The scenario: Labor Day has come and gone in Atlantic City, and some people still have to call Atlantic City home for a few days during a convention or trade show until Columbus Day, which is the recognized end of the convention season. The husbands, wives, others, and kids attached to those thousands of incoming conventioneers still need things to do and places to go during the day. What are they to do? Fear not, there’s plenty more than the tables and machines in our fair city by the sea.
THE WALK ATLANTIC CITY OUTLETS: The massive outlet complex and home of Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club boasts ten square blocks (soon to be fifteen) and counting of shops and eateries smack in the middle of downtown, with casino and surface parking available, in addition to multiple Jitney stops. Shop for everything from Yankee Candles and Starbucks to high end name brand gear from such outlets as Brooks Brothers and Kenneth Cole for the guys. The ladies have Liz Claiborne, H&M, and there’s no shortage of shoe stores for the men to suffer thru. After all that shopping, get a Subway, go to Applebee’s, or cross Fairmount Avenue at Michigan and go to Atlantic City’s only microbrew, the Tun Tavern. Also soon to come: Atlantic City’s very own Melting Pot! Make sure that you go to The Walk and many other participating retailers on the first Wednesday of the month in the off-season, as the deceptively named First Wednesday promotion has some great deals all around town.
THE QUARTER AT THE TROPICANA: Tropicana’s $285 million Old Havana-themed expansion (AC’s largest non-gaming expansion ever) is the home of some of the most sought after shops, restaurants, and experiences in the city. Get pampered at Blue Mercury spa, then float over to any of several amazing restaurants (the Palm, Red Square, and Cuba Libre just to name a few) or walk the main floor and see such cosmopolitan brands as White House Black Market, Erwin Pearl, and Swarovski crystal. The Quarter is also home to the area’s only IMAX Theater and the region’s only PF Chang’s.
THE BOARDWALK: It might not seem totally obvious, but the four-and-a-half-mile Boardwalk is an attraction in and of itself that could easily fill up more than a full day away from the gaming floors. People seem to think that the Boardwalk just turns tail and shuts down once the cold weather comes: that’s only partially correct. The many arcades are great for the gamers that are not yet 21, as is the Steel Pier amusement park, which is located across the boards from Taj Mahal. Steel Pier stays open on weekends thru the third weekend in October. For the more culturally inclined there’s the Atlantic City Art Museum and Historical Center and the restored Absecon Lighthouse. Both of these landmarks sit just north of Showboat at New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk, right near the proposed Revel Entertainment casino project site. If it’s freaky things you fancy, Ripley’s Believe it or Not is on the Boardwalk at New York Avenue. From September to April, Ripley’s is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday thru Friday, and 10am to 8pm on weekends. Among other things, you can see a scale model of Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria made from 27,000 matchsticks. For $14.99 per adult, it’s a great way to kill a few hours. For the historian in you, the New Jersey Korean War Memorial is at the most expensive intersection on the Monopoly board: Park Place and Boardwalk. (Yes, there really is a Park Place – why do you think it’s called Bally’s Park Place?)
THE PIER AT CAESARS: While The Pier Shops at Caesars are great for shopping and eating year-round, it’s going to be a spectacular holiday shopping spot. Also for the visitors, the third floor sand and beach chairs that were so great for summer beach viewing are even better come fall and winter. For those that don’t know, the beach views when people aren’t on the beach sunning themselves are often prettier than the proverbial busy summer scene.
GARDNER’S BASIN: In addition to an aquarium in the Ocean Life Center, Gardner’s Basin is the focal point for group fishing trips in the back bay and the home of Atlantic City Cruises. Atlantic City Cruises (awesome, see previous post) runs daily sightseeing cruises, casino skyline cruises, happy hour cruises, and dolphin watching trips from May thru October. Marine travelers can also dock here based on availability. Land access is from New Hampshire Avenue and Jitneys also run here. Gardner’s Basin as a whole does not have an overarching presence on the Web, but Google “Gardner’s Basin” and most of the resident businesses pop right up. The restaurants in the Basin are for most of the year to enjoy the views, usually only closing from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day.
Have Fun and Enjoy the New Atlantic City!