Tag Archives: New Jersey

10 Best Atlantic City Destinations Off the Boardwalk

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.

Joe Di Maggio’s favourite hang out in Atlantic City.

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.

A multitude of multi-grains at Formica Bros. Bakery.

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.

The original 1910 design for James’ salt water taffy.

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.

The lighthouse is a popular spot for weddings.

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

A Caribbean Cownose Ray delights visitors at the Atlantic City Aquarium.

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.

Best of Atlantic City Casinos


Just got back from a great Society of American Travel Writers conference in Atlantic City and wanted to share a few casino highlights. I’m not a gambler, but there’s so much more going on at these resorts including burlesque shows, spas, great restaurants and shopping.

One of Golden Nugget’s wonderful suites.

Best Room Value: The Golden Nugget’s Hollywood-style uber spacious suites. The former Trump Marina Hotel Casino has gone through a $150 million renovation and the rooms are gorgeous: floor-to-ceiling windows, double bathrooms and enough floor space to go bowling.

Skygarden in the stunning Revel Casino-Hotel.

Best Architecture: Revel Casino-Hotel feels like a $2.4 billion South Beach transplant, with huge airy lobby, billowing white curtains, indoor/outdoor pool and exquisite sky garden with ocean views. Atlantic City’s newest casino resort, Revel has 14 restaurants helmed by award-winning chefs and was launched last year with a sizzling performance by Beyonce.

Best Shopping: Tropicana’s Quarter is a 200,000 square-foot complex with dining, entertainment and retail and the Marketplace is 21,000 square feet of the same. You’ll find 24 shops in these two areas that carry everything from handicrafts to designer labels. Retail includes Chico’s, Erwin Pearl, Francesca’s Collections,  Godiva Chocolatier, the Hat Emporium, Old Farmer’s Almanac General Store, Swarovski and Talk of the Walk, a family owned and operated chain that opened its doors on Atlantic City’s boardwalk in 1951 (check out their in-season markdowns!). www.tropicana.net

Best Glam: Sophisticated and sleek, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa lobby wows visitors with a magnificent Dale Chihuly chandelier, the retail shops are top shelf (Hugo Boss, Misura, and Just Cavalli), and the spa features full-sized indoor pool, a Jacuzzi that could fit 40, and treatment rooms with million dollar views. Dinner is a fine diner’s dream with restaurants by Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Schulson and the burlesque show is a must see, cheeky, sexy and full of adult fun. The juggler alone is worth the price of admission. www.borgata.com

The Atlantic Club’s jazz brunch is a must.

Best Jazz Brunch: The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel’s Ono Chinese Bistro serves up superb Chinese dishes and sushi and on Sundays the ocean-view room hums with the live jazz tunes of local favorites. If you’re feeling lucky, try the casino slots, deemed the loosest in New Jersey by Casino Player and Strictly Slots magazines.

Robert’s Steakhouse at the Trump Taj has the best crab in town.

Best Crab Cakes: You wouldn’t necessarily think a place specializing in red meat would do justice to crustaceans, but think again. Robert’s Steakhouse, at the Trump Taj Majal Casino Resort serves the most mouth-watering crab cakes in town. Succulent meat is packed together with no binders or unnecessary flavour enhancers except for a creamy red pepper aioli. Heavenly!

Harrah’s Pool After Dark packs ’em in.

Best Pool PartyHarrah’s huge indoor pool, under a glass dome is a big draw for Jersey Shore partiers. After sunset, the chic, palm-filled space becomes The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort with cover charge, DJ and lots and lots of room to mingle.