For years, I had heard and read so many negative things about Atlantic City that I scratched it off the list of places to see. Since starting 95 Digital, however, I’ve decided to keep an open mind to all that Interstate 95 offers. One can’t talk about a destination if we don’t see it for ourselves. Despite unpopular opinion, I decided to make Atlantic City (Entertainment Capital of the Jersey Shore) a part of my most recent travel destinations.
I tried to imagine what to expect of Atlantic City based on personal trips to Vegas casinos and hotels, and from how others described the Jersey boardwalk to be. That was mistake number one because Vegas and Atlantic City are very different, and why I think some people leave disappointed.
Driving in to the city you can see some of the water that surrounds it, with views of the larger hotels in the horizon. The next thing I noticed once we exited the expressway were the numerous shops that made up the Tanger Outlets. There are over 100 stores that make up the open-air mall and I felt that I saw more stores than actual hotels/casinos, in comparison to The Strip.
We stayed at Caesars Palace. We went during the middle of the week which means we saved a lot of money. The hotel was nice. It’s more like a baby Caesars with 548 rooms compared to the almost 4,000 rooms at Caesars Vegas. You absolutely recognize what hotel you are in with the Roman architecture, but it’s just mini sized and not nearly as opulent.
Our room was in the Forum Tower. It was clean and nicely decorated. Many reviews suggested that people not stay in this tower because they are furthest from the casino and many of the rooms overlook the lobby. I honestly didn’t mind this. You don’t go to a place like Atlantic City to stay in the room most of the time and the distance from the gambling was not the far.
You could see the lobby from our room and anyone nosy enough could see you if you had your window curtains open. And I appreciated not hearing a bunch of bells, whistles and rowdy guests when I’m ready to go to bed anyway.
Speaking of rowdy, I don’t know if it was because of the days of the week or time of year that we stayed there, or if it’s just Atlantic City in general, but it felt relatively quiet in the city compared to Vegas. Vegas is loud, bright, lots of wild crazy folk hanging out everywhere and plenty of nudie fliers being handed out on The Strip. Atlantic City, in my opinion was the absence of all of that – hence another reason why a certain type of person may not like it.
I saw mostly couples, senior citizens and families. No soliciting for adult entertainment was done on the boardwalk. Some reviews state that homeless people harassed you for money on the boardwalk. The only people we were harassed by were push cart drivers wanting to give us rides and time share salespeople who wanted to offer us “free money” to visit their hotel and sit in a presentation. Other than that, there was not a crowd, I felt safe, it was a relaxing and had a more mature atmosphere.
The Boardwalk had a mixed vibe. It’s kind of cool to know that on the other side of the sand dunes behind your hotel there are miles of beach and a beautiful view of the ocean. But the desolation you see as you stroll the promenade is a sad reminder of what once was and possibly could be again with the right investors, a little remodeling and a new attitude.
There are so many closed hotels, stores and restaurants. If you like to souvenir shop, you have plenty of options because that’s mostly what’s open for business. The Playground Mall attached to Caesars was practically empty. I’ve never seen a mall that size with only about five or so operating stores. But I’m sure the outlets had a lot to do with that so hanging out in that area can more than satisfy your shopping needs.
In general, we had a good time. I think Atlantic City is a good place to come for a quick two to three-day getaway. You can sleep in the sand, shop, eat, or gamble. If the Steel Pier is open, as it wasn’t on our days there, you can even have fun in a more carnival type atmosphere. If you do your homework and plan in advance, you can find affordable nights in a nice hotel, cheap eats if you’re on a budget, and enough to see and do to fill your time. I think everyone should visit at least once, then you can decide for yourself if it’s for you. We definitely will visit again, especially with the opening of the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel this summer. Hopefully you’ll give it a chance. See you on the boardwalk!