- For other places with the same name, see Atlantic City (disambiguation).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Atlantic City Aquarium - Ocean Life Center, 800 North 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.
- 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: $8, Seniors: $4, 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.
- Atlantic City Historical Museum, New Jersey Av. and the Boardwalk, ☎ +1 609 344-1943. Interesting insights into the city's history through various exhibits and artifacts. Look for the larger-than life Mr. Peanut! Free.
- New Jersey Korean War Memorial, Park Place and the Boardwalk, just north of Bally's. Commemorates those who served in the Korean War. Free.
- Atlantic City Shows. Atlantic City has grown to be one of the north easts main stops for all large concerts and tours. With Boardwalk Hall being a great place to see a show or a world championship boxing match – the entertainment with Atlantic City Shows never ends.
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.
- Boardwalk. Explore the world's first boardwalk! The Atlantic City Boardwalk is the backbone of this seaside resort city, providing access to hotels, resorts, shops, casinos and more. Stemming from the Atlantic City Boardwalk are several piers featuring a number of attractions. Steel Pier features a small amusement park right off the Atlantic City Boardwalk with rides, games and food. Garden Pier is known as the arts and cultural center of the Atlantic City Boardwalk complete with Atlantic City historical museum and Atlantic City Art Center.
- Beach. Atlantic City is right on the beach at the Jersey Shore; you can go swimming, tanning, fishing, or surfing. Atlantic City is one of the few places in New Jersey where access to the beach is free. Many of the resorts are located right on the beach and boardwalk.
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.
- Steel's Fudge, 1633 Boardwalk, toll-free: +1-888-783-3571. The oldest continuously family owned & operated fudge producer in the world, Steel's has two locations on the famous Atlantic City boardwalk, and makes and sells delicious fudge, taffy, cookies, and candies.
- Atlantic City Outlets, Right behind Caesars casino (around Michigan Ave and Atlantic and Arctic Aves). Opened a few years ago and still expanding.
- Bass Pro Shops, 30 N Christopher Columbus Blvd. 85,000 square feet of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor recreation merchandise.
- Playground, 1 Atlantic Ocean. A shopping, dining, and nightlife destination built on what was an industrial pier many years ago. Home to upscale shops such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
- Hamilton Mall, 4403 Black Horse Pike. About 13 miles away in Mays Landing. Anchors include J.C. Penney, Macy's and Sears.
- 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-$36.
- izakaya, One Borgata Way, Atlantic City 08401, ☎ +1 609 317-1000. Modern Japanese pub serving sushi, sake and robatayaki in a sensual, yet contemporary atmosphere. Tempting cocktails and sharable plates for after-hours nosh and drinks, or a delicious late night meal.
- Longhorn Steakhouse, 2108 Atlantic Avenue (at crossing with Arkansas Ave.), ☎ +1 609 344-2050. Steak and margaritas. Appetizers: 10$, 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. 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 Avenue, ☎ +1 609 345-1564. 11-11. Great sandwiches made from great bread, celeb pictures on the wall—look for the Beatles pics.
- Street vendors on the Boardwalk sell items such as pretzels, hot dogs, pizza, salt water taffy, funnel cakes and cotton candy.
- Ducktown Tavern, 2400 Atlantic Ave, ☎ +1 609 449-1212. 24/7. Local sports bar with three happy bars. It's the place to go outside the casinos to watch sports and eat good wings. It's a local but friendly crowd. 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.
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.
- Tropicana Casino And Resort, Brighton Avenue & The Boardwalk, ☎ +1 609 340-4000.
- Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, 1000 Boardwalk (at Virginia Avenue), ☎ +1 609 449-1000. Casino and hotel will cease operation December 20, 2014. Casbah nightclub will make you feel like one of the glitterati, if that's your thing.
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.
- Philadelphia, 1 hour away to the northwest
- New York City, just over 2 hours to the north
- Allentown, home of Dorney Park, 120 miles to the northwest
- Cape May and Wildwood, only 30 minutes to the south
- Ocean City, only 15 minutes south on the next island
- Long Port 10 minutes and still on the same island
- Brigantine 2 minutes away across the Absecon Inlet, bridge located next to Harrah's
|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|