In 1854 the Camden and Atlantic Railroad began train service between Philadelphia and the coast, and the first commercial hotel was built the same year. The first boardwalk was constructed in 1870 and soon after half a million people were visiting each year. To handle the traffic more lines followed, including the Reading Railroad. Sound familiar? Landmarks and street names of this town are properties on the board game Monopoly. The city's golden age came in the 1920's when speakeasy liquor flowed freely despite prohibition, and gambling flourished in back rooms between blocks of the big new hotels that had transformed the city. After the war the city's economic decline was a factor when voters approved gambling for Atlantic City in 1976.
The new Atlantic City of casinos and mega-resorts is again a gay-popular destination. The New Jersey Civil Union law of 2007 helped, and having your ceremony here is a good reason to visit. Atlantic City’s current mayor, Don Guardian, is gay and several resort hotels, along with the Convention & Visitors Authority have courted the pink dollar market. Gaming tables, entertainment and casino nightclubs are still a big attractions, along with the beach and the world's longest boardwalk. There's a gay nightclub in town, another nearby, and a clothing-optional gay guesthouse for men. Within easy reach of large gay communities of Philadelphia and New York, Washington or Baltimore, Atlantic City makes a great getaway destination.
Atlantic City Airport, has Spirit Airlines with arrivals direct from many US cities and connections to many more throughout the Americas, along with Air Canada flights to and from Toronto. The airport is located just 12 miles from the beach. NJ Transit has a few connections to Atlantic City (see airport link for details), but the hotel shuttles, taxis, or car rentals are a lot less complicated.
The Philadelphia Airport is another arrival option, with rail connections to the coast through the Philadelphia 30th Street Station. NJ Transit operates trains to Atlantic City, a dozen trips per day taking 90-100 minutes, costing $10 each way.
NJ Transit also runs twice daily bus service (route 319) from New York Port Authority Bus Terminal to Atlantic City, taking around 2.5 hours, for $39 each way.
The New York City Penn Station to Atlantic City ACES train service ended in 2012. Take AMTRAK to Trenton and switch at the Pennsauken Transit Center for the beach - or take the bus.
Media and resources
Out in Jersey covers gay news of the Garden State from offices in Trenton.
The Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance has gay-friendly business listings and events such as their monthly social mixers at various restaurants around town each month, a July cruise and September pageant.
The local convention and visitors authority has an informative website at AtlanticCityNJ, and see the Atlantic City Weekly for casino entertainment, dining, movies, nightlife, gambling, news, and photos of the region.
The Atlantic City Restaurant Week (takes place in March) website lists most of the places to eat, here at the beach.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Atlantic City listings pages.
Gay in AC
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (1 Borgata Way), hotel and gaming resort, gay-targeted Out-at-Borgata packages, weekend dancing, four bars, restaurants, Music Box drag shows, plus performers such as Brandi Carlile, Diana Ross, Michael Carbonaro, Jane Lynch, Josh Groban and Lady Gaga.
The Borgata Buffet (1 Borgata Way) offers quality breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner buffets. They also have a choice of six more casual, and five fine dining options.
Music Box nightclub at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (1 Borgata Way), Saturday and Sunday bi-level lounge, gay-friendly dance crowd; special gay nights entertainment.
Ocean House (127 S Ocean Ave), 15 rooms for men in a Queen Anne Victorian at town center. Open year-round on a beach and boardwalk block, with a cozy clothing-optional atmosphere, an enclosed porch, common room, Wi-Fi, and free parking.
Rainbow Room (55 S Bellevue Ave), gay club at Coconutz, open nightly from 6pm, Saturday drag shows, weekend dancing, Sunday hot male strippers; Mr. New Jersey Leather nights and Bears On The Boardwalk events in October.
The Resorts Casino Hotel (1133 Boardwalk) aims to be "Atlantic City’s friendliest LGBT casino... featuring some of the best LGBT events in the region!" on their rainbow flag page online; rooms, casino gaming, dining and entertainment.
Ram's Head Inn (9 W White Horse Pike, Galloway), a gay-friendly hotel with wood-burning fireplaces, and a restaurant serving traditional American fare, plus casual dining at their Tavern piano bar and the Courtyard.
CLOSED: Club 11 at the Claridge Hotel, gay nightclub nights - open just a few months, mid-to-late 2015.
See more Atlantic City restaurants, hotels and casino resorts at our maps & listings tab.