Atlantic City -

One of America's oldest seaside resorts, Atlantic City is most famous these days as a weekend gambler's Mecca. It's the East Coast's answer to Las Vegas, and home to many of the same names: Caesars, Bally's, Sands, the Tropicana. Tourists come by the millions (more than 33 million of them, to be exact) to try their luck at the city's 12 casinos -- 9 of which line the world's first oceanfront boardwalk, opened in 1870. The city itself began life in 1854 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004 with a lot of fanfare.

Despite its historic pedigree, Atlantic City went to seed in the years following World War II, abandoned in the wake of cheap and easy air travel to Florida and the Caribbean. In the 1970s, in a last-ditch effort to reinvigorate this once-proud Victorian vacation resort, the state of New Jersey instituted casino gambling -- and the unconventional urban-renewal plan has been something of a success, though not quite the bonanza that organizers might have hoped for. Still, when you consider that Atlantic City is within easy reach of most of the major Midwest and Mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas, its status as a vacation destination is well-earned.

The city is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar renewal plan that has already resulted in sparkling new convention and visitor centers, new bus and train terminals, a new outlet mall complex, and a generally more cleaned-up appearance. The opening of the Borgata in the Marina District in 2003 added quite a bit of luster to the city's revitalization efforts. And improvements are still being made to the present day.

Get around

If one doesn't want to walk from casino to casino along the 1-mile-long stretch of the Boardwalk where most of the action is, there is always the option to catch a ride in an old-fashioned rolling chair. These shaded surreys are rolled up and down the length of the Boardwalk by experienced guides, who are out soliciting riders day and night. The fee is based on the distance traveled, but expect a minimum fare of $5 plus tip.

One can also travel between the casinos along Pacific Avenue, which runs parallel to the Boardwalk 1 block inland, aboard the Atlantic City Jitney (tel. 609/344-8642), a fleet of minibuses that run 24 hours a day; the fare is $1.50. The baby-blue or green versions run to the Marina section of the city, where the Trump Marina and Harrah's casinos are located.


  Ocean Life Center - Features eight giant aquariums (including a touch tank), shipwreck artifacts, etc. (tel. 609/348-2880
  Absecon Lighthouse - Built in 1857 and is the tallest in New Jersey. 228 steps to the top to will yield a magnificent view of the Jersey shoreline. 31 S. Rhode Island Ave. tel. 609/449-1360
  Lucy the Elephant - A 65-ton building built to look like an elephant. Built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is one of those curious pieces of Americana that one doesn't see too much of anymore. 30-minute tours of its interior are available. 9200 Atlantic Ave. tel. 609/823-6473
  Steel's Fudge - The oldest continuously family owned & operated fudge producer in the world, Steel's has two locations on the famous Atlantic City boardwalk, and makes and sells delicious fudge, taffy, cookies, and candies. 1633 Boardwalk (tel. 888/783-3571
  Atlantic City Historical Museum - Interesting insights into the city's history through various exhibits and artifacts. Look for the larger-than life Mr. Peanut! New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk tel. 609/344-1943


  Mama Mott's Restaurant, 151 South New York Avenue (609) 345-8218. Mama Mott's Restaurant specializes in mouthwatering traditional Italian cuisine, as well as serving an extensive array of American classics.
  Dock's Oyster House 2405 Atlantic Avenue (609) 345-0092. Dock's Oyster House opened in 1897 and continues to offer items from their original menu. Along with the raw bar, they have an extensive selection of sea food. the food and service are both great.
  Tony's Baltimore Grill 2800 Atlantic Ave. (609) 345-5766. Old-style pizza and pasta, reasonable prices, a local favorite. Great stuff.
  White House Subs 2301 Arctic Ave. (609) 345-8599. THE place to get submarine sandwiches ("hoagies" if you're from Philadelphia). Some theorize that it's the great bread, or even the water that's used to make the great bread, but whatever it is, it's great sandwiches. A must-do in AC, check out the celeb pictures on the wall - look for the Beatles pics.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License

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