Atlantic City, NJ, has been a place of respite for folks living in and around New York City and for good reason. It’s not only a break away from the big city hustle, it’s a place to relax, unwind, and take in some history and fun. In partnership with Hotels.com, from turbine tours to pipe organ concerts, here are the best free things to do in Atlantic City!
First, Where to Stay in Atlantic City
If you’re visiting for the first time, you’ll definitely want to stay in an area of Atlantic City where you can get your bearings. For me, I’d choose one of the Atlantic City casinos as most offer free parking (another Atlantic City freebie!) for guests staying on property. Additionally, especially during the week, the casino resorts nightly rates are quite affordable.
Atlantic City Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is not only a beautiful place to mosey, it’s historical look and feel are worth checking out. Always complimentary, feel free to take in the sights and sounds of the local shops and restaurants. It’s a laid back experience that’s a must when you visit.
As for summer entertainment, keep an eye (and ear) out for concerts and shows. Starting in July, tribute bands of all genres offer free concerts at Kennedy Plaza from 7pm-10pm. Of course, grabbing a spot is first come, first serve and it’s a good idea to take a fold up lawn chair.
Atlantic City Beaches
I’ve been to plenty of beaches and it’s always refreshing to find one that’s completely free for folks. And for the Atlantic City Beach, it’s absolutely free to visit and swim.
I have to write, AC beaches are very popular, especially when school is out for the summer. If you want a primo spot, make sure you arrive early to grab one.
The Atlantic City Experience
Located at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, it’s a sight for the eyes and an experience for the ears. Open to the public weekdays from 9am – 5pm, the free walkthrough offers insight into Atlantic City’s rich history and culture.
With exhibits on casinos, prohibition, dancing girls, and churches, it offers a varied selection of what makes AC the city it is now.
- Korean War: Dedicated in the year 2000, the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial is at the corner of Park Place and The Boardwalk. Dedicated to the 191,000 New Jersey soldiers that fought in the conflict, it’s open daily.
- World War I: Built in 1922, the World War I Memorial is Greek Temple-style with a rotunda. At 124-feet in diameter, the 16 Doric columns give balance and stability to the beautiful architecture. In the center, you’ll find the gorgeous “Liberty in Distress” statue made of bronze.
Take a Mural Tour
Focusing on artistic freedom and expression, Atlantic City has over 50 murals. Painted by artists of different skill levels, check out the Atlantic City Mural Map to find them all.
Boardwalk Hall Pipe Organ Tour
With two pipe organs, the Boardwalk Hall Pipe Organ Tour is ideal for folks that love the resonating, sometimes thundering, sound of massive pipes. Included as original stage equipment for both the Boardwalk Hall and Adrian Phillips Theater, you can take in the beauty of the pipe organs and their incredible sound May-September. Make sure you arrive by noon and plan on staying for 30 minutes.
Bass Pro Shops
Moseying around the giant Bass Pro Shop is one thing, but checking out a massive, 13,000 gallon tank filled with local fish is well worth looking for a parking space. Hit the timing right and you can watch a feeding of anywhere from 75-100 fish that are native to the AC region.
Family Movie Night
Grab a blanket and some snacks, and it’s a fine night out with Movies Under the Stars. Beginning at disk, and weather permitting, each showing is completely free. And don’t think the movies are meh: top films are shown and make an ideal date night of family outing.
Tour the Casinos
Atlantic City is well known for its casinos. And, whether you like to gamble or not, taking a tour of the casino is always free. The best time to visit is on days it’s raining or when you want a little down time.
Wind Farm Tours
The low down just in case you don’t know what a wind farm is. You know those giant turbines that turn wind into usable power? Put a bunch of them together and you’ve got a wind farm!
ACUA has complimentary Summer Open House Tours of the Wind Farm at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Wastewater Treatment Facility. For this year, the tours are between July 8 and August 30 on Mondays & Fridays from noon-1pm. While you don’t need a reservation, ACUA does ask that you arrive on time for the tour.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times when traveling. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are my recommendations for safety:
- Wear a face mask and, if it’s cloth, wash and dry daily.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures and status of local businesses. Additionally, check with your state’s policies to determine if you’ll need to quarantine when you return home.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.