stretches four miles from end to end and is considered the most developed of all Jersey Shore boardwalks. While the city is renowned for being a gambling playground, conquering A.C. along its wooden deck reveals the classic personality of this historic east coast vacation destination.
Our Atlantic City Boardwalk guide takes on 2.8 miles of the coast and sets you up with the best stops and diversions along the way. If you’re having a case of Monopoly déjà vu, there is good reason for it as the iconic Parker Brothers board game takes its property names from Atlantic City streets and infrastructure. Have a read over our guide — we’ll let you decide if the Boardwalk card is really worth the big bucks!
31 S. RHODE ISLAND AVE.
Towering over the eastern edge of the Atlantic City Boardwalk, the Absecon Lighthouse is New Jersey’s tallest naval watchtower standing at 171 feet. Visitors willing to take on the 228 steps to the top will be greeted by a 360° view of the city — helpful for getting your bearings. Double-check hours ahead of time on the Lighthouse’s website to be sure that you don’t miss out on the view.
Atlantic City Historical Museum
Fans of Boardwalk Empire should not pass up on the Atlantic City Historical Museum on Garden Pier. Start with the museum’s permanent exhibit, “Atlantic City, Playground of the Nation” to get an introduction to the City’s history paired with artifacts from the past. Then move onto “Nucky’s Empire: Atlantic City in the 1920s” which ties together the Prohibition era flash of Boardwalk Empire with the real drama of Nucky Johnson’s hold on the city. Best of all, admission to the Museum is free.
Atlantic City’s Steel Pier screams Boardwalk nostalgia from the top of the Crazy Mouse roller coaster down to the charming Grand Carousel. Old-school New Jersey lives on along the 300-foot pier with classic carnival games and 25 amusement park rides. If you’re feeling adventurous, strap into the Slingshot which will send you flying 225 feet in the air at a rate of more than 100 miles per hour.
trivago hotel pick | Trump Taj Mahal
1000 VIRGINIA AVE.
In all of its kitsch, the Trump Taj Mahal still begs for a visit as a temple of Atlantic City’s vices. Beyond its 2010 rooms, the hotel has as big of an attitude as its namesake founder with a mind-boggling 2517 slot machines, 130 table games, five themed restaurants and the Scores Atlantic City strip club. Even Harper Lee had weighed in calling the casino the ‘worst punishment God can devise’. Be sure to see this Atlantic City boardwalk institution before it’s too late!
What sets A.C. apart from its big sister Las Vegas in a big way is its coastal situation. While Sin City visitors need to seek refuge by air-con, sand and surf have been attracting East Coast crowds to Atlantic City for decades. Pack a beach towel, a football and some snacks for an afternoon of catching rays on the Jersey Shore. Outdoor showers are available by the Lifeguard District Stations as well as by beachfront casino bars.
There’s no leaving the Jersey Shore without sticky fingers and teeth. Score yourself a box of James’ Original Salt Water Taffy, whose wax paper wrappers and soft texture remain unchanged since 1889. Back on Steel Pier, you won’t have trouble following your nose to Charlie’s Funnel Cake. Finally, if the sun is beating down hard on your spirits, Rita’s Italian Ice is a tasty antidote available in flavors like mango, apple and watermelon.
Take your boardwalk noshes over to the front of the Boardwalk Hall and stand in the shadow of its immensity. Come again by night to see the 3D Light & Sounds Show which is projected onto the Boardwalk Hall at half-hour intervals every evening.
1 ATLANTIC OCEAN
Shopaholics beware of looming indulgences at Playground Pier. Extending out from Caesars Atlantic City, shops are skewed towards the high-end while live music is played along T Street and food options really cater to all. Tired shoppers can take a break on the third floor artificial beach seating area opening onto sweeping views of the South Boardwalk.
IMAX Theatre at Tropicana
If you have the kids in tow, the IMAX Theatre at Tropicana is a safe bet for the afternoon. Blockbusters and educational films alike are projected on the giant five and a half story high screen with certain films presented in captivating 3D. Elsewhere in the Tropicana complex, the Family Fun Station has a reliable bunch of arcade games for young and old.
Knife & Fork Inn
3600 ATLANTIC AVENUE
Relive Prohibition over some lobster thermidor and a filet mignon at the Knife & Fork Inn. The restaurant was a regular hangout of Nucky Johnson and its opposition to being a dry establishment garnered the patronage of many of Atlantic City’s elite of the time. These days it welcomes more honest visitors and locals and even plays a cameo in Boardwalk Empire as Babette’s Supper Club! When booking a table, request to be seated on the second floor which once served as the ladies lounge.
Boardwalk Hotel Pick | Wyndham Skyline Tower
100 S NORTH CAROLINA AVE.
Located on the east end of the Boardwalk, the Wyndham Skyline Tower is our top value pick for Atlantic City owing in part to its favorable user ratings from trivago and an affordable price point. As a member of Wyndham’s Extra Holidays collection, guests can expect the comforts of a vacation condo including full kitchens, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and movie theater.
Off-Boardwalk Hotel Pick | Borgata Casino & Spa
1 BORGATA WAY
The four-stared Borgata Casino & Spa brings a taste of Vegas glamour to New Jersey. Being off the Boardwalk translates to grander facilities coming to a sum of 161,000 square feet of gaming space, 2000 guest room and suites, the 54,000 square foot Spa Toccare, five nightlife experiences and its outdoor Festival Park. The Borgata adds 14 restaurants to its pack including three Iron Chef-led eateries: Bobby Flay Steak, Geoffrey Zakarian’s Sunroom and a new restaurant by Michael Symon. A $50 million overhaul in 2016 will debut the new Premier Nightclub and a renovated outdoor pool area à la Sin City with radiating daybeds and cabanas.
Borgata guests should not pass up the hotel’s free beach shuttle which runs every 45 minutes to sandy Brigantine. Once there, complimentary beach towels and tags are provided while umbrellas and beach chairs can be rented for a fee. Trips to and from the Boardwalk are easy on AC’s Jitney service whose 24-hour service links all of the city’s major sites and hotels on a network of bright green minibusses.
The Borgata stands next to The Water Club, its boutique tower, and residences. Exclusivity is the name of the game at The Water Club, with private indoor and outdoor pools for its guests, luxury retail outlets, and their Immersion Spa. In-room, guests are treated to 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and rain dome shower heads. Room service can wheel over truffled fries with romano cheese or a late night Water Club sirloin burger.
Feature photo courtesy of the Playground Atlantic City Facebook page