Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore’s gambling Mecca, is chock-a-block with casinos, but there is plenty to do for non-gamblers as well. Next time you’re in the Boardwalk Empire, check out these hidden gems.
1) The Irish Pub – The walls of this cozy pub are jammed with boxing posters from the days of Jack Dempsey, and just about any other Irish memorabilia including JFK for President posters. Joe DiMaggio’s favourite AC haunt has an expansive menu of pub grub including St. James Potatoes (an Irish version of poutine), Jersey crab cakes and liverwurst and onion sandwiches. Plus there are reasonable rooms to let for people who don’t mind being just up the street from the boardwalk. St. James Place. www.theirishpub.com
2) Dante Hall Theater For The Arts – where locals go for concerts and local dramatic productions. 12 N. Mississippi Ave. 609 347-2162
3) White House Sub Shop – Best two-foot-long sandwiches on the Shore. Fillings range from white tuna to meatballs and sauce and the fresh loaves come from nearby bakery Formica Bros. Try the White House Special, a belly-filling winner of Genoa salami, ham, capicola and provolone cheese. 2301 Arctic Ave.
4) Formica Bros. Bakery – A Ducktown staple since 1919, Formica Bros. uses grandfather Francesco’s methods to create some of the best bread in the city. The bakery café serves coffee, biscotti and slices of grandmother Rosa’s famous Italian Tomato pie. 2310 Arctic Ave.
5) James Factory Tour – See how salt water taffy is made at this AC candy institution on the boardwalk, founded in 1880. Admission is $4.50, tours are on the hour from 10 am-3 pm, Mon.-Fri, June-August.
6) Waterfront Sculpture Walk – Need a break from chiming slots? Behind Harrah’s and linked to Borgata and the Golden Nugget resorts is a landscaped mile of three-dimensional art that looks out over Atlantic City’s back bay. Dancing dragonflies, steam punk-style clocks and golden-framed fence installations will captivate your imagination while local fishermen provide the backdrop, casting their lines into the bay for blue fish.
7) Absecon Lighthouse – opened in 1857, this historic beacon is 171 feet high and it takes 228 steps upward to get to the panoramic views of Atlantic City, ocean and surrounding areas. Check out the Keeper’s House Museum. Near Showboat Casino at Pacific and Rhode Island Avenues.
8) Flyers Skate Zone – Ice skating throughout the year. 501 North Albany Ave. www.flyersskatezone.com
9) Atlantic City Aquarium – Intimate aquarium with shark and ray touch tanks, diver feeding show, and 100 varieties of sea life. www.acaquarium.com
10) Atlantic City Fishing & Dive Center — If you are a diver, or want to catch a big one, this charter operation can take you to nearby wrecks for underwater exploration or line casting to snag seabass, blackfish, ling, cod, progy and triggerfish. 455 N. Maryland Ave.