Want To Get Out Of The House? There’s More To Atlantic City Than Just Casinos

Martin Derbyshire Updated on May 28, 2018
Playground Pier

Atlantic City is well known for its casinos. More than a dozen have been built over the years since casino gambling was first made legal there in 1978.

There are currently seven casinos in operation in Atlantic City, the only place casino gambling is actually legal in the state of New Jersey. The casinos include:

  • Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
  • Golden Nugget Atlantic City
  • Resorts Casino Hotel
  • Tropicana Casino and Resort
  • Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino
  • Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
  • Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino

Plus, two more are scheduled to open, or re-open, on June 28, 2018, including:

  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City (formerly Trump Taj Mahal)
  • Ocean Resort Casino (formerly Revel)

This will leave no shortage of places to gamble in the oceanside resort town that was once dubbed America’s Playground.

But the truth is, Atlantic City has always seen itself as more than just a place to place a bet. The city envisions itself as a world-class vacation destination for people from across the country and around the world.

Atlantic City has always made strong investments in infrastructure and supported local business with an aim at turning that vision into reality. This effort has made sure there are plenty of reasons to visit Atlantic City other than casinos. Here are the top four:

The Boardwalk

The casinos built alongside it are definitely a highlight of any visit to the iconic Atlantic City Boardwalk. However, the Boardwalk itself is an experience worth visiting Atlantic City.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk first opened in the summer of 1870. It now runs almost six miles long from Absecon Inlet in the north and into Ventnor City in the south.

In addition to a variety of casino and hotels, the Boardwalk features dozens of retail stores, shopping malls, restaurants, amusements, and several piers running off of it with various attractions of their own.

One can still enjoy saltwater taffy and funnel cakes, or buy various Atlantic City-themed souvenirs on the Boardwalk. Plus, people can catch all the seaside sights and sounds riding down the Boardwalk in a rolling chair or experience a thrill on an amusement park ride, the same way visitors to Atlantic City have for almost 150 years.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk is a kitschy trip down memory lane in the heart of one of America’s greatest oceanside resort cities, making it one of the most popular reasons to visit Atlantic City other than casinos.

The beach

Perhaps the best thing about Atlantic City is that it’s built on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. That means when summer rolls around, it’s time to hit the beach.

The famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and the beach in front of it are just a few steps away from any Boardwalk casino and hotel. Plus, there are dozens of beach destinations up and down the Jersey Shore, from Sandy Hook to Cape May just a few miles from Atlantic City.

A perfect summer’s day spent body surfing waves in the Atlantic, building sand castles on the shore, and soaking up some of the sun’s warm rays will have just about anyone convinced there’s more to Atlantic City than just gambling.

The shopping

From high-end boutiques inside several casinos to shopping malls with everything one could imagine, including one of the biggest outlet malls on the East Coast, Atlantic City truly has something for everyone when it comes to shopping. Atlantic City shopping may be one of the best reasons to visit the area other than gambling.

Most of Atlantic City’s casinos feature luxury shops where you can spend all your winnings and more. However, Tropicana Casino and Resort ups the ante with its The Quarter at Tropicana shopping mall, adjacent to the property.

The Quarter is an old Havana-themed indoor shopping center at the Tropicana with more than 40 stores, restaurants, and nightclubs. It is a mecca for shopping entertainment and nightlife in the area.

In the meantime, Playground Pier has been converted into a luxury four-story shopping mall adjacent to Caesars casino. The mall has an underwater theme and caters more to high-end shoppers on what was once called the Million Dollar Pier.

Finally, there is Tanger Outlets The Walk. This 109-store open-air outlet mall spans more than three city blocks already, and it keeps on growing. Just behind the Boardwalk and the many hotels and casinos that call it home, there’s plenty of deals to be found shopping here.

That’s not all there is when it comes to shopping in AC. However, these three locations alone are enough to make shopping one of the best reasons to visit Atlantic City other than gambling.

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The food

Finally, there are outposts of some of the best fine-dining establishments in the world. Some casino buffets rival those found in Las Vegas. Plus, there are classic cheap eats you’ll only find locally in AC. No matter how you slice it, Atlantic City has become a foodie heaven.

Celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Wolfgang Puck, and a variety of others have opened up restaurants at Atlantic City casinos over the past few years. These moves have only served to grow the city’s reputation for high-end food.

The buffet restaurants at Borgata and Golden Nugget are among those that now offer spreads akin to something most diners would expect to find only in Las Vegas. The upgrades enhance AC’s reputation for all kinds of great food.

However, that reputation has always been built on the back of classic local joints such as White House Subs. This legendary no-frills sandwich shop has been around since 1946 and has long been known for quality-made New Jersey subs at a decent price. The main location on Arctic Avenue has been packing them in for decades. Now, a new shop will open up inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in the summer of 2018.

White House Subs is reason enough to come to Atlantic City to eat. But it’s also the rock-solid foundation of an unrivaled East Coast dining scene — one that has become one of the best reasons to visit Atlantic City other than its casinos.

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