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Looking for ways to enjoy Atlantic City in the winter without breaking the bank? As a world traveler and proud product of AC, I’m here to say there’s more to this town than the harsh headlines. From its lively boardwalk to hidden local gems, I’ve experienced firsthand this city has plenty to offer.

Despite getting a lot of bad press and little respect, Atlantic City can be a delightful winter getaway. If you’re curious about authentic, low-cost or free activities to enjoy here, stick around. I’m excited to share some of my favorite local experiences that prove Atlantic City is more than just casinos and summer sun.

As a lifelong resident of the area, I can personally vouch for each item on the list as a wonderful warm way to pass a winter day. So put on your hat and coats and get ready for some chilly day entertainment.

Finally, if you’re a regular reader of my blog (if so thank you!) then you know my lists never countdown to a #1 best. Everyone is different and varied, so I leave it to you to decide which is best. Besides, deciding what YOU like is the best part of self-healing! So here we go:

Sugar, Anyone? 

(This item on the list is a two-part activity)


Boardwalk at The Playground: One Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City-

It’s Sugar is located right off the boardwalk at the main entrance to the mall.


Free or as much as you choose to spend.

It’s Sugar has a very lively and joyful atmosphere. Of course it does, it’s a candy store! My inner child loves the bright lights and colorful confectionery treats. The music is a party atmosphere, and having the freedom to stroll around the store and pick whatever you want (that you’re willing to pay for) is exhilarating. There’s also like a hundred magnets with hilarious jokes, commentaries, and goofy trends. At least a dozen should bring a smile to your face.

healing fun in AC

This is a self-healing activity for me for two reasons. First, in my childhood we actually did have a neighborhood candy store on Mississippi Avenue called Joy’s. Just like most of my childhood, it seemed dark and restrictive, like someone was going to yell at me or shame me at any second. It’s Sugar has a peaceful and free vibe, and I feel safe.

Second, even though growing up there was a candy store, there wasn’t much money to buy anything. Maybe a string of licorice for ten cents. It feels amazing to pamper myself today with the simple pleasure of a bag of my favorite sweets.

Then with your sweet treat and maybe a good book or even a guilty pleasure of shameless social media scrolling, you’ll make your way to part two. 

Adirondack Chair Chilling

The second part is to stay in Playground Pier and make your way up the escalator to the back of the mall. There’s a quiet and secret spot that, chances are, you’ll have all to yourself.


The Playground: One Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City



Take your bag of goodies and work your way up the escalator and toward the the ocean and away from the boardwalk. Since the mall was originally built on a pier, you will be venturing out to the Atlantic ocean. After a less than five minute walk, arrive at a spot that doesn’t have a name, but, that’s good. Because if it did, maybe more people would go there.

healing relaxation for things to do in Atlantic City in winter

Surrounded by panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows, Level 3 is the perfect place to kick back in Adirondack chairs with their feet in the sand, (yes they even brought in beach sand) and enjoy the best sea views in the city. Bring a journal to check in with your feelings and surroundings.

There are single and double Adirondack chairs set up for lazy lounging. If you go on a cloudy day in the late afternoon, you’ll be treated a beautiful sunset overlooking the ocean. As the sun descends over the rolling waves, your birds-eye-view of miles of the sandy shore will be memorable and sweet, just like the candy in your grab bag.

view of Atlantic City beach for healing

If driving to get here, I recommend parking in Caesars Casino Self Park, located at 27 S Missouri Ave. You will have to pay a fee to self park, but it will be worth it because traipsing through the whimsical aerial walkway is fun.

Once you park in the garage and take the elevators, you’ll make your way across the aerial walkway above Pacific Avenue. This connects Caesars to Playground Pier via the sky bridge. This is a simple and leisurely way to venture through the city. Be sure to bring extra coins in your pocket, because once across and in the casino, you’ll pass a water fountain of Caesar himself who beckons you to pitch coins and make lots of wishes.

Winter Beach Combing

Another thing to do in Atlantic City in winter is going to the beach! If you’ve never experienced the beach in the winter months, this is for you. The vibe is quiet and contemplative, a mood that stays with you throughout the day.


Maine Avenue Beach Promenade (see below)



This activity is collecting sea glass. 

You will go to Maine Avenue in the Inlet of Atlantic City and park your car. A short walk, less than a block, will bring you to a tiny rock scramble. You’ll lower yourself from the boardwalk ramp down to the boulders to each the beach. It’s not particularly difficult, but if you have mobility issues, you might want to stick to gazing at the ocean from the pier. But if this sounds like the activity for you, keep reading.

winter beach AC
Pretty sea views for your social media feeds

If you have the choice, choose a sunny day, not too windy. It is winter after all, and temperatures could be brisk. However, they also could be a gorgeous 50° day that feels like 60°, given the bulkhead wind break that will be protecting you on this small sandy beach. However, it’s still a good idea to wear sunscreen to protect your skin The only other thing you’ll need is perhaps a small bucket or bag to collect your treasures.

Once you have gathered all of your accessories, the only thing left to do is stroll along the beach and pick up beautifully polished sea glass. If it’s a good day, you’ll find that you have quite a collection.  The sea glass can be used for all types of art projects, or just display small vase.

Lots of treasures to find

What makes it extra special is when you look back, you’ve not only found treasure, but made lovely memories at the Jersey Shore. If you combine this activity with mindfulness, you’ll also find beauty and tranquility in the simple act of engaging in nature. Peace will is another treasure you take along with you. If you fall in love with sea coast landscapes, why not consider traveling to Ireland or New England‘s beaches?

Tropicana Imax Theatre


Tropicana Casino: 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401


About $20

The next item on the list for things to do in Atlantic City in winter is going to the Imax Movie Theatre in Tropicana Casino. Understandably, the price of a movie tickets has increased. However, it will be worth it. Of course bringing your own candy will also save your budget. The staff at the Imax are always friendly and don’t seem to care if I have a water bottle and Twizzlers in my purse.

going to the Imax theater is a great thing to do in Atlantic City in winter
Image contributed by Dave Bonan, Cinema Treasures

Personal Recs

I have seen about five movies in this Imax theater, and all of them are unforgettable. I get it, it’s just going to the movies and that’s true. However, there is a lot more bang for your buck. Two movies that stand out the test of time in my personal experience were a documentary on Jerusalem, and a documentary on David Bowie’s life.

For me, experiencing these documentaries in the Imax setting was more than just a movie. As a result of seeing the Jerusalem film, 15 years later I booked a trip to see it in person. I’ve even been inspired to take a camper van road trip! That’s how powerful cinema on the larger than life screen can be.

Music at Imax

Besides offering powerful stories, the Imax also brings many concert-type of shows. If you love the experience of rock concerts but not the extra demands on time, cost, and comfort, try it for yourself. As for the rock and roll music, I watched a music film in this theatre about the Rolling Stones and the acoustics were phenomenal.

After your movie, you can stroll around the gorgeous section of Tropicana. If you’ve never been, you’re in for plenty of Instagram photos. This can provide you with at least another hour of entertainment to fill your afternoon. Of course you can eat in one of the restaurants, Carmine’s is right there, but if you’re looking to keep cost down just eat before the movie and leave when you’re done your stroll.

Boardwalk Winter Stroll


From North to South, starts at Madison Avenue and ends at Jackson Avenue.



Another fun thing to do in Atlantic City in winter is too simply walk along the boardwalk. It promotes good health, as well as lively people watching anytime of the year.

Did you know that the AC boardwalk is a historical landmark? It’s one of the oldest boardwalks in the United States, built in 1870. It stretches for about 4 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, and in the past, the boardwalk was known as the “Wooden Way to Wellness”, named for its health-promoting activities like walking and breathing in the fresh sea air. Walking the boardwalk can provide a living history, entertainment, and with a self-healing intention, subtle seashore serenity.

Showboat Lucky Snake Arcade


Showboat Casino: 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City


If you sign up for their email list, you receive $10 to play. In addition, Groupon offers substantial discounts so look into that. Finally, there is no cover charge, so even if you stroll around and observe, you can soak up the electric energy.

Image by Press of Atlantic City

Lucky Snake Arcade in Showboat Casino is an exciting way to spend a winter afternoon in AC. Covering an area of 30,000 ft.², this indoor arcade is the largest in the world. It can easily keep you busy for hours. Food and drink are available for purchase in a variety of eateries surrounding the arcade.

What’s There


There are games and attractions that span 30 years of video game fun. You’ll find your favorites like Centipede and Pac-Man, of course. Self-healing tip: I played about ten games of Centipede and got like 3 high scores. How is this healing? Because it reminds me of happy times from my childhood, that trauma didn’t steal. Using hand and eye coordination, it was like being that kid again and remembering times I felt joy and pride, even if it is just to attain the high score and get to write my name on the list.

Pinball Machines

But it’s the vintage pinball machines, ones you won’t see or find anywhere else, that will dazzle you. They have ones on Elvis Presley, Addams, family, Willy Wonky, South Park, and 1970s sitcoms just to name a few. Since Lucky Snake went to great lengths to add variety and style, it’s an arcade that offers more than just flashing bright lights and loud sounds. They took the time to cater to the older patron, and it really shows.

Interactive Games and Go-Carts

When you get tired of staring at a screen, why not do some mindful mobility activities through virtual engagement. You can dance, practice your aim with target shooting, play skee ball, and even go kart racing. The go kart requires a waiver and a much higher fee, but it is quite fun!

Atlantic City Free Public Library


4115 Ventnor Ave, Atlantic City. This branch is attached to the Richmond Avenue School



Ahhh the library. Who doesn’t love the cozy warmth of a cushion seat, and a free book? In addition to numerable reading material, you also have access to plenty of free events. Don’t forget there are actually two locations for the Atlantic City free Public library. This is very convenient and offers excellent options for you to choose from. Definitely add this to your list of things to do in Atlantic City in winter!

I even picked a day with rare winter NJ snow!

Bass Pro Shop


30 Christopher Columbus Blvd, Atlantic City



I must admit, I drove by Bass Pro Shop for years, and had no idea the unbelievable opportunities it offers for interactive displays and entertainment.

winter healing fun

If you go, you’ll find so much more than just goods for sale. In addition, you definitely don’t have to be a person who fishes or immersed in the lifestyle to find things to keep you busy.

fireplace healing

This superstore offers so much to see and do including an on-site aquarium.

aquarium winter fun AC

If you happen to be here during the holidays, you’ll have the fortunate luck to not only see Santa, but get your picture taken with him for free. Furthermore, they have a number of other FREE family events, like Dog Days, Go Outdoors, Gone Fishing, and in-store events for Easter and Halloween.

parking sign
Even after I didn’t get my ticket because I went through the gate the wrong way, the customer service staff stamped me a freebie.

Being a public schoolteacher in the city school, I can personally vouch for the level of Bass Pro Shop’s community support. They offer resources and fun for the community, especially children (and inner children – for your self-healing).

Final Thoughts On Things To Do In Atlantic City In Winter

Atlantic City is so much more than just the casinos. I’ve experienced the beauty simplicity of this seashore town before and after the gaming industry revitalized the town, and the heart of this city is in the history, people and beautiful beaches. Many of my ancestors knew this when they immigrated here from Ireland. Add to that the exciting energy that casinos offer, and you have the best of both worlds. You don’t have to gamble on a winter win, these fun and low cost (or free!) activities are a sure bet. Then when you’ve covered all the attractions in Atlantic City, explore neighboring towns for some holiday cheer.

Looking for more ways to enjoy Atlantic City? Check out summer fun below