There is a lot more to Atlantic City than casinos (Photo Gallery)
If you haven't been to Atlantic City in a while or you don't go because you're not a gambler, you're missing out on a really cool beach town. The casinos are great and the two newest to reopen, Hardrock and Ocean Resort, are stunning. It's worth the trip just to walk through Ocean Resort. You feel like you're at a completely different resort town. And the parking is free! It's at the north end of town and past all of the boardwalk stores and attractions. Head north on the historic boardwalk, the longest in North America, and hang a left on the newly reconstructed porting along the inlet. Again, you'll feel like you're in a whole new part of the state you never knew existed, and the views are amazing. Keep going until you reach Gardner's Basin. There are several legendary restaurants and an aquarium.
Don't forget to check out the new observation wheel at Steel Pier. It's open all year round with 40 climate controlled gondolas that soar 227 feet in the air with awesome views of the city and South Jersey coastline.
Head south off the boardwalk and you'll run into The Walk Tanger Outlets. An outdoor outlet shopping mall with an amazing array of shopping choices, including the only Bass Pro Shop location in New Jersey. Even if you're not an outdoorsman, it's worth a visit to this amazing attraction/store. There are a couple of legendary Italian restaurants in the old Ducktown section right there including Angelo's Fairmont Tavern and Angeloni's, both offering traditional old school Italian/American fare.
A few blocks further south is Tony's Baltimore Grill and the more contemporary Café 2825. A few blocks away is Chef Vola's with a unique family dining experience in an old style Jersey Shore house a few steps from the boardwalk. A real favorite local's secret spot is Scannicchio's at Lefty's Bar on Fairmont Ave.
Another local's secret is Brittany Café on Ventor Ave. in the Lower Chelsea section of AC. That's the part only locals go to. Just before you cross into Lower Chelsea right off Albany Avenue is my personal favorite, Wonder Bar. Real good food and drinks right on the bay.
If you enter AC from Albany Ave. (Exit 2 of the AC Expressway) and turn right into Lower Chelsea you won't even know you're in the Atlantic City of today. You'll discover a part of town that will surprise, and charm you. Stroll the boardwalk there past the new Stockton University campus and historic old houses and high rise condos and a quiet scenic part of AC you never knew.
More from New Jersey 101.5: