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Atlantic City
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The best things to do in Atlantic City

There are plenty of things to do in Atlantic City, whether you‘re looking for a wild time or a relaxing beach vacation

Written by
Erica Lamberg
Contributor
Alyssa Ammirato
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Atlantic City is the East Coast version of Las Vegas. Like Sin City, there are stunning casino resorts, world-class restaurants, and luxurious spas but Atlantic City comes with even more bonuses: namely, the ocean, the beach and a legendary boardwalk.

The 24-hour excitement of Atlantic City is there for the taking but there are also more laid-back and family-friendly activities on our list of the best things to do in Atlantic City, like enjoying salt water taffy or catching a show.

Atlantic City has something for everyone. Throw in a convenient airport and we might have just pushed this New Jersey beach town to the top of your vacation list. 

RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Atlantic City 

Best things to do in Atlantic City

With its Havana nights-inspired theme, Tropicana is a dining and entertainment venue with global cuisine options. The Quarter guarantees a romantic, tropical evening, complete with a perpetual blue-sky view, a running fountain and cobblestone streets. Shop, drink, dance and delight in everything from a sports bar to the drunken slushie shop. There's even an IMAX movie theater to catch your favorite flick.

All along the East Coast are marvelous beach spots, but Atlantic City's is a highlight thanks to its fab nineteenth century boardwalk. A stroll along this family-friendly thoroughfare with shopping saves you from sand in your shoes. You also get a front row seat to the ocean.

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The beach
Photograph: Meet AC

3. The beach

New Jersey, lovingly knows as The Garden State, boasts hundreds of miles of coastline, and Atlantic City is no exception. The beaches are family-friendly, free to enjoy, and you can build sand castles, enjoy a picnic lunch, and take in water fun like surfing and kayaking. The Boardwalk also offers souvenir shops, arcades and dining spots.

This billion-dollar sprawling resort debuted in 2003 for vacationers, shoppers and gamblers alike. An anchor of the Atlantic City Marina District, the Borgata brings its A-game for those seeking a truly immersive experience. Floor-to-ceiling windows adorn every one of the hotel’s guest rooms and the casino offers enough machines and table games to keep every high-roller or penny-bettor happy.

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Now owned by a different family, but still going by the Fralinger name, this sweet spot on the boardwalk has been here since 1885. It's no surprise why once you taste the two-inch candies. There are a number of flavors, from the bold (pumpkin and egg nog) to old favorites (candy apple and chocolate). If taffy's not your thing, then you'll also find fudge, macaroons, candied pecans and some other nostalgic treats in store.

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Built in 1857, Abescon Lighthouse remains the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey (and third tallest in the country). Just a hop and skip away from the Boardwalk, it's a scenic attraction to add to any boozy trip itinerary. Climb 228 steps to get incredible town and ocean views, or you can admire the structure with your feet planted on the ground.

Take your slot machine winnings to the Tanger Outlets and stock up on basics, or maybe buy yourself a little something special. Standouts include Nike Factory Store and Adidas, and luxury clothing spots such as Coach and Polo Ralph Lauren. Tanger Outlets offer brands without high prices.

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Caesars in an established name in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and the Caesars’ central location on the Boardwalk is hard to beat. The pool experience is situated on the Qua Baths & Spa rooftop. Order cocktails poolside at this Roman oasis and chill in a day bed, lounge chair, or splurge on your own private cabana with stunning beach and ocean views. 

Located in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and accessible from the Boardwalk this dreamy 1,500-square-foot confectionary boasts a floor-to-ceiling candy wall with 500-plus types of confections. Beyond your sugar fix, you can plan a short break in the café for coffees, hot chocolate and frozen hot chocolate, or enjoy a decadent dining experience in the lovely dining room with full bar.

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This collection of oddities and scratch-your-head exhibits are curated for a fun and awe-inspiring experience. You can see two unique attractions, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, a collection of bizarre and extra-strange exhibits from around the globe, and The Vault Laser Maze Challenge, a mysterious room maze featuring laser beams.

An Atlantic City Tiki Boat Experience is available seven days a week in the mornings, afternoon and evenings. The Aloha Tiki Cruises offers a private, two-hour “back bay” party cruise, between Atlantic City and neighboring Brigantine for up to six guests. If interested in longer rentals, just inquire. You can even bring your own refreshments as you enjoy the views and a sea-faring experience from the city’s marina district.

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