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Atlantic City is a destination that has become a little overlooked and underrated. It has of course had its fair share of economic issues over the years. Among the reasons for this is the fact that it has long been living in the shadow of New York City (see our Pulse Tourism travel tips). And some think of Atlantic City as the little brother to Las Vegas.

But despite these associations, the city has been totally renovated and revived. Today, Atlantic City stands up as its own top destination, away from unfair comparisons to Vegas, the Big Apple, and the like thereof. The seaside resort city in southeastern New Jersey is lined with glitzy skyscrapers overlooking a sandy strand. Its entertainment district is packed with fun activities, with legal casino gambling and boardwalk activities among the main draws. Utter luxury and electrifying nightclubs fill the city. You’re spoilt for choice, which is exactly how the city wants you to feel. But what are the big things you can’t leave without doing?

Explore the Boardwalk

The boardwalk at Atlantic City lays its claim to being the first boardwalk in the US, according to MonopolyCity.com. We’re not sure if that’s something you can actually prove – (how do you define a boardwalk, exactly?) – but this attraction certainly has a rich history. Hotels, resorts, shops and dazzling restaurants line the sides of the boardwalk, overlooking the picturesque sandy beaches.


Play Poker at a Table

Visiting the famous poker tables of Atlantic City is fast becoming something of a rite of passage. There’s nothing quite like sitting in these adrenaline-fueled chambers, laying your cards on the table and your money on the line. You can choose from all manner of poker rooms, from the 40 tables at Harrah’s Resort & Casino to the 85 tables at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Of course, to play with the big hitters in this city, where casino gambling is legal, you’ll want to prepare. As Poker.org’s beginner guide to poker conveys, how successful you become at poker really depends on how much you practise. But the game “mechanics” are simple enough to pick up before you visit a real casino.


Bring Your Family to the Amusement Parks

The Steel Pier is a historic quay that stretches out into the ocean. And lining its surface are some of the best rides for miles around. Bring your whole family to experience the abundance of rides atop the pier. From the Air Show and the Dodgem bumper cars to the Flying Ace and the Joy Ride, your loved ones will be entertained all day. And then, there is the array of shops and restaurants here to keep the whole family happy. The Guardian reminds us in these photos that this was the spot where Susan Sarandon and Burt Lancaster had lunch in the city’s 1980s classic movie.


Try Your Luck in the Casinos

We may have already touched on poker, but Atlantic City is known for all sorts of gambling games. The Atlantic City Casino Games at the Resorts Casino Hotel has more than 1,500 slot machines and table games. Harrah’s has even more, with 2,036 machines, while the Hard Rock trumps even that, with 2,167 slot machines. You can wander through these machine paradises for hours on end, without encountering the same game twice.

Relax on the Beach

Being on the coast, Atlantic City is lined with beaches. So, the day after an evening of thrilling entertainment in the casinos, restaurants and amusement parks of this eclectic destination, it’s time to take it easy on the sand. Go surfing, kayaking and fishing at one of these scenic stretches. Among the best are the Brigantine Beach, the Margate Beach and the Stone Harbor.