside.

If you visit during the summer, you might be able to catch the annual Thunder over the Boardwalk air show, which shows off the prowess of the American Airforce.

Until now, it's one of the largest air shows in North America, and many tourists plan their trips to Atlantic City around this event.

Food shops at Atlantic City Boardwalk
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Have Over-the-Ocean, Outdoor Fun at the Steel Pier

Beautiful sunset over Steel Pier, Atlantic City
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If you are on the Boardwalk and craving fun, take a turn to reach the Steel Pier.

Said to be the oldest theme park in Atlantic City, this place promises you a day of fun.

If you are on holiday with your family, be sure to visit this vast amusement park for a variety of rides, games, events, and even a helicopter ride.

A thrilling ride at Steel Pier
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You can also book the Ocean Reef Oasis, which has a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean for special occasions or parties.

The only thing to remember when you're at the Steel Pier is that you're never too old to have fun!

People walking around Steel Pier
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Halt at Fralinger's Original Salt Water Taffy

Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy
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This place is especially for those who have a sweet tooth.

Your Boardwalk stroll will not be complete without a stop at this Atlantic City classic: Franlinger's Original Salt Water Taffy.

The best thing about this confectionary shop is that they have been serving homemade taffy since 1848.

People who are not fans of saltwater taffy, don't worry because you'll also get a variety of fudge, pecans, and macaroons at this famous Boardwalk fixture.

Head to the Absecon Lighthouse

Daytime view of the Absecon Lighthouse
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If you want to get away from the crowd, head towards the centuries-old Absecon Lighthouse.

The structure has been guiding sailors since 1857.

Now, it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Atlantic City.

Night view of the Absecon Lighthouse
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Situated near the Boardwalk, you can easily catch a 360-degree glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean from the top.

Are you interested in history?

There's also a little museum at the entrance.

Aerial view of the Absecon Lighthouse
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Take a Pipe Organ Tour at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall

Exterior of the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall
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Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall is another interesting place to be in Atlantic City.

It is one of the only surviving buildings from the city's heyday.

Now, the Boardwalk Hall hosts a range of entertainment shows, concerts, stand-up comedy shows, and so on.

But the highlight is that this place houses the largest musical instrument in the world, a pipe organ that is more powerful than a dozen orchestras.

If you visit on a Monday, you'll be able to catch a free tour of this pipe organ along with a 30-minute musical concert.

Have Fun at One of Atlantic City's Beaches

The waters of Atlantic City Beach
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If you're not interested in checking out Atlantic City's casinos, then you're likely to prefer heading to the beach.

Atlantic City has some of the best and cleanest beaches, which are free to access, unlike some other New Jersey beaches.

A wooden boat on the sand of Margate Beach
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You can have beach fun at some of the famous downtown beaches, such as Atlantic City Beach, Margate Beach, Longport Dog Beach, and so on.

If you're a surfer, then get your paddleboard out and hit the waves.

You can also level up your surfing skills at the Atlantic City Surf School.

The fine sand of Atlantic City Beach
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Experience Parasailing over Atlantic City

Parasailing over Atlantic City's water
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If you're a fan of watersports, do not miss the fun offered by Atlantic City Parasail.

Get on a boat and experience a once-in-a-lifetime bird's-eye view of the ocean from a parachute.

Challenge the adrenaline junkie in you for just about $75 per person.

If you're engaging in this activity during the summer, ask them if you can stop for a dip in the ocean at the end of the ride.

Go Dolphin-Watching on a Cruise

Dolphins jumping from the water
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If you're looking for more fun activities to do in the city, then it's recommended you hop aboard an Atlantic City Cruise.

The flagship is the Cruisn' 1, which is for sightseeing and other adventures across the Gardner's Basin.

You can also experience dolphin-watching on the cruise.

Atlantic City Cruises prides itself on its opportunities to spot resident bottle-nosed dolphins.

Couples looking for a romantic getaway can also book one of the sunset cruises, which give a fantastic view of the ocean during the golden hour.

If you want to try fishing, you can go for High Roller Fishing or Twrecks Charters.

Both offer wonderful fishing excursions for novices as well as seasoned experts.

These rides are available from May to October.

Check Out Historic Gardner's Basin

The waters of Gardner’s Basin
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More and more tourists are shifting from the city center to enjoy more off-beat attractions like Historic Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City.

This place will be easily accessible if you're taking one of the cruises.

Tourists of all ages can find something to do here.

Exterior of the Atlantic City Aquarium
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The Atlantic City Aquarium, located within Historic Gardner's Basin, is one such place where you can have a great time with your family.

You might be interested to know that it took $4 million to build this magnificent, three-story, interactive aquarium.

The key highlight of the place is the touch tanks where you can "pet" starfish and even sharks.

Grab a Drink at the Oldest Bar in Town

If the list of places seems exhausting, then you can kick back with a drink at The Irish Pub.

However, the history of the place might intrigue you more.

If you want to experience a taste of the old Atlantic City that was featured in the popular HBO series Boardwalk Empire, it's the Irish Pub you're looking for.

Back in the days of Prohibition, this spot was a speakeasy.

If you visit one of the Boardwalk casinos, this pub should be easily accessible to you.

Have a Cultural Experience at the Atlantic City Art Center

If you want a break from the glitz and glam of the casinos or the hustle and bustle of the beaches, you can take a cultural break.

Visit Atlantic City's popular Art Center located at Garden Pier, which has three galleries that showcase exhibits by renowned artists and sculptors.

There's a flurry of year-round exhibitions, which change every month.

Not only that, the entire stretch of Garden Pier has something soothing to offer.

Once you exit the Atlantic City Art Center, there are breathtaking flower gardens and stretches of Spanish Renaissance architecture that set this place apart from the Boardwalk.

Stop by Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium

Exterior of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium
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If you're traveling with children, be sure to stop by the extraordinary Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium to check out a variety of odd exhibits.

The museum is a few yards from the Boardwalk, and the tickets range from $18.99 for adults to $12.99 for children.

Side view of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium's exterior
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Have fun looking at shrunken heads or the statue of Hulk made with car parts.

You can also try your luck in the Laser Maze Challenge offered by the Odditorium.

Sample the Best of Atlantic City's Local Cuisine

Restaurant in Atlantic City
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If you're visiting Atlantic City, don't forget to visit one of the most intriguing restaurants, Chef Vola's, which still maintains an air of secrecy.

The establishment was once a speakeasy during the Prohibition era and is now one of the most popular destinations in the city.

Be sure to get your reservation at least a month in advance, or you might end up disappointed.

During your stay there, you can also check out Bobby Flay Steak or restaurants at Caesar's Resort, namely KWI Restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, or Nero's Italian Steakhouse.

Want a break from fine dining?

You can devour a variety of seafood available at the little shacks by the seafront.

Remember to order lots of clams, lobster, and oysters.

Treat Yourself to a Pamper Day at the Spa

Your vacation at Atlantic City will not be complete without a therapeutic time at the spa.

It's the best way to let off steam and relax.

Borgata's Immersion Spa offers some of the best spa treatments in the city.

Treat yourself to a nice day here or at the spa at Caesars Atlantic City.

The starting cost of these full-body treatments is $25 per half-hour, but you can also go for cheaper $20 alternatives for some relaxation.

Have Disco-Style Fun at Boogie Nights

If you want to check out Atlantic City's nightlife, then stop by Boogie Nights for some disco fun.

Located inside one of the popular hotels in town, Tropicana Atlantic City, this place draws you because of its '70s- to '80s-style oldie disco decor.

If you visit on a Thursday, you can wear your '90s-style ripped jeans as it takes you to that era.

Other than that, you can also head to HQ2 Nightclub or The Pool After Dark for a memorable night out in Atlantic City.

Try Out Your Luck at One of the City's Casinos

View of Atlantic City from Above
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When in Atlantic City, you have to step foot in one of the casinos, even if it's just to experience the glitz.

There is a line of casinos along the Boardwalk, and almost all the popular resorts in the city have their own casinos.

Interior of Tropicana Casino
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Some of the best casinos are the ones at the Borgata, Tropicana Atlantic City, Bally's Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, Caesars Palace Atlantic City, and so on.

If you're a beginner, try your luck at the Roulette, Wheel of Fortune, or Blackjack, and remember to keep your bets low.

Exterior of Caesars Palace
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Take a Step Back in History at the Civil Rights Garden

The Civil Rights Garden is one of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring places in the city, and for a good reason.

Located at the back of the Boardwalk at Pacific Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the place commemorates the bloody marches made against slavery.

The garden was designed by Larry Kirkland and features a brick path that passes through a gorgeous garden filled with seasonal plants and flowers.

But the garden's main attraction is the 11 black African granite columns that feature inscribed quotes from notable Americans describing the struggle of African-Americans.

Enjoy a Memorable Cruise with Aloha Tiki Cruises

Explore the water with the amazing Aloha Tiki Cruises and have the time of your life.

Boarding happens at the E Deck of the Golden Nugget.

Once you're on the boat, you'll get the chance to traverse the bay and have a few drinks while you're at it.

You'll feel like you're at a genuine Tiki Party, except it's in the middle of Atlantic City—and what's not to love about that?

The cruises happen every day from morning to evening, so pay them a visit when it's convenient for you.

Unleash Your Inner Child at Central Pier Arcade

Are you ready for some old-fashioned gaming with your family and friends?

Before video games became a thing, arcades were the most popular form of entertainment.

Central Pier Arcade is here to give you all the fun you want from that old-fashioned pastime.

The space overflows with different arcade machines, so choose what piques your interest the most and start from there.

Try out their Connect 4 game and beat out your friends and family in this game of intelligence and strategy.

There are also go-kart rides nearby, so do give those a try while you're there as well.

Learn about the City's Story at the Atlantic City Historical Museum

The Atlantic City Historical Museum can be found at Boardwalk Hall, and it's a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

It's the place to go to if you want to learn more about the story of the area and the different significant events that occurred there over the past 150 years.

There are many different artifacts that could be of interest to visitors, including photographs taken by Al Gold, the city's official photographer from 1939 to 1964.

The museum also houses numerous Miss America dresses and posters from the city's golden age.

Stop by the Atlantic City Visitor Information Center

The Atlantic City Visitor Information Center should be your first stop when entering the area.

You shouldn't hesitate to stop by if you need their assistance, as they have trained specialists who can help you with whatever you need.

You can ask them what destinations would be best to visit while you're there, and they will direct you to any specialized facilities you may require.

There's also a souvenir shop you can visit, so make sure to grab a few things there to commemorate your trip and have something fun and tangible to bring home.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Run to a Secluded Coastal Strip on Brigantine Beach

Sunset over Brigantine Beach
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If you want to visit a quiet shore tucked away from the crowded beaches at the city center, then take a 12-minute ride up to Brigantine Beach.

A boat on the sand of Brigantine Beach
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The lush white sand and the wide coastal strip that is both clean and quiet is the best place to be if you're looking for some mental peace.

However, first-time tourists must keep in mind that you'll require beach tags to access this lovely beach.

Scenic view of Brigantine Beach
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Go Hiking at the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Signage of Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
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If you want to get away from the cityscape, go for a hiking expedition at the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Atlantic City.

Ducks on the waters of Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
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The place is a haven for migratory birds and other ecologically preserved wildlife.

If you're traveling by car, you can enjoy an eight-mile-long wildlife drive that will be both calming and exciting at the same time.

The waters of Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
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Take a Side Trip to Cape May

A boat on the shore of Cape May
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Take a side trip to Cape May to relax and have beach fun simultaneously.

This place is 45 miles south of Atlantic City.

Beachfront buildings of Cape May
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It comprises family-friendly beaches and is popular for its cozy bed and breakfasts that have rocking chairs facing the ocean.

If you want to shake off your summertime sadness and just laze around, this is the place to be.

Shopping area at downtown Cape May
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Final Thoughts

As a coastal city, Atlantic City will never not be a good destination for the eager traveler.

There are a lot of areas to explore and so much history to learn, making it impossible for you to get bored or uninterested while you're here.

Start planning your trip today and get to know the city.