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Introducing Atlantic City

It's not exactly Vegas, but for many a trip to AC conjures up Hangover-like scenes of debauchery. And inside the casinos, which never see the light of day, it's easy to forget there's a sandy beach just outside and boarded-up shop windows a few blocks in the other direction. The 'AC' that was known throughout the late 19th and early 20th century for its grand boardwalk and Oceanside amusement pier, and for the glamorous corruption depicted in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire set in 1920 Prohibition-era AC, has been thoroughly overturned. Gray-haired retirees and vacationing families are at least as common as bachelors and bachelorettes.

It's worth nothing that AC's famous boardwalk, 8 miles long and still the lifeline of the city, was the first in the world. Built in 1870 by local business owners who wanted to cut down on sand being tracked into hotel lobbies, it was named in honor of Alexander Boardman who came up with the idea – Boardman's Walk later became 'Boardwalk'.

The Steel Pier, directly in front of the Taj Mahal casino, was the site of the famous high-diving horse that plunged into the Atlantic before crowds of spectators. Today it's a collection of amusement rides, games of chance, candy stands and a Go-Kart track.

The small Atlantic City Historical Museum provides a quirky look at AC's past. At the time of research it was closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, but was expected to reopen.