12 Best Things to Do in Atlantic City, New Jersey In 2022
Atlantic City, arguably the most famous seaside resort in New Jersey (if not on the US East Coast), was founded in the 1850s and boasted long sandy beaches and a huge variety of entertainment and attractions.
It’s also popularly known as the “Las Vegas of the East,” in large part due to the many magazine theaters located here that show 24-hour shows, as well as events such as boxing matches and beauty pageants. Most restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues are located on the promenade, five and a half miles long by 60 feet wide.
Although Atlantic City started as a sleepy fishing village, it became a premier resort in the late 1800s. It was for decades a popular destination for water sports such as surfing, swimming, and boating.
Since Boardwalk was built in 1870, Atlantic City has become one of America’s premier tourist destinations, with 37 million people spending over $4 billion on its attractions. To know more about one of the best places to visit in the USA For a pleasant seaside vacation, be sure to read this list of the best things to do in Atlantic City.
Where to stay in Atlantic City for sightseeing?
Where to stay in Atlantic City really comes down to personal preference. Some people may prefer to stay close to the ocean for easy access to the boardwalk with its Walk of Fame, the Steel Pier, and of course the beautiful sandy beach. Alternatively, hotels closer to the main marina offer exceptional services and are closer to attractions like the aquarium. Below are some highly-rated hotels in good locations:
Luxury Hotels: The Borgata Hotel is one of the newest hotels in Atlantic City, located near the aquarium. This hotel has modern rooms with upgraded bathrooms, including oversized showers. Nearby, The Water Club by Borgata offers a luxurious accommodation option with luxurious rooms and one of the best spas in town. Caesars Atlantic City, right on the beach, has exceptional rooms with beautiful ocean views, and the boardwalk is right outside the front door.
Mid-Range Hotels: The Resorts Hotel is a good beachfront option in this category. Just a short walk from the Steel Pier and all its attractions, this smaller hotel features comfortable rooms and an indoor and outdoor pool. Recently renovated, The Claridge – A Radisson Hotel is an iconic Atlantic City property that has hosted famous celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra.
The hotel’s restaurant has a 1920s theme. The Wyndham Skyline Tower Club has also recently been updated. The hotel is set back from the beach, but offers spacious one- and two-bedroom suites, some with balconies.
Budget Hotels: In the center of the action, just one block from the beach, is the BEST WESTERN Atlantic City Hotel. Rooms include a free breakfast. The Quality Inn Flamingo is a low-rise hotel and features standard rooms, some with mini-fridges, and also offers a complimentary breakfast.
1. Stroll Along The Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is Atlantic City’s most famous and popular attraction and is packed with fun things to do. Almost everything worth seeing on the city lines, the four-mile-long wooden main span originally built in 1870, most of which survived Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Easily explored on foot, on the iconic electric tram, or in a famous wheelchair (large wicker chairs pushed like a rickshaw), it is a wonderful place to see and be seen while taking in the sea breeze, attending a show, or enjoying a meal or shopping while the kids let off steam in the playrooms.
Among the Boardwalk attractions are the famous Gateway to the Stars, Atlantic City’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Here, you will see the handprints of stars like Johnny Carson, Cher, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Sinatra.
Address: 3109 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
2. Enjoy the attractions at Steel Pier
The Steel Pier in Atlantic City’s answer to Coney Island in New York. Built-in 1898, this wonderful old amusement pier, once one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country, juts out 300 meters into the sea and has found new life after being rebuilt in 1993.
There are a variety of attractions for all ages, including teacups and small trains for children and more adventurous attractions like the swing carousel and roller coasters for older children and adults. The most daring visitors will be thrilled with attractions like Flyer, MIX or Slingshot.
Those who want amazing views of the promenade and Atlantic City will want to ride the latest expansion pack, The Wheel. This impressive Ferris wheel stands at 227 feet and carries 240 passengers in temperature-controlled gondolas, allowing it to operate all year round (weather permitting). Admission to attractions is with a ticket, and there are also many carnival games for the whole family.
A little further along the promenade is another old pier, Ocean One. This historic pier has attracted tourists since 1906, when Captain John Young opened his famous one million dollar pier there. The pier has since been transformed into the exclusive Pier Shops at Caesars. The highlight of the visit is seeing the spectacular musical fountain.
Address: 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
3. See the views from the Absecon lighthouse
Located on the northern tip of Atlantic City, the 228-degree Absecon Lighthouse is notable for still having the original first-class Fresnel lens installed when the structure was built in 1857. At 171 feet, it is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey and the third tallest of its kind in the US
Renovated to commemorate New Jersey’s 300th anniversary, the lighthouse is made of granite, brick, and iron blocks and painted in its original black and yellow color. The climb is worth it for the stunning views over the Atlantic.
Other highlights include the lighthouse keeper’s accommodation and an interesting museum that contains exhibits on the history of lighthouses and their keepers, local maritime history, and wrecks.
For an unforgettable experience, check out the evening events of Keeper Sleeper attractions, including the night lighthouse upgrade.
Address: 31 South Rhode Island Ave, Atlantic City, New Jersey
4. Visit Ocean City
Just 18 miles south of Atlantic City, Ocean City is a hugely popular destination with kids. This seaside destination not only offers some of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast but has been completely alcohol-free since the clergy founded it in 1879.
Like its older cousin in the North, Ocean City also has an excellent promenade that stretches two and a half miles with an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants in a charming downtown area. Attractions include several theme parks as well as theaters and the Ocean City Historical Museum.
Here you will find many interesting exhibits illustrating the beginnings of the city’s history through period furniture, artifacts, and vintage clothing, as well as exhibits of old photographs and postcards.
Other things to do in Ocean City are cycling the city’s many bike trails or playing golf on the city’s 12-hole course. Popular water sports include fishing, boating, and water sports rental, ranging from kayaking to kite surfing.
Address: 1735 Simpson Ave, Ocean City, Maryland
5. Lucy the Margate Elephant
Few seaside attractions are as iconic as Lucy, a 65-foot, six-story tall wooden and tin elephant built in the small seaside town of Margate in 1881 to attract potential buyers to the area’s summer homes. Since then, Lucy has been a tavern, a summer house, and an observation deck.
After being rescued from near disappearance in the 1960s, today Lucy takes pride in Josephine Harron Park and has been listed on the National Park’s Register of Historic Monuments.
The highlight of a visit to the oldest surviving novel architecture in the US includes climbing the spiral staircase to the ‘howdah,’ the little cabin-like structure at its back, with its wonderful panoramic views. Fun guided tours are offered.
Are you traveling with children? Try to schedule your visit for July 20, when Lucy’s birthday is celebrated with a free party that children are encouraged to attend.
Address: 9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, New Jersey
6. Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall
If you plan to stay in Atlantic City, be sure to check out the concert schedule at the famous Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Opened in 1929, it remains the most popular concert and event venue in the city and is particularly renowned for being the home of the Miss America finals.
This historical place is also where you will find the largest musical instrument in the world, a pipe organ with 33,000 pipes, eight chambers, and 1,000 stop keys. (The organ is currently the subject of a major restoration project expected to be completed in 2023).
Address: 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
7. Atlantic City Aquarium
The Atlantic City Aquarium has many fun hands-on and interactive exhibits that showcase marine life from around the world. Highlights include marine life off the New Jersey shore, including sea bass, sand tiger sharks and northern stingrays, coral reef creatures, and predators.
Kids love the tanks with a touch of tropical sharks and stingrays, as well as the many species of reptiles and amphibians on display. Twice a day, an exotic animal show features some of the aquarium’s most interesting residents and provides insight into their eating habits, habitats, and more.
Address: 800 North New Hampshire Ave, Atlantic City, New Jersey
8. Atlantic City Historical Museum
Housed in the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, the Atlantic City Historical Museum tells the story of the city’s transformation from a small fishing village into one of America’s busiest tourist destinations.
Exhibits include artifacts, costumes, photographs, sheet music, postcards, and various memorabilia related to Miss America. There are also archive photos of Thomas Edison on the beach, fascinating images from the Miss America pageant, and the famous Steel Pier sweater.
Also interesting is the city’s Atlantic experience, a series of science and scientific articles, with a fourth Atlantic side, displayed in the city’s free Public Library (only from Wednesday too).
Address: 600-698 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
9. War Monuments
Perhaps surprisingly, Atlantic City is home to two excellent war memorials for a city with a reputation for fun. The oldest is the World War I Monument, built-in 1922 and dedicated to those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. It has an imposing dome that houses a nine-foot bronze statue, Freedom in Danger.
Another noteworthy monument is the Korean War Veterans Memorial in New Jersey. Created as a reminder of those who died in the name of democracy in the fighting in the Korean Peninsula from 1950 to 1953, providing a better future for South Koreans, it is an enduring tribute to those who died in the conflict.
Address: O’Donnell Parkway, S. Albany and Ventnor Avenues, Atlantic City, New Jersey
10. Museum of African American Heritage of Southern New Jersey
The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey offers an important and fascinating look at the struggle of African Americans through the ages. Highlights include interesting exhibits and over 11,000 historical and cultural artifacts.
The museum also houses a collection of Atlantic County soldiers’ memorabilia, from World War I to current conflicts. Permanent exhibitions look at how stereotypes in the media and marketing have had a lasting negative impact on African Americans, furniture and household items from early African American life, and the history of African-American artists who played the roles seen in Atlantic City’s heyday.
Address: 661 Jackson Road, Newtonville, New Jersey
11. Historic Gardner Basin
Historic Gardner’s Basin is a coastal town and waterfront park with many interesting features that make it a worthwhile destination for travelers. Highlights include the original marine exhibits, such as the Steel Pier diving bell that was once used to lower visitors to the seabed.
Gardner’s Basin is also a popular spot from which to embark on a dolphin-watching or fishing cruise or to explore while browsing the unique shops of Crafters Village. It also offers oceanfront dining with beautiful views of the Atlantic, and it’s where the Atlantic City Aquarium is located.
Address: 800 North New Hampshire Ave, Atlantic City, New Jersey
12. Atlantic City Art Center
The Atlantic City Art Center, once the only gallery in the country built on the city’s waterfront, has also moved to the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Despite being moved, the gallery is a popular attraction and famous for its art exhibits by national and regional artists.
A respite from the commercialism and excess of the city, the museum offers ever-changing exhibits that include photography, sculpture, and painting, among others.
The Arts Center also hosts concerts, gallery talks, artist shows, and literary readings throughout the year, so be sure to check in advance to see what’s going on.
Address: 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Atlantic City
Is it worth going to Atlantic City?
Is Atlantic City worth a visit? I would say it is totally worth it from a historic point of view. You are going to see the second largest gamb ling mecca in the United States. That to me is pretty well worth a day out of your schedule, and there is so much to see in AC besides you won’t have enough time.
Is the Atlantic City boardwalk safe at night?
Stay on the boardwalk Though the city is generally safe during the day, you shouldn’t wander too far off the beaten path, especially after dark. Avoid walking behind the casinos and on the beach at night.
Is Atlantic City beach clean?
The beaches are as clean as the people that use them. On any given day at the end of the day you may see some trash left behind by people too lazy to walk several feet to a trash can. Like others stated, every morning the city is out there cleaning the beaches.
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