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Introduction

The entertainment capital of the Eastern Seaboard, Atlantic City is New Jersey's most popular resort destination. Its streets are familiar to anyone who's ever played Monopoly (the American version), but board game fans aren't the only ones who want to "take a walk on the Boardwalk". The city's beaches and the famous wood-plank walkway have attracted visitors for more than a century.

While many visitors come just for the casinos, which had revitalized Atlantic City in the late 1970s after decades of decline, if you never set foot on the beach it's fair to say you're missing the whole point. Atlantic City is more than just a gambler's haven; it's a legendary resort town like no other.

From its founding, Atlantic City has always been about tourism. It was founded in the late 19th century as a resort destination after railroad companies built track between Absecon Island (on which the city exists today) and Philadelphia. In its early days, Atlantic City catered to urban workers from Philadelphia. The heyday for Atlantic City as a beach resort lasted through the first half of the 20th century, when it fell out of favor. Atlantic City was revived after a state-wide referendum in 1976 legalized casino gambling in the city, and casinos began popping up along the boardwalk and in the Marina District in 1978.

More recently, Atlantic City's casinos have fallen on hard times due to competition from other states. Pennsylvania legalised casino gambling in 2006; Maryland, New York and Delaware have also entered the fray. Atlantic City's annual casino revenue dropped by half, from $5.2bn in 2006 to $2.86bn by 2013. Four of the twelve Atlantic City casinos closed in 2014 (Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza); the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort permanently closed on Labor Day 2016.

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Sights and Activities

  • Atlantic City Aquarium, 800 N. New Hampshire Av., ☏ +1 609 348-2880. Daily 10AM–5PM. Features eight giant aquariums (including a touch tank), shipwreck artifacts, etc. Adults: $8, Seniors: $6, Children (ages 4–12): $5, Under 3: Free.
  • Ripley's Believe it or Not!, 1441 Boardwalk, ☏ +1 609 347-2001. 400 exhibits of incredible artifacts. Adults: $17, Seniors: $14, Children (ages 5–12): $11. edit
  • Absecon Lighthouse, 31 S. Rhode Island Ave, ☏ +1 609 449-1360. Th-M 11AM–4PM; July and August daily 10AM-5PM. Built in 1857 and is the tallest in New Jersey. 228 steps to the top will yield a magnificent view of the Jersey shoreline. Adults: $7, Children (ages 4–12): $5, Under 3: Free.
  • Lucy the Elephant, 9200 Atlantic Av. at Decatur Ave. (located in nearby town of Margate), ☏ +1 609 823-6473. A 65-ton building built (as novelty architecture) to look like an elephant. Built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is one of those curious pieces of Americana that one doesn't see too much of anymore. 30-minute tours of its interior are available. Adults $8, ages 3–12 $4.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Weather

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max4.7 °C5.8 °C10.9 °C15.9 °C21.8 °C26.7 °C29.2 °C28.5 °C24.8 °C18.9 °C13.2 °C7.4 °C
Avg Min-5.9 °C-4.7 °C-0.4 °C4.1 °C9.8 °C14.8 °C18.2 °C17.5 °C13.1 °C6.5 °C2.1 °C-3.2 °C
Rainfall87.9 mm77.7 mm91.9 mm90.4 mm84.6 mm67.1 mm97.3 mm105.2 mm74.4 mm71.6 mm90.9 mm84.3 mm
Rain Days8.78.18.28.78.176.87.46.367.58.1

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Getting There

By Plane

Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) is located about 9 miles to the west of Atlantic City along the Atlantic City Expressway. Car rentals are available in the airport, as well as taxi service and passenger vans for larger groups. Bus service via NJTransit is also available with a connection through the Pleasantville Bus Terminal. Atlantic City International Airport is a smaller airport primarily serviced by Spirit Airlines. It's poorly connected to major airports, since Spirit flights are generally bound for other tourist destinations in Florida and the Caribbean. For many travelers, it will make sense to fly into Philadelphia and drive the hour it takes to reach Atlantic City or take the train.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is located about 60 miles to the west of Atlantic City. It is significantly larger than Atlantic City International and has more flights. SEPTA offers Regional Rail service from the airport to 30th Street Station, where travelers can connect with NJ Transit service to Atlantic City (see below).

Atlantic City was once a popular destination for commercial airlines; however, years of financial distress resulted in many scheduled services becoming discontinued and/or canceled due to lower passenger totals. Today, less than 20% of total aircraft operations are for scheduled flights, though Atlantic City is still a popular hub for private jets and general aviation, especially from the Northeast. Private aviation companies including Atlantic City Jet Charter and EvoJets offer charter flights to/from Atlantic City International Airport on a variety of private planes ranging from twin-engine propeller planes to luxury Gulfstreams.

By Train

NJTransit offers train service from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station to Atlantic City, with several stops in New Jersey. One-way fare is $10, and the ride takes about an hour and a half. The train also has several stops along the way, including Cherry Hill, Lindenwold (with connections to PATCO Speedline), Atco, Hammonton, Egg Harbor City and Absecon. Once in Atlantic City at the Atlantic City Rail Terminal, free Jitney shuttles are provided to take rail patrons to area casinos. Taxi service is available, and within two blocks is the Atlantic City Bus Terminal.

If you're coming from NYC, you can take the Northeast Corridor Line from Penn Station, New York to Trenton. Transfer to the RiverLINE light rail to Walter Rand Transportation Center for the PATCO train to Lindenwold. From there, take the Atlantic City Rail Line. This costs about $24 each way.

By Car

Atlantic City is well-connected to a number of major highways.

The Atlantic City Expressway ($3.75 toll) connects Philadelphia and South Jersey and deposits right into the center of town as well as to the Marina district and Brigantine.

The Garden State Parkway (toll) intersects the Expressway about 10 miles away from Atlantic City. It connects New York City and Cape May. A slower (toll-free) alternative is US Highway 9.

Be aware if driving into Atlantic City that parking can be quite expensive, especially if you are staying at one of the casino hotels and parking in the hotel garage.

By Bus

Greyhound now offers scheduled service from Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York directly to many of the Atlantic City casinos, as well as the Atlantic City Bus Terminal. Round-trip fares are typically between $20–40, depending on the city and destination. Greyhound's website lists the routes and schedules offered, as well as the various free play offers for bus passengers.

Many charter bus operators will offer Atlantic City trips originating from other parts of New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New York. Many trips will come with casino chips and/or food vouchers for patrons. This particular route is popular with senior citizens.

New Jersey Transit provides comfortable motorcoach transportation from New York City (Port Authority Bus Terminal) and many points within New Jersey to the Atlantic City Bus Terminal. Check the NJ Transit website for fare and schedule information.

There are also buses from Manhattan's Chinatown to Atlantic City.

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Getting Around

The most popular way to get around Atlantic City is on the 4-mile (6.4 km) long Boardwalk (the oldest in the United States), as most of the operating casinos are on the Boardwalk. While one's feet are the most popular way of navigating the boards, there are also old-fashioned rolling chairs that can be hired. These shaded surreys are rolled up and down the length of the Boardwalk by experienced guides, who are out soliciting riders day and night. The fee is based on the distance traveled, but expect a minimum fare of $5 plus tip.

Bikes can be rented as well, with the Boardwalk being the favorite spot to ride. Note that bikes are only allowed on the Boardwalk from 6:30AM to 10AM during the summer months, so be sure to get up early. Bikes of all sorts can be rented (single, tandem). One bike rental location is B & K Bike Rental at N Carolina Ave and the Boardwalk.

Taxicabs are plentiful throughout the city. The easiest way to get a cab is to call a local service, go to a taxi queue outside of any casino, or visit drop-off points at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The maximum cost for a taxi ride within city limits for up to five passengers is $13, not including tip.

One can also travel between the casinos along Pacific Avenue, which runs parallel to the Boardwalk 1 block inland, aboard the Atlantic City Jitney (tel. +1 609 344-8642), a fleet of minibuses that run 24 hours a day; the fare is $2.25. The Jitneys also run to the Marina section of the city, where the Golden Nugget, Borgata, Water Club, and Harrah's casinos are located.

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

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Eat

  • Atlantic City Bar and Grill, 1217 Pacific Avenue, ☏ +1 609 348-8080. 11AM-after midnight. Family owned restaurant in the heart of Atlantic City offering a wide variety of seafood, steaks, and spirits in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere.
  • Bill’s Bar & Burger, 777 Harrah’s Boulevard (inside Harrah’s Resort), ☏ +1 609 441-5800. daily 12PM-4AM. Classic comfort food and micro-brewed beers with bay views. $9-$13.
  • Dock's Oyster House, 2405 Atlantic Av., ☏ +1 609 345-0092. Opened in 1897, continues to offer items from their original menu. Raw bar, extensive selection of sea food. The food and service are both great.
  • Dos Caminos, 777 Harrah’s Boulevard (inside Harrah’s Resort), ☏ +1 609 441-5747. Su-Th 5PM-11PM, F Sa 5PM-1AM. Modern Mexican cuisine, made-to-order guacamole & tequila cocktails. $12-$36.
  • izakaya, One Borgata Way (inside Borgata Hotel/Casino), ☏ +1 609 317-1000. Modern Japanese pub serving sushi, sake and robatayaki in a sensual, yet contemporary atmosphere. Tempting cocktails and sharable plates for after-hours nosh and drinks, or a delicious late night meal.
  • Longhorn Steakhouse, 2108 Atlantic Avenue (at crossing with Arkansas Ave.), ☏ +1 609 344-2050. Steak and margaritas. Appetizers: $10, Main Dishes: $15-30.
  • Sammy D's, 777 Harrah's Blvd (inside Harrah's Resort), ☏ +1 609 441-5402. Su 7AM-11PM, M 7AM-2PM 5PM-11PM, Tu 7AM-2PM, W Th 7AM-2PM 5PM-11PM, F 7AM-2PM 5PM-1AM, Sa 7AM-1AM. American fare by Chef Sammy DeMarco. $9-$54.
  • Tony Boloney's, 300 Oriental Ave, ☏ +1 609 344-8669. Wed-Sun 11 AM-9 PM. Indigenous Atlantic City pizza-joint, winner of the Guy Fieri Cheesesteak Battle, and local hang-out.
  • Tony's Baltimore Grill, 2800 Atlantic Av., ☏ +1 609 345-5766. Old-style pizza and pasta, reasonable prices, a local favorite. Some people are not sold on the place, however.
  • White House Sub Shop, 2301 Arctic Ave, ☏ +1 609 345-1564. 11-11. Great sandwiches made from great bread, celeb pictures on the wall - look for the Beatles pics.

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Drink

As in Las Vegas, alcoholic beverages are provided 24/7 for "free" to gamblers at the casinos. Expect options to be rather limited (i.e. well drinks and mass-market beer) unless you're a high-roller, though.

  • Ducktown Tavern, 2400 Atlantic Ave, ☏ +1 609 449-1212. 24/7. Local sports bar with three happy hours. It's the place to go outside the casinos to watch sports and eat good wings (note, however, that other than wings the food is just OK). It's a local but friendly crowd; it's particularly popular with Atlantic City police, as the happy hours coincide with ACPD shift changes. Open 24/7, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They carry NFL and NCAA Football packages.
  • Pic-A-Lilli Pub, 231 S. Tennessee Ave, ☏ +1 609 344-1113. Lauded by locals and tourists alike for its down-to-earth crowd, cheap drinks, and great bar food. The place to go for wings.
  • Culmone's Bar, 2437 Atlantic Ave, ☏ +1 609 348-5170. Divey locals bar known for its good, cheap beer and attentive, sometimes-strict bartenders.
  • Chelsea Pub and Inn, 8 S Morris Ave, ☏ +1 609 345-4916. Good mixed drinks for relatively cheap, a pleasant atmosphere, and a laid back crowd make this pub a favorite with locals.

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Sleep

Most of the hotels in Atlantic City are large chain hotel/casino combinations, which means lower prices and a high level of service but uninspiring decor and neon-lit lobbies. Not exactly the place to go if you like little Bed and Breakfasts, but an easy place to find a clean bed and a continental breakfast.

  • Bally's Atlantic City, Park Place & The Boardwalk, ☏ +1 609 340-2000.
  • The Borgata, One Borgata Way or 1501 MGM Mirage Boulevard, ☏ +1 609 317-8888. Luxury hotel with casino, spa, shopping, entertainment, and restaurants.
  • Caesars Atlantic City, Pacific Avenue & The Boardwalk, ☏ +1 609 343-2495.
  • Clarion Inn Atlantic City North, 342 E. White Horse Pike (Take US Rt 30 E. from Atlantic City), ☏ +1 609-272-8700. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, fitness center. Wi-fi, continental breakfast included.
  • Flagship Resort, Main Street & Gramercy Place (60 N. Main), ☏ +1 609 343-1400. Ocean view.
  • Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard, ☏ +1 609 441-2000. Spa and salon, meeting facility, bars, restaurants, 80000 square foot casino, shops and marina.
  • Harrah's Atlantic City, 777 Harrah's Boulevard, ☏ +1 609 441-5000. Occasionally marked down (as low as $59 a night) on hotel website.
  • Irish Pub & Inn, 164 St. James Place, ☏ +1 609 344-9063. old-school Irish pub/inn.
  • Resorts Atlantic City, North Carolina Avenue & The Boardwalk, ☏ +1 609 344-6000.
  • Sheraton Atlantic City, 2 Convention Center Way, ☏ +1 609-344-3535. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12 noon. Art Deco style hotel in central location.
  • Showboat Atlantic City, 801 Boardwalk, ☏ +1 609-487-4600. Closed in 2014; one hotel tower has reopened under new management, but the casino floor remains shuttered.
  • Tropicana Casino And Resort, Brighton Avenue & The Boardwalk, ☏ +1 609 340-4000.
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
  • Ocean Resort Casino, 500 Boardwalk, toll-free: +1-866-50-OCEAN (62326). Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM.
  • The Claridge - A Radisson Hotel, 123 South Indiana Ave (Park Place & The Boardwalk), toll-free: +1-844-224-7386. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Accommodation in Atlantic City

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Atlantic City searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Contributors

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This is version 15. Last edited at 11:25 on Jun 18, 19 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

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