We’ve always had these grandiose visions of what a trip to Atlantic City would bring: cigar girls with fishnet thigh-highs, poker rooms full of chain-smoking mobsters, a thick steak with a nice view... While it’s no secret that Atlantic City has changed (i.e. deteriorated) since its glory days -- gone are both the olden days of men with thick accents and questionable affiliations, as well as the more recent (failed) revival days of glitzy resorts -- we still kinda pictured we'd find just that. But even so, there is fun to be had here, especially if you're making a quick trip from NYC, like the Real Housewives of New York City did in last week's episode. (They stayed at the Borgata.)
Here are a six tips we wish we knew before visiting, which will help you to have the most fun possible.
1. You Don’t Have to Stay on the Boardwalk
There are some great hotel options off the boardwalk -- like Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Harrah’s Resort, and the Golden Nugget, to name a few -- and most offer shuttles to and from the boardwalk so you don't feel quite so disconnected.
2. Rooftop Pools Are Seasonal
Many hotels in Atlantic City, like Caesars Atlantic City and Golden Nugget (pictured), have rooftop pools with killer views. It’s easy to get swept up in the online photos and start dreaming of mai tais as you whip out your credit card to book. But if you’re traveling anytime other than peak summer season (Memorial Day to Labor Day), it’s likely those rooftop pools will not be open.
3. The Wi-Fi Isn’t Free in Most Hotel Rooms
So be sure to check our reviews before making the assumption. Tropicana Casino and Resort (pictured) is a notable exception, thankfully.
4. Bring Your ID Everywhere
You’ll need it to order drinks and gamble (each time you sit at a new table), and at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City (pictured), you’ll also need it to get into the enclosed pool, which is adults-only.
5. Half of a Sub from White House Sub Is Still a Footlong
Ask around for opinions or do a quick search on Google -- everyone will tell you to stop at White House Sub Shop, and for good reason. This local favorite has been serving up quality sandwiches for over 65 years. They’re famous for their Italian grinders, but if you’re not into that, try their tasty cheesesteaks. Whatever your order, be warned: they are massive. A half sandwich is roughly 12 inches long, and a full is twice that. Plan accordingly!
6. Yes, Things Are Older
Atlantic City has been a destination for years -- and so have its hotels. Many have rooms that haven’t been updated in a decade or two, and it’s something you just have to roll with when you check in. Unless you’re booking an executive suite or the penthouse, expect your room to be just a little bit gritty around the edges. It’s part of the charm (maybe). Or opt for one of the area's most luxe options, like The Water Club at Borgata (pictured).