Atlantic City is basically known both at home and abroad for being one of the few East Coast cities to allow gambling. This decision allowed the city to grow, thrive (albeit with some ups and downs) and shape its identity. Despite all the efforts made over the years, however, the splendor and vitality of Las Vegas have never been achieved. THE casino resort however, they remain the main attraction of the city together with its historic waterfront (the Boardwalk) which, especially in summer, is populated by locals and tourists attracted by the ocean breeze.
- Where is it and how to get there
- Distance from New York to Altantic City
- History and curiosity
- To see
- Steel Pier
- Tanger Outlets – The Walk
- Atlantic City Beach
- Where to eat
- Movies and songs
Where is it and how to get there
Atlantic City is located along the coast of the state of New Jersey. It is very close to two large American cities such as Philadelphia (just over 100 km) and New York, which we will discuss in more detail in the following paragraph. From the "city of brotherly love" it is very easy to reach Atlantic City; in fact, by car it will take you just over an hour. The two cities are also very well connected to each other even by bus and train. Its location therefore makes it convenient to be included both in an East Coast itinerary and as an excursion from New York or from Philadelphia itself.
Distance from New York to Altantic City
The distance between the two cities is just over 200 km, there are various options to reach it, let's see the pros and cons of each.
- Bus: perhaps one of the most cost-effective means of reaching Atlantic City from New York. Some bus lines such as the company's Lucky Streak service G they also offer a direct service stopping in front of the major casinos in the area for around $ 50 return. The travel time is between two hours and twenty and two hours and forty but what has been said is purely indicative given the great unknown of traffic. Another company that carries out this route is theAcademy Bus.
- Car: Compared to traveling by bus, you will travel more comfortably and quickly, but as regards the cost, perhaps you will spend a little more. In addition to the price of the car rental (especially if you take the car only and specifically for this trip) you will have to add the cost of gasoline, parking in Atlantic City, and a possible toll (if you want the fastest route). The unknown factor of traffic always remains which, especially during the summer season, can risk slowing you down a lot.
- Train: you might think that this is the most convenient and fastest solution but it is not so. To reach Atlantic City from New York by train with Amtrak there is no direct service but you will have to change in Philadelphia. This involves at least 4 hours of travel with an expense that, net of special offers, can cost you at least $ 70 each way. Summing up, it is the most inconvenient solution of all, unless you plan an itinerary that includes a few days of stopover in Philadelphia and then continue along the New Jersey coast.
Summing up, therefore, if you already have a rental car, you should reach Atlantic City with it, while the bus can be a valid alternative solution, organizing well with timetables in order to amortize any loss of time due to traffic.
Read our tips on how to rent a car in the USA
History and curiosity
The most important date in the history of this city, after that of its foundation, is certainly that of 1976, when the state of New Jersey legalized gambling in a referendum. From that moment on, the locals had to wait only two years to see its first casino, the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel, completed. In popular culture, Atlantic City is not only known for this but for being the city that inspired the famous board game Monopoly. The names of its streets dotted the entire board and the Boardwalk (in our version the infamous Victory Park) was the most expensive and desired property.
The main attraction of Atlantic City are certainly the casinos and its Boardwalk (or waterfront), but if you have a little more time at your disposal you can also discover something else of interest and it can be a surprise even for those who do not like. especially gambling.
Built in 1870 it is a real institution of the city. You can simply decide to walk along the promenade enjoying the sea breeze, or visit the dozens of shops, pubs and restaurants that you will find along your path. From shopping malls, restaurants to large casinos, it is unlikely that you will not be able to find something that suits you, considering that 13 kilometers of waterfront await you.
Don't feel like walking the full length of the Boardwalk? Don't worry there is a solution for you: get on board the Boardwalk Tram Service. This means of transport will take you up and down the waterfront at a cost of $ 3 for a single ride or $ 6 for a day pass that will allow you to use the tram for an unlimited day.
If you are traveling with children, or you want to go back to being one, do not miss this Luna Park with a vintage flavor (to those who love this type of attractions it will remind you a little of Coney Island or the Santa Monica pier). It begins along the Boardwalk and extends more than 300 meters into the ocean. Inside the playground you will find more than 25 themed rides as well as food kiosks and souvenir shops. If you are not crazy about Luna Parks, the big Ferris wheel could still be for you (the view from the top always has a great charm), the ticket costs $ 15 dollars and a complete tour takes about a quarter of an hour.
As mentioned, Atlantic City is most famous for its casino. If it weren't for the waterfront, walking through its streets, you might almost get the impression of walking along the Las Vegas Strip. It may be because of the different weather or the less sparkling neon lights but I used the word almost not by chance because it still lacks something of that feeling of magnificence and exaggerated kitsch that you can find in any of the luxury hotels in Las Vegas.
If, however, you are intrigued enough, and want to try your luck (in moderation I recommend), here is a selection of the best casinos in Atlantic City, which can also be considered for your overnight stay.
- Caesars Atlantic City: This is perhaps the hotel / casino that most closely resembles the glories of Las Vegas. It is located on the seafront and the gambling halls are literally huge (as well as the whole complex), if you want to treat yourself it can also be a recommended choice for sleeping.
- The Borgata: With more than three thousand slot machines this casino is famous for hosting the largest poker room in the city. Impossible not to notice its golden profile standing out on the surrounding landscape.
- Bally's: three floors entirely used as game rooms with more than 5.000 slot machines. This is the business card of Bally's which with its iconic neon sign is the central point of the Boardwalk.
- Tropicana: more than for its casino (which is very large anyway) this hotel is renowned for “The Quarter” an internal street that almost forms a real neighborhood teeming with shops, restaurants and pubs. You can practically spend a whole day inside the complex without any problems.
Obviously you will have to consider the fact that only those over 21 can access the casinos.
Tanger Outlets – The Walk
If you haven't already spent all your money on slot machines at Atlantic City casinos, this city also offers you another opportunity to empty your wallet or perhaps, at best, reinvest your winnings. I'm talking about the Tanger Outlets, which unlike many others is located right in the middle of the city. There you will find more than 100 shops including major brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike, Abercrombie, Brooks Brothers etc ... where you may also find some occasion to give some gifts to those who are waiting for you at home.
Atlantic City Beach
The main one of the city is the homonymous one Atlantic City Beach which, despite its size and the fact that it is the beach of a big city, is nevertheless maintained with decorum. If you don't want to walk the Boardwalk, you can take a relaxing walk along the ocean accompanied by the sound of the waves. Unlike many beaches in New Jersey, Atlantic City does not have real beach clubs but it is free to access and you will not need to pay. During the summer months there are also lifeguards to allow you to take a bath in complete safety.
THEAbsecon Lighthouse built in 1857 it is the tallest lighthouse in all of New Jersey. You can take advantage of this peculiarity and climb to the top (228 steps 8 $ per ticket) to enjoy the 360 ° panorama of the surrounding area. There is also a museum that traces the history of the lighthouse built in an environment in which the keeper's house was to be replicated.
THEAtlantic City Aquarium it is an attraction that is worth visiting especially if you are traveling with children, who may be amazed to see many species of fish, turtles and reptiles up close. For adults on the other hand (unless you have particular passions) I don't recommend it very much, given its little interaction and variety compared to other American aquariums such as the one in Monterey for example.
More than a real attraction it is a curiosity, I am referring to Lucy the Elephant the largest elephant statue in the world. It is not really in Atlantic City but in the town of Margate City about 8 km away. It is one of those things that you would expect to find along Route 66, you can visit its interior and discover the history of this monument that has resisted hurricanes and fires since 1881, attracting thousands of tourists every year.
Where to eat
Given that all the Resorts / Casinos offer numerous solutions to eat even at the right price, but if you have enough of spending your time in the mega hotels of Atlantic City, here are some solutions that can be for you.
- Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville: if you are walking along the Boardwalk and you are in the mood for a cocktail with live music, you are in the right place. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner it can be a good choice for eating too, generous portions.
- Dock’s Oyster House: if you want to eat good fish (after all you are a stone's throw from the ocean) you cannot miss this restaurant which is among the most renowned in the city.
- White House Sub Shop: it is located a few steps from the Tanger Outlet and is the recommended choice if you want a quick sandwich to take away or to be consumed in a historic place in the city.
The main solution for sleeping in Atlantic City is represented by Casino Resort which were also mentioned earlier in this article. But if you also want some other solution, here are two hotels that can be right for you:
- Wyndham Skyline Tower: as you can guess from the name, the feature of this hotel is its 32-storey high tower which overlooks the city and offers beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. It offers paid parking ($ 14 per day), an indoor pool, and the rooms are quite spacious. It's not literally on the boardwalk but only a 5 minute walk from the Boardwalk.
- Courtyard by Marriott Atlantic City: This hotel is part of a large chain with all the benefits that this brings. Slightly more inland than the previous one it still remains close to the main casinos and attractions of the city. Very good value for money. Again, parking is available for a fee.
If you want to have a more complete overview of all the types of accommodation that the city can offer you, click on the link below.
Accommodation available in Atlantic City
Movies and songs
The city of Atlantic City over the years has often been used as the location of many successful movies and TV series. First of all it is impossible not to mention Boardwalk Empire, whose events that take place during the years of prohibition are mainly set in the city. Fans of How I Met Your Mother they will remember the episode in which the protagonists go to Atlantic City to get Marshall and Lily to marry. Even the world of music has paid homage to this place over time, just think of the Atlantic City song by Bruce Springsteen present in the album Nebraska, in which video parts of the city itself are shot in black and white.