Recently, my pal Paul Brady called Atlantic City a place that's 'hard to love.' I get that. During a short visit last year for Lonely Planet, I didn't exactly fall in love with Atlantic City either, but I got plenty out of my 35 hours of tracking down the source of all the Monopoly board properties.
Here's a video of the experience:
Using Monopoly as a 'guidebook' to AC, and it wasn't always easy to do, led me away from the casinos into a place where I found local-lifers in love with their home. It led me to used bookstores, old pizza places, lighthouses. The hunt for the Electric Company, actually a modern complex outside the center, almost felt like tracking down a buried treasure.
And also, I had fun.
To be honest, I could live happily if I never made it back to AC (though I felt a night at the Irish Pub was a time-travel experience, unlike anything I've had anywhere in the USA). But by searching out a pre-Trumpian era of AC, and meeting up with those who do love it, made me see it differently.
Sometimes I think that's the main thing travel is for.