I’ve been to Atlantic City a handful of times since it is such an easy and quick getaway from New York City. There is always something going on like a concert or festival. I especially enjoy going for the Food and Wine Festival (similar to the one in New York City but more affordable) that is usually the last weekend in July. Of course, there are the casinos, nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping too.
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NYC to Atlantic City on the Lucky Streak Bus
If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to travel to Atlantic City is the Greyhound Lucky Streak bus, which runs pretty regularly and takes about 2 ½ hours depending on traffic. There are no direct trains from NYC, so the bus is the best option for public transportation to Atlantic City.
A round-trip Greyhound Atlantic City bus ticket costs $45 but you receive a casino credit for $25 that can only be used at the casino where you arrive. You get a voucher that can be inserted into any of the machines (I prefer the penny ones!). Once you have played $25 on the machine you can cash out and any winnings will be yours.
You pick up the bus from NYC to Atlantic City in the north wing lower level of the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St and 9th avenue) from either gate 79 or 80. You should buy your Atlantic city bus tickets at the ticket booth right by these gates to avoid the long line at the Greyhound counter on the main level. For some reason, they only accept cash. The tickets are good for anytime, so you don’t have to decide which return bus you will take. There are also Lucky Streak buses to Atlantic City from Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Baltimore.
Pros: The Atlantic City bus seats are comfortable and there are power outlets which always come in handy. There is wifi but I didn’t use it, so not sure how reliable it is. I usually try to take a nap on the bus to Atlantic City. You can also store your large bags under the bus and there is space above your seat for any carry-on items.
Cons: The Lucky Streak bus is usually full and there are some interesting characters. And of course, the traffic can be bad and unpredictable, I had one trip where it took almost 5 hours. Still, from NYC, this is the best way to get to Atlantic City without a car. A train to Atlantic City is really not an option because you would need to connect in Philadelphia or Trenton – it would take longer and is more expensive.
What to Do and See in Atlantic City
While some parts of Atlantic City are a little run down, there are some nice newer Vegas-style casinos like Borgata, Harrah’s and the Golden Nugget, which are all about a 10 minute drive (use a taxi or uber) from the strip of casinos on the Boardwalk. I wouldn’t really recommend taking Atlantic City public transportation.
Last time, we stayed at Harrah’s, but the Borgata is probably my favorite casino in Atlantic City. Quite often you can find Groupons for discounted hotel stays, especially if you are planning on going during the week. (Click here to see if there are any Groupons available.)
The Borgata has several great restaurants including the Bobby Flay Steakhouse and the reasonably priced Noodles of the World (NOW). NOW has good quality noodle dishes from all parts of Asia. The portions are large, so you can easily share. There are also a few high-end shops like Just Cavalli and Hugo Boss in the Borgata. If you want to go clubbing you can try the nightclub MIXX or there are also more casual bars like the Gypsy Bar. At Harrah’s, you can check out the Pool after Dark, where the resident DJ is Pauly D, from MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore.” When we were there, they were handing out coupons for free entry for women during the day in the casino.
The hotels on the boardwalk are older, but if you just want to gamble they are fine and also have some good restaurants (Buddakan, Il Mulino). The boardwalk also has some shops and places to eat and drink. If you don’t feel like walking on the boardwalk, there are rolling chairs that you can ride in. The beach by the boardwalk is average. If the beach is what you are looking for there are other areas of the Jersey Shore like Sandy Hook might be better.
I do also like the outlet stores in Atlantic City. They are walking distance from the Boardwalk and have some great stores including Coach, Kenneth Cole, Michael Korr’s, and Banana Republic to name a few. The Coach store usually gives you a coupon when you enter for even more savings. I have gotten some pretty amazing deals there. If you plan on going to the outlets, then make sure you leave some space in your luggage.
Atlantic City Day Trip
Of course, you can just do a day trip to Atlantic City if you are short on time. I have done it many times. The bus makes it easier because you can get some sleep while you are traveling. The early morning bus is usually quieter and easier to sleep on. Additionally, the earlier you go, the better traffic will be and the more time you will have to spend in Atlantic City. The bus ride back home at night is also usually quiet since everyone is worn out.
Heading Back on the Bus from Atlantic City to New York City
When you are ready to head back from Atlantic City to New York, you can pick up the Lucky Streak bus at one of the casinos. Check the Lucky Streak schedule to find out times and pick-up locations for the bus from Atlantic City to NYC. I think Bally’s has the most bus options. You need to get there early to make sure you get a seat. Pretty much all buses stop at the Atlantic City bus terminal. However, I would not recommend trying to pick one up there because many of the buses will be full before they even get to the Atlantic City bus terminal.
I think Atlantic City is great for a quick getaway. Have you been to Atlantic City? I would love to hear about your experience. Did you take the Greyhound Lucky Streak bus? Where do you like to stay and what are some of your favorite things to do?
Expert Tips for Your Atlantic City Getaway
- It’s easiest to take the Greyhound bus to Atlantic City. You will need cash for the Lucky Streak bus ticket.
- Take the earliest bus possible, especially if you are doing an Atlantic City day trip.
- Check out these tips to help you survive the bus ride.
- Before making an Atlantic City booking, check to see if you can find a groupon to save money on your hotel, especially if you are planning on going during the week.
- When coming back from Atlantic City, catch the Lucky bus service from one of the casinos. Many buses fill up (especially on Sunday) by the time they get to the bus terminal.
- If you are looking for a beach destination in New Jersey, you might want to consider Sandy Hook.
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