Beach Weekend Getaway in Atlantic City
1Impossibly wide and always pulsing with life on summer evenings, the Boardwalk is Atlantic City. Explore on foot or get pushed in one of the many canopied rolling chairs. (They're ridiculous, but they're tradition.) Kids will be drawn to the amusement park at Steel Pier, while adults will have their sights set on the gaming tables. You'll pass pastel-colored storefronts and the impressive arched entryway of Boardwalk Hall, the city's answer to the Roman Coliseum. If a big event is in town, it's probably on here.
2A couple of blocks inland from Boardwalk Hall is Dock's Oyster House, the city's oldest, and some say best, restaurant. Sample from the day's fresh bounty and soak in the live music from the piano bar.
3Burn off some of your seafood with another amble along the coast and then duck into a casino. Caesar's rules this stretch and you'll be impressed by its collection of Pier Shops (Apple, Gucci, Tiffany, et al) and the consistent quality of its shows. That is, if you can pull yourself away from the dice and cards.
1Drive or cab it to the northeast corner of town for breakfast on the water at Gilchrist's, a local staple known for giant pancakes and great views, especially from the dock seating.
3Board an hour-long Morning Skyline cruise with Atlantic City Cruises. It leaves at the forgiving hour of 11AM and offers a narrated tour of the city from the water.
4Three blocks south of Gardner's Basin, Kelsey's & Kim's Southern Cafe makes no bones about their mission. They're here to dish out soul food in delicious and ample portions. If you didn't have waffles for breakfast, get some for lunch, with the requisite fried chicken, of course.
5Now peek at the city from above by climbing the 228 steps of the nearby Absecon Lighthouse. With all you've eaten, you may want to climb the tower twice.
6After some spa time at your resort or a siesta on the beach, clean up and head to Chef Vola's, truly hidden just off the Boardwalk. Reservations are absolutely essential but very difficult to get (hint: tell them you've eaten there before). Should you land one, you'll be treated to homey, hearty Italian such as veal parmigiana and ricotta cheesecake in an unique and intimate dining room. Bring cash and your own wine — nearby Russo's has a nice selection.
7Take a cab or the jitney out to the marina area (just north of Gardner's Basin) for the night. The Borgata has the best gaming, bars, and entertainment to keep you occupied into the wee hours.
1You can find an excellent breakfast at Teplitzky's Coffee Shop in the gorgeous four-year-old boutique hotel The Chelsea. Not hungry enough for their signature spread? Choose from cereal or a bagel with lox in addition to classic omelets and baked goods.
2To put a historical perspective on all you've seen, head to the Boardwalk's recently restored Garden Pier and spend the late morning at the Atlantic City Historical Museum and the Atlantic City Art Center.
3Before you leave, take advantage of one last opportunity to soak in the sun or take a dip. The beach can be accessed from nearly anywhere on the Boardwalk. For lunch, grab something from White House Subs for the road. Traffic, like the sandwiches, may be thick.