I’ve been to Atlantic City a handful of times since it is 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. In this post, I will share the details you need to plan your Atlantic City Bus trip.
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. You can buy your Greyhound Atlantic City bus tickets online in advance.
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. Each bus goes to a couple different casinos and the Atlantic City bus station. There are also Lucky Streak buses to Atlantic City from Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Baltimore.
Atlantic City Bus Trip Pros and Cons
After a few Atlantic City bus trips, I can tell you there are both pros and cons of doing the journey by bus. I love that the Atlantic City bus seats are comfortable and have power outlets. There is wifi but I didn’t use it, so not sure how reliable it is. You can also store your large bags under the bus and there is space above your seat for any carry-on items. It’s also nice that you have flexibility with the time of your return trip.
Note: Greyhound now offers different types of fares. Please read the fine print when purchasing as some only allow one large bag to be checked for free. Only the most expensive fare allows you to make changes freely.
On the flip side, 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 be more expensive.
Atlantic City Day Trip From NYC
While there are plenty of things to entertain for a weekend, you can 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 the 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.
Tips for Your Visit to Atlantic City
Before I get into the details about all the things there are to do in Atlantic City there are a few things you should know. After several Atlantic City casino bus trips, I wanted to share some things I have learned:
- Join the rewards programs at any casinos you visit, they are all free. Depending on how much you spend you could earn comped drinks, meals, rooms etc.
- Most casinos still have smoking sections. These areas are not necessarily separated from the non-smoking areas by much. I am sensitive to smoke so there were times I needed to move to a different area to get away from the smell.
- You won’t need a car to get around Atlantic City. I wouldn’t recommend taking Atlantic City public transportation, instead call an uber or taxi if you need a ride. For those traveling in a large party, consider getting a limo as it may be cheaper than multiple cars.
Where to Stay in Atlantic City
If you would like to spend more time in Atlantic City, you do have some excellent hotels to choose from. Quite often you can find Groupons for discounted hotel stays, especially if you are planning on doing your Atlantic City casino bus trip during the week. (Click here to see if there are any Groupons available.) I think it’s best to stay at one of the newer Vegas-style casinos like Borgata, Harrah’s and the Golden Nugget, which are all about a 10-minute drive from the strip of casinos on the Boardwalk. Last time, we stayed at Harrah’s, but the Borgata is probably my favorite Atlantic City casino.
What to See in Atlantic City
You cannot visit Atlantic City without seeing the famous boardwalk. The Atlantic City boardwalk 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.
You can also spend some time at the Atlantic city beaches. We went to the one right by the boardwalk.. If you are looking for a nice beach other areas of the Jersey Shore like Sandy Hook might be better. If you enjoy being out on the water, maybe you would like to do a happy hour or dolphin watching cruise? Get more information about Atlantic City Cruises here.
If you are visiting Atlantic City with kids, they would enjoy the Atlantic City Aquarium. It’s not big, so you probably only need to spend an hour at the Aquarium. It is popular so it can be crowded especially when it is rainy. Click here to check out the reviews of the Aquarium on Tripadvisor.
Where to Shop in Atlantic City
Atlantic City has wonderful shopping options for all budgets. You will find some high-end shops in the casinos like Just Cavalli and Hugo Boss in the Borgata. At Tropicana, you will find the Quarter which is a mall with 25 shops, some restaurants, and live entertainment every Saturday night from 6-10 pm.
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.
Where to Eat in Atlantic City
Atlantic City has a diverse culinary landscape, many of the popular restaurants also have locations in New York City. The Atlantic City Borgata has several amazing 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. Over on the boardwalk, you will find Buddakan and Carmine’s. I also love the Chart House, their lava cake is the best dessert I have ever had.
Of course, you also have the Atlantic City buffets. Buffets are perfect when you are hungry but not sure what you are hungry for. The most popular buffet in Atlantic City is the Borgata Buffet. The Golden Nugget buffet is another good option.
Atlantic City Nightlife
Atlantic City has a reputation for being a party destination. It is popular for bachelor and bachelorette parties, girls trips, and birthdays because of the nightlife. If you want to go clubbing, head to the Borgata’s Premiere nightclub or the Harrah’s Atlantic City casino’s Pool After Dark, where the resident DJ is Pauly D, from MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore.” During the day, they were handing out coupons for free entry for women in Harrah’s casino. If you want something more low key, try the Gypsy Bar at the Borgata.
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. I think Bally’s has the most bus options. You will need to get there early to make sure you get a seat.
Check the Lucky Streak schedule to find out times and pick-up locations for the bus from Atlantic City to NYC. 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.
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