Part thoroughfare, part three-ring circus, the Boardwalk is center stage for every imaginable oddity. Conceived in 1870 as a way to allow Victorian-era visitors to experience nature without getting sand in their shoes, the Boardwalk became the place to see or be seen. Named for Alexander Boardman, the promenade's inventor—and not as you might think, for its wooden boards—the 4-mi-long Boardwalk begins in Atlantic City's Inlet section (at Maine Avenue), and heads south into neighboring Ventnor, where it continues for another 1½ mi (to Jackson Avenue). Saltwater taffy was invented on the Boardwalk in 1883, as legend has it, when a storm flooded a candy dealer's wares. The Boardwalk's attractions include amusement piers, museums, arcades, bars, restaurants, carnival games, and miniature golf. The Steel Pier, which once hosted the best music acts of the day as well as the famed diving-horse show, is now home to rides and carnival games. On Schiff's Central Pier
you can take a spin in go-carts or play the signature shore game: skeeball. Aside from strolling up and down the boards, the traditional way to experience the Boardwalk is to be pushed in a rolling chair. These wicker chairs evolved from the wheelchairs that infirm visitors used back when the city's promoters' claimed the salty ocean air could cure all diseases. Despite medical evidence to the contrary, after a long stroll on the Boardwalk, you might have to agree.