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Try your luck at this Casino near Atlanta

casino-near-atlanta

While there isn’t a casino, a legal one anyway, in Atlanta you can find several casinos near Atlanta. The casinos near Atlanta are within driving distance and the closest one is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC.

What is the History of the Cherokee casino near Atlanta? 

The casino itself is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and managed by Caesars Entertainment. It is located on the site of the former Frontier Land theme park and sits not too far from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains. The Casino opened in 1997 but has undergone changes since and the newest renovation being the new Cherokee Tower completed in 2021. 

How big is this Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino?

Harrah’s Cherokee has 1,833 rooms, making it the largest hotel in North Carolina. In 2018 this casino near Atlanta raked in $393 million. 

Let’s get one thing straight, this isn’t Las Vegas. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino near Atlanta is the closest thing we Atlantans have to a gambling and the casino life. However, if you were expecting the glitz and glam as you drive up to this casino close to Atlanta you would be incorrect. Harrah’s Cherokee is a stand alone resort / casino with not much else in the area, not a strip like Vegas. Plus they don’t allow smoking inside and drinks are not complementary unlike the casinos in Las Vegas. 

Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, NC

The other notable difference between this casino near Atlanta, Harrah’s, is that they card nearly everyone who doesn’t look at least 50, when things are slow. I’ve walked through casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City more than a decade ago and was never carded. I wish I’d been told this at check in so I would have known to carry my ID instead I walked all the way to the casino only to be turned away. However, as I found out the next night, if it is really busy they throw this rule out the window and don’t check IDs at all. 

Hotel Lobby @ Harrah’s Casino near Atlanta

How far is this casino from Atlanta?

Playing the slots at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino near Atlanta

The closest Casino to Atlanta is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC and that is about 3 hours, or 160 miles from Atlanta. There are two ways you can get to Harrah’s from Atlanta. If you are on the northwest side of the city (closer to Cobb or Cherokee counties) your best bet is to drive up 575N and come in that way. If you are more East (Gwinnett, Forsyth or North Fulton) the best route takes you either 85 or 400 to 985N.

They say “Atlanta is an hour from Atlanta”, so if you are going to drive that far, why not just go a little extra and drive to Cherokee, a casino near Atlanta. 

What is there to do at this Casino Near Atlanta besides gambling?

Go to a concert in Cherokee, NC casino near Atlanta

There is a huge concert stadium built right inside the hotel that seats up to 3,000. These bring in musical entertainers from many different genres such as Alice Cooper, Travis Tritt, Blues Traveler and Tanya Tucker. There is country, rock and even comedians. The acoustics are fantastic and the elevated seating means there is not really a bad seat in the house. 

Enjoy Entertainment at MYST Bar

MYST Bar at Harrah’s Hotel Casino near Atlanta

Even if you can’t see a concert at the venue inside the hotel, that doesn’t mean you can’t see a show at this casino near Atlanta. Just head on over to the MYST Bar where there is live music on some nights. Even if there isn’t a band, you can entertain yourself people watching.

Eat at some of the restaurants at this casino close to Atlanta

Spread out among the two large distinct buildings on the property are many different eateries. These include a new restaurant from Guy Fieri, plus there are also classic spots like Brio Tuscan Grille or UNO pizza (in the food court). Whenever you plan on going when you visit this casino near Atlanta, make sure you make reservations. Most restaurants seem to be operating at a seating capacity of only about 20 percent due to staffing shortages. 

Dining at Guy Fieri’s restaurant at Harrah’s in Cherokee, NC

We had a reservation at Guy Fieri’s restaurant and I loved the spicy Jalapeno Margarita and the Lobster Pops. True to Guy’s style everything is over the top in presentation and calories! We had lobster pops, which come in a basket of fried lobster balls, but underneath is french fries drenched in cheese. The chicken fried chicken was delicious and could have easily fed two. Surprisingly I enjoyed that more than the steak. We had our cheesecake to go and between the two of us could only have a few bites as we were so full!

Check out the pool (there’s an indoor and an outdoor pool)

The outdoor pool looks quite impressive at Harrah’s Cherokee and I’m sure during warm months it is quite fun. The hotel also has an indoor pool. Sadly, it is quite small and over chlorinated when we visited. So, I’d only plan on going swimming if you are going to enjoy the outdoor pool.

Indoor Pool at Harrah’s hotel and casino near Atlanta

What are the rooms like at this casino near Atlanta? 

Nice, clean and comfortable. The bathrooms are quite modern since the Cherokee tower was completed in 2021. Mattress and sheets were incredibly comfortable and the fact that the fan can be left on helps to keep down any disturbances from late night partiers in the hallways. Rooms do have refrigerators if you want to bring any food or drinks in. I have never seen so many hotel guests with cartons of beer. 

However, the rooms at Harrah’s Cherokee also have their cons. The biggest offender is the coffee pot situation. They don’t have a pod coffee pot (antiquated tray kind) or liquid creamer in the rooms, just powder creamer. That was pretty disappointing. Also, don’t expect to queue up your favorite Netflix show as they aren’t available on your in room tv. 

What is the cost of a room at this casino near Atlanta?

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino has vastly different pricing. We’ve seen anything from $55 to over $500 per night. If you wanted to go there for a specific concert and found the price quite high there are some budget hotels nearby this casino hotel but they wouldn’t be the quality of this hotel. 

Our Protips for staying at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino

  1. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. I made the mistake of packing boots with high heels, thinking I wouldn’t be walking so much, but it was quite a walk from the parking lot to the lobby to our room. The walk to the casino and restaurants wasn’t a short jaunt either. 

2. Make reservations at restaurants at the hotel well in advance of your trip. Some restaurants had wait times of hours. This is due to the staffing shortages that are rampant in the hospitality industry. If you can’t eat at the hotel there aren’t any restaurants other than fast food in the close vicinity. 

3. Bring your ID with you if you appear to be under 40 and you want to drink or visit the casino. Of course, if it’s busy they just seem to forget to enforce this, but better to have it and not need it.

Brio Tuscan Grill at Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino near Atlanta

Pros of this casino hotel near Atlanta

  • Free Parking for guests staying at the hotel or just visiting
  • Quiet and comfortable rooms. 
  • Lighting fast elevators – never wait more than a minute for an elevator
  • Friendly and helpful staff

Cons of the casino hotel near Atlanta

  • Huge difference in cost. We’ve seen ranges from $53 to over $500. So it may be difficult or a turn off to try and plan a trip. 
  • There is a $25 per night resort fee. This was added on August 2021. 
  • Reduced dining capacity due to lack of staff – must make reservations for dining weeks in advance. 

It’s nice that Atlantans have an option for a casino hotel less than 2 hours to where we live. With all the options, swimming, concerts, dining, and even some shopping and the high energy bar with entertainment, there’s plenty to do even if you are not interested in the casino at Harrah’s.

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!