Atlantic City : An Evening In Poor Man’s Las Vegas

Located on the southern Atlantic shore in New Jersey state is Atlantic City which is popularly known for being the home of the Miss America contest as well as a poor man’s Las Vegas, with its pristine awe-inspiring Atlantic beach, the bustling boardwalk, towering resort hotels and casinos. 

Atlantic City was on my bucket list for so long of exploring all the major cities on the East Coast and finally, I got an opportunity to visit there during these Christmas holidays. 

On Christmas day, I went to see the Rockefeller’s Center Big Christmas tree in NYC. I’ve to admit that I saw the wildest crowd behaving like cattle, pushing and pulling from every side. I was sandwiched between so many big and small people but that is the buzz of the holidays in New York City. You shouldn’t complain but enjoy it!

I was expecting the same energy on the very next day of the Christmas at the Atlantic City. I went there with a group of my old friends from Burlington city to see what the party city of the East Coast had to offer? It was an hour drive. We started at 7:00 PM and reached Atlantic City Boardwalk around 8:15 PM. As we reached the Boardwalk, I couldn’t see a single soul except four of us. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was under the assumption that majority of the popular cities in the United States are in the festive mood during the holiday season. There’s festivity in the air everywhere but Atlantic City completely changed my perception. Most of the shops and restaurants on the boardwalk were closed. I couldn’t believe that the party city of the East Coast would be so dull and doomed during the most magical time of the year!

But as a traveler, you know how to enjoy at the most boring places because you’ve got a different perspective to see the world and enjoy each moment. Therefore here are few of my favorite travel moments from Atlantic City trip!

1) Strolling on the Boardwalk

The iconic Boardwalk is one of the major attractions of the Atlantic City with ocean views on one side and shopping on the other, ranging from high-end retail to saltwater taffy shops. This could be an ideal scenario on any summer day but on a winter evening when the temperature is below 50’s and the chilled winds from the Atlantic Ocean are ready to kiss your face, the entire experience is very different. If you’re like me who has never encountered this kind of weather before, you’re going to embrace it. Yes! It was an overwhelming experience to feel the chilling sensation in my body. It was an amazing experience to hear the roaring sound of the waves and walking on the boardwalk. I felt like a queen owing a desolated kingdom free from all the shallow streams of the materialism and embracing the different side of the mother nature.

We walked for almost 40 minutes on that isolated boardwalk and had very intriguing conversations of our lives from career, goals to future and death. You never know how time passes so quickly when you’re with your pals!

2) Seeing Trump Taj Mahal

 I was fascinated as a kid by the story and architecture of the real Taj Mahal – an epitome of love and one of the seventh wonders of the world! Therefore when I came to know about Trump Taj Mahal, I always wanted to see it! Trump Taj Mahan was an iconic upscale casino resort featured an India theme and it was one of the major attractions of the Atlantic City. Unfortunately, it was closed in October 2015 after its year of losses. This has also affected the revenues across the city’s brick-and-mortar casino industry as well as tourism.

3) Crazy Mechanical Bull Ride at Bally’s Wild Wild West

This was the most fun part of the evening. I saw few brave souls trying to ride the mechanical bull and within a fraction of seconds, they were thrown down. I didn’t click pictures of those strangers who became victims by this bull. One of my friends also tried to ride this bull but he was also thrown away in less than a second. I wanted to try this ride but after seeing so many people falling done and audience making their fun, I changed my plan. 

We also had few drinks and shots at Mountain Bar at the Wild Wild West. I was expecting live performances and DJ that night but they had only rock music playing in the background. I also came across this beautiful wall painting while strolling at Bally’s and couldn’t stop myself getting captured in front of it!

4) Wasn’t allowed to gamble

Yes! You read it correctly! As the ritual says that if you’re in the Atlantic City, you should gamble…my friend wanted to play roulette but unfortunately, she left her driving license inside the car at parking. The roulette man asked her to show ID and then all drama started. He called the security who later told us that she looked like a teenager, therefore, she couldn’t stay in the casino area. We tried to convince the security man by our ID’s but to no avail. Then we all stepped outside of the casino. My friend was delighted that she looked younger than her actual age, no matter she was asked to leave! I liked her spirit!

5) Delighted our taste buds at Hard Rock Cafe

It was 10:00 PM and we were looking for a place to dine. We had two options – Margaritaville and Hard Rock Cafe. We chose Hard Rock Cafe as there’s always high-energy vibe! And this Hard Rock Cafe was located in Trump Taj Mahal. So it was a must visit for us! Although the Trump Taj Mahal shut down last October but Hard Rock Cafe located in the casino is still functioning. As we entered inside, there was no one except the receptionist and our waitress. As we lost so much of our energies while strolling on the Boardwalk, we ordered plenty of food to delight ourselves. The service was fast as we were the only customer. Unfortunately, I couldn’t click pictures of my food as I started devouring my food as soon as it was served. The food was delicious!

I was also fascinated by this beautiful wall painting of Hindu God – Lord Ganesh and Goddess- Lakshmi inside HRC! I’ve never seen something similar in any Hard Rock chains before! It was a magnificent piece if art!

6) Said Goodbye to the Atlantic City!

After having dinner, we were strolling again on the Boardwalk and saw few homeless people dancing without the music. It was funny to look at them but they added some extra entertainment for us in that gloomy city. I also came across this beautiful wood art display. As we saw the fog everywhere around and roaring sound of the Atlantic waves telling us to depart soon, we said goodbye to the Atlantic City Boardwalk and turned back to our parking.

The Final Verdict

I was glad that I spent the only single evening in the Atlantic City. I felt that it is the most overrated destination which people claim and compare it to Las Vegas as the party city of the East Coast. However, as per my experience, Atlantic City didn’t appeal me. I felt that the city is completely doomed and disappointing during the holiday season. I didn’t even see any huge Christmas tree on the Boardwalk casino’s or shops. There was no festivity anywhere. Maybe, it is the most happening place in the summers but who cares? If any city is not so festive during the most magical time of the year, then it will make no sense to visit that city. And still, I can’t believe that it is known as the party city of the East Coast. I can only recommend you that if ever you’re looking for a beach party city on the east coast, go to Miami Beach!

 I also went to Las Vegas during Christmas of 2015 and the city was in its full glory with Christmas festivities and celebrations larger than life. So, am not sure why Atlantic City is even compared to Vegas?

Do share your experiences if you’ve been to the Atlantic City in the comments below?

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    1. Admittedly, I haven’t been to either. All of the casino things aren’t for this introvert. Not that I wouldn’t go, mind you, I’d just tell everybody .. come find me at the quiet pub by the beach when you’ve won your millions!

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    1. I see hardly any people there. I don’t think it’s a tourist spot..Never been to the east coast when on business anyway..

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    1. Yeah I’ve wondered about Atlantic City myself. It seems like it would be okay but not amazing. And that’s crazy about your friend’s ID! Absolutely ridiculous!

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    1. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t of an incredible time in Atlantic City. It’s definitely a shore town and summer is the time to go. There always a ton of outdoor activities then, unless you’re going to Pool after Dark at Harrah’s the winters aren’t the best time to be there. They are strict with their casino floor laws, which is both a good and bad thing. If you don’t have ID, don’t expect to be welcomed. But it cracks down on those underage, especially since the alcohol is free on the casino floor. I hope you come back and give it a try in the summer when there are festivals, concerts and rides.

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    1. Doesn’t sound like the most impressive city, that is for sure. Well, we tend to look for a different kind of destination to start with. Which is why we have never considered visiting Las Vegas for example. It might one day be interesting to see cities like Atlantic City of Las Vegas, just to see how it is. But that will probably have to wait. 😛

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    1. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time in AC. It is definitely more enjoyable during the summer when not being able to gamble means you can head to the beach or go to any number of casino pool bars.

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