I thought I would put together a little travel guide to this city on “the shore” that still has a lot of charm if you know what to do and where to eat. Atlantic City, New Jersey, doesn’t have to be all casinos and performers in spandex suits (unless you want it to be, ha.) Extra thanks goes to all my relatives who contributed their favorite places!
I was in Atlantic City this past month to meet up with my family and one of my best friends, Amber. I only had a week off so it worked out having the city be our meeting point. (Atlantic City is a 45-minute drive from Philadelphia and about 2 hours from New York City).
I stayed in my grandmother’s quaint old (and unairconditioned) house, where she has lived for 64 years. Unfortunately, she was sick in the hospital, but it was great to be there for her, and to return to a place where I have such lovely memories. Both of my parents are from Atlantic City, so growing up we always made the 10- to 12-hour drive from North Carolina at least once a year. It’s a city by the sea that will always feel like home to me.
Here’s a quick guide to some Atlantic City classics:
Shelley’s Cafe (Ventnor) – I recommend the chocolate chip pancakes ;)
Hannah G’s (Ventnor)
Gilchrist’s Restaurant (Margate) – Best hotcakes around!
The Irish Pub (Atlantic City) – A meal for about $3. Need I say more? It’s also a hotel. I like its tagline: “Irish soul. American attitude.”
White House Subs (Atlantic City) – Amazing Italian subs in a 1950s diner setting.
Tony’s Baltimore Grill (Atlantic City) – Go here for the pizza.
Manco & Manco Pizza (Ocean City) – Because you need more pizza.
The Crab Trap (Somer’s Point) – I recommend the crab cakes, like the name suggests.
Smitty’s Clam Bar (Somer’s Point) – excellent seafood in an authentic setting
Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern (Atlantic City) – my favorite Italian restaurant of all time that has been open since 1935. Each dining area has a different sports theme with old photos showcasing the local greats. We might have gone here three nights in a row… haha. Hey, it’s also within walking distance of the outlet shopping ;)
Luciano Lamberti’s Sunset Marina & Restaurant (Margate) – a picturesque spot for a casual dinner. We had a great time celebrating my mom’s birthday here.
Snacks & drinks:
James’s/Fralinger’s Salt water taffies (Atlantic City & Ocean City) – This makes a really nice gift to bring back for friends/colleagues. Salt water taffies originated in Atlantic City in the 1880s, and these are the best.
Johnson’s Popcorn (Ocean City) – a famous icon on the Ocean City boardwalk that is made fresh in front of you.
Maynard’s Cafe (Margate) – Go here to drink with the locals.
What to do:
Tour Lucy the Elephant (a six-story-high elephant that was built in 1881 that was once a library)
Go see the horse races
Bike the boardwalk (You can rent bikes here, but remember there are special hours, depending on the season, for biking fun.)
Chill on the beach (Make sure you have cash to buy a “beach badge” on the beach as most beaches aren’t free in N.J.)
Explore Ocean City (check out a movie at the old Strand theatre, where my dad saw Jaws when it first came out, and then did his Atlantic City Beach Patrol swim test in the ocean the next day, ha. Oh the horror.)
Go shopping at the outlets (these stores have some of the best prices around. Make sure to get a coupon booklet from the main office there and turn in your receipts for extra bonus offers.)
The salty ocean air and lack of humidity was a welcome respite from Hong Kong. As was being able to have proper Italian food :)
Have you ever been to Atlantic City?