10 Magical Things to Do in Atlantic City in Winter

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Looking for a fun winter getaway on the East Coast? While most think of the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City as summer destinations, there’s so much to do in Atlantic City in winter!

So whether you want to visit in December and get your pre-holiday cheer, or you want to visit in January and February to keep the winter blues away, here are the best ways to enjoy winter in Atlantic City!

This list of things to do in winter in Atlantic City is brought to you in collaboration with Hotels.com. 

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The Best Things to Do in Atlantic City in Winter

A Quick Note about Traveling Now

Travel today is filled with a certain level of uncertainty, so please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.

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If you do decide to travel at this time, here are some important recommendations:

Wear a face mask. 

Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.

Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses.

Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.

The Best Things to Do in Atlantic City in Winter

Whether you want bright lights or peaceful waves, winter in Atlantic City has something for everyone!

Enjoy Some Time in One of the Fancier Hotels

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First things first! Whether you are looking to be pampered, wined and dined, or simply enjoying some cards, don’t think you need to skip the best of Atlantic City! While, yes, it’s great to get off the beaten path, there’s a reason the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast, so why not take advantage?

I enjoyed staying at the Golden Nugget in December because it was delightfully festive yet still had that classic AC mischief about it. We knocked down Old Fashions and spent some time at the tables. And we had a blast!

When looking for a hotel, you can pick one that has games or one nearby, though in winter it’s nice to have things to do in your hotel in case you decide you don’t want to go out into the cold.

We alternate between staying at the Golden Nugget and more budget-friendly hotels nearby, but in winter you can get great deals on the more upscale Atlantic City hotels.

Go for a Walk on the Shore

USA - New Jersey - Atlantic City in Winter

Are you going to go all the way “down the Shore” without actually seeing the Jersey shore?

While the views from your hotel might be stunning, you really should go for a stroll along the beach at some point.

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Dress appropriately and don’t expect to swim, but the beach is still the beach after all!

See the Absecon Lighthouse

USA - New Jersey - Atlantic City in Winter

I just adore lighthouses! Do you think I’m joking? Here are my favorite quotes about lighthouses, the best ones on the East Coast, the best ones on the West Coast, and my favorite lighthouse puns.

Seriously, I am OBSESSED. So of course, I’m going to suggest you head over to Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City!

Not only is it New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, but it’s also the third tallest in the country! If you want to see the view from the top, you’ll need to climb almost two hundred and fifty steps, but the keeper’s cottage and the rest of the grounds are much more accessible for everyone.

Go to a Show

While there aren’t as many residencies in Atlantic City as there are in Vegas, you can almost always find a concert or other performance that is worth your while.

Look at places like Stubhub for what’s showing city-wide, or ask your hotel for recommendations when you get here.

Visit the Aquarium


Unlike many of Atlantic City’s aquatic attractions, the aquarium is open daily year-round (though check to see if there are holiday closures). This means that you can get up-close and personal with marine life all year!

This is one of the best things to do in winter in Atlantic City for kids and families traveling together and is a great way to mix travel and learning.

Play a Few Rounds at Topgolf

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I explained in my post about Birmingham that I adore Topgolf and pretty much recommend you go no matter what city you’re in.

It’s a perfect way for adults to have fun without just going to a bar or club. I think it’s hard for adults who travel to find alternative nightlife activities, and this is the perfect way to expand beyond traditional Atlantic City nightlife. 

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Shop Til You Drop

I adore looking for fun souvenirs when I travel, and Atlantic City offers shopping opportunities for everyone from the budget shopper to the traveler looking for haute couture.

Whether you want a kitschy souvenir teeshirt or a pair of $6000 sunglasses, Atlantic City has what you’re looking for!

Read next: 10 Perfect Cape May Souvenirs & Gifts to Remember Your Seaside Getaway

Visit the Marina

USA - New Jersey - Atlantic City in Winter

While I simply enjoyed viewing the marina from the parking garage of my hotel, those who want to get closer to the water can spend some time walking around the marina and enjoying the beautiful boats.

Of course, if you happen to know one of the boat’s owners and get invited on board, even better!

Enjoy a Kitschy Buffet

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The all-you-can-eat buffets in Atlantic City are famous for a reason, but that reason isn’t exactly quality. However, I would suggest you not miss the opportunity to indulge in one of the city’s most famous past times. 

Stroll Along the Boardwalk

USA - New Jersey - Atlantic City in Winter

While the Atlantic City boardwalk is hopping in summer, you shouldn’t skip a visit in winter! You can enjoy strolling in peace while taking in the picturesque views. There’s something so lovely and peaceful about seeing places when they’re calm off-season.

What to Wear in Atlantic City in Winter

You’ll be in a variety of environments (unless you don’t plan on leaving your hotel), so you want to be able to dress up and dress down as needed. You don’t want to overdress and get overheated, and, of course, you don’t want to freeze!

Here are my suggestions for what women should wear for sightseeing in Atlantic City in winter:

A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka. Remember that the closer to the water you get, the colder you’ll be.

Thermal Layers: This ultra-lightweight down layer is my new #packinggoals. I don’t own one, but my friend Allison does and she wore hers while we were stuck at a Serbian bus stop in the cold early morning.

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I was so jealous, and this is on my future packing lists for anywhere I go that’s cold. It’s great because you can wear it on its own when you need a quick layer of warmth, but you can also wear it under your coat when it’s really cold outside.

Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.

Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.

Gloves: In AC, you’ll be doing a lot of navigating on your smartphone, especially when you want to get around. I found it incredibly annoying to have to take my gloves off every few minutes, so I upgraded to tech-friendly gloves like these. They’re also clutch for using your phone to take pictures.

Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary.

Leggings: You’ll want to be covered from head to toe when you’re outside. Regular leggings are great for late autumn, but for winter swap them for leggings that are lined with fleece for extra warmth. You can wear them under dresses or even slip them under your jeans.

Hat: A fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

Here is what I suggest men wear in winter in AC:

A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka.

Wool Baselayer: You’ll want an extra boost of warmth under your shirt as a wool baselayer.

Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.

Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.

Gloves:  Upgrade to tech-friendly gloves like these so you can use your smartphone for pics and to help navigate.

Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary

Hat: A fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

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5 Things to Pack for Atlantic City in Winter

Canada - Toronto -Luggage

The Lonely Planet New York & the Mid-Atlantic (Regional Guide) guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.

Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie.

A Camera since Atlantic City is made for really fun photo options. I use a mix of my Nikon D810 and my Samsung8 smartphone these days.

Waterproof Passport Holder so that if something happens when you are near the water, your passport and important IDs don’t get wet.

I’ve seen people denied boarding on flights due to wet passports, and you can technically not be allowed to go over the border. 

A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc).

My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for Atlantic City because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day. 

More New Jersey Travel Resources

New Jersey's Cape May Lighthouse captured at sunset from an aerial drone

If you’ll be in the area, here are the best souvenirs from Cape May.

New Jersey has tons of great spots to explore! I’ve included the state on my round-up of the best East Coast lighthouses.

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

Before you leave for Atlantic City make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in popular tourist spots like Atlantic City.

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for four years, and I happily recommend them.  If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.

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