It’s the Northeast’s go-to drive-to
“Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty. And meet me tonight in Atlantic City,” sang The Band way back in the 1990s. But in 21st-century Pandemic U.S.A., the invitation tempts more than ever. After all, this oceanside city of beckoning casino resorts and hidden-in-plain-sight local pockets of group fun is only a few hours’ drive of nearly 1/3 of the nation’s population, easily accessible from anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard.
More: Rediscover Atlantic City
At press time, indoor gatherings were limited to 25 people or 25 percent of a room’s capacity—whichever number is lower, per New Jersey Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission. Bars and restaurants were offering creative options for al fresco dining.
All roads really do lead to AC, and so does The Atlantic City Rail Line from Philadelphia 30th Street Station, which links to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), to Atlantic City Convention Center. Fly Spirit Airlines into Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) or major carriers into PHL, less than an hour’s drive away.
Meet and Stay
The convention center is LEED Gold-certified and provides more than 486,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, as well as 45 meeting rooms and prefunction areas. A comprehensive clean and safe operations plan based on state guidelines can be customized for each gathering to meet particular concerns and requirements. A skybridge leads to Sheraton Atlantic City, where 21,047 sq. ft. of meeting space often serve as overflow; it has 502 guest rooms.
When it comes to meetings, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City gets to take a special bow. Set on 17 acres along the famed boardwalk, it’s home to more than 150,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space and Etess Arena, which has welcomed as many as 7,000 attendees for general sessions and 300-plus booths for trade shows. Three ballrooms, multiple meeting rooms, an expansive outdoor deck and a nightclub can also be rented out for everything from conferences to intimate board meetings and private concerts. It has 1,971 guest rooms.
The newest of AC’s nine casinos is Ocean Casino Resort (1,399 guest rooms), which boasts 160,000 sq. ft. of designated meeting and convention space with expansive open areas for pre- and postfunction events. Elegant Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, owned by MGM Resorts International, is the state’s largest hotel, with 2,767 guest rooms and a Central Conference Center with customizable space, including five meeting rooms and a 6,500-square-foot, clear-span ballroom.
In all, more than 17,500 guest rooms await, including lavish suites for intimate VIP gatherings.
More than ever these days, groups coming to AC are attracted to area golf courses and outdoor activities like deep-sea fishing and boating, but the beach and iconic boardwalk are also busy. Beachside yoga and meditation walks are among the wellness options that combine a sense of place with fresh air.
More: Hitting the Wellness Jackpot in Atlantic City
Dining options span celebrity-chef driven restaurants to local favorites like Dock’s Oyster House, a local classic since 1897 with nightly piano music, upscale seafood, an elegant dining room and private dining space with exposed brick walls and bar that can seat up to 60. Walls inside White House Sub Shop on Arctic Avenue are plastered with photos and relics, like Frank Sinatra’s pink towel, of the famous who’ve stopped in for a sandwich.
Another beyond-the-boardwalk fave is the Orange Loop, a nod to everybody’s favorite board game (Monopoly borrowed AC’s street names) that encompasses Tennessee and New York Avenues, plus St. James Place, and boasts unique local restaurants, bars, live music, coffee, yoga and more. Loop don’t-misses include Iron Room + Rhythm & Spirits, and, nearby, Little Water Distillery.
Can’t make it to AC yet? Meet AC’s award-winning virtual reality experience showcases a site visit of the convention center and newly added destination partners and attractions.
Did You Know?
- 1920: Year first Miss America was crowned in AC
- 11,000 lbs. Saltwater taffy produced for sale daily
- 171 ft. Absecon Lighthouse, tallest in New Jersey