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.
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.
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.