14 Fun Things to Do in Atlantic City

For decades, Atlantic City, New Jersey, has been one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast. The reason for this is not hard to see–it’s packed with entertainment, live shows, fine dining, and more. We visit at least once a year for a weekend getaway and are constantly on a quest to uncover more fun things to do in Atlantic City. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.

Explore the Boardwalk

Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
The famous boardwalk is a great place to stroll

If there is any place that enjoys an iconic status in this city, it is the boardwalk. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in Atlantic City and has made its way to the bucket list of nearly everyone visiting this shore town.

The four-mile-long stretch of wood that is the Atlantic City boardwalk was initially constructed in 1870. It offers some of the best people watching you could imagine plus open-air shows, shopping, and good restaurants. Visitors can go for a stroll or explore it from the comfort of its popular rolling chair–a large wicker chair drawn along like a rickshaw–or its equally popular electric tram.

Play around at North Beach Mini Golf

Holes of a mini-golf course.
The course at North Beach Mini Golf

A cute, family-friendly mini golf course, North Beach Mini Golf is a fun change of pace from the typical shore activities. The setting is inviting right beside the Absecon Inlet. The course’s 18 holes have unique themes that are the perfect combination of challenging and fun–it’s a great spot to get a little competitive with friends or family.

Service here is super friendly. They offer a concession stand with ice cream and snacks, and North Beach is BYOB. One of the best parts: parking here is free!

Enjoy the beach

Path leading to the beach.
Hitting the beach

The Atlantic City beach is not left out when it comes to family-friendly activities and is one of the better beaches in the area. Not to mention the fact that unlike many of the South Jersey beaches, this one is free to visit.

This 5-mile stretch of public beach with free changing rooms, outdoor showers, and restrooms is a welcoming place to spend a fun-filled day. Visitors can rent beach umbrellas together with some reclining chairs to relax and sunbathe. There are also opportunities for kayaking, body boarding, surfing, and other water sports.

Try the rides at Steel Pier

Ferris wheel and amusement rides.
The rides of Steel Pier

The Steel Pier is New Jersey’s version of New York’s famous Coney Island. Originally built in 1898 and rebuilt in 1993, Steel Pier developed a prestigious reputation as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the United States and a must do in Atlantic City.

This awesome amusement pier extends out over 1,000 feet into the ocean and features rides for all ages. For smaller kids, there are teacups and tiny train rides. For older visitors, there are more daring rides like roller coasters and the swing carousel. The pier also has thrilling, adventurous rides such as the MIX, the Flyer, and the Slingshot.

Those who don’t mind heights visit Steel Pier for The Wheel. The massive 227-foot-high Ferris Wheel provides incredible views of the boardwalk and the city and can accommodate 240 passengers in its temperature-controlled gondolas.

Climb the Absecon Lighthouse

Black and white lighthouse with a 2-story build at its base.
The famous lighthouse

If you love great views, include visiting Absecon Lighthouse on your list of things to do in Atlantic City. The lighthouse, which is located at the north end of town, offers a nice break from the activity of the casinos.

With 228 steps and at 171 feet high, Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the Garden State and the third tallest lighthouse in the United States. Its light guided boats to shore for nearly 80 years until it was retired in 1933, so a visit here is filled with decades of maritime stories.

Climb to the top for outstanding views where you’ll be met by a guide who can answer lots of questions about the lighthouse and its powerful, original 1857 Fresnel lens. Visit the original lighthouse keeper’s quarters and check out the museum where you can find out more about the history of lighthouses and their keepers, shipwrecks, and the seafaring history of the city. There is free parking right out front.

Eat at a classic restaurant

White building with a red roof and green shutters.
The Knife & Fork Inn is one of the city’s best restaurants

Thanks to the casinos and resorts, there are lots of great restaurants in Atlantic City. It can be easy to overlook the city’s classics outside the resorts, many of which have been fine dining establishments for over 100 years.

Chef Vola’s, which is both hard to find and super popular, serves Italian-American classics and has welcomed guests since 1921. The Knife and Fork Inn, which opened as a private club in 1912, offers great steaks and seafood and is famous for its lobster thermidor, which is a head-turner when you see it in the restaurant. We particularly enjoy Dock’s Oyster House, the city’s oldest restaurant that dates from 1897. They have an excellent happy hour and live piano all evening, but it can get busy, so reservations are highly recommended.

Explore the amusements at Lucky Snake Arcade

Three people playing games in an arcade.
A small part of Lucky Snake’s offering

A large entertainment complex at Showboat Hotel, Lucky Snake Arcade & Sports Bar is full of fun things to do. For kids and anyone else who’s looking for something unique, you’re likely to find it here.

Indoor mini-golf, bowling, and bumper cars are just a few of the active pursuits. You can also strap on roller skates for a spin around the rink or check out the popular electric go kart racetrack–it’s lit with cool signs from the former casino floor.

For something a little calmer, all kinds of arcade games are available from whack-a-mole to virtual reality and skeeball. There’s even a whole room dedicated just to pinball. With a bar and concessions stand, there is plenty here to occupy your time.

Take a dip in a hotel pool

Indoor pool surrounded by plants and sun chairs.
Borgata’s pool oasis

Take a break from the casino at one of the resort swimming pools. Many hotels offer outdoor pools in the summer months and heated indoor pools that are open year-round. The Borgata, the Hard Rock, and the Ocean have spa-like experiences while Harrah’s offers more of a party atmosphere.

See a show at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall

Building with row of arched windows on the Boardwalk.
Outside Boardwalk Hall

Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall is a famous venue located smack in the middle of the Boardwalk. Since its opening day in 1929, it has risen to prominence as the most renowned concert and event venue in town. This seaside concert hall has been home to the Miss America pageant since 1940, drawing tens of thousands of spectators to the city.

The famous Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall often has an impressive concert line-up, and you are sure to find something that will catch your fancy. Many celebrity musicians, including Grammy Award winners like The Rolling Stones and Beyoncé have performed at this venue.

Beyond the concerts, Boardwalk Hall is popular for having the largest musical instrument in the world–a pipe organ that has eight chambers, 33,000 pipes, and 1,000 stop keys. There are free half-hour concerts and tours of the pipe organ every Wednesday.

Enjoy a beer garden

Picnic tables and chairs at an outdoor beer garden.
Outdoor seating at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall

When the weather is nice, the local beer gardens are the place to be. Enjoy one of the 40 beers on tap at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall and stay for trivia or try the German inspired menu at the aptly-named Biergarten Atlantic City. The seasonal Borgata Beer Garden is also popular with lawn games, fire pits, and plenty of cold drinks.

Shop at the Tanger Outlets

Brick building with a "Coach" sign beside a blue sign for "Tanger Outlets"
High-end brands at Tanger Outlets

Where is the fun in going on a vacation without doing some shopping? If you are visiting the shore and would love to engage in the obligatory travel shopping, check out the Tanger Outlets.

The Tanger Outlets is an open-air mall with over 100 stores offering a wide range of products to choose from. Most big-name brands such as Hilfiger, H&M, Coach, and Adidas have stores here. Beyond designer outfits and major brands, there are also lots of food options from chocolate and ice cream to delicious pastries and crepes to fuel your shopping spree.

Hit the jackpot at the Borgata Hotel Casino

People playing table games in a casino.
Gaming at Borgata

Even if you are not staying at one of the 2002 rooms of the Borgata, New Jersey’s largest hotel, you can still have fun here.

Located in the heart of the city, the Borgata Hotel Casino provides a range of attractions and activities that help make it the best casino in Atlantic City. The 161,000-square-foot hotel casino has over 200 table games and 4,100 slot machines. This makes it a great place to try out gambling or test your luck at the slot machines.

If gambling is not your thing, you can try out the 11 high-end restaurants at the Borgata, including Old Homestead Steak House and Angeline, an Italian restaurant from James Beard Award winner Michael Symon. Plus, there’s a spa, salon, and event center with live entertainment. We love the comfortable rooms here, so it’s our choice most of the time we’re in town.

Seek out local street art

Mural of jellyfish in parking lot
There are murals galore to explore

Atlantic City alone has over 60 street murals. They begin from the entrance of the city through Absecon Boulevard/Route 30 to the AC exit of Route 40/Route 322/Black Horse Pike. Following the path gives you an excellent opportunity to explore the city from end to end.

Some of the murals feature the graffiti-style lettering popular among avant garde artists looking to make political (but artistic) statement. Others include compositions that are stuck to the wall as part of their unique design. There are also a few mostly made from glass tiles.

See Lucy the Elephant

65-foot-tall gray structure shaped like an elephant.
Lucy is an area favorite

Just five miles away is one of the most popular places to go near Atlantic City—the home of Lucy, the world’s largest elephant. Located in Margate, Lucy was built in 1881 and is considered the oldest surviving tourist attraction in the country. Thousands of visitors come every summer to see inside the 65-foot-high structure and take a photo with Lucy.

Heading to Atlantic City in the winter? Check out our guide to wintertime fun.

What is your favorite activity in Atlantic City? Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

1 thought on “14 Fun Things to Do in Atlantic City”

  1. Fantastic read, Lance! With its miles of gorgeous beaches, opulent coastal casinos, and busy 4-mile-long beachfront, it’s no surprise that tourists return to Atlantic City year after year.

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