Meet me tonight in Atlantic City?
March 2, 2023 7:17 AM   Subscribe

It's been a while since anyone's asked about Atlantic City. Never been, never really had any interest in going, now have tickets for a show and am trying to plan a weekend there, or somewhere other than there.

A friend and I got tickets to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's show in Atlantic City, on a Saturday night in June. Neither of us have been there before and we're thinking through options for the weekend: how to get there, where to stay, whether to spend the whole weekend there or base ourselves somewhere else and just go to AC for the show?

How to get there: I'd prefer to fly; she's mentioned maybe taking Amtrak? (We are both coming from NC, based in different cities.) I was thinking we might need rent a car, depending on what else we decide to do. Don't know much about public transport options to/from/in the area.

Where to stay: The show is at the Hard Rock Casino. We're not really casino people or partiers, but the convenience factor of staying at the casino's hotel seems attractive. That said, a nice hotel with some possibility of a decent night's sleep definitely outweighs proximity and any cost saving.

What else to do: I think we're both taking Friday off for travel, so we'd have part of Friday and the full day Saturday free. Return home sometime Sunday. I like the ocean but get sunburned in minutes and don't love a crowded beach. Prefer activites like museums, historic sites, art galleries, nice lunches, bookstores, vintage / antique shops. Thought about basing ourselves in Philadelphia, but she works remotely for a Philly-based company and travels there fairly often, so she's less excited about that. What's fun to do in New Jersey that's not the beach?
posted by Sweetie Darling to Travel & Transportation around Atlantic City, NJ (8 answers total)
Assuming you rent a car, Cape May is a fun resort-y town that might be worth looking into as an option either to stay or spend part of a day. There’s also a pleasant ferry to Lewes, PA from there.
posted by staggernation at 7:32 AM on March 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

Atlantic City has its own little airport so flying there would be the easiest. You could also fly to Philly and take a train or bus to AC. Amtrak does an Autotrain where you could bring your car with you that ceases around DC and then you could drive the rest of the way.

In your shoes, I would stay at a hotel in Atlantic City and take rideshares around to anything you want to see. I'm a big fan of nearby town Ocean City, which has a fabulous boardwalk and a cute downtown with lunch spots and the kind of shops you enjoy. You should also stop by Lucy The Elephant. Cape May is lovely to drive around but is much further out. Keep in mind that summer weekends are the busy season around here so everything will be as busy as ever.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:44 AM on March 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

Cape May is lovely, but will be pricey during the summer peak season, and is a good hour away from AC. You'd definitely need to have a car for this as well. It does have many of the qualities (historic sites, antiques, etc.) that you're looking for though.

If your friend takes Amtrak, she'll need to transfer in Philadelphia to New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line. Amtrak does not provide service to Atlantic City. The transfer is an easy one, from one platform to another at 30th Street Station.

Another poster mentioned the AutoTrain, but that train runs from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL and makes no other stops, so that won't help.

Philly is definitely a good option, but do consider that the show may end late enough that the Atlantic City Line is no longer running back to Philly. I'd investigate staying in AC, unless you have a car and can drive elsewhere.
posted by vitout at 7:57 AM on March 2, 2023

Regarding flying: ACY is a very small airport, currently only served by Spirit flights to Florida. So if you're going to fly, fly into Philly.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:30 AM on March 2, 2023

I'd suggest only staying the night of the show in Atlantic city, there isnt a ton to do besides the casinos. If you like breweries, i would recommend checking out "The Seed: A Living Beer Project" though in AC.

The nj transit train line to Philly only runs every couple hours on the weekends, it looks like the current last train back to Philadelphia is at 1051 pm on the weekends and takes 95 minutes or so.
posted by TheAdamist at 8:31 AM on March 2, 2023

Assuming you are traveling through Philly, a fun day trip on the way back on Saturday could be kayaking in the Pinelands. I did the 4 hour self-guided tour a few years ago with that outfitter and the whole experience was wonderful. It's a lovely, relaxed trip through unique forest landscape.
posted by veery at 9:13 AM on March 2, 2023

I live in Philly, and have been to AC and various Shore points numerous times in the last two years.

Flying into ACs airport will be probably a pain: looks like it's mostly Spirit airlines flights and you'd have to connect somewhere.

You'd do well to Amtrak or fly to Philly, then rent a car. (If you take Amtrak, multiple national car rental companies have stock at the station which is convenient!) Yes, you CAN take an NJ Transit train from Philly to AC, but you'd probably still want a car once you're there. Atlantic City is a mix of poverty, casinos, and unpleasant spaces.

Non-AC/non-beach options you may want to look at include Brigantine, Millville and Wheaton Arts Center, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, and even as some mentioned, Lewes/Rehoboth Delaware for a more relaxed vibe. The ferry trip is fun! The hard part may be finding a reasonably priced weekend spot to stay in. Feel free to memail me with questions!
posted by knile at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi all, circling back after finally getting to sit down with my friend and make some plans. Your collective insight was really helpful! We decided to make it a car trip and are leaning toward staying in Annapolis on the way up. The casino hotel is sold out for Saturday so we will leave AC after the show and then head home Sunday. Thanks so much for the great info!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:38 AM on March 19, 2023

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