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hip guide to Atlantic City

The Hip Guide to Atlantic City

The largest city on the Shore, Atlantic City may have the nickname “Vegas on the East Coast,” but if you think it’s all busloads of pensioners and penny slots, think again! The glamorized, Prohibition-era Atlantic City as depicted in the smash HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” may be a work of fiction, but there’s still plenty of luxury to find here, and yes, you can take a ride along the boardwalk in a traditional rolling chair.

Accommodations

Uber-chic hotels may not immediately spring to mind when you think of Atlantic City, but rest assured, you can sleep in style here.

All the major casinos have hotels, but we think the Rendezvous Tower at the Resort Casino Hotel deserves a special mention. Standard rooms at this 27-story hotel start at over 500 square feet, giving you all the space that you could need during your stay.

Situated in the center of the Atlantic City boardwalk, the historical and statuesque Claridge Hotel is one of the last “architectural masterpieces” originating from the boardwalk days of the 1920s and 1930s. This old dame is still full of the refined glamor that attracted icons like Princess Grace of Monaco, Al Capone and Marilyn Monroe to its doors. Tastefully remodeled throughout, it caters to the needs of 21st-century travelers, but you can still get a glimpse of the old days in its two original ballrooms.

Casinos

If you visit Atlantic City, you must spend time in at least one casino, though a major concern that brick-and-mortar casinos have faced is increased competition from online operators, who provide enticing bonus codes and free spins offers that draw in new customers. However, the casinos here in Atlantic City are still going strong, and you can find everything from classic gaming parlors to mega-resorts with extravagant spas.

One of the longest-running casinos on the boardwalk, Caesars Atlantic City, which, much like its Vegas counterpart, is a super-sized and super-kitsch powerhouse. Decked out in that unique mixture of ancient Greek and Roman- “inspired” decor, Caesars is one of the best places to go for some good old-fashioned casino gaming. If you can drag yourself away from the casino floor, there’s The Playground mall to discover. Built on a 900-foot pier over the ocean, this is a shopper’s paradise with luxury stores like Gucci, Burberry and Tiffany & Co. If you get hungry, you can treat yourself to some great British grub at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill.

The Water Club at Borgata, on the other hand, is pure luxury, from its 800 rooms and suites to its decadent, two-story spa. This $400 million development spans 43 stories in which you’ll find the previously mentioned Immersion Spa, three urban loft residencies, heated pools and a selection of designer boutiques. As you would expect, the casino at the Borgata attracts the high-rolling crowd, which makes for a thrilling night at the tables.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Once the sun goes down, and after you’ve witnessed the spectacular sunset from the beach, there’s still plenty to see and do in Atlantic City.

Still going strong despite being almost 90-years-old, the Boardwalk Hall arena is always a venue with a diverse calendar of all-around sporting entertainment. Now the official home of New Jersey’s premier AFL team, the Atlantic City Blackjacks, a highlight of the 2019 calendar includes the SHOWTIME Women’s’ Middleweight Championship battle between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer in April.

There are also some great comedy nights taking place regularly in different venues throughout the city. The Atlantic City Comedy Club is the premier weekly night venue, but it’s also worth checking out Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino and the Borgata Comedy Club.

Even though Atlantic City may not produce the year-round extravaganzas that Vegas does, you can still check out a world-class gig or performance here. Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and the comedian Sinbad are some of the big names coming to Atlantic City this year, and the city’s classical ballet company, the Atlantic City Ballet, will dance a season that includes performances of “Romeo & Juliet” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

Whatever show you decide to take in, finish off the night at one of the many nightclubs in the city. Our favorites include Boogie Nights at the Tropicana, Anthem Lounge and Red Room.

Atlantic City Resorts

The Worthwhile Highlights Of The Atlantic City Resorts

Most would agree that the resorts and casinos of Atlantic City have had their ups and downs when it comes to their reputations. At one point they were a rising alternative to Las Vegas, or at least that was the vision. At another, they’d begun to resemble a sort of sprawling ghost town of failing brands and sunken investments. Now the most honest assessment might be that they’re somewhere in between. The Atlantic City resorts aren’t particularly glamorous, and they’re certainly no Las Vegas Strip. However, if you visit for the first time you may also find that talk of their general decay has been exaggerated, and in many cases they’re still plenty of fun.

Particularly if you’re looking to Atlantic City for a quick trip, or if you’re just swinging through to keep yourself entertained, there’s still plenty to do between the resorts. Bars, restaurants, casino games, and other little amusements and luxuries abound, with these being some of the most worthwhile highlights.

Gypsy Bar at The Borgata

The Borgata is sometimes perceived as one of the classier establishments remaining in Atlantic City, and includes one of the more active casino floors and a few lovely places to eat. But the Gypsy Bar in the resort is perhaps its main highlight, even if it’s not as noticeable as some of the others. Zagat describes this bar as having fine tequilas and a deep beer list, as well as a swanky yet casual atmosphere with no cover or dress code – and that pretty much tells the story. It’s rare to find a bar that so seamlessly combines a casino atmosphere and big city menu with the accessibility and ease of a more ordinary watering hole.

Poker Room at Harrah’s

Most of the major casino resorts have some semblance of a poker room, and the one at the Borgata is also sometimes recommend. The Borgata’s is impressive in its own way, but it’s also somewhat sprawling in a way that calls to mind a glorified bingo hall more than any sort of fancy or high-end poker lair. Harrah’s is a little classier in this regard, and has a more intimate, attractive poker room where there’s always good action for those who enjoy the game.

Ocean Resort Sportsbook

The Ocean Resort Casino is one of the more attractive and alluring in Atlantic City, and has one of the nicest casino floors as well. It’s also home to about the only worthwhile sportsbook facilities remaining in the city. New Jersey now has the most extensive market outside of Las Vegas when it comes to gambling, and that includes internet-based sports betting. This, coupled with the fact that some of the other sportsbooks are just a bit seedy, has left people with relatively few appealing in-person options. At Ocean Resort Casino however, this is a great place to place a bet, have drink, and watch some sports if you’re so inclined.

Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars

There are aspects of Caesars at Atlantic City that are somewhat overrated. For instance, its rooftop pool is really nothing remarkable, and the resort as a whole isn’t too impressive next to its sister property in Las Vegas. However, the vaguely Roman-themed baths and spa facility within Caesars are hard not to be drawn to once you check them out. They may well comprise the best spa in the city.

Stockton Seaview Golf

Simply put, the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club includes two of New Jersey’s oldest and most prestigious courses. There are 36 holes’ worth of tour-level golf for those who like the game and book tee times far enough in advance. Golf in general isn’t something you hear too much about when you look into Atlantic City, but during the warmer months of the year, playing these courses is some of the most fun you can have in town.

Binge-Worthy Jersey: Spend National Popcorn Day Streaming a Jersey Marathon

Cold, winter weather is on the way, and Hip New Jersey sees a lot of binge watching in the forecast as well. So, in honor of National Popcorn Day, fill up a tub of popcorn and celebrate with some of the New Jersey based films and shows we found currently streaming!

Chasing Amy

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Streaming on: Netflix, Hoopla

No list about New Jersey and films could ever be complete without Kevin Smith. While several of his films are available for streaming (and some notoriously are not) our pick is Chasing Amy, filmed almost entirely in Red Bank, NJ and Asbury Park. There are many easily recognizable locations, including Jack’s Music Shoppe, which still stands and is neighbors with Smith’s own comic shop.

Plot: Holden and Banky are comic book artists and best friends. But their relationship and sanity are tested when Holden falls for Alyssa, also a comic book artist who is also a lesbian.

 

American Gangster

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Streaming on: Netflix

While many of the scenes take place in New Jersey were actually filmed in New York, the morgue scene was filmed at the NJ Army National Guard Armory in Morristown, New Jersey.

Plot: Based on the true story of Richie Roberts, an outcast New York City cop charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas.

 

Beautiful Mind

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Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Another biographical film, starring Russel Crowe – this time filming at many locations in New Jersey,  such as Princeton University, Paulus Hook (Jersey City), the Center for Molecular Medicine in BelleVille, Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison and Prudential Hall in Newark.

Plot: John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, but instead finds himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

 

Cinderella Man

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Streaming on: Showtime

If you have a New Jersey-based biographical film, clearly Russel Crowe is the go-to leading man. While the movie itself was filmed in Ontario, Canada, boxer James Braddock has deep ties to New Jersey. His nicknames included the Bulldog of Bergen and the Pride of New Jersey. He is buried in Tenafly, New Jersey and James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park in North Bergen, New Jersey is named in his honor .

Plot: During the Great Depression, underdog James Braddock, a washed-up boxer desperate to support his family stages a comeback, becoming a symbol of hope for the nation.

 

The Wrestler

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Streaming on: Starz

Filmed almost exclusively in New Jersey, some of the more recognizable spots in this drama are the Stiletto Club in Carlstadt, Dover Ballroom in Dover, and Frenchy’s Bar & Grill in Roselle Park. Other filming locations include Asbury Park, Linden, Rahway, and Bayonne.

Plot: Retired wrestler, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson deals with the difficulty of leaving behind his beloved wrestling career and attempts to make real connections with the world outside the arena.

 

Sopranos

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Streaming on: HBO GO, HBO NOW, and Amazon Prime

After six seasons, its hard to imagine an area of New Jersey untouched by the series. Some of the more well-known spots include Satin Dolls gentleman’s club in Lodi, Irvine-Cozzarelli Memorial Home in Belleville, Pizzaland in North Arlington and the Soprano’s home in North Caldwell.

Plot: Tony Soprano, a New Jersey-based  Italian-American mobster tries to balance his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organization.

 

Boardwalk Empire

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Streaming on: HBO GO, HBO NOW, and Amazon Prime

While the show was filmed primarily in New York and some of the locations are fictional, the titular Boardwalk is that of Atlantic City and the politics are real. This change of scenery is largely because of the modernization of Atlantic City and surrounding areas, although they were tempted to use Asbury Park for a while.

Plot: In Prohibition-era New Jersey, politicians play both sides of the law, working with mobsters and gangsters to profit from bootlegging in the area.