• Get your golf on: Casino gambling and sports books are not the only games in town. Golf is another option, especially now that several previously private courses in and near the destination are open for public play. One of the oldest facilities of its kind in the U.S., the layout at the Atlantic City Country Club has been named the number-one public golf course in New Jersey by Golf Week, Golf Magazine and Golf Digest. The course is known for its finely manicured fairways and large sloping green complexes protected by sand bunkers. Long carries over natural ponds and saltwater marshes make a formidable challenge for any golfer. The Vineyard National Golf Course at Renault at Renault Winery Resort & Golf features a 7,200-yard layout with vineyard views. Meandering subtly through South Jersey’s Pinelands, the course offers challenges at every turn — such as an island green surrounded by treacherous bunkers at the third hole, and a bentgrass hollow at the 10th hole. Situated on 350 acres of land, the Ballamor Golf Club has wide, easy-to-hit fairways and large greens. One highlight is the 15th hole, a 347-yard par four with a challenging tee shot. After clearing the water, players must decide whether to carry a massive bunker on the left corner of a dogleg with a 220-yard drive or take a long shot with bunkers everywhere in sight.
• Bike the boards: A bicycle ride is one of the best ways to experience Atlantic City's famed five-mile Boardwalk and all it offers. Cycle nonstop or pause to enjoy ocean views, shops, restaurants, bars and traditional beach-resort treats like salt water taffy and fudge. B&K Bike Rental (609-344-8008) operates two rental shops — one at North Carolina Avenue and Boardwalk and one at Iowa Avenue and Boardwalk. Rental rates are $8 for the first hour and $1 for each additional 15 minutes.
• Ride the waves: Atlantic City has not one, not two but three surfing beaches: Crystal Beach at New Hampshire Avenue, Delaware Avenue Beach and Downtown Beach at Raleigh Avenue. Several surf shops on the Boardwalk, including AC Surf School and the Inlet Surf Shop (609-515-7640; no website), provide surfing lessons as well as rent out equipment. Paddleboard rentals and lessons also are available.
Take to the sand: Atlantic City's expansive beaches are great for a run or walk. There's no need to purchase a beach badge — admission is free, even during the busy summer months.
Stay Another Day
• Thrills and chills:The Steel Pier stirs up excitement with more than 20 rides, from classics like bumper cars to extreme options like the Slingshot. The Steel Pier's newest attraction, the Observation Wheel, transports riders 227 feet above Atlantic City to enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean and skyline from inside one of 40 climate-controlled gondolas. Opportunities to play hoop-shooting, crane, and squirt gun games for prizes of all sizes, along with stands serving boardwalk fare, complete the experience.
• History lesson: Take a journey into time and above it all by climbing 228 steps to the top of the Absecon Lighthouse, one of the oldest beacons in the U.S. In addition to enjoying breathtaking views of the Atlantic City skyline, visitors can view the lighthouse's Fresnel lens (first lit in 1857) along with an educational museum and a replica of a traditional lightkeeper's dwelling.
• Retail therapy: From quaint boutiques and kitschy stores on the Boardwalk to malls and outlet centers, Atlantic City is a paradise for shoppers. The Quarter at Tropicana beckons with more than 25 luxury shops, while The Playground at Caesars houses stores that feature high-end fashions, accessories, jewelry and more. Tanger Outlets The Walk is the place to go for discounts on a wide variety of brand-name merchandise, including apparel, shoes, home furnishings and accessories.
• Cruise to the Cape: Not far from Atlantic City — and well worth the short trip — is the seaside resort town of Cape May. Stroll the Historic District for a look at the Victorian architecture for which Cape May is known. The Emlen Physick Estate, built in 1879, offers a glimpse of life as it was lived more than 100 years ago. Eclectic and traditional shops, along with restaurants, line the Washington Street Mall, a pedestrian promenade that spans three blocks.
Atlantic City has no sports teams, but it does have sports betting now that wagering on various professional and collegiate sports at New Jersey's casinos and racetracks became legal last summer. Six Atlantic City casinos currently accept such wagers: Bally's, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Resorts Casino Hotel, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino.
In Walking Distance
The following are in walking distance of the Atlantic City Convention Center:
Grab a bite (and a brew): The historic Tun Tavern, Atlantic City's first brew pub, offers a rotating menu of handcrafted beers along with casual fare. Lunch specialties include a "super-sized pretzel" served with Ale-infused cheese sauce, sweet stout mustard and cheddar crab dip; or try the Blue Claw Fries covered in melted cheddar cheese and blue claw crabmeat, and dusted with Old Bay seasoning.
For another extensive beer menu plus pub fare prepared from locally sourced ingredients, check out Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar. Wingcraft's "The Manhattan Project" burger, named the "#1 Burger in South Jersey" by At the Shore magazine, is topped with smoked gouda cheese, crispy fried onions and honey barbecue steak sauce. Voted "Best Tequila & Rum Bar" in Atlantic City Weekly's Reader's Choice 2018 Nightlife Awards, Los Amigos goes beyond nachos and tacos in its culinary repertoire to feature creative and Southwestern-inspired dishes. A vegan menu is available.
Bring on the bargains: Tanger Outlets The Walk comprises 109 stores that offer great deals on top brands of apparel, shoes, home furnishings and more. Bonus: In New Jersey, there's no sales tax on apparel and shoe purchases.
Beyond the Boardwalk
• John Barleycorn, Meet Paul Bunyon: Already home to the Little Water Distillery, Atlantic City’s Little Water district on the north side of town will soon see the opening of two new venues with interesting twists. The Seed: A Living Beer Project, will serve a wide variety of beers brewed exclusively from locally grown grains, stone fruits, berries, flowers and leaves. Westecunk Axe Throwing will give visitors a chance to channel their inner lumberjack by throwing axes in the safety of enclosed lanes with instructors nearby (the outfit also has a mobile axe-throwing unit available for group events). Both venues are expected to debut sometime this spring.
• Just steps off the Boardwalk — starting with the beach block of Tennessee Avenue and extending into St. James Place and New York Avenue — lies The Orange Loop. Promoted as "the best of the new Atlantic City," the three-block expanse is chock-full of one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars and live music venues. The Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall provides a hip alternative to the glitzy Atlantic City bar scene. This spring, the Rhythm & Spirits cocktail and pizza bar will debut in this lively enclave. Live music and craft cocktails will be the order of the day; an indoor bar and entertainment area plus an outdoor entertainment area and a food truck round out the venue’s offerings.
• Nearby Ventnor offers several great dining options. Cardinal Bistro serves contemporary American fare with a French twist, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. At Domenico’s (609-822-1300) guests can enjoy traditional Italian favorites (try the Lobster Sinatra, which is sautéed with littleneck clams, shitake mushrooms and pignoli nuts in a light cherry tomato broth on a bed of spaghettini). Stella Restaurant features innovative menu items like Medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese, almonds, applewood bacon and arugula; meatballs with creamy polenta and fontina in a pomodoro sauce; homemade sweet fennel sausage with orecchiette pasta and roasted peppers; and shrimp with smoked bacon, soft polenta, shiitake mushrooms, lemon, garlic, parsley and scallion.
• Bourre brings a New Orleans vibe to the area with frozen Hurricanes and other drinks from the Big Easy, along with Cajun barbecue cuisine.
• Over-the-top cocktails like the Alice In Wonderland-themed Unusual Tales G&T; the Bright Idea, served in a lightbulb with a flamingo straw; and the Kentucky Supper Club, made with Woodford Reserve and Sweet Vermouth Foam, are the order of the day (and night) at 2100 Bar & Lounge at Caesars.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Guest Rooms - 1,399
Meeting Rooms - 20
Largest Conference Room - 76,702 sq. ft.
Total meeting room space - 160,000 sq. ft.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Guest Rooms - 2,000
Meeting Rooms - 14
Largest Conference Room - 63,172 sq. ft.
Total meeting room space - 150,000 sq. ft.
The Stella Awards Winner 2018
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Guest Rooms - 942
Meeting Rooms - 24
Largest Conference Room - 17,760 sq. ft.
Total meeting room space - 64,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $89-$299