Destination Brief: Atlantic City Sets the Bar for Meaningful Meetings

A skyline view of Atlantic City with the yellow glow of the sun setting in the background.

Skift Take

America’s Playground is moving beyond leisure tourism to become a modern home for meetings and events based on the values of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Discover why its combination of business, play, and regenerative thinking is attracting event planners in 2024 and beyond.

This content was created collaboratively by Visit Atlantic City and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

Atlantic City has long been known as America’s Playground, but the destination is now building just as much of a reputation for business meetings. Going beyond an entrepreneurial spirit, this new American dream is founded on sustainability, considered reinvestment, and giving back.

This beachside city has been quietly building up its infrastructure for meetings and events, with a slew of new conference facilities and destination redevelopment. In an age where bleisure appeal is fast becoming a top differentiator for business destinations, it’s perhaps not surprising that Atlantic City has become New Jersey’s top hub for meetings and conventions. As a seaside resort town, it’s ideal for combining business with play — with its natural appeal boosted by significant recent investments into hotel renovations, innovative restaurants, and both family-friendly and after-hours attractions.

What may be less well-known is the destination’s mission to deliver meaningful meetings. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are now top-of-mind for venues and businesses across Atlantic City. It’s a business destination for the new era of meetings, combining robust infrastructure with social and environmental responsibility. As Larry Sieg, President and CEO at Visit Atlantic City, says, “When you host a meeting or convention in Atlantic City, CSR initiatives are at the top of mind in every touchpoint.”

Infrastructure: World-Class Venues for Meetings and Conferences

An aerial view of the show floor at the Easter Energy Expo 2023 (Atlantic City), with multiple booths visible alongside large trucks and construction vehicles on display.
Eastern Energy Expo 2023, Atlantic City Convention Center.

Atlantic City has no shortage of meeting space or styles to suit your next event, from mega-sized convention centers to historic venues and casinos. In fact, the city has over 1.8 million square feet of meeting space available, which can be viewed at a glance in this handy guide. Notable meeting and conference venues include:

  • Atlantic City Convention Center: Built in 1997, this is the largest convention center in New Jersey. It has over 500,000 contiguous square feet of convention event space and ample parking options. In 2024, the center will play host to the Discover Boating Atlantic City Boat Show, the 2024 C.H.A.M.P.S. Trade Show East, the 2024 National Association of Elevator Contractors Convention and many more. To see more upcoming events, check out the full 2024 calendar.
  • Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center: This flexible meeting space opened in 2015, and has two 50,000-square foot pillarless ballrooms that can be configured up to 300 different ways. It hosted MPI’s (Meeting Professionals International) WEC (World Education Congress) shortly after opening.
  • Resorts Casino Hotel: The hotel is situated along the Atlantic City Boardwalk and has more than 64,000 square feet of space, including a new conference center and 14 ocean-view boardrooms.
  • Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall: The country’s original convention center, this iconic historical structure was built in 1929. It has a 141,000-square-foot main arena with a capacity of 14,770 seats, as well as the 23,100-square-foot Adrian Phillips Theatre with a capacity of 3,200.

Top Hotels and Resorts

It’s no surprise that a city long known for welcoming both pleasure-seekers and decision-makers is home to plenty of hotels and resorts, including nine casino resorts. Many are ranked among the best in the country, including the Ocean Casino Resort, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. For those looking for a premier resort experience, the $55 million remodel of Borgata’s Water Club to the MGM Tower offers a shot of contemporary luxury.

Sustainability: Green Convention Center and World-Leading Renewable Energy

Atlantic City Convention Center’s Sustainability Programs

For an example of how Atlantic City is putting sustainability at the top of its “meaningful meetings” agenda, look no further than the flagship Atlantic City Convention Center. As Sieg points out, “We lead the way with sustainable and energy-efficient efforts at the LEED GOLD and GBAC STAR-certified Atlantic City Convention Center.”

The venue has a decades-long record of sustainability leadership. It was a founding member of the Convene Green Alliance and has reduced its energy consumption every year since 1997. Thanks to funding from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), the Atlantic City Convention Center installed the largest single roof mounted solar array in the United States on top of the facility in 2009. To date, it has produced 29% of the building’s total electrical consumption, and by 2029 energy cost savings should total nearly $4.4 million

A view overlooking the rooftop solar array at the Atlantic City Convention Center, with windmills visible in the background and a maintenance person busy with repairs in the middle-ground.
The solar panel installation on the roof of the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Renewable Energy Initiatives

Outside of its meeting and event spaces, Atlantic City is also making considerable efforts — and investments — to become a greener city. The Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Farm, situated 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey, already creates enough electricity to power 500,000 homes, and will supply more than 3.2 million by 2035. Meanwhile, the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm is an urban, coastal, industrial, onshore, and multi-turbine wind farm that is unique to the world. Together with the city’s 500-kilowatt solar electric project, it powers Atlantic City’s wastewater treatment plant, with any excess energy provided to the main power grid.

Three large windmills line the shore of Atlantic City.
A wind farm in Atlantic City.

Unique Public Transportation Options With Greener Fuel

Since 1915, Atlantic City’s main form of public transportation has been the iconic jitney: a fleet of mini-buses run by owner-operators. They are the city’s most convenient and affordable mode of transportation, and can be specifically tailored to your group. Now, thanks to $15 million in funding from the EERE Clean Cities’ Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program, the city has purchased nearly 300 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, including 190 Atlantic City jitneys, and has established a dedicated CNG fueling station.

Human Interest: A Wealth of Leisure Options and CSR Initiatives


Why was Atlantic City named one of Forbes’ top 20 U.S. destinations to visit in 2023? This seaside city has always offered a wealth of fantastical experiences, from casinos to live shows. And while the city may have moved on from the speakeasy days of the 1930s Boardwalk Empire era, it still leads the way in boundary-breaking “submersive” entertainment — immersive experience company Spiegelworld launched its first-ever permanent live show, The Hook, at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino last year. You might also want to take a deeper dive into the making of the libations that accompany much of the fun: Try a tour of the first and only legal distillery in Atlantic City, Little Water Distillery, or visit the Taproom at The Seed: A Living Beer Project.

Further, modern Atlantic City is also packed with options for family fun. Of course, there’s the arcades, the historic beach and boardwalk, Absecon Lighthouse, Steel Pier, and a multitude of activities on the water. These include dolphin watching, sailing, parasailing, fishing in the Back Bays, and boat, canoe or kayak rentals. Try Atlantic City Cruises for creative cruise options, including the Skyline Cruise and Happy Hour Cruise.

Additionally, keen golfers can practice their swing at one of the 25 golf courses surrounding the Atlantic City area. For those who want to bring the family along, consider North Beach Mini Golf or TopGolf Swing Suite. And for the best of family-friendly entertainment that the city has to offer, head to Showboat Resort to check out both Lucky Snake Arcade & Raceway and ISLAND Waterpark, which opened in July 2023. The $100 million indoor waterpark is the largest in the world, and it features a state-of-the-art surf machine, FlowRider and the biggest custom aqua forms in the world.

Wearing summer attire and drinking iced coffees, a man and a woman walk side by side along one of Atlantic City's iconic beaches.

Corporate Social Responsibility

However, modern Atlantic City isn’t just about having a good time: It’s about engaging with the spirit and culture of the local community — and even giving something back. “We pride ourselves on leaving a destination better than when you arrived and are committed to maintaining the natural resources of our destination,” says Sieg. “Planners and their attendees can enhance their experience by helping protect the natural environment. We have many local organizations that welcome volunteers to complete their company’s detailed CSR accreditations and help regenerate our destination.”

There are multiple local non-profit organizations that visiting planners can engage with, including the Chelsea Economic Development Corporation. This organization partners with residents, businesses, and community groups to activate projects that expand economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in the Chelsea Neighborhood of Atlantic City. There’s a thriving grassroots scene in Atlantic City that planners can tap into when organizing meaningful, regenerative activities for event attendees.

Hands-on CSR Activities

Some example activities include:

  • Purchasing handmade ceramic crafts from MudGirls Studio, a non-profit organization that empowers women to self-sufficiency by teaching them pottery skills.
  • Volunteering with beach clean ups or learning about ocean-friendly gardening through the Surfrider Foundation South Jersey Chapter.
  • Making a difference in the lives of animals in Atlantic County and beyond by volunteering at the local animal shelter, the Humane Society of Atlantic County.
Four women and two men stand around a table where they are all leaning forward to work on ceramic projects as part of a MudGirl Studios workshop in Atlantic City.
Attendees participate in a group workshop at MudGirls Studio in Atlantic City.

These are just a few of the activities available to enrich both your event and the destination. Other possible partners include Absecon Lighthouse, the Arc of Atlantic County, Atlantic City Rescue Mission, the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, and South Jersey Fields of Dreams. Visit Atlantic City’s Destination Services team can help provide information to event organizers who want to participate in its “meaningful meetings” initiative.

To learn more about everything that Visit Atlantic City has to offer, reach out to the experts at Visit Atlantic City.

Did You Know?

Atlantic City’s Boardwalk was not only the first of its kind in the world, but is also the namesake for the Boardwalk property in Monopoly — with all of the game’s place names tied to real-world locations in Atlantic City.

This content was created collaboratively by Visit Atlantic City and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.