Atlantic City

For other places with the same name, see Atlantic City (disambiguation).
Atlantic City casinos at night.

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.

Today, many visitors come just for the casinos, which revitalized the A.C. after decades of decline. But 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) with a fifth (Trump Taj Mahal Casino, owned by bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts) at risk of closure.

Get in

By plane

Atlantic City International Airport (IATA: 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 (IATA: PHL) is located about 60 miles to the west of Atlantic City. It is significantly larger than Atlantic City International and has more flights.

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.

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.

Get around

Walking along the AC Boardwalk

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 five of the eight 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.

Handicap mobility scooter and wheelchair rentals are available through Diamond Scooters (tel. +1 609 646-0003). They will deliver a scooter or wheelchair to your hotel of choice. Make a reservation several days in advance to have your equipment waiting for you when you arrive.



A view of the Atlantic City Boardwalk from the Tropicana Casino Hotel

There is plenty to do in Atlantic City. Most people go to "AC" to gamble in one of the many resorts. Atlantic City casinos offer slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, keno, race books and specialty table games.

In addition to the beach in Atlantic City, the southern New Jersey Shore boasts many other beaches to the south including Ocean City, The Wildwoods, and Cape May - with their own boardwalks containing amusements, restaurants, shops and souvenir stores. Gambling in New Jersey, however, is restricted to Atlantic City.



A pizza vendor on the boardwalk



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.

Stay safe

Atlantic City has many high rise condominiums and other major hotels along the Boardwalk and Marina Districts. The Atlantic City Police Department patrols the Boardwalk via bicycle and ATV details. Like any other major city, it is always wise to be aware of your surroundings in this heavily visited tourism district. Many areas away from the casinos are significantly less safe; as of 2012, Atlantic City has the second-highest violent crime rate in the state.

Like many cities that attract money and gambling, Atlantic City has a significant population of homeless beggars. The homeless aren't aggressive and are usually found asking for change on the boardwalk. Simply say "no" or ignore them. They'll usually move onto the next person.

The casinos themselves are very well-policed and if you run into problems, simply ask security for assistance. Be careful with your winnings! There's always a chance that pick pockets are waiting for an opportunity to cause trouble. If you're lucky enough to win at the slots, but feel uncomfortable carrying large sums of cash to your car or hotel room, ask the casino for either an escort or to receive your winnings via check.

Go next

Routes through Atlantic City

Philadelphia Pleasantville  W  E  END
END  N  S  Ventnor Cape May
Philadelphia Egg Harbor City ← Jct N S  W  E  END
New Castle/Chester Pleasantville  W  E  END
Philadelphia Egg Harbor City  NW  SE  END

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