Planning a trip to New Jersey? No visit is complete without checking out the best things to do in Atlantic City. Named after its perch on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City is the Garden State’s most popular travel destination, famed for its casinos and boardwalk.
This beautiful seaside city is a favorite with both domestic and international travelers who want to savor a little fun in the sun. Many of the top tourist attractions in Atlantic City, like Steel Pier and Absecon Lighthouse, revolve around the city’s Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
Not sure what to do in Atlantic City on your New Jersey itinerary? Don’t worry: We’ve got you covered with this guide to the best places to visit in Atlantic City, NJ.
Best places to visit in Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City Boardwalk
If you’ve seen any image of Atlantic City, chances are it’s the iconic Atlantic City Boardwalk. A staple of the city, the boardwalk is a hub of activity and a great place to start your trip.
Located in the heart of the city center, the five-mile-long Atlantic City Boardwalk stretches down the Atlantic Ocean coastline and is littered with casinos, arcades, amusements, souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants. You could easily spend your entire vacation along the boardwalk; it’s the perfect spot for the whole family.
Try your luck on the slot machines, give the classic saltwater taffy a go, or stock up on souvenirs before you travel home; the Atlantic City Boardwalk has it all!
Looking to get the whole family’s adrenaline pumping with an amusement park that’s suitable for all ages? Grab the gang and head down to Steel Pier for hours of fun and thrills.
You’ll find the 1,000-foot-long Steel Pier amusement park by the Hard Rock hotel. Thanks to its huge size, you can choose from countless fun activities and entertainment options, including carnival games, gigantic rollercoasters, and some more chilled-out rides for younger visitors.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Steel Pier, you can take in the outstanding views for a moment before plummeting down a coaster track, screaming and laughing all the way!
Atlantic City Aquarium
Got a love for all things marine-based, or are you just curious about what goes on under the water? Check out the Atlantic City Aquarium for a truly magical look at life beneath the waves.
With the Atlantic City Aquarium’s beachside location, you can enjoy a plethora of interactive exhibits and enclosures designed to mimic natural environments. You’ll feel like you’re walking across the ocean floor as you witness turtles, stingrays, sharks, octopi, and more!
Traveling with little ones in tow? The Atlantic City Aquarium is free for kiddos three and under, making it an ideal excursion for the whole family.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
Looking to inject some weirdness and quirkiness into your next trip to Atlantic City? Well, then Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
You’ll find yourself simultaneously delighted and moderately grossed out by a dazzling array of oddities and curiosities. From shrunken heads to a roulette table made from jelly beans to the iconic Lazer Maze Challenge, you’re bound to have hours of fun at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
If you’re looking for something completely off-the-wall and different from the usual top Atlantic City points of interest, then Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! fits the bill down to an absolute tee!
Central Pier Arcade
Got a need for some serious speed? Let out your inner NASCAR hero at the Central Pier Arcade, home to the Boardwalk’s go-karting speedway.
At Central Pier Arcade, you can careen down one of the USA’s largest over-and-under racetracks, challenge your friends and siblings, and jostle for victory! If the racetrack isn’t your thing, head indoors to the video game arcade featuring hundreds of classic and modern games.
Go head to head with your friends, or rage against the machine to see who will come out on top. Competitive travelers: Central Pier Arcade is a must-see for your Atlantic City itinerary.
Consider yourself a bit of a history buff or just love all things maritime? Either way, a trip to New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, the Absecon Lighthouse is one of Atlantic City’s must-dos.
Clamber up the 228 stairs to the watch room and take in the expansive views across the Atlantic Ocean. Not adventurous enough? You can stay in the Absecon Lighthouse overnight and see what it took to be a 19th-century lighthouse keeper.
As it’s the third tallest lighthouse in the US, you can see the Absecon Lighthouse from all over the New Jersey beach town, but it’s most impressive when it beams to life each and every night. It’s purely for the visitors as it’s long been decommissioned, but impressive nonetheless!
Lucy the Margate Elephant
Now, we’ve seen some weird and wacky tourist attractions in our time. But Lucy the Margate Elephant is something else entirely that has to be seen to be believed!
Located in neighboring Margate, Lucy the Elephant stretches up a huge six stories; it actually has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places!
Originally created as a gimmick to get people to visit the surrounding area, people have had offices inside Lucy; there’s been a tavern, a restaurant, and more!
Enjoy Lucy the Margate Elephant’s story and heritage yourself by visiting the slightly claustrophobic museum in her leg. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop on your way out.
Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall
Looking to get your fill of arts and culture during your next trip to Atlantic City? Then you’ll want to check out the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
One of Atlantic City’s most famed performing arts venues, Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall is home to the Atlantic City Ballet. Watch in awe as ballerinas twirl and leap across the stage. Not your thing? You can also witness plenty of musical performances, comedic shows, theater productions, and more at the venue.
Interested in gigantic musical instruments? The Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall is home to the biggest pipe organ in the world. It’s a sight to behold and definitely worth adding to your Atlantic City itinerary!
Bringing together both history buffs and nature lovers, Brighton Park is a beautiful reminder of the ultimate sacrifices that countless military veterans have made for the United States over the years.
Just off the Atlantic City Boardwalk, you can sit in quiet contemplation at Brighton Park with only the relaxing sound of the fountain in the background. The plaza is well-maintained and is a quiet place to collect your thoughts, away from the hustle and bustle of the Atlantic City’s iconic boardwalk.
Passing by Brighton Park at night? Stop by and admire the illuminated fountain, shining out and lighting up the rest of the plaza.
Caesars Atlantic City Casino
What’s a visit to Atlantic City without a quick spin at a casino? Caesars Atlantic City Casino is one of the most famous Atlantic City tourist attractions and is well-known across the United States.
Whether you’re staying at the neighboring resort and spa or just popping in to see how lucky you’re feeling, you’ll be greeted by a slice of Ancient Rome right smack in coastal New Jersey at Caesars Atlantic City Casino. With shopping malls, rows of casino games, bars, restaurants, and more, it’s easy to get lost in it all.
Located just five minutes from the Atlantic City Boardwalk, Caesars Atlantic City Casino has prime positioning and absolutely makes the most of it.
Traveling to New Jersey with kiddos in tow? Well, Atlantic City’s casino-style attractions might not be the most appropriate choice. Instead, opt for a visit to Storybook Land.
From rides to amusements to interactive experiences designed to dazzle and enchant family members of all ages, Storybook Land is an ideal choice for a family-friendly day out. Even bigger kids will feel nostalgic over the fairytale stories each attraction is based around.
Traveling around Christmas? Storybook Land really comes into its own with events, festivals, lights, and attractions that’ll provide memories for decades to come. Santa himself might even make a cameo appearance!
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Looking for a luxurious way to stay in Atlantic City? The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has luxury and opulence in spades.
Located on its very own street called Borgata Way, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa lets you spin, play, and relax in ultimate comfort—win or lose. Looking to recoup some of those losses? Well, don’t worry about your bar tab; all drinks on the casino floor are completely free!
Once you’ve finished betting and drinking, head to one of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s many restaurants, including options by Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck. As the Parks and Rec saying goes: treat yo’self!
Atlantic City Parasail
Want to get a completely unique view of Atlantic City? Strap yourself in and give Atlantic City Parasail a visit!
Offering a range of outdoor activities, including watersports on the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City Parasail is a must-visit for any adrenaline junkies or those looking to appreciate nature. Fly high with the birds and check out the beauty of the city below.
It’s worth noting that the tours get booked up quickly, especially in the peak summer season; it’s worth booking your outdoor excursion with Atlantic City Parasail as far in advance as you can!
Find yourself needing some serious retail therapy? Maybe you won big at the casinos and want to treat yourself? Whatever the reason, the Playground Pier is one of the essential places to go in Atlantic City for luxury goods.
Featuring four stories of designer stores and upmarket restaurants along a 900-foot-long pier, Playground Pier is a far cry from your standard shopping mall. To give you an idea of the price tags, brands here Pier include Louis Vuitton and Burberry. (So, maybe window shopping instead?)
Whether you’re looking to splurge or just want to see how the other half live, Playground Pier is a great spot to spend a couple of hours during your next AC vacation—just remember to bring your wallet!
Tropicana Atlantic City
Want to have a first-class casino experience without ever having to leave the Boardwalk? You need to visit Tropicana Atlantic City.
Bursting with Cuban influence and decor, it’s always a party at Tropicana Atlantic City. Away from the slots and the tables, indulge yourself at one of the Tropicana Casino’s 24 restaurants and bars.
With different themes and cuisines, it doesn’t matter what you’re in the mood for; you’ll always find something that takes your fancy here!
Need to be entertained? Choose from the gigantic IMAX screen or head to the Broadway-style theater, filled with top acts who are guaranteed to dazzle and amaze. Check out their calendar of events before you visit to see who is performing, so you can organize your visit!
Atlantic City Beach
What’s a trip to Atlantic City without a day out at the beach? Atlantic City Beach is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. Splash in the ocean, build sandcastles, or just read that book you’ve been carrying around for days.
This beautiful beach has sprawling sand reaching down the coast and lapping against the Atlantic Ocean waves. With plenty of affordable parking around the beach area and the boardwalk mere steps away, you can sit back and relax, knowing that everything you need is in reach.
It’s also reassuring to know that from July 1st until Labor Day, lifeguards are covering the beach at various locations from 10 am until 6 pm. Swim and paddle until your heart’s content!
Looking to enjoy a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of Atlantic City? Well, then Ocean City is just what the doctor ordered.
While there are plenty of amusements and attractions along the 2.5-mile boardwalk, it’s the pristine sands of this barrier island that keeps visitors coming back time and time again.
Unlike the more adult reputation of Atlantic City, Ocean City has the nickname of America’s greatest family resort. So, if you’ve got kiddos in tow, this is the perfect day trip.
Want to learn more about Ocean City while you’re visiting? Hit up the Ocean City Historical Museum and discover all about the history of Ocean City and the local community, and see how far this popular Jersey Shore destination has come!