MF City: Atlantic City, NJ
With its quality roster of hotels, shops, and restaurants, the coastal casino town of Atlantic City, once dubbed the “Las Vegas of the East Coast,” is again making waves.
WORKING OUT Outdoors Beaches and Boardwalk With free beach access, working out is easy in Atlantic City. Besides seaside runs and bike riding on the Boardwalk, surfing is popular on Crystal, Delaware Avenue, and Downtown Beaches. Kayakers and windsurfers flock to Jackson Avenue Beach, while beach volleyball pick-up games can be found up and down the Boardwalk in front of most hotels. Hotel Gym Pump Room and Barbershop The Borgata, One Borgata Way, 609-317-1000; theborgata.com Named the best spa for men by Spa Finder, the combination of male salon The Barbershop, and fitness center The Pump Room, offers guys a mental space all their own. Complete with a pool table, big screen TVs, and a swimming pool (with wet bar!) this kind of relaxation takes the sting out of that $1,000 loss at the blackjack table.
EAT Chef Vola’s 111 South Albion Place; 609- 345-2022 Recently honored by the James Beard Foundation, Chef Vola’s is an Atlantic City institution. BYOB and your best date, then settle into the basement of a former boarding house as the Esposito family (who purchased the restaurant from the Vola’s in 1982) serves up some of the best Italian home cooking you’ve had in a while. Reserve early, order anything on the menu, and prepare to be wowed. Fine Dining at The Borgata One Borgata Way, 609-317-1000; theborgata.com
If you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, The Borgata offers the best line-up of restaurants in Atlantic City. Craving red meat? Hit Bobby Flay Steak or the iconic Old Homestead. Sushi? The inventive Izakaya. Modern American? Master Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille. Seafood? Chef Michael Mina’s Sea Blue. Wine, cheese, pizza, and pasta? You’re covered at Fornelletto. Buddakan The Pier Shops at Caesars, 1 Atlantic Ocean; 609-674-0100; buddakanac.com With original offshoots in Philadelphia and New York City, Buddakan is a sexy temple of modern Asian cuisine. Semi-private dining nooks and crannies abound for intimate one-on-one meals, while a communal table puts groups in the center of the action. Don’t miss the edamame raviolis, hot and sour scallops, and spicy tuna entrée.
NIGHTLIFE Casinos abound in Atlantic City and the most exciting action can be found at The Borgata and The Tropicana. If you’re not the type to hold or fold, or need a break from a streak of bad luck, hit up the following spots. The Pool After Dark 777 Harrah's Boulevard; 609-441-500; harrahsresort.com
Set poolside at Harrah’s on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, a bevy of model types slink and shake to the sounds of a rotating cast of DJs. Bottle service is the way to go here, especially since you can oversee the action from a private cabana. Then, when you’re appropriately liquored up, hit the dance floor. Boardwalk Hall 2301 Boardwalk; 609-348-7000; boardwalkhall.com With its 137 foot-high barrel vault ceiling, and 1987 designation as a National Historic Landmark, Boardwalk Hall is one of Atlantic City’s gems. Greats like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, The Police, and the Stones have strutted their stuff across the stage. With an impressive list of upcoming acts, make sure to check out the schedule before you hit town. House of Blues 801 Boardwalk; 609-343-4000; houseofblues.com At Showboat, the Mardi-Gras themed casino on the strip, House of Blues has set up a one-stop shop for entertainment. Whether you’re up for a show, checking out the swank Foundation Room’s Buddhist-inspired Lounge, grabbing a bite at the Friday Night Supper Club, or hitting the casino which features a live-band and sexy, scantily clad female dealers and dancers, this is one place you just can’t lose.
STAY The Tropicana 2831 Boardwalk; 609-340-4000; tropicana.net Drawing from Old Havana for inspiration, The Tropicana is a Latin-infused den of debauchery centrally located on the Boardwalk in A.C. The Quarter, a section of shops and restaurants including Carmine’s, P.F. Chang’s, and The Palm, is the heart and soul of the hotel, and draws a steady crowd of both partiers and gamblers. Caesars 2100 Pacific Avenue; 609-348-4411; caesarsac.com
Home to massive Roman sculptures that present the perfect kitschy photo op, Caesars recently renovated its Centurion Tower and now offers almost 700 luxury rooms. Located alongside the beach and the Boardwalk, Caesars features an outdoor, rooftop pool within Qua Baths & Spa, three levels of shopping at The Pier Shops, and a variety of restaurants including Morton’s and Buddakan. The Water Club at Borgata 1 Renaissance Way; 609-317-8888; thewaterclubhotel.com The bustling Borgata is the go-to casino destination in Atlantic City. The exclusive Water Club within now ups the ante. With five pools and a private Immersion Spa for 18 and over guests, a Zen-ambiance, an in-room and pool menu by Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, and amenities like LCD TVs, 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and double-size rain showers, The Water Club is the place to hang your hat.