The Atlantic City Boardwalk, beaches, and casinos are already packed as lockdown-weary visitors are flooding the seaside resort for the Fourth of July weekend.

Independence Day events were nearly non-existent in Atlantic City last year due to COVID-19. Because of that, the entire city is ready to celebrate freedom and wish a happy birthday to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

“Atlantic City has everything visitors could want to experience this Fourth of July weekend, from great beaches and fireworks to exciting events and entertainment, to quality dining and shopping,” said Michael Chait, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.

“This Independence Day will feel very different from last year’s celebration, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors back to Atlantic City and enjoy all that this beachfront resort destination has to offer.”

Big holiday weekend for Atlantic City casinos

Atlantic City’s nine casinos are beyond excited for this weekend.

More importantly, all of New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions will be gone by July 4, including the temporary indoor smoking ban. The list also includes no more:

  • Mask wearing
  • Social distancing
  • Table game partitions
  • Disconnected slot machines

Basically, it’s 100% go time in Atlantic City casinos.

“We are excited to welcome back our valued guests after a difficult year and return to a sense of normal. Atlantic City is the place to be this summer, and we are committed to offering visitors a world-class experience during their stay,” Terry Glebocki, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and CEO of Ocean Casino Resort.

Atlantic City Fourth of July weekend rundown

Fireworks

AC is home to South Jersey’s best fireworks show.

And those familiar with the Fourth of July weekend in AC  know all about the show at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and world-renowned Fireworks by Grucci. After a one-year hiatus, it will once again light up the night sky on the Fourth of July. The show starts promptly at 9:20 p.m. and will last exactly 20 minutes.

Public viewing is available from the Borgata’s surface lot. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Wait, there is more.

Tropicana Atlantic City will have July 4th fireworks starting at 10 p.m. (a slight change from the typical free Saturday night show).

Entertainment

Live entertainment is a big part of what makes Atlantic City the World’s Playground.

Outside of the casinos, the Super American Circus and Circus Risque are both taking place next to Showboat Hotel. The Super American Circus is a friendly-family affair, while Circus Risque is only for adults.

And live entertainment is back at Bally’s Atlantic City as Motown Forever begins its weekly Saturday night run this weekend. Showtimes are 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Comedy Club at Borgata has live acts Saturday and Sunday nights.

Over at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Vibe Dining is now available Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. before The Pool After Dark transitions to nightlife from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City has the marina rocking all Fourth of July weekend, with live concerts every night outside on The Deck and inside at Rush Lounge.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is always ready to jam. The music-centric casino will have over 29 live acts this weekend on various stages throughout the property.

International superstar DJ Steve Aoki will be mixing at HQ2 Beachclub on Sunday at Ocean Casino Resort. Brian McKnight will perform inside Ovation Hall on Saturday night. And it’s only the beginning of more live entertainment to come.

LandShark Bar & Grill, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and Bar One at Resorts Casino Hotel will have live entertainment every night this weekend.

Eating & drinking

Atlantic City is a food-lover’s paradise.

The list of great places to get a good meal or a few drinks is nearly endless.

But, for the sake of brevity, here are a few places worth the visit both inside the casinos and off the beaten path.

Since open containers are now legal in AC, spend a few hours bar-hopping in the Orange Loop. The business district of New York and Tennessee avenues and St. James Place is home to some of the best bars in the city, including:

  • The Irish Pub
  • Bourre
  • Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall
  • Pic-a-Lilli Pub

American Bar & Grille at Borgata is a new restaurant inside the luxury Marina District casino. The menu consists of traditional American fare with seasonal inspiration.

Dougherty’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar in Resorts is operated by the owners of AC’s Knife & Fork Inn and Doc’s Oyster House. In other words, South Jersey restaurant royalty is behind this new concept inside AC’s first casino.

Over at Bally’s, Jerry Longo’s Meatball & Martinis is a quintessential Italian comfort-food restaurant. Except this one has blackjack tables, pictures of Tony Soprano, and the best meatball and homemade ricotta in town.

About

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.