TRAVEL: Atlantic City New Jersey

The world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk is nicknamed “The Worlds Playground” but I’m not quite sure if that nickname still fits; as there really isn’t much to do on the spur of the moment in AC; except gamble, shop, eat, walk, swim.  Atlantic City still has a LONG, LONG, LONG way to go before truly becoming “The Worlds Playground”; because their old school marketing, lack of synchronicity with the merchants, and the lackadaisical display of Customer Service at most facilities around town, makes it hard to keep the right people coming back over and over.  Plus they don’t offer a huge variety of shows, showtimes or other events at any given time.  Each event is spaced out so far in time and distance that your vacation days need to be spread out over a couple of weeks span, at minimum, for you to enjoy a few big shows or events on one trip to Atlantic City.

There has been a nice influx of good eateries, but the food, high prices and small portions are not enough to entice visitors who have to travel very far.  Many have come and gone since last year; but hopefully with the kickoff of the summer season, many more will make some surprise openings.

Unfortunately the live shows are far and few between, so if you’re going for the entertainment, make sure you check calendars and plan your travels accordingly.  Having caught the high wire act of Nik Wallenda at the Tropicana, nothing has yet to compare.  However I have enjoyed many a good and informational cooking demonstration at the Borgata.

For the kiddies the Steel Pier is a great action packed fun stop on the Historical Boardwalk.  I took a shot in the sling shot, caught the Fearless Flores Thrill Show two times and have played many a carnival game there. It’s only open during the season so check your calendars.  That pier is also the site from where the helicopter tours take off and land from just in case you want a bird’s-eye view of town. The Go Kart riding is also a very fun time, located on the Central Pier Arcade & Speedway, which offers NASCAR style go karts on one of the largest over and under racetracks.  This pier is located at Tennessee Avenue and the Boardwalk, just across the way from Fralingers candy shoppe and not to far from the Ivy Tavern Irish Pub which is open 24/7 and serves up some fresh fish N’ chips.

Atlantic City is home of the Miss America Pageant, which after a hiatus has returned to the boardwalk last year in 2013.  There is a small shrine dedicated to the pageant near the Atlantic City Convention Center for your viewing pleasure.  In that same place, the newest addition to Atlantic City; the Boardwalk Hall light show takes place nightly at 9pm.

Being that the town used to be crawling with street walking prostitutes, the older employees still hold grudges and stereotype people without mercy.  So if you’re a beautiful young woman who gets irked by that preconceived judgement, then I urge you to stay away from the entire city, until they have learned some manners.  It’s unfortunate that a few bitter people with tenure have infected the good energy of the newest workers, because preconceived judgement is the norm now for most in AC.

Many of the Atlantic City Hotels have beautiful facades, but the facilities vary.  Some smell brand new and very clean, while others can smell like mold, dirty carpet or dead fish skulls.  It’s a shame, because the decor and the name have nothing to do with it, as with Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.  If you’re planning to stay at Harrah’s you definitely don’t want to stay in the Water Tower, because the neon lights on the outside of the building are extremely loud and annoying; especially as you try to rest your head to sleep.

Don’t let the front desk fool you by saying “we have upgraded you to the Water Tower” because that is a hoax- a loud noisy, bright room is not an upgrade in my book any day.  Ballys Atlantic city, Resorts, Harrah’s and the Tropicana have some updated rooms, but they also have some VERY OLD rooms too, so if you’re as allergic to mold as I am, take some allergy pills with you just in case.

managers in Showboat, as he went out of his way to secure a $50 dining credit for our inconvenience.  However with that we opted to move to the 7th floor, as I was afraid the 6th floor might house more of them pesky bugs.

I took a water aerobics class at Harrah’s pool, taking time to relax in the Jacuzzi afterwards; but then I noticed several moldy and crusty lemons under the chair near the Jacuzzi, I exited the area stat like.  It seems to be an Atlantic City mainstay…..dirty pool areas and dirty rooms.  As is with the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa; which is one of my favorite places, if it weren’t for their dirty (and I mean dirty!) pool area.

It houses palm trees dripping with dust chains inside a greenhouse pool enclosure, so you can imagine the stench of caked on dust, mold and dirty rotten debris strewn all around the lounge chairs and near the Jacuzzi (mostly dirty rotten crusty lemon wedges).  Being extremely allergic to mold, I tend to look for cleanliness around the pool areas.

Where’s the party?  Its kinda hard to say on any given night but Thursday through Saturday.  It seems that the busiest times are the only times you can get your groove on.  There is plenty of music happening around town and if your lucky on the beach!

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, a seasonal exterior deck on the boardwalk, offers alfresco dining or drinking; and is located inside the Resorts Hotel Casino, as well as directly in front of the building, on the Beach Boiieee.  The Resorts Hotel Casino, the oldest in Atlantic City, was recently purchased by Mohegan Sun and is gradually being updated so you should check them out.

If you’re headed into AC of the Atlantic City Expressway you will notice The Walk, just outside of the Caesar’s in midtown AC.  It is an outside Tanger Outlets mall which closes shop pretty early so get there in time.  The Pier Shops inside Caesar’s offers a few Starr restaurants, upscale shopping such as Tiffany’s and a few activities for the entire family.  You can find laser tag, a dancing water fountain and some of the most amazing views of the skyline and the beach. As of the update to this post, The Pier Shops will be undergoing a lot of much-needed renovations.

There are plenty of Spa’s around town to get your body flowing.  But if you’re in the mood for some community activities make sure to visit the Gardener’s Basin, which offers monthly events during the season.  It is neighbors with the Atlantic City Aquarium which is a 25,000 gallon exhibit that features a variety of sea life native to the waters off NJ and the Mid-Atlantic region After playing with fish in the touch tanks, you could take a walk up the 228 steps of the Absecon Lighthouse.  If you’re in the mood for some maritime experiences, boat cruises take off from both the Gardener’s Basin and the marina near the Golden Nugget.

Next time you make it to Atlantic City please share your experiences below in a comment, I love to hear about new experiences and new places to eat, visit or see.

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