Las Vegas and Atlantic City aren’t really cities. They’re bi-coastal release valves. And while it’s tempting to say that now is the perfect time for a good, cathartic release, the truth is that Vegas and A.C. are always a wonderful (and terrible) idea. Because they never make sense, they always make sense. That said, there are practical reasons to go right now. Thanks to recession-era discounting, round-trip weekend flights from New York to Las Vegas are currently going for as little as $239 in June. Hotels are incredibly discounted, too: You can stay in a suite at Steve Wynn’s opulent new Encore for $179. Atlantic City has always been cheaper to reach, and now it’s got the Aces train, which lets you travel both quickly and comfortably from Penn Station. The opening of luxe non-gaming hotels the Chelsea and the Water Club last summer tipped A.C. further in the direction of its glamorous desert sister. Vegas’s natural response: even more celeb-chef restaurants, gargantuan pools, and rooftop bars with gaga skyline views. To help you navigate each town, we’ve asked the locals—everyone from limo drivers and Playboy bunnies to columnists and card sharks—to tell us their favorite places to gamble, eat, sleep, and carouse now.
The Best of Las Vegas A Guided Strip-Club Tour What Freebies Really Cost The Best of Atlantic City An Old-timer on His A.C. How to Flip a Chip