Atlantic City or Las Vegas: Which is a better bet?

Playing a strong hand on your next vacation

As you’re watching a pair of hot dice with your name on it, a free drink in hand, the frenetic energy hits your skin like lightening on a telephone pole. You’re about to win big and then order the juiciest steak on the menu. Whether you’re a pro gambler or just stopping by the tables on your way to a night of dancing and drinking, you’re in for a night to remember. This scene could take place around the globe, but we’d bet you’re in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Each of these destinations is unique, and this tale of two cities calls to mind a question as old as time: Should one drink and gamble at the beach or party till dawn in the desert? Here are a few factors to help you decide.

Casinos and hotels

Atlantic City: Atlantic City has seven major casinos still standing. Primarily located along the iconic AC boardwalk, casinos like Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City are within walking distance of each other. When you stay in Atlantic City, you can take advantage of water views. Just remember that AC gets cold in the winter, so the walkability between venues is better in the spring and summer.

Las Vegas: In the battle of size matters, Atlantic City vs. Vegas edition, Las Vegas comes out on top. There are a whopping 40 casinos along the famous stretch called The Strip, aka South Las Vegas Boulevard. Have dinner at New York, New York, and then walk down to the Bellagio to watch the fountains dance before you hit the tables at Caesars Palace. You have more choices in Vegas; this translates to bigger crowds, but after a few martinis you won’t mind.

Viewfinder Tip: Head to the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas for a thrilling trip on the Insanity ride.

Entertainment

Atlantic City: When you consider Atlantic City vs. Las Vegas in the entertainment department, we’re sad to say there has never been a dance-off. But Atlantic City is bringing some musical heat to the battle. If you can tear yourself away from the buffet in AC, the Golden Nugget and Harrah’s Resort regularly host singers and headlining comedians. The Tropicana also has an IMAX theater, and touring musicals and showcases including Thunder Down Under call AC home during peak season.

Las Vegas: The neon lights of Vegas extend beyond the exterior of its famous casinos. Sin City is well known as a mecca for some of the most innovative and vibrant entertainment on the planet. Venues like Caesars and Planet Hollywood have resident singers for months at a time, and major productions like Cirque du Soleil are always luring in guests from around the world. If you leave The Strip, head to downtown Las Vegas for the chance to see the epic Fremont Street Experience, an LED canopy and zip line near the casinos and restaurants.

Photo via Flickr/elPadawan


Shopping

Atlantic City: Hanging out at the Jersey beach is a good way to spend time in warmer months, but sometimes you want go from betting on a game of blackjack to throwing your money at a sure thing. Atlantic City is a good destination when outlet and bargain shopping is top of mind. Head to the Tanger Outlet or The Playground mall.

Las Vegas: If you’re bound to find a good deal in Atlantic City, Las Vegas is a shoo-in for designer duds. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are always stocked with fresh fashion, and all the major name brands and top designers are represented. If you want to pretend you’re on a Parisian getaway, head to Le Boulevard in the Paris hotel and casino. Even if you don’t hit it big at your “lucky” slot machine, Vegas makes sure you go home dripping in something shiny.

Outdoor activities

Atlantic City: Atlantic City has a coastal advantage over Vegas, so when the sun is out and the weather is warm you can quickly turn your gambling getaway into a day with sand between your toes. Go on a day cruise, take a whale watching trip, or just people watch on the boardwalk. The Steel Pier is another favorite spot; the rides and food will refuel you for a trip to the blackjack table later in the day.

Las Vegas: Unlike Atlantic City, Vegas doesn’t have an ocean to woo you. However, hotels have created their own oases in the form of elaborate lazy rivers, swimming pools, and wave pools. If you can stand the arid heat of the summer or chilly desert winters, then Las Vegas also makes a great hiking spot. Escape the dinging of gaming floors and make your way to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for the day.

Did you leave your heart in Las Vegas, or are you dreaming of Atlantic City?

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Lara Vukelich

As a staff writer for Expedia, Lara Vukelich is excited to open your eyes to new possibilities for adventure. She has swum the Great Barrier Reef, bartered in Tijuana, and walked through the Parthenon. Her travel bucket list is ever growing.Lara believes that an opportunity for travel should never be passed up, and she specializes in featuring new ways to look at some of the top travel destinations around the world.