. Atlantic City | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Atlantic City

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Atlantic City. 

Why Atlantic City for Your Next Meeting or Event?

The new and splashy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort have injected fresh energy into this famed seaside destination. A string of new beach bars along the iconic Boardwalk add to the fun for meeting and event groups.

Only in A.C.

The 33,114-pipe organ at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall is the largest and noisiest instrument of its kind in the world. Take a free guided tour of the "Sonic Mount Rushmore," where guests can climb in and out of the instrument's chambers, enjoy a concert and even play a few notes. 

Transportation in & Around the Area

Atlantic City International Airport, 12 miles from the heart of the downtown district. Transfer cost by jitney, $15; by taxi, $30

Travel Essentials

Taxes: Luxury tax, 9%; sales tax, 4%; occupancy fee, 1%; tourism promotion fee, $5 per room for casino hotels; total tax on hotel rooms, 14% plus tourism promotion fee

CVB: Meet AC, (609) 348-7100 or (844) 855-6338

Convention Center: Atlantic City Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 486,600 square feet; meeting space, 109,100 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 45; (844) 855-6338

Total Number of Hotel Rooms: 17,500

2019 Stella Award Winners

 

2018 Stella Award Winners

Meeting & Event Venues

Event Venues, Additions & Renovations 

• Caesars Entertainment Inc. plans to plunk down $400 million over the next three months for major improvements to its three Atlantic City properties. A capital expenditure proposal developed includes an investment of at least $150 million in hotel renovations, gaming upgrades and new food and entertainment offerings at Caesars Atlantic City. Improvements to Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Tropicana Atlantic City are also part of the plan.

• All nine of Atlantic City’s casino hotels are now welcoming gamers at 25 percent capacity. Indoor dining in casino hotel restaurants and other Atlantic City eateries is also back, at 25 percent capacity and with tables spaced six feet apart. 

• Atlantic City took the number-three spot on TripAdvisor’s new list of best travel destinations in the United States.

• Showboat Hotel owner and real estate developer Bart Blatstein plans to break ground on a $100 million indoor waterpark in 2020. The waterpark would be located on the site of what is currently a parking lot between the Showboat and the Ocean Casino Resort and would be connected to the Showboat’s Premier Lite tower, which is set to undergo a complete renovation. The waterpark will include water slides, pools, lazy rivers, food and beverage outlets, retail stands and lounge areas.

• Meet AC has appointed Larry Sieg as its new president and CEO. Sieg replaces Jim Wood, who stepped down as the head of the CVB at the end of 2019. Sieg brings more than 30 years of experience to the new role. He currently serves as director of communications and marketing for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and previously worked at the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, which was dissolved in 2011.  

• Meet AC offers a number of digital tools designed to help planners become better acquainted with the destination and the CVB’s services. A virtual reality experience tool offers multiple options, from a tour of Atlantic City properties to surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, while a YouTube channel features podcasts captured throughout the city, along with client testimonials and behind-the-scenes footage of past events. Also available are a meeting planning guide that contains specs for Atlantic City’s venues, a convention services kit, and an Atlantic City Convention Center event planning guide where planners can find information about holding future events at the venue. 

• The Playground Pier retail and entertainment complex is back in the hands of Caesars Entertainment. Real estate developer Bart Blatstein has sold the property to a Caesars subsidiary for an undisclosed price, reversing a transaction completed five years ago when he acquired it from the hospitality giant. Caesars has not yet announced plans for Playground Pier, while Blatstein will now focus his attention on returning gaming to the Showboat Atlantic City.

• Meet AC, the city’s convention & visitors bureau, booked a record 394,029 hotel room nights in 2019, injecting more than $400 million into the local economy. 

• More dining and retail outlets are coming to Atlantic City International Airport. Among the planned additions are three dining outlets: two Great American Bagel & Bakery shops and a BeachHouse Restaurant & Bar.

• Harrah's Resort is spending $24 million to refresh the 416-room Marina Tower, which will be renamed the Laguna Tower once complete. The project calls for an updated design, new furniture and remodeled bathrooms. The rooms were expected to debut in April 2020, but have been pushed back to a later date due to a statewide halt on all nonessential construction. The renovation follows a full transformation of the 507-room Coastal Tower last year.
 
• Historic Gardner’s Basin—home to the Atlantic City Aquarium as well as to several small businesses and recreational amenities—is getting a facelift. A $1 million grant from the New Jersey Green Acres Program will be used to pay for restroom and maintenance building renovations, LED lighting, parking lot upgrades, and a public address system. New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs is chipping in an additional $1 million to address improvements to the Gardner’s Basin marina.

• Fins Bar, billed as "a whole new way to experience the Boardwalk" in Atlantic City, has debuted at the Resorts Casino Hotel. Designed as an outdoor component of the property’s LandShark Bar & Grill, Fins Bar features a 2,300-square-foot boardwalk deck, as well as an additional 150-seat bar, cozy fire pits, outdoor speakers and string lights. Live entertainment, including performances by regional bands, is presented seven days a week on a portable stage.

• Following the debut of its new Moneyline Bar & Book — which offers a 40-foot wide LED video wall and six betting windows and a 35-foot-long bar with 19 built-in slot machines — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa spent $14 million to add a Lobby Bar and upgrade its 312 Fiore Suites guest rooms.  Renovations to the Fiore Suites wrapped up in early 2020. The rooms were re-designed in a palette of blue and neutral shades and outfitted with stone countertops, gold-dusted sconces, custom entertainment centers and USB charging ports. The 1,700-square-foot Lobby Bar, which debuted in late 2019, features three large-screen television sets, coffee service with Lavazza products, and a curated tapas and cocktail menu, along with a separate VIP check-in area, modern lounge seating and a polished “speakeasy” ambiance. On weekends, it transforms into a piano bar offering live entertainment.

• The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is the newest property in town. The resort, formerly the Trump Taj Mahal, underwent a $500 million, head-to-toe transformation into a shrine to rock art and memorabilia. The gaming property offers a revamped casino with 2,200 slot machines and 120 table games; 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and the Hard Rock Café (relocated from its former site on the Boardwalk). New dining outlets include the Sugar Factory, a cosmopolitan casual dining spot and confectionery, and Kuro, an upscale Japanese eatery. Other new features include a lobby lounge. The property's Mark G. Etess Arena, a holdover from the Taj Mahal days, remains and has been expanded to seat 7,700.

• The Atlantic City Convention Center has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification in accordance with the LEED rating system developed by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. Steps taken at the center that led to the certification included replacing all metal-halide fixtures in the exhibit halls with LED fixtures, reducing lighting loads by nearly 63 percent. Last year, more than 2.9 million kWh of electricity (roughly 13 percent of the building’s total energy) were produced from solar panels. Operation of lighting and HVAC systems was made more efficient by minimizing their use during non-peak times, and improved operating efficiency of climate controls was achieved during changing seasons. Finally, efforts undertaken in 2018 allowed more than 158.2 tons of recycled materials from the facility to be diverted from landfills, and 9,583 pounds of lamps, ballasts, batteries and electronics were recycled. 

• In other ACCC news, a $9.1 million renovation of the facility's 32 restrooms has been completed. The project included the installation of new lighting, auto-flush toilets, porcelain-accented flooring, and glass and porcelain wall tiles. New vanities with long trough sinks, quartz surfaces, backlit mirrors, and automated soap dispensers and faucets have been added as well. Modern entry portals and signage now direct visitors to each restroom.

• Luxor Capital Group, a New York City-based hedge fund which purchased the Ocean Resort Casino, has been granted a license to own and operate the property. The gaming resort sits on 20 acres of beachfront and accommodates groups in 160,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 90,000 square feet of outdoor function space. Amenities include 16 restaurants, a 5,500-seat entertainment venue, a 138,000-square-foot gaming floor, a state-of-the-art sportsbook, a 40,000-square-foot Exhale spa, six swimming pools and the world's largest Topgolf Swing Suite virtual-golf facility. A new 1927 Lounge & Speakeasy has also been added to the property. Under Luxor’s ownership, the resort will be enhanced to the tune of $70 million. In addition to the construction of a “long-awaited buffet,” improvements will involve wrapping up incomplete work that had been underway on 12 floors in the middle of the hotel tower, which will add another 500 guest rooms to the existing 1,399 rooms. Casino enhancements and other improvements also are on the drawing board. 

• About eight miles from Atlantic City on 670 acres along Reed’s Bay in Galloway, the historic Seaview Dolce Hotel & Golf Club has reopened following a multimillion-dollar renovation. All 296 guest rooms and suites, as well as the lobby, public spaces, meeting and event spaces, and the Grille Room restaurant now feature art deco design elements combined with cool blues and modern finishes. Part of the Dolce Hotels and Resorts Collection by Wyndham, the property offers 27,000 square feet of event space, including 21 meeting rooms, plus two championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and an Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa.

Tropicana’s Boardwalk light-and-sound display
Tropicana’s Boardwalk light-and-sound display


 

atlantic-city-hard-rock-resort
The new and splashy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort have injected fresh energy into this famed seaside destination.

• Atop the Playground at Caesars restaurant and shopping complex, the independently owned One Atlantic offers sweeping views of Atlantic City's beach, Boardwalk and skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air terrace. More than 10,000 square feet of flexible event space accommodates groups of 50 to 1,200 people for cocktail receptions, 30 to 500 for seated luncheons and dinners, and 30 to 750 in theater- or classroom-style configuration.
 
• An atmosphere reminiscent of Old Havana — complete with period décor, exotic tropical foliage and music — creates a backdrop for colorful events at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar. A buyout of the restaurant provides space to accommodate up to 850 people. Choose from several different entertainment options, including choreographed floor shows, salsa lessons and appearances by professional dancers, a cigar roller or a rum expert.
 
• The 23,100-square-foot Adrian Philips Theater at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall features a stage with a 48-foot proscenium opening, as well as an open-air loggia that overlooks the beach and Boardwalk. With a capacity ranging from 1,000 people in rounds to 3,200 in theater-style seating, the facility is suitable for a variety of functions, including theatrical events, concerts, galas and banquets.
 
• Hold your event in a tented space perched 1,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The Ocean Reef Oasis at the Steel Pier serves a wide variety of fare, with catering packages that include everything from barbecue favorites, sliders, crab cakes and a clam bake to Italian specialties and freshly carved roast beef. Groups using the venue can also enjoy optional extras, like bonfires on the beach, assorted rides and amusements, and helicopter journeys.

Meeting Hotels

Things To Do in A.C.

Getting Active & Outdoors

• You don’t have to be named Jagger or Springsteen to be treated like rock royalty at Rock Spa & Salon in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Featuring 31 treatment rooms and offering a wide range of full body treatments and massages (including deep tissue, couples, athletic and therapeutic), the spa boasts a VIP spa suite where small groups can enjoy champagne before or after receiving service. A one-of-a-kind Rhythm & Motion spa menu offers several signature music-centric massage experiences, all with bass vibrations rippling through the massage table as treble beats from above send pulses through the body. Options include “Synchronicity,” a pulsating massage set to a masterfully blended soundtrack; “Smooth Operator”, a sweetgrass-inspired dry brushing followed by a detoxifying wrap; "Face the Music”, combining sound vibration with the application of organic facial care products and “Wrap Remix,” which begins and ends with a detoxifying beverage and features dry brushing, a body wrap, a massage and a facial mask.

Get your golf on: Casino gambling and sports books are not the only games in town. Golf is another option, especially now that several previously private courses in and near the destination are open for public play. One of the oldest facilities of its kind in the U.S., the layout at the Atlantic City Country Club has been named the number-one public golf course in New Jersey by Golf Week, Golf Magazine and Golf Digest. The course is known for its finely manicured fairways and large sloping green complexes protected by sand bunkers. Long carries over natural ponds and saltwater marshes make a formidable challenge for any golfer. The Vineyard National Golf Course at Renault at Renault Winery Resort & Golf features a 7,200-yard layout with vineyard views. Meandering subtly through South Jersey’s Pinelands, the course offers challenges at every turn — such as an island green surrounded by treacherous bunkers at the third hole, and a bentgrass hollow at the 10th hole. Situated on 350 acres of land, the Ballamor Golf Club has wide, easy-to-hit fairways and large greens. One highlight is the 15th hole, a 347-yard par four with a challenging tee shot. After clearing the water, players must decide whether to carry a massive bunker on the left corner of a dogleg with a 220-yard drive or take a long shot with bunkers everywhere in sight.
 
Bike the boards: A bicycle ride is one of the best ways to experience Atlantic City's famed five-mile Boardwalk and all it offers. Cycle nonstop or pause to enjoy ocean views, shops, restaurants, bars and traditional beach-resort treats like salt water taffy and fudge. B&K Bike Rental (609-344-8008) operates two rental shops — one at North Carolina Avenue and Boardwalk and one at Iowa Avenue and Boardwalk. Rental rates are $8 for the first hour and $1 for each additional 15 minutes.

Ride the waves: Atlantic City has not one, not two but three surfing beaches: Crystal Beach at New Hampshire Avenue, Delaware Avenue Beach and Downtown Beach at Raleigh Avenue. Several surf shops on the Boardwalk, including AC Surf School and the Inlet Surf Shop (609-515-7640; no website), provide surfing lessons as well as rent out equipment. Paddleboard rentals and lessons also are available.

Hit the sand: Atlantic City's expansive beaches are great for a run or walk. There's no need to purchase a beach badge — admission is free, even during the busy summer months.

All aboard: Boardwalk Tram Service operates electric tramcars that transport visitors anywhere along the Boardwalk from the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel Atlantic City to the Tropicana Casino and Resort. Adult fare is $4 one way and $8 for an all-day pass; group rates are available on request.

Extending Your Trip in Atlantic City

• Award-winning eats: Atlantic City’s Kelsey & Kim’s Southern Cafe has been named to Yelp’s list of the best fried chicken joints in all 50 U.S. states, while Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall has ranked as number six on USA Today’s list of the 10 best beer bars in the country. Try Kelsey & Kim’s fried chicken atop fluffy waffles or by itself, with a side of macaroni and cheese, collard greens, coleslaw, potato salad, candied yams, rice and gravy, broccoli, or string beans. Other specialties include slow-smoked barbecued pork ribs and shrimp and grits. Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall offers 40 different craft beers on draft and more than 60 in bottles and cans. The menu also includes craft cocktails and a modern twist on hamburgers and hot dogs.

• Thrills and chills: The Steel Pier stirs up excitement with more than 20 rides, from classics like bumper cars to extreme options like the Slingshot. The Steel Pier's newest attraction, the Observation Wheel, transports riders 227 feet above Atlantic City to enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean and skyline from inside one of 40 climate-controlled gondolas. Opportunities to play hoop-shooting, crane, and squirt gun games for prizes of all sizes, along with stands serving boardwalk fare, complete the experience.

 Off the Boardwalk: View a host of oddities that includes everything from a spider made from scissors and knives to the world’s smallest production car and a roulette table made entirely of more than 14,000 jellybeans at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium. It is located along the boardwalk, just down from the Steel Pier. 
 

Mad for Macaroons
Mad for Macaroons
The G. Carl Tripician Co. has been making macaroons since 1910, when the shop was set up on the Boardwalk. The almond and coconut delights are made with the original recipe and join a delicious slate of modern delectables. 

History lesson: Journey back in time by climbing the 228 steps of the Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, which recently underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration and now features a Fresnel Lens exhibit in its original Oil House, a museum, and a replica of the original light keeper’s cottage.
 
Retail therapy: From quaint boutiques and kitschy stores on the Boardwalk to malls and outlet centers, Atlantic City is a paradise for shoppers. The Quarter at Tropicana beckons with more than 25 luxury shops, while The Playground at Caesars houses stores that feature high-end fashions, accessories, jewelry and more. Tanger Outlets The Walk is the place to go for discounts on a wide variety of brand-name merchandise, including apparel, shoes, home furnishings and accessories.
 
Cruise to the Cape: Not far from Atlantic City — and well worth the short trip — is the seaside resort town of Cape May. Stroll the Historic District for a look at the Victorian architecture for which Cape May is known. The Emlen Physick Estate, built in 1879, offers a glimpse of life as it was lived more than 100 years ago. Eclectic and traditional shops, along with restaurants, line the Washington Street Mall, a pedestrian promenade that spans three blocks.

A corking good time: Take a break from cocktails and casinos with a visit to one or more wineries in the Atlantic City region. Bellview Winery in Landisville produces more than 20 estate-grown varietals and more than two-dozen wines. Renault Winery, one of the oldest continuously operating establishments of its kind in the U.S., is now being revitalized by Vivamee Hospitality to reflect the vision of Master Vintner Louis Nicholas Renault, who hailed from Rheims, France, and established his winery in Egg Harbor City in 1864. Hamilton is home to Plagido's Winery, which specializes in hand-crafted, artisanal wines produced from small lots of grapes using a basket press, as well as DiMatteo Vineyards and Winery, whose Pasquale Red, Chambourcin, Niagara and other varietals are consistently featured in the Winner’s Circle at the prestigious International Wine Competition and other events.

Sports Betting in A.C.

Atlantic City has no sports teams, but it does have sports betting now that wagering on various professional and collegiate sports at New Jersey's casinos and racetracks became legal last summer. Six Atlantic City casinos currently accept such wagers: Bally's, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Resorts Casino Hotel, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino.

In Walking Distance

The following are in walking distance of the Atlantic City Convention Center:

Grab a bite (and a brew): The historic Tun Tavern, Atlantic City's first brew pub, offers a rotating menu of handcrafted beers along with casual fare. Lunch specialties include a "super-sized pretzel" served with Ale-infused cheese sauce, sweet stout mustard and cheddar crab dip; or try the Blue Claw Fries covered in melted cheddar cheese and blue claw crabmeat, and dusted with Old Bay seasoning.

For another extensive beer menu plus pub fare prepared from locally sourced ingredients, check out Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar. Wingcraft's "The Manhattan Project" burger, named the "#1 Burger in South Jersey" by At the Shore magazine, is topped with smoked gouda cheese, crispy fried onions and honey barbecue steak sauce. Voted "Best Tequila & Rum Bar" in Atlantic City Weekly's Reader's Choice 2018 Nightlife Awards, Los Amigos goes beyond nachos and tacos in its culinary repertoire to feature creative and Southwestern-inspired dishes. A vegan menu is available.

    Atlantic City Excursions

    • John Barleycorn, Meet Paul Bunyon: Already home to the Little Water Distillery, Atlantic City’s Little Water district on the north side of town will soon see the opening of two new venues with interesting twists. The Seed: A Living Beer Project, will serve a wide variety of beers brewed exclusively from locally grown grains, stone fruits, berries, flowers and leaves. Westecunk Axe Throwing, now open, gives visitors a chance to channel their inner lumberjack by throwing axes in the safety of enclosed lanes with instructors nearby (the outfit also has a mobile axe-throwing unit available for group events). 

    • Boardwalk sweets: Atlantic City is known as the Salt Water Taffy Capital of the World, and James’ Candy Company, offering dozens and dozens of flavors, is the perfect place to get your fix. For $5, you can enjoy a 30- to 40-minute tour to see how the candy — as well as James’ caramels — is made. Steel's Fudge has been an Atlantic City staple since 1919, when Elizabeth and Howard Steel started selling the confection prepared from an old family recipe that’s still in use today. Flavors range from traditional options like chocolate, chocolate walnut and vanilla to more unusual choices such as pumpkin, pistachio and chocolate turtle caramel. Once featured on the Food Network, Steel’s also offers salt water taffy, popcorn and macaroons. Ices from TLC's Polish Water Ice boast a creamy texture and are made fresh daily. New flavors are added to the menu every year; this year, look for sour blast blue raspberry and cola. Vanina’s Ice Cream is a one-stop shop for all the classic shore treats you can think of: soft and hard ice cream (atop a waffle, if you’d like), fried Oreos, fried cheesecake, fried pickles, smoothies, slushies, fresh-squeezed lemonade and funnel cake.

    • Just steps off the Boardwalk — starting with the beach block of Tennessee Avenue and extending into St. James Place and New York Avenue — lies The Orange Loop. Promoted as "the best of the new Atlantic City," the three-block expanse is chock-full of one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars and live music venues. The Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall provides a hip alternative to the glitzy Atlantic City bar scene. This spring, the Rhythm & Spirits cocktail and pizza bar has opened in this lively enclave. Live music and craft cocktails will be the order of the day; an indoor bar and entertainment area plus an outdoor entertainment area and a food truck round out the venue’s offerings.

    • Solving mysteries is the fun on tap at Escape AC, housed in the Tropicana. Players are given an hour to discover clues, solve puzzles and break out of one of four Atlantic City–themed rooms: The Poker Room, Casino Cage, the Boardwalk and Backstage. Success rates for sleuths vary between 5 percent and 25 percent. Escape AC accommodates groups of up to 200 people, with 40 players hunting for the way out per round.

    • Thrilling obstacle courses across 80 acres of forest fields await at AC Paintball. Large groups of up to 100 players can test out the Black Ops course, while smaller teams can square off on the Hyperball Field. Bookings can be made for full- or half-day experiences.

    • Nearby Ventnor offers several great dining options. At Domenico’s (609-822-1300) guests can enjoy traditional Italian favorites (try the Lobster Sinatra, which is sautéed with littleneck clams, shitake mushrooms and pignoli nuts in a light cherry tomato broth on a bed of spaghettini). Stella Restaurant features innovative menu items like Medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese, almonds, applewood bacon and arugula; meatballs with creamy polenta and fontina in a pomodoro sauce; homemade sweet fennel sausage with orecchiette pasta and roasted peppers; and shrimp with smoked bacon, soft polenta, shiitake mushrooms, lemon, garlic, parsley and scallion.

    Bourre brings a New Orleans vibe to the area with frozen Hurricanes and other drinks from the Big Easy, along with Cajun barbecue cuisine.

    • Over-the-top cocktails like the Alice In Wonderland-themed Unusual Tales G&T; the Bright Idea, served in a lightbulb with a flamingo straw; and the Kentucky Supper Club, made with Woodford Reserve and Sweet Vermouth Foam, are the order of the day (and night) at 2100 Bar & Lounge at Caesars.

    • A taste of Brooklyn Italian cuisine can be savored at Cafe 2825. Staying true to the owners’ Brooklyn and Southern Italian roots, the famous eatery serves fare prepared from fresh, authentic ingredients. House specialties include Sunday Gravy (homemade meatballs, bracciole and Italian sausage in red gravy, accompanied by rigatoni) and Chicken Sorrentino ala Jacquelina (francese-style chicken breast layered with eggplant, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh tomato), among others. Café 2825 is also known for offering “tableside experiences,” such as the preparation of burrata-style fresh mozzarella cheese straight from the curd; it’s then sliced and served warm with sauteed tomatoes and homemade ricotta topping.

    Among other top restaurants in Atlantic City are: