As summer is officially over according to the calendar, I wanted to recap and reminisce about my summer adventures in the infamous Atlantic City. If you ever watched Boardwalk Empire, I can tell you this much – a lot of it is still the same. Salt water taffy stores, rolling carts and of course the never ending boardwalk entertainment.
In my opinion there are two Atlantic Cities – winter and summer. Unfortunately, AC does not have the same climate luxury as Las Vegas, thus come winter time it does feel a bit deserted. However, if you are there to gamble, party and just relax – then believe you me, you will not even notice! When we go to AC during the “off” months, we usually stay in the marina part of the city. It hosts newer casino’s such as The Borgata, as well as Borgata’s sister hotel The Water Club. Harrah’s and The Golden Nugget neighbor The Borgata, and even though I have not had the chance to stay at either one, I did attend one of Harrah’s “Pool after Dark” parties. The pool is pretty impressive I must say!
Let’s get back to winter AC shall we? Ok, so we went there last winter for a friends birthday party and stayed at the Borgata. Here are a couple if things that I absolutely adore about this casino – first one is security! Hotel part of the casino has a special entrance that is guarded by security and you are only allowed in if you have a room key. Next part is booking rooms! Since this casino is fairly new, all of the rooms are absolutely the same! No need to specify you prefer a room in a specific tower, with renovations. You will get a very nice spacious room, with all of the amenities, updates and even if you do not end up on the highest floor, you will still have beautiful views from your floor to ceiling windows.
The Borgata has numerous fine and casual restaurants, and if you are a fan of the Food Network you are in luck as it hosts restaurants of both Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck. I was lucky enough to dine at both, and I can tell you this much, you will not be short of choice, nor will you be disappointed! Steaks are grilled to perfection, your pizza is brick oven, you have all of the traditional sides to choose from, and dessert is nothing short of awesome!
If you are not in a food coma after your dinner, or if you are young enough to go clubbing, proceed to Mur Mur night club for some dancing, or the Gypsy Bar for more drinks as well as live music. The latter has been our venue of choice lately, as with old age comes the need for more sleep :). I assure you though that Mur Mur is absolutely lots of fun too as I had the pleasure of having my 25th birthday there many moons ago.
If you are still standing by that time, proceed to the best part of the entire place – the casino! I am not much of a card person, but I do hit up the slots! Sex and the City has been my game of choice as of late and I have been dropping a pretty penny on this machine. I enjoy it as it is very interactive and it is not just watching the slots roll in front of your face. You get bonuses and other different girly games to play within the slot and it keeps you entertained and feeding the machine for more!
If you have the late night munchies, head over to Metropolitan for some late night snacks, coffee or even more drinks! If you are beat, get some rest and do check out the buffet the next morning for breakfast or brunch. It boasts numerous stations and you can have your eggs prepared in front of you any way that you wish!
Now, we have been to AC during winter time only, and during this trip we wanted to venture out to the boardwalk even though it was a bit chilly. I am so glad we did, because we immediately knew that we will be back once the weather was warm. Let’s talk about the boardwalk! Atlantic City boardwalk was once a host to over a dozen casinos, sadly now only 5 remain open. The big boys left standing are The Tropicana, Caesars Atlantic City, Ballys Atlantic City, Resorts, and Trump Taj. Each hotel has its own theme and its own benefits, depending on your taste. If you are looking to take a trip to far away India then Taj is your choice, if you want to travel back in time to the prohibition era then Resorts is where you want to be, Caesars is your choice for ancient Rome, Ballys for some Mardi Gras, and The Tropicana for some Havana goodness. This is when we knew we will be back in the summer time, and that we did – twice!
Now aside from the casinos, Atlantic City Boardwalk boasts with plenty of other entertainment – numerous restaurants, palm readers, massage parlors, small shopping stores, rolling carts, trams, amusement park, mini golf and endless salt water taffy shops! One more thing about the boardwalk – since Atlantic City is the birth of Ms. America you can take a picture getting crowned from the Miss America herself at the Kennedy Plaza right across from the Boardwalk Hall. Here is me, getting my Miss America on – in the winter though.
Aside from all of the above mentioned activities on the boardwalk, there is one that I prefer above everything else. The beach of course! Best part, no need to bring your own chair or umbrella as it can be rented from many places on the beach for a very affordable price.
Shopping in AC is not scarce, as you can either indulge in the luxury shops that are located at the Playground Pier or you can spend a day or two at Tanger Outlets and if you are from New York you will be very happy as New Jersey does not have any tax on clothes! One more thing – last floor of the Playground Pier holds a number of fine restaurants that you might want to indulge in ranging from the Buddakan to The Continental. While you are waiting for your table, you can relax with a drink and a view.
We spent our summer vacation in AC both times at The Tropicana. This casino is the perfect destination if you are looking for fun, excitement, good food and easy access to the boardwalk. It hosts plenty of versatile fine dining ranging from steak houses, sushi bars, Cuban cuisine, Asian fare, and Italian delicacies. We dined at the Cuba Libre and Carmines, and neither one disappointed. Cuba Libre provides an awesome ambiance if you want to travel to Cuba’s 1950’s, starting with decor and ending with live salsa music and dancing every Saturday night. Carmines is absolutely amazing as well, but you have to be careful when ordering food as their portions are all family style and are absolutely ginormous!
All of the casinos have pools, but most are indoor due to the North Eastern climate. However, The Trop has both, which solidified our decision to stay at this resort. The pool is not very big, but it does what it is meant to do – provide you some relief from the heat. Another good thing about the pool at The Trop is that you can rent a gazebo or a bed. We opted for a gazebo and I must say it was the greatest decision of our stay. We were secluded in our little area with plenty of privacy, drinks, food and just over all relaxation that we desperately needed. This is where we decided that instead of staying home and having a mandatory BBQ for Labor Day, we would come back here again for a long weekend and reap all of the benefits that this city has to offer.
On our second trip we concentrated on non other than shopping, beach and ofcourse – gambling! We didn’t win anything though, but my Sex and the City slot kept me occupied hours at a time.
Now there are a few things that I would do different on my next summer trip to Atlantic City and I hope that you take these into consideration when you book your trip.
- I would stay at Caesars. Why you might ask? Well, plainly because it is located smack in the middle of the strip. Tropicana is the last hotel and it sometimes becomes a bit burdensome having to walk back and forth. Caesars on the other hand is right next to the boardwalk hall, the Playground, various restaurants and all of the other action!
- I would check DOAC before hand to see what else is going on in the area as Atlantic City gets very busy during the summer time.
- I would dine at restaurants that are not inside of the casinos. There are plenty of restaurants on the boardwalk that are worth exploring, with divine views and plenty of entertainment
- Spend more time at the beach! Although it is very very hard with all of the casino action around you.
- Do not plan anything! Just wing it!
I hope that this post will inspire you to check out this wonderful place as just reminiscing about it makes me want to go back!