Fine Dining and Nightlife amid Chic, 1940s-Style Decor at Four-Star Atlantic City Hotel
Purple neon lights cast a glow onto a slender 20-story tower topped by a violet-colored sign reading "the Chelsea" in cursive lettering. This is the centerpiece Luxe tower of The Chelsea, a four-star hotel that looks like it was plucked from a film-noir classic and placed right along the ocean, just a short walk from Atlantic City’s iconic boardwalk. Inside, retro-chic decor—such as crystal chandeliers in the ballroom and abstract lamps elsewhere—fits right in with the city’s glamorous past.
Atlantic City, New Jersey: Casinos and Carnival Rides Lining Historical Beachside Boardwalk
No trip to Atlantic City is complete without a stroll along its signature boardwalk, which stretches for 6 miles along New Jersey's eastern coast. Originally built in 1870 to keep sand out of hotel lobbies, the boardwalk grew in popularity as a place where you could drink and gamble during Prohibition without much trouble from the police, as depicted in HBO's Boardwalk Empire. The boardwalk is still popular for its casinos, but it's family-friendly, too; visitors are just as inclined to sit at the beach or stop at one of the many carnival rides.
On the boardwalk, it's worth it to check out the Absecon Lighthouse, which is more than 150 years old. It's possible to climb its 228 steps to the top, which features sweeping views of the city skyline and the sea. Down at the base, you'll find a replica of the original light keeper's lonely cloister and the collection of sock puppets he created to keep him company.
Proving further that Atlantic City isn't all nightclubs, boardwalk, and casinos is Gardner's Basin, a maritime village along the bay. Here, a community of artisans uses seashells and driftwood to hand-make items such as wind chimes and picture frames. However, the Basin's biggest claim to fame is the 25,000-gallon Atlantic City Aquarium swimming with turtles and rays.