Welcome to Atlantic City! Yes, that’s right, Atlantic City—famous for its beaches, boardwalk, casinos and Monopoly. This little seaside town with the storied past is a great spot for a summer getaway. Decades ago the collapse of the city’s pre-casino heyday sucked the very life out of “The World’s Favorite Playground,” but like the Phoenix, Atlantic City rose from its own ashes reinventing itself into the gambling mecca of the northeast. But there’s a lot more to Atlantic City than casinos. Here are some of the fun things you can do without dropping a single dime into a slot machine:
1. The Boardwalk
This granddaddy of wooden promenades dating back to 1870 is the perfect place for strolling, sightseeing and bicycling. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and wide sandy beaches on one side and an endless array of shops, restaurants and casino hotels on the other, the boardwalk makes for a very pedestrian-friendly experience—even providing easy access to off-boardwalk attractions such as the Tanger Outlet Mall which is a quick two-block walk away via Michigan or Arkansas Avenues. Be sure to take a moment to honor fallen soldiers at the New Jersey Korean War Memorial located at Park Place and the Boardwalk adjacent to Bally’s Casino.
2. The Beach
No summertime visit to the Jersey Shore would be complete without setting foot on this famous stretch of sand, which (in contrast to most other New Jersey beaches) is free! And water safety is a top priority here, so when you’re ready to take a dip, it will be under the vigilant gaze of the Atlantic City Beach Patrol, the oldest organized professional beach patrol in the world, dating all the way back to 1892. You’ll be happy to know also that the New Jersey Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program checks and reports on beach water quality daily. Click here for daily results.
3. Atlantic City Art Center and Atlantic City Historical Museum
Though currently undergoing major renovations as a result of storm damage from Hurricane Sandy last year, the art center and museum are situated on the 100-year-old Garden Pier across the boardwalk from the new 47-story Revel Casino Hotel. Works of art including sculptures, paintings and photography by artists from around the nation are on display all year. The art center staff may be reached at (609) 347-5837 for updates on the reopening.
4. Boardwalk Beat 3D Light Show
The latest installment of the popular light show will have you grooving to the beats of 1920′s Rag Time, 1930′s Cotton Club, 1940’s Broadway, 1960’s Surf Music, 1970’s Disco, 1980’s Pop, and 1990’s Hard Rock. The year-round show is presented every half hour each evening at Kennedy Plaza in front of historic Boardwalk Hall.
5. Movies Under the Stars
Drive-in movie theaters may have gone the way of the dodo, but in Atlantic City, you can still catch movies like The Hobbit and Shrek the Third on the big screen in the great outdoors. And best of all, it’s free!
6. Wind Farm Tours
Check out the green side of Atlantic City with a free one hour tour of the 380-foot wind turbines that make up the largest hybrid wind and solar-powered water treatment facility in the world.
7. Water Show at the Pier Shops
The Fountains of Bellagio it’s not, but the lights, music and dancing water of the largest indoor water fountain in the world is certain to delight. Afterwards, venture out onto the outdoor overwater decks of the pier to take in the shoreline and cityscape.
8. Thunder over the Boardwalk
For 11 summers in a row, the aerial tours-de-force of the pilot performers in the second largest beachfront air show in the nation have dropped the jaws of more than 400,000 spectators.
9. Free Concert Series
While there’s certainly no shortage of live entertainment at the casinos, it doesn’t come cheap. With the Free Concert Series, you can enjoy these great live performances without ever opening your wallet:
- Bartram Beach Block Concerts
- Atlantic City Library International Nights
- Jazz on the Beach
- Atlantic City Library Concerts at Historic Gardner’s Basin
10. Ballet on the Boardwalk
The Atlantic City Ballet treats you to the beauty and elegance of this centuries-old dance form with three free performances this fall at Kennedy Plaza in front of Boardwalk Hall.
This is a guest post by Deidre from Dania Beach, FL
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