Choosing where to enjoy your casino vacation can be one of the most challenging decisions you make regarding the trip. Casinos have sprouted all over the continental United States and offer an excellent variety for players.
Despite the fantastic casinos across the US, two destinations remain the preeminent choices for the serious casino gambler. Those are Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Each of these beautiful locales has extraordinary gaming and entertainment options. Still, don’t assume one casino town is the same as the next. Your experience in each one will be unique and may vary significantly depending on when you visit.
Here are 10 important differences between Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
1 – You Can’t match the Atmosphere in Vegas
Atlantic City is a vibrant area with wonderful casinos, dining, and shopping. However, Las Vegas has an atmosphere that can’t be matched anywhere on the planet.
Many first-time visitors to Atlantic City suffer from an initial disappointment because they’re expecting the overwhelming extravagance of Las Vegas.
Atlantic City doesn’t offer the same feel. It’s something unique and familiar all at the same time. Atlantic City definitely has that East Coast feel. It’s a tourist attraction along the Atlantic Ocean where you can also gamble.
Some potential visitors may be turned off by this atmosphere. I think it’s great; you get a lot of bang for your buck in AC.
2 – Getting Around Town Looks Different
Las Vegas and Atlantic City streets are littered with the expected limos and party buses. Many visitors will take advantage of rideshare services in Atlantic City, much like they would in Las Vegas.
Still, Atlantic City offers a few unique options not provided in Las Vegas. First, public transportation in Vegas is essential for those not renting a car.
Atlantic City has small shuttle buses that make stops at all of the hotels and deposits riders near their preferred casino, restaurant, or retailer. These buses can be seen regularly shuttling passengers to the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.
One of the largest differences you’ll see between the two locations is that Atlantic City doesn’t experience the severe gridlock you’ll find on the Strip.
The Las Vegas Strip is a near-constant labyrinth of start and stop movement for pedestrians and riders alike. AC gives guests much more convenience in getting from point A to B.
3 – The Climates Are Vastly Different
The climate differences between the two areas are incredible. Depending on the time of year, you may be wearing shorts in Las Vegas and require a winter parka in Atlantic City.
The winters in Atlantic City can be intense. The average high temperature in Atlantic City through the winter months stays in the 40s with average lows in the 20s.
Atlantic City also averages over 13 inches of snow each year. That’s not terrible, but that’s roughly 13 inches more than Las Vegas.
The seething Las Vegas summer borders on suffocating, which seems inescapable at times. While Las Vegas is baking through July at well over 105 degrees, Atlantic City is enjoying a comfortable 83-degree average.
4 – Atlantic City’s Many Facelifts
Las Vegas has been Las Vegas since its inception. Through essential projects like the Hoover Dam, Vegas has been able to establish a thriving community.
Atlantic City has been a complex case from the beginning. It’s made attempt after attempt many times to rebrand itself and remain a relevant area for economic growth.
Atlantic City has faced challenges from the entertainment industry disappearing to the Great Depression. Ultimately, it was the decision in the 1970s to devote the site’s resources to bringing casino gambling that may have saved the town.
Most recently, the biggest challenge has been to draw customers, especially with so much excellent competition. Vegas has a feel of a city that’s thriving, a true boomtown. New properties, restaurants, and entertainment choices are always popping up overnight.
On the other hand, Atlantic City feels like a city that could just as quickly become obsolete.
5 – Atlantic City Has a Smaller Selection of Casinos
Las Vegas has over 140 casinos. That number is staggering, but it seems even more prominent when comparing it to the small number of casinos in Atlantic City.
Those are your choices in Atlantic City. By comparison, the Las Vegas Strip is home to over 30 casinos. When it comes to selection, Las Vegas is the clear winner.
6 – Open Air Vibes
Las Vegas is full of incredible attractions. However, many of these exciting activities are indoor. That’s to keep visitors out of the downright dangerous heat.
Atlantic City promotes being outside and enjoying the sea breeze. From the outdoor malls to the famed boardwalk, Atlantic City will provide you with plenty of excellent options to enjoy some fresh air.
So, if you prefer to spend most of your days jaunting from one climate-controlled experience to another, Las Vegas may be your type of place.
For the more outdoorsy type looking to have fun in the sun, Atlantic City does an excellent job of providing outdoor attractions.
The historic boardwalk is the first of its kind in the US and should be experienced by all. The boardwalk is especially gratifying for those who appreciate the nostalgia of a simpler time.
7 – Atlantic City Is Centralized
Las Vegas is best known for the Strip. However, the vast gambling mecca has another 114 casinos that aren’t located on the Strip.
Many of the Las Vegas mega-resorts aren’t in Las Vegas at all. Aptly named Paradise, NV, is the absolute gambling mecca.
Many visitors don’t realize the two are actually individual cities because the two lie side by side. However, when the new Las Vegas resorts began springing to life, Paradise was their chosen home.
The most significant benefit to the visitor is that you’ll be able to enjoy all of your gambling fun in one central and convenient package.
8 – The Caliber and Variety of Entertainment
Atlantic City draws big-name entertainment, but so does Thackerville, OK, home to WinStar World Casino.
The biggest difference between Las Vegas and Atlantic City entertainment isn’t the caliber of star power but the abundance of top-level entertainment.
You could see stars like Dave Chapelle, Lady Gaga, or Blake Shelton headlining a show in Atlantic City on any given weekend.
In Las Vegas, these shows are on tap every night of the week, 365 days a year. Many top artists will even sign lengthy contracts for a residency in Vegas.
Additionally, many of the weekday acts in AC are cabaret-style performances. That’s great but doesn’t sniff Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is home to several of the most exciting acts on the planet, and you probably haven’t heard of half of them.
9 – The “Jersey” Stigma
Atlantic City seems to be the victim of a specific stereotype that paints east coast cities as dingy high crime areas. The facts are far from the images many Americans have in their heads.
Still, it keeps people away. That can be a negative or a positive, depending on how you view it.
I’m here to tell you first hand Atlantic City is still among the premier gambling destinations in the United States.
10 – Embracing the Past
Las Vegas and Atlantic City both have a rich history. Both involve a deep involvement with organized crime.
While Las Vegas has embraced its past affair with the mob, Atlantic City has tried tirelessly to shed that skin.
Atlantic City, which has seemingly swept the mobster past under the rug, has had a tough time shaking the image. I’m sure shows like The Sopranos and other shows depicting the worst parts of New Jersey haven’t done the tourism industry many favors.
The Choice Is Yours
Whether you choose to select Atlantic City or Las Vegas for your upcoming casino trip is a personal choice. Each of the destinations has plenty of unique activities and distractions to keep the entire family enjoying the stay.
The 10 important differences between Atlantic City and Las Vegas have more to do with who may enjoy each location more than one being better than the other. Yes, Vegas may hold several advantages on paper, but it’s not Atlantic City.
If you want to read more into each city then read our guides on what you need to know before visiting Atlantic City or Las Vegas!