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

2020 Stella Award Winners

2019 Stella Award Winners

2018 Stella Award Winners

Meeting & Event Venues

Event Venues, Additions & Renovations 

• The Atlantic City Convention Center and Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, which recently unveiled a new façade, are once again operating at 100 percent capacity following the lifting of all indoor gathering limits specific to meetings, conventions and events held in New Jersey.

• Luxor Capital Group is investing roughly $15 million to renovate the Ocean Casino Resort. Upgrades include the addition of 250 slot machines, a high-limit table games area, an Asian gaming space, and two guest lounges for the property’s loyalty card holders. Improvements to outdoor amenities, including the property’s pools, cabanas, and beach areas, are also planned. 

• The Lucky Snake at Showboat, the largest arcade in New Jersey, has opened at the Showboat Atlantic City in the area that previously housed the casino. The 100,000-square-foot venue features such games as large crane, classics from the 1980s, virtual basketball, pinball, and Skee Ball. Prizes range from candy to designer purses, jewelry, cars, motorcycles, and all-inclusive vacations. A 25,000-square-foot sports venue includes an eSports gaming area and a boxing ring. Among other features are performance stages, a speakeasy, improved meeting space, and live entertainment seven days a week.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has announced plans to reinvest a minimum of $20 million in capital improvements to the property. Most of the investment has been earmarked for a renovation of the casino resort’s 66 Celebrity and 25 Roxy suites. Other enhancements include upgrades to the resort’s meeting and convention space and indoor pool; the addition of gaming units in the Asian and High Limit areas of the casino; and an expansion of the main casino floor and cage areas to include new table games and slot machines. Upgrades of the Hard Rock Beach Bar will involve the construction of new restrooms and the addition of more than 1,000 beach chairs. A new dining outlet will debut in summer 2021, and a Starbucks with access to the Atlantic City Boardwalk has opened adjacent Hard Rock Café.

• Meet AC has launched Our Plan to Keep You Safe, a resource for planning safe meetings through the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The resource features Together Again!, which outlines the reopening plan for the Atlantic City Convention Center and contains details of staff, corporate and industry best practices to support the health and safety of convention center visitors, employees and partners. In addition to a reopening timeline and summary, the plan includes health, safety, building, employee and food and beverage protocols; an outline of employee responsibilities; venue requirements; information on meeting room setup changes and more. 

• Meet AC has enhanced its Atlantic City virtual reality experience. The experience now features two distinctly different virtual tours, Meetings and Conventions and Destination.  The Meetings and Conventions tour spotlights everything planners and attendees need to know and see when it comes to meetings and conventions in Atlantic City. The Destination tour focuses on special offerings provided by the destination’s hotels as well as information on its beach, Boardwalk and shopping opportunities.  

• Work on Phase II of Stockton University’s  residential expansion project is well underway and slated to wrap up by 2023.  The project involves the construction of a six-story, 416-bed, 135,000-square-foot student residence hall at Atlantic and South Providence avenues, across from O’Donnell Memorial Park. Other accommodations and facilities at the university include the 533-bed Boardwalk residence hall and a three-story academic building that opened in fall 2018.

• Atlantic City’s newest brewery, The Seed: A Living Beer Project , has been ranked first on the USA TODAY 10BEST “Best New Brewery” list for 2021. The 5,000-square-foot craft brewery and tasting room features a seven-barrel brewing system with nine taps and a dedicated side-pull lager line. Specialties include saisons (highly carbonated pale ales) and mixed-fermentation ales made from local fruits, grains and botanicals.

Bar32 Chocolate & Cocktails has opened in the Orange Loop district. Bar32’s menu includes a wide variety of desserts made with its own hand-crafted chocolate, as well as cocktails. The Bar32 Chocolate & Cocktails experience also includes music, with playlists tailored to each of the establishment’s chocolate bars. All chocolate is made from premium cacao beans and incorporates ingredients from around the world. 

•  The Atlantic City Convention Center has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR Facility accreditation, indicating its readiness to welcome guests safely based on adherence to the highest standards of cleaning for Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. For the program, at least one staff member completed a two- to three-hour online course covering a range of topics, including proper procedures and training, as well as the chemicals, equipment, tools, and personal protective equipment needed to prevent and respond to infectious diseases. The center also demonstrated compliance with 20 GBAC Star program elements.

• Two iconic Atlantic City restaurants—the Knife & Fork Inn and Dock’s Oyster House have joined forces to introduce a new dining concept at Resorts Casino Hotel in spring 2021. The restaurant will feature a classic steakhouse menu, a raw bar, and live entertainment and replaces Gallagher’s Steak House and Gallagher’s Burger Bar, both of which are slated to close on January 1. Dock’s was opened in 1897 by Harry Dougherty, great-grandfather of current owner Frank Dougherty. The Knife & Fork, also owned by Dougherty, was launched as a men’s club in 1912; it served as a popular speakeasy during Prohibition, and became a restaurant in 1927.

Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino's new owner has  pledged to pour at least $90 million into an upgrade of the resort. Plans call for renovations of more than 900 of the property’s guest rooms and the construction of 30 to 40 mini-suites, along with the introduction of new bars and restaurants slated to open by summer 2021. A permanent sportsbook is also expected to open in 2021.

• 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. 
 
• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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, 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.
 
• 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.

Things To Do in A.C.

Getting Active & Outdoors

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 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 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.
 
See 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

    The Orange Loop, the three-block expanse is chock-full of one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars and live music venues. continues to grow. Among the planned new offerings are a live entertainment venue at the former Dreams Cabaret building, an expansion of the The Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall

    • 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.

    • 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: