Heading to Los Angeles? Consider integrating these two destinations in to your itinerary.
Las Vegas: More Than Just Casinos
By Stacey Ebert
Las Vegas, Nevada has long been described as “Disneyland for grown ups.” Glitter, glamour, extravagance and gambling have been at the helm of the Vegas weekend for decades. Just a few hours southeast of Los Angeles, past the sparkling lights of the Vegas strip, lives a thriving Jewish community and opportunities for entertainment beyond glitz and glam.
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (17 miles west of Vegas) offers a vast contrast. Showcasing some of the best the Mojave Desert has to offer, this conservation area has outdoor excitement for all ages. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain climbing or just taking in nature’s beauty awaits in the canyon. Just 30 miles southeast of Vegas finds the immense beauty of the Hoover Dam.
Standing over 700 feet tall and open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas), the dam sits on the border of Arizona and Nevada.
To revisit childhood memories or collector’s heaven, visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. Housing what visitors may see as the largest collection of open to the public pinball games, step into the dings and clicks of your youth and reenter the days when minimal change brought maximum satisfaction. Interested in sports? Take in a minor league baseball game at Cashman Field. Home to at least one Major League Baseball spring training game a year, various minor league games and other attractions, Cashman Field serves up nostalgia all its own in the form of baseball.
One of the highlights of the Jewish year is the January Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival organized by the local community and other sponsors. For the past thirteen years, this film festival has taken pride in celebrating Jewish film, providing education, outreach, tolerance and the chance to just take in a movie. For a daring day trip, tours go to the Grand Canyon for hiking and scenic observing and many even provide a photo stop at the massive Hoover Dam. No matter what you fancy, Las Vegas and its surroundings have options for all.
San Diego: For Outdoor Lifestyle and Endless Sunshine
A two-hour drive on California’s most frequented freeways takes you from Los Angeles to San Diego. Home to the San Diego Padres, Balboa Park, fabulous fish tacos and beautiful beaches, San Diego offers a different southern California scene. Focusing more on surf and sand than Hollywood and Rodeo, this laid back city has a vibe all its own.
A day in Balboa Park couldn’t possibly fit in all there is. From the zoo to museums, or a game of lawn bowls there’s heaps to do and see. If you’re a fan of building anything you can dream up, San Diego County’s Legoland fulfills childhood imaginations and entertains all ages. For sports fans, Petco Park offers a great day out. Enjoy a game, take in a tour of the park or just take a photo and embrace the joy of America’s pastime.
The historic Gaslamp Quarter calls to visitors to eat diverse cuisines, shop for anything and sundry or take in a show in this thriving district.
This walk-able city takes pride in its outdoor lifestyle and endless sunshine. San Diego’s relaxed atmosphere oozes through the air as guests saunter through the city’s Seaside Village. On any given day you’ll find people dressed in flip-flops meandering the footpath, enjoying the boutique souvenir shops and restaurants or just taking in the view. Hop a ferry or drive to Coronado and pop your feet in the sand in front of one of the country’s most picturesque seaside resorts, the Hotel Del Coronado. Here landlovers delight in the specialty chocolate shop and Maggie Moos’ sweet cream treats while beachgoers watch sculpting artists create magic out of water and sand.
Known for its beach scene, San Diego offers a myriad of options all with their own special flair. Mission Beach has Belmont Park amusements while Pacific Beach is home to twentysomethings and lots of eateries. La Jolla, known as the jewel of Southern California, has a large Jewish community as well as a community center. Sharing its stunning coastline, couture, cafes, high-styled cuisine and more, a visit to La Jolla provides a day filled with sparkling views of the Pacific and magical luxury. With a desire to infuse relaxation into the everyday, San Diego
offers something for everyone.