Jen A. Miller, who authors the blog downtheshorewithjen.blogspot.com, shares her insider tips for one of Atlantic City’s biggest events of the summer.
Atlantic City: America’s playground by the sea. Say what you want about lagging casino revenues and increased slots competition from Pennsylvania and New York, but Atlantic City is still a hot spot, whether your idea of entertainment is sitting on its free beaches, people watching on the Boardwalk (always with a capital B since Atlantic City’s is the original) or staying up all night playing blackjack.
One of the biggest events of the summer is the Atlantic City Air Show, “Thunder Over Atlantic City,” which will be held this August 19th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Flight crews from various units of the U.S. armed forces, plus two elite military teams: the U.S. Army Golden Knights and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, will have the crowd’s jaws agape at their corkscrew dives, precise turns, and synchronized parachute jumps. The show itself is free, and you can watch it from the Boardwalk or beach; just scout out a spot on the sand and plunk down your beach chair (the sand around Florida Avenue, just outside the Flightline area, is where you’ll find prime free seating). But for the best views you’ll want tickets to the Flightline Club, which offers premiere seats (Flightline Club seat for $20 – call 609-646-2292, x 25).
Take note, though: this is one of the most attended events in Atlantic City, so be prepared for crowds, which you can avoid if you come on August 18 and watch the teams practice. If you are going on the big day, plan to stick around because traffic jams for hours after the show.
If you’re bringing kids, head to the Steel Pier.
No, it no longer has diving horses, but it is still chock-full of rides and games and greasy food stands. For low-grade thrills, ride the carousel. Adrenaline junkie? Try the Rocket roller coaster.
Shopper? You have two options: The Walk, which are outlets, or the Pier Shops at Caesars, upscale stores that will be running deep summer discounts in August – sometimes you’ll get better deals at the Pier Shops than at the outlets.
After the show, there’s plenty of food options. For a great steak dinner with a view, head to Chelsea Prime, a swanky throwback that will have Mad Men fans aflutter. Go for the filet for a sure bet. For outdoor eats, The Beach Bar at Trump Plaza
offer great beach grub, all on its own Boardwalk space — and girls serving drinks in bikinis – if that’s your thing. If it’s not, head to the bar at the Knife & Fork Inn - not an inn, but a former speakeasy (and no bikinis in sight). You can’t go wrong with oysters on the half shell.
Photo via the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.