You’re looking to forget your worries, make some questionable decisions fuelled by free-flowing drinks, a buzzing atmosphere and a world-class gambling scene. We get you. It has to be Atlantic City or Vegas. The two top-tier cities in the U.S. for casinos, debauchery, fine dining, and memorable vacations. However there are some key differences between the two that set them apart.
So which should you visit?
We know and love both these destinations, so to help you decide, we’ll be discussing and comparing the key features of each. All so that you can better decide where to enjoy your next vacation! Atlantic City vs Las Vegas – let’s decide!
Las Vegas vs Atlantic City: An Overview
It’s the biggest, busiest, and arguably best party in America. Las Vegas, home to regretted marriages, world-class entertainment, and of course, many a casino, really is unparalleled in several ways.
The year-long Vegas sunshine means there are constant crowds in summer and winter alike, and although best known for its gambling scene, Las Vegas has so much to offer for anyone looking for a good time and an escape from their everyday life. From luxury dining and hotel options, to excessive shopping and a vibrant nightlife, it pretty much has it all.
It dazzles and amazes, and some say nothing can compare. Plus, if the bright lights and late nights get too much for you, Las Vegas is also conveniently placed close to incredible hiking and white water rafting in the Grand Canyon. It’s safe to say that Las Vegas lives up to its nickname: The Entertainment Capital of the World.
But as the most famous gambling city in the world, expect crowds and tourists – far more than in Atlantic City.
Around 2,500 miles away is Atlantic City, often referred to by just its initials AC. Opinions are mixed and well varied on the topic of Atlantic City. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have its merits.
In recent years, some have said the city seems to be dying. However it actually does have many casinos which live up to Vegas’ standards. Similarly, its fine dining scene has been on the up. And lastly, it offers one thing Vegas can’t – beaches and oceanfront!
In fact, Tripadvisor recently named Atlantic City “one of the top-trending beach destinations in the United States”. The famed boardwalk in the city – dating back to 1870 – perfectly showcases the city’s entertainment, and lends itself in part to Atlantic City’s own nicknames: America’s playground, and Monopoly City.
The beach is a huge plus to Atlantic City. But it doesn’t have the year-round good weather that Vegas has. In fact snow is a possibility during winter in Atlantic City, so Vegas may be a better choice during the colder seasons.
So, will it be Vegas’ famous Strip, or Atlantic City’s hip Boardwalk? Let’s help you decide by delving into each destination further!
Atlantic City vs Las Vegas: Casinos and Entertainment
Literally – you name it and they’ll have it. From slot machines to blackjack, roulette wheels and more, you won’t need any more options when it comes to casinos in these cities.
They’ll both have you quickly gambling away and swept up in their unique energies. We’ll highlight some of our favorites so you can head to the best spots in town to drink, have fun, and hopefully not lose all of that hard earned cash!
On the legendary Vegas Strip itself is MGM Grand Resort and Casino, taking up a whopping 170,000 square feet of space, with over 1,700 slot machines and 159 tables. As the name implies, it’s grand, impressive and filled with some of the best entertainment and nightlife Vegas has to offer. If you’re here to splurge, they have a luxurious Whiskey Lounge which offers a slightly less crowded game-play, as well as an exquisite selection of expensive whiskeys to quench your thirst all night long.
Other great options include Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, with over 2,200 slot machines. There’s more gambling opportunities for all levels and desires too, such as daily bingo and annual poker tournaments.
Similarly, Luxor Hotel and Casino, another Strip casino, is one of the few where you can play five-dollar blackjack all day long. Luxor even offer free daily lessons to help you sharpen your skills at their table games. So you can try betting with more than just luck on your side.
Lastly, Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, and The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino are both slightly more glamorous casinos. They have more bling and sparkles that give them a more intimate and luxurious feel.
The best part? Drinks in Vegas tend to be free as long as you keep placing those bets, so you’re guaranteed a good time either way.
If you’re looking to leave with more than you came with, do note that the bigger casinos on The Strip tend to have lower payouts than those in Downtown Vegas. Our tip: the fancier the casino, the tighter the wins.
As mentioned, akin to Vegas’ Strip is Atlantic City’s Boardwalk. As such, you can expect to find the hottest casinos just off the Boardwalk. Located centrally in town and with easy access, you’ll stumble across some of the city’s biggest name casinos such as Caesar’s Atlantic City, the Borgata, and Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino.
One of Atlantic City’s gems is said to be Ocean Casino Resort, and for good reason too. Situated along the Boardwalk, it is the epitome of luxury, and is a go-to casino known for faultless service and stunning modern interior design. They deliver on all the must-haves: slot machines, video reel and poker machines. They even offer a Blackjack Surrender move to every player.
Also up there with a fabulous ambience is the one and only Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. With a bit of rock and roll, a lot of excitement and entertainment, and a Vegas-style nightclub, Hard Rock has to be on your list if visiting. And if you’ve done your research, you’ll know they also have some amazing food options. So be sure to visit the restaurant at some point too.
Lastly, if you’re after a slightly less full-on casino experience, with relaxation and rowdiness, try The Water Club Hotel. It boasts a two-story Immersion spa, as well as indoor and outdoor pools so you can switch that mini dress for a bikini any month of the year.
Once again, drinks are free once you gamble, and Atlantic City casinos are open 24 hours a day.
Atlantic City vs Las Vegas: Hotels and Fine Dining
Many of the best casinos double as hotels so you can place bets until the early hours of the morning without a worry. Whilst scattered throughout both cities are tantalizingly good eating options. Wherever you go, follow our tips so you can spend your vacation feeling like a true celeb.
You may already have heard of it, as it’s everyone’s favorite. The Bellagio Resort is a beautiful resort located right in the heart of The Strip. It’s home to one of Sin City’s biggest slot selections – no small feat in itself – and is a paradise-like experience in many ways. Foodies can feast on culinary masterpieces, there’s a bird’s eye view of their famed fountain show, and the space itself is beautifully decorated, no expense spared.
Another great option is Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Expect direct access to their huge casino floor, lavish suites with gorgeous views, and some of the best nightclubs the city has to offer. The level of luxury here will have you wanting to stay forever, and for all these reasons it makes for a great place to stay.
And finally – let’s talk about the food. Four and Five star restaurants are dotted throughout the city. If you’re really looking to treat yourself it’s not hard to find Michelin star restaurants too. Such as the unique experience at Blackout, where you’re served your food in the pitch black in order to heighten your sense of taste.
Or visit some of the world-class chef restaurants here – Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, or Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen to name a few. Ditch your diet (but ready your wallet) because you won’t want to miss out on the incredible culinary experiences in Vegas.
In Atlantic City, many of the best hotels are those of the best casinos, which we discussed above. On par with Vegas’ Bellagio, is Atlantic City’s Borgata, which offers an experience rivaled only by New York and Vegas itself. It’s stylish, extravagant, and has 2,000 rooms over six floors.
Ocean Casino Resort and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino all pride themselves on similarly stylish and ostentatious interior designs. Expect spacious layouts and decked-out rooms where you feel truly relaxed while also being in the heart of all the action.
Once again, foodies will be in heaven. Atlantic City really does have some top-notch fine dining options, which are guaranteed to satisfy your every craving. Most easy to find are sumptuous American and Italian eateries, with Dining on the Fifth and IL Mulino high ranking popular choices for those with some extra cash to burn. Dolce Mare, at Ocean Resort Casino on the Boardwalk, offers up a gorgeous Italian Seafood menu. But if you’re feeling a bit more exotic you can head to Kuro at the Hard Rock Casino for some delicate yet filling sushi and Japanese cuisine.
Atlantic City vs Las Vegas: Our Verdict
Vegas is world-renowned, and famous for being unrivalled in its gambling scene. It’s more glamorous, and the bigger name to brag about for sure. But that makes it more crowded with tourists eager to cross it off their bucket list. But with year-round good weather, every month is a good month for Vegas.
Atlantic City by comparison is up there with Vegas on many fronts, but just not quite the same. It’s a fabulous option if you’re looking for a gambling experience, as it offers pretty much everything Vegas does, apart from the status. It also has beaches and that ocean view – perfect for summer fun. But it does get colder in winter, with even light snow sometimes.
Our opinion? Winter months, head to Vegas.
If you’re going to one of these gambling capitals for the gambling itself, both will deliver a fantastic holiday.
However if you’re going full-out, for the memories and one-of-a-kind experience, you just can’t beat a trip to Vegas.