40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer

From early-morning yoga to late-night pool parties, with surfing, wine tasting and shopping in between, activities in Atlantic City, NJ, go far beyond gaming.

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  • Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Climb to the top of Absecon Lighthouse.

  • Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Meet Mr. Peanut at the Atlantic City Historical Museum.

     

     

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: See the first two installations in the ARTLANTIC public art project.

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Go bargain hunting at Tanger Outlets–The Walk.

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Take a tour of the 1920s James’ Candy factory.

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Learn how to surf.

     

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Slurp local bivalves at Dock's Oyster House.

  • Photograph: Scott Frances

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Swim high above sea level at the Water Club.

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Meet Lucy the Elephant.

     

  • Photograph: Dale May

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Have a few laughs with Seth Meyers at Borgata.

  • Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Order an enormous sandwich at White House Sub Shop.

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Watch Miss America, Mallory Hagan, pass on the crown.

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Get your thrills at Steel Pier.

     

  • Photograph: courtesy Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Watch sky-high stunts at the Atlantic City Airshow.

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Cheer on triathletes on the Boardwalk.

     

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: See Miss’d America, Sabel Scities.

     

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Catch the dazzling Fourth of July fireworks display.

     

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Ride in a rolling chair on the Boardwalk.

     

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Taste top chefs' creations at the A.C. Food & Wine Festival.

     

  • 40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Get down at Boogie Nights.

     

  • Beach and Steel Pier

    40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Have a beach day.

    Beach and Steel Pier

Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

40 things to do in Atlantic City, NJ, this summer: Climb to the top of Absecon Lighthouse.

11. Ride the waves

California may lay claim to more surfing associations, but Atlantic City’s ties to the sport are strong: When Hawaiian Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku traveled to Pittsburgh in 1912 for the U.S. swim trials, he swung by A.C.’s Steel Pier and kicked off the craze on these shores, says Tom Forkin, former East Coast surfing champion and director of the Atlantic City Surf School (acsurfschool.com). According to Forkin, the fact that A.C. is an island, with wind-blocking rock jetties and piers, makes it a prime spot to catch south swells. Classes (from $60 per person) are held at two spots on the beach, at New Jersey Avenue and Raleigh Avenue. Use of boards and wetsuits is included in the rates, but you can pick up locally designed gear to go along with your new hobby at Forkin’s shop, Inlet Surf in Gardner’s Basin (609-347-7873), including shorts and T-shirts by Jetty and boards by shaper Dan Callahan.

12. Slurp local oysters

Founded in 1897 by Harry “Dock” Dougherty, Dock’s Oyster House is still family-owned and -operated. As the name makes clear, this is the place for oysters, with 10 to 12 varietals featured daily on the chalkboard—look out for local catches like Cape May Salts ($2 each). Other highlights include the restaurant’s trio of chowders (Maine clam, crab and corn, or Manhattan; $8 each), jumbo lump crab au gratin ($28) and gargantuan lobsters that weigh up to six pounds. 2405 Atlantic Ave between N Florida and N Georgia Aves (609-345-0092, docksoysterhouse.com)

13. Stretch yourself with an outdoor yoga class

Whether you want a gentle stretch to start the day or a more vigorous practice to energize you before a night out, head to Bask at Revel. The sprawling health and relaxation complex is powered by Exhale Mind Body Spa, which has 19 locations across the country (plus one in Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean) and is known for its program of yoga and ab-sculpting Core Fusion classes ($20; see exhalespa.com/locations/atlantic-city for schedule). Boost your well-being further in the coed bathhouse, equipped with hydrotherapy pools and a healing salt room.

14. Swim laps high above sea level

Borgata’s chic nongaming hotel annex is aptly named: The Water Club has five pools, including a lush indoor tropical oasis (exclusively for hotel guests) at ground level. Ascend to the 32nd floor for the spa’s 80-foot lap pool, which commands panoramic shoreline views from floor-to-ceiling windows. The exotic treatments take inspiration from around the globe, from ayurvedic experiences to Thai bodywork.

15. Meet Lucy the Elephant

You’ve heard of the elephant in the room, but what about the room in the elephant? Enter the six-story, metal-plated pachyderm through her left hind leg and ascend the spiral staircase to several interior spaces and up to the howdah perched on her back. One of three zoomorphic structures built by James V. Lafferty in the early 1880s (the 122-foot-tall Elephantine Colossus once towered over Coney Island), Lucy has survived hurricanes, served as a tavern and welcomed such illustrious visitors as Woodrow Wilson and the Astors. Josephine Harron Park, 9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate, NJ (609-823-6473, lucytheelephant.org). Through mid-June, Sept, Oct Mon–Fri 11am–4pm; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm. Mid-June–Labor Day Mon–Sat 10am–8pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Tours every half hour. $8, children $4.

16. Join a pool party

Last summer, Revel debuted its glass-walled pleasure dome, HQ Nightclub, offering dancers a sweeping view of the ocean. This season, the megaresort follows up with HQ Beach Club, a “day-into-night” pool lounge with two bars, an elevated dance floor and super-sleek bungalows furnished with cushy white daybeds and HD TVs, cooled by overhead fans. When the sun goes down, the scene heats up at The Pool After Dark, the aquatic party playground at Harrah’s Resort (Wed, Fri, Sat 10pm–4am). The Pool won a slew of superlatives in Atlantic City Weekly’s nightlife awards last year, including Best Club to Fist Pump—which could have something to do with the resident DJ, Jersey Shore alum Pauly D. Up the VIP ante by reserving a poolside table, cabana or private hot tub, with premium bottle service provided by bikini-clad waitresses. If it gets chilly in the evening, Golden Nugget’s H2O Pool and Bar has firepit-side seating and four Jacuzzis, plus three blackjack tables.

17. LOL at Borgata

Each season sees a slew of top-drawer acts, but this summer the laughs won’t stop at the hotel-cum-entertainment-complex. Funny people include 30 Rock alum Tracy Morgan (June 22) SNL head writer and “Weekend Update” anchor Seth Meyers (July 13), NYC club-circuit regular Jim Gaffigan (Aug 24), and stand-up icon Jerry Seinfeld (July 20). theborgata
.com/entertain

18. Spa like an emperor at Caesars

After a night of bacchanalian excess, recover at Qua, a contemporary spin on classic Roman baths at Caesars. Separate stone-walled sanctuaries for men and women are equipped with hot and cold plunge pools, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms; lounge in the light-suffused space before your chosen treatment—the extensive list offers everything from Swedish massage ($140) to the decadent Dieci Mani (Ten Hands), during which you’re tended by four massage therapists and an aesthetician. The three-hour, multistage experience ($5,000) includes a supine body scrub under the jets of a Vichy shower, hot-stone massage, mud wrap and chakra balancing treatment.

19. Dine at top chefs’ destinations

Whether you crave tacos or broiled lobster, A.C.’s casino-hotels round up an incredible variety of restaurants, from casual pit stops to white-tablecloth joints. Tropicana packs in more than 20 on-site eateries, Caesars 15 and Revel 14, while Borgata is hot on their heels with a dozen. Take your pick from several spots helmed by some of the country’s top chefs, including Alain Allegretti’s Côte d’Azur–inspired Azure by Allegretti at Revel, the closest Wolfgang Puck restaurant to NYC at the Borgata and rising regional star Luke Palladino’s eponymous eatery at Harrah’s.

20. Discover Nucky’s old haunts

Though the resort town has had many ups and downs since the 1920s, several Prohibition-era landmarks have survived. Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, the inspiration for Boardwalk Empire’s Nucky Thompson, occupied the entire ninth floor of what was then the swanky Ritz-Carlton Hotel (2700 Boardwalk at S Iowa Ave); it’s now a condo building. Order a classic meal such as lobster Thermidor at the 100-year-old Knife and Fork Inn (3600 Atlantic Ave between Albany and Pacific Aves; 609-344-1133, knifeandforkinn
.com), once a private club that served illegal liquor to local power brokers. The memento-stuffed Irish Pub (164 St. James Place at Boardwalk, 609-344-9063, theirishpub.com), which opened in 1900, also did time as a speakeasy. These days, you can openly order a Guinness 24/7.


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