It’s been a long week and all you want is to go on a weekend getaway. Atlantic City sounds like a good idea.
But in your mind, you are wondering why you would even go to Atlantic City.
Gambling is expensive.
I do not have money for that.
I know what you are thinking. What are the best things to do in Atlantic City that don’t involve gambling?
Well, let me tell you. There is way more to do in Atlantic City than gambling.
Not that there is anything wrong with gambling. It’s just not my thing. If you are game for it you never know how much you can win on a penny machine.
Why go to Atlantic City
Before we get into the best things to do in Atlantic City let’s talk about why it is a good idea and why it is easily a great day trip from NYC.
First. You do not need a car.
As long as you can find your way to Port Authority getting to Atlantic City is easy. It is only two and a half hours away from New York City. And most buses have wifi. So you can snapchat to your heart’s delight.
Greyhound is $45 for an open-ended round trip ticket.
However, once you arrive at the casino of your choice you are given $20 in slot play. That is sorta kinda free money. Can’t go wrong with free money.
Second. You can score a free or discounted hotel. Scoring a free or discounted hotel will definitely help the budget.
Even if you do not gamble sign up for a casino rewards card. I have one (I do not gamble) and I am constantly getting emails for free or discounted nights.
It’s easier to find free rooms during the weekdays however I wouldn’t let that stop you if you are heading down for the weekend.
You may have better luck in the winter months but it is always worth a shot.
Even if you choose to not stay the night it is easy enough to get a bus back. There are many options for buses running throughout the day and night so there is no cut off as to when you can jump on a bus and head home.
Third. There is a lot more to do than you think.
When people first think of Atlantic City they think Boardwalk Empire.
Drinking, gambling, girls. Well while you can find all of that in Atlantic City there is so much more to do.
I know you’re already thinking well tell me what to do…… Ok fine. Here you go.
Top 6 best things to do in Atlantic City Besides Gambling
1. Atlantic City Boardwalk
Taking a walk on the Boardwalk is such an amazing way to start the morning and the best part is it is free. The Boardwalk is 4 miles long. Perfect for a morning run if that is what you are into. I personally like to people watch and enjoy the salty sea air (even in the winter) but there is plenty to see and do such as The Pier, Steel Pier and let’s not forget munching on some Saltwater Taffy. Also if you are a Monopoly fan you will find the street names familiar. That is because Parker Brothers used the names of the streets in Atlantic City for Monopoly.
If the weather is in your favor kick off your shoes and take advantage of the beach. It is one of the bests things to do in Atlantic City all year round. In the winter bundle up and watch the surfers. I love doing this. In the summer take a dip in the nice cool (chilly, freezing, refreshing) water. When the weather warms up you can almost always find me on the beach. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch on the sand. You will not be disappointed.
Want a different view of the boardwalk from the water. Check out this Skyline Ocean Cruise.
2. Atlantic City Beach
In the summer bring your beach chairs and a cooler and plan the spend the day at the beach. With over 7 miles of coastline, you will be sure to find a spot. Set up shop near the Hard Rock and you will have easy access to beverages all day long at the beach bar. Or opt for one of the many waterspouts available on the beach like parasailing.
And if you’re looking for something on the water go on a Dolphin Watching Cruise. You can find more information about it here.
Need some ideas for awesome places to visit in the US. Check out our US Bucket List.
3. Go to the Spa or Indoor Pool
If you are looking to splurge the Spa is the way to go. I am a fan of the Spa at the Water Club but most of the hotels in the area have fabulous spas from what I am told. If you are on a budget check out the indoor pool (if you are staying the night at one of the hotels) or get a day pass. They have a fabulous lap pool and spa with view of the ocean and Atlantic City. I will take it. Day passes are usually not incredibly expensive. Prices do change so call the hotel of your choice and inquire as to the price. In the past I have scored day passes for $20.
4. Steel Pier
Whether you are here with the kids or not who doesn’t love a good carnival. The Pier is open on the weekends from Noon- Midnight however be sure to check the hours before you go as they change depending on the season. It is a great way to spend the afternoon or even the evening. Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel ($15 for adults) or relive your inner childhood on the carousel. Or if you are cheap like me walk around and just take in the atmosphere. What is better than the sound of happiness and laughter. Don’t forget to take pics. I love carnival pics. They are so fun.
5. See a Show
One of the best things to do in Atlantic City is to see a show. Yes I know. This cost money. But shows are cheap in Atlantic City. For example the comedy show at the Borgata is only $20 bucks. I have also found that you can find the same shows that you find in New York for way cheaper. For example when Janet Jackson was touring tickets in Atlantic City were half the price as in New York City. Another example is one of my favorite comedians Sebastien Maniscalco. Tickets to see him at the Beacon Theatre can run upwards of $200 however Borgata had tickets for $60. If there is a show you really want to see I would highly suggest checking out ticket prices in Atlantic City. I am pretty sure you will save some money.
If you didn’t know I love to shop. Atlantic City has two great options. The Outlets where you can find some great deals and the The Pier which has some nice high end shops. I suggest window shopping at the Pier and bargain hunting in the Outlets because you can get better deals elsewhere in my opinion. They also have a few great restaurants at the Pier which brings to one of my favorite and best things to do in Atlantic City.
Looking for more things to do in Atlantic City. Keep Reading.
Romantic Things to Do in Atlantic City: Sunset Dinner.
Ok. This cost money too. But you have been saving so much money all day so you can afford to splurge. Right!!?? One of my favorite places to have dinner in Atlantic City is the Chart House. They have great views and are perfect for a sunset dinner. My second favorite spot is The Pier at Ceasars. However if the weather is warm you can find me at the beach, with a blanket and some wine. Whether you treat yourself to dinner at the Chart House or a picnic on the beach there is something about Atlantic City at dusk that I absolutely love. It’s almost as if the city calms down a bit (calm before the storm) before the night life comes out.
Nightlife in Atlantic City
If you are looking to venture out but want to skip the slot machines many of the casinos have plenty of entertainment for the non-gambler. Let’s start with two of the newest casinos on the boardwalk.
Hard Rock: Atlantic City
With several bars and live entertainment everywhere you turn this is a great spot to have a beverage, people watch and enjoy the live music. The Lobby Bar is my favorite place to grab a drink and enjoy the band.
Whether you are looking to have a glass of wine while listening to a jazz piano, dance the night away at the Burlesque Club or have a dance party with hotel guests in the hotel lobby this is a great place for the non-gambler. The property is situated in a way that you never even have to set foot in the casino if you don’t to. And the gardens over looking the ocean and boardwalk are a great place to spend a summer evening with friends or a special someone.
Have you been to Atlantic City? Would you consider going for a day trip or even for the weekend. There are so many great things to do in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City, NJ
Sandals: Forever 21 Available here.
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.