70 Interesting Facts About Atlantic City

Fun Atlantic City facts

You probably already know Atlantic City’s street names from the game: Oriental Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, and of course the Boardwalk.

Below you’re going to find out a whole lot about “The Monopoly City”, from gambling stats to unusual past attractions, with these interesting Atlantic City facts! For more related info, also read these fun facts about New Jersey state!

General Atlantic City Facts

  • Atlantic City is the 25th largest city in the US state of New Jersey.
  • The city is only 17.21 mi2 (44.59 km2) in size, ¾ the size of Manhattan and less than half the size of the Bronx.
  • Atlantic City has a mere population of 38,500 residents, only 13.5% the population of the state’s largest city, which is Newark (part of Greater New York City).
  • The Greater Atlantic City Area, also called Atlantic City Region, which is roughly equivalent to Atlantic County, is home to 275,000 people, making it the 179th largest metropolitan area in the United States.
  • Only around 3% of all New Jerseyites live in the Atlantic City region.
  • Atlantic City is located on the Atlantic Coast of South Jersey, about 50 mi (80 km) southeast of Philadelphia and 87 mi (140 km) southwest of New York City.
  • Most of Atlantic City occupies Absecon Island, a barrier island that is only separated from the mainland by narrow channels and inlets, as well as a few smaller islands.
A beach with lots of people on it beside downtown Atlantic City
All beaches are public in Atlantic City
  • Neighboring cities and towns on Abescon Island, such as Ventnor City, Margate City, and Longport, and on the mainland, such as Absecon, Brigantine, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, and Pleasantville, are often considered part of Atlantic City, though they are technically in Atlantic County.
  • The city sits at the same latitude as Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
  • The highest temperature ever recorded in Atlantic City was 106°F (41°C) in 1969, while the lowest was −11°F (−24°C) in 1979.  
  • Richard Osborne, a Philadelphia engineer who designed the resort town, chose the name Atlantic City in 1853, after the Atlantic Ocean.
A fence on a beach at night, with the lights and buildings of Atlantic City in the background
Atlantic City at night
  • Prior to the city’s development and naming, it was the summer home of the Lenape indigenous people, who called it Absegami, or “Little Water”. Colonial settlers later called it Absecon, which survives as the island name.  
  • Other nicknames for Atlantic City are “America’s Playground/The World’s Famous Playground” and “The Monopoly City”.
  • Slogans for Atlantic City have included “Do A.C.” (in other words, you really have to “do” this city!”, and before that, “Always Turned On”. If they both sound a little naughty, that was intentional, as the city has something of a reputation for debauchery.
  • 38% of Atlantic City residents are Black American, while only 27% are White American.   
The city flag of Atlantic City
Atlantic City flag
  • The Atlantic City flag has bands of light blue on the sides and white in the center, white and blue being the official city colors. At the center of the white band is the city’s seal, which shows a boardwalk and three boats framed by two dolphins and two Grecian maids.
  • Atlantic City has 2 sister cities: Cabourg, France and Zhanjiang, China.

Interesting Facts about Atlantic City Attractions

  • The word “airport” was first used in 1919 to describe a strip of land surrounded by water on three sides in Atlantic City, from where sea planes transported passengers to and from New York City.
  • The term “birdie”, referring to a score of one stroke under par in golf, also originated in Atlantic City in 1903.
A close up of the boardgame Monopoly, showing dice, a dog piece, a red hotel, and the "Go" playing spot
Monopoly’s properties are based on Atlantic City
  • The board game Monopoly was first invented in 1903 as The Landlord’s Game. The board was remodeled to include street names from Atlantic City in the early 1930s before being mass-produced by Parker Brothers in 1935.
  • In the original edition, the cheapest streets were all ones where Blacks lived, and the most expensive ones were where Whites lived or the tourist district. This still remains true for some of the properties.
  • Some of the street names in the game have since changed in Atlantic City. For example, Illinois Avenue is now called Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
  • Atlantic City had the world’s first boardwalk. When it was first opened, Atlantic City Boardwalk was 8 ft (2.4 m) wide and 1 mi (1.6 km) long. Today, it is 60 ft (18 m) wide and about 5.5. mi (9 km) long.
  • Steel Pier on the Atlantic City Boardwalk is one of the country’s most famous and recognizable amusement parks. Originally nicknamed “The Showplace of the Nation”, it was extremely popular from when it was built in 1898 to the 1970s.
A row of closed shops along Atlantic City's boardwalk at night
Atlantic City Boardwalk
  • In the early 1900s, there used to be “horse diving”, in which a horse was made to dive from a platform up to 60 ft (18 m) tall into the water.
  • There used to be a Heinz Pier (yes, the ketchup brand), but it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1944.
  • Facing Steel Pier is Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which was originally Trump Taj Mahal. The latter, built at a cost of $1 billion, was fined $10 million for money laundering, after which the parent company went bankrupt and the hotel was sold to Hard Rock International, which is owned by the indigenous Seminole Tribe of Florida.
  • After a $500 million renovation of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the word “Rhythm” was incorrectly spelled “Rhythem” on the 53 ft (16 m) Gibson Les Paul guitar out front.
A row of buildings in Atlantic City, including one that says "Trump Taj Mahal"
Atlantic City skyline, with the old Trump Taj Mahal
  • Atlantic City’s skyline is dominated by resort hotels running along the boardwalk. The tallest one is Ocean Casino Resort, which has 57 floors and stands 710 ft (220 m) tall. It is the 4th tallest building in New Jersey.
  • The largest resort on the Atlantic City Boardwalk is the Tropicana, which houses 30+ restaurants, 30+ shops, 20+ bars, 2364 rooms, and an IMAX Theater.
  • Built in 1881, the 65 ft (19.7 m) Lucy the Elephant Statue in Margate City, just south of Atlantic City, is considered the first roadside attraction in the United States, and today is the country’s 12th tallest statue.
  • Several charming seaside towns are within short drive of Atlantic City, such as Cape May, at the southernmost end of the state.
Close of the head and tusks of the Lucy the Elephant statue in Margate city near Atlantic City
Lucy the Elephant in Margate City
  • The first Miss America was held in Atlantic City in 1921. Its original purpose was to attract people to stay longer over the Labor Day weekend. It has been held in Atlantic City numerous more times since then, but not every year.

Atlantic City Economy and Society Facts

  • Of the 20 casinos in New Jersey, 9 are in Atlantic City. These nine casinos bring in $2.5 billion in gambling revenue per year, making it the second biggest gambling earner in the US after Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Atlantic City has one of the highest unemployment rates in the US, at 13.8%, and a high poverty rate of 38%.
Aerial view of houses in Atlantic City, with the downtown visible in the distance
A residential neighborhood of Atlantic City
  • For much of its history, the city was racially segregated, with most Blacks confined to the Northside district, where most of them still live today and are impacted by redlining policies.
  • Today, Atlantic City has one of the highest rates of foreclosures in the US, which also particularly affects Black residents.
  • Due to outdated regulations, the state took over and created the Atlantic City Tourism District in 2011.
  • The impacts of the growth of online gambling, recession of 2007-2009, and legalization of gambling in nearby states of Delaware, Maryland, New York State, and Pennsylvania, has caused a drop in revenues for Atlantic City casinos, and several being closed.
  • Saltwater taffy, a type of candy, was invented in Atlantic City in the 1880s, where it was sold along the Boardwalk.
A whole bunch of colorful saltwater taffy candies
Saltwater taffy, an Atlantic City invention
  • Dave Thomas, the founder of the fast food chain Wendy’s, was born in Atlantic City.
  • Basketball player Lenny Cooke, who is known for having scored higher than LeBron James in 2001, was also born in Atlantic City.
  • The TV series Boardwalk Empire, started in 2010, portrays Atlantic City in the “Roaring 20s.”

Atlantic City History Facts

  • The Lenape people were the original inhabitants of the Atlantic City area.
  • Initially, East Coast settlers were not attracted to Atlantic City area because it was inconvenient to reach the island from the mainland.
A beach at sunset
One of many beaches in Atlantic City
  • The first European to settle in Atlantic City was Jeremiah Leeds in 1783.
  • The decision to transform Atlantic City into a resort town was made in 1850.  
  • The name “Atlantic City” was chosen by one of the city’s planners in 1853.
  • The city’s first hotel, Belloe House, was opened in 1853.
  • In 1854, the city was incorporated and the first railway station opened.
  • Construction of Absecon Lighthouse was completed in 1856.
Absecon Lighthouse standing beside some resort hotels in Atlantic City with ocean in background
Absecon Lighthouse
  • The Atlantic City Boardwalk was constructed in 1870, as well as the first vehicle road connecting Atlantic City to the mainland.
  • By the mid-1870s, half a million people were visiting Atlantic City per year.
  • Steel Pier first opened to the public in 1898.
  • From 1900 to the 1930s, the city underwent a construction boom, with many major hotels being built.
  • The 1920s are considered Atlantic City’s “Golden Age”, coinciding with the “Roaring 20s” and the era of prohibition. During that time, gambling and drinking thrived in backrooms at resorts in Atlantic City. This is when the city came to be known as “The World’s Playground”.
  • The first Miss America was held there in 1921.
A black and white photo of a woman who won Miss Atlantic City in 1940 standing on a beach and holding the ribbon
Miss Atlantic City 1940
  • From 1916 to the 1930s, a 14-ton, 18 ft (5.5) meter Giant Underwood Typewriter was displayed on the pier in Atlantic City as a form of advertising.
  • Artists used to build sandcastles on the beach in Atlantic City and preserve them with concrete, but this practice was banned in the 1940s.
  • After prohibition ended in 1933, and lasting through to the 1960s, night clubs became the focus of Atlantic City. Crime and poverty increased in the city, while profits sank.
  • In 1976, New Jerseyites voted to legalize gambling, but it was restricted to Atlantic City at first. The first legal casino east of the Mississippi River opened there in 1978.
  • In the 1980s, Mike Tyson had most of his fights in Atlantic City. Donald Trump arranged many boxing fights in the city.
A skyline of main resorts and casinos in Atlantic City
Casinos in Atlantic City today
  • In 2006, when the state government shut down Atlantic City’s casinos for a period during the summer season, it contributed to the development of more casinos in neighboring states. Atlantic City has never fully recovered since.
  • In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the city, and a false rumour spread around the country that the Boardwalk had been destroyed.
  • In 2015, the Trump Taj Mahal admitted to money laundering. It closed in 2016, then was purchased by Hard Rock International in 2017.
  • In 2020 and 2021, casinos in Atlantic City took a major hit due to COVID, but online gambling simultaneously boomed.

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