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Ten Best Jewish Travel Sites in Las Vegas

 

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Photo Credit: misterbisson

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas and despite the deep recession that has sapped a great deal of strength from this city, there is still a whole lot happening in Vegas. The collapse of the new construction market and a general decline in tourism and convention business have made Vegas more affordable than ever before and midweek rates at four and five star hotels are available at prices so low you will think a zero is missing. If you are able to pry yourself away from the sportsbook or roulette table, you can take advantage of the many “only in Vegas” experiences that are offered daily and nightly and make Las Vegas a fantastic getaway. Another thing that is happening in Las Vegas is the tremendous growth of the Jewish community – nearly 100,000 Jews call Las Vegas home. Although (unfortunately) there are no synagogues walking distance to the hotels along the Las Vegas Strip, the surrounding area has twenty synagogues, two mikvaot and about a half dozen Kosher restaurants (many which will deliver food for those staying over Shabbat or Yom Tov).

Our 10 Favorite Things to See and Do in Las Vegas

1. The Fountains of Bellagio

The Fountains of Bellagio is an extravagant display of cascading water and radiant light thoughtfully choreographed to the sounds of opera, classical and Broadway tunes. Appearing every night of the year, it is one of the best shows in town and absolutely free.
2. Shark Reef Aquarium

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the casino, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay presents fourteen heart stopping exhibits devoted to the most lethal predators in the ocean. The largest exhibit is the 1.3 million gallon shipwreck where sharks, endangered sea turtles, stingrays, sawfish, and many other fish surround you on all sides. More than 2,000 animals are displayed at Shark Reef Aquarium, over 100 different species and 15 different species of sharks.
3. Old Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience

Before Bugsy Siegel and even before the Las Vegas Strip, there was Fremont Street. Here in downtown Las Vegas stood the first hotel in Nevada, now the Golden Gate Hotel, built in 1906. Legendary venues such as Binion’s and the Golden Nugget still call Fremont Street home. In an effort to try and recapture some of the look and feel of the “real” Las Vegas and reclaim some of the tourists who had deserted Fremont Street for the Strip, promoters have poured money and marketing into the Fremont Street Experience, a seven-block open-air pedestrian mall featuring permanent performance stages, live entertainment and a graphic light show. The Viva Vision digital video display system covers four city blocks and creates a kaleidoscope of pulsating color with 12.5 million bulbs of light and 550,000 watts of sound. If you are looking for a few hours away from the glitz and glamour of the Strip, there is no street quite like Fremont Street.
4. Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire

If recycled air conditioning and the steady hum of slot machines make you long for some sunshine and reconnecting with the great outdoors, don’t miss Red Rock Canyon, located just 20 miles west of the city. The stunning red sandstone rock formations and moderate hiking conditions are suitable for just about anyone and the views are breathtaking. Nature lovers will also want to visit the Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest and largest state park that is only 45 minutes outside the city. The Valley of Fire derives its name from the red sandstone formations that appear to glow under sun’s fiery rays. For more ambitious travelers, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park are each several hours away from the Strip and the perfect way to begin or end a visit to Las Vegas.
5. Hoover Dam

Only 25 miles outside of Vegas, the Hoover Dam rises more than 725 feet above the Colorado River and is a National Historic Landmark and a stunning achievement of American ingenuity and technical prowess. With 17 generators producing 4 billion kilowatts of electricity a year, it also is one of the country’s largest hydroelectric power facilities.
6. Stratosphere Tower

Rising 1,149 feet over the Vegas skyline, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest observation tower in the U.S. and one of the most exciting attractions among Vegas Strip hotels. The one-of-a-kind rides include, Big Shot which shoots passengers straight up 160 feet at 45 mph (over 4Gs) until they are 1,081 feet above the Strip, the X-Scream, a giant teeter-totter that propels you 27 feet over the edge of the Tower, 866 feet above the ground and for those with nerves (and a stomach) of steel, Insanity, the Ride, a massive mechanical arm that extends 64 feet over the edge of the Tower and spins you at a force of 3Gs.
7. Vegas at Night

The nightclubs, lounges and live entertainment in Las Vegas are like nowhere else on earth. Whether you are looking to be spellbound by the magic of Lance Burton or David Copperfield or prefer the spectacle of a Cirque du Soleil production or prefer a more traditional Vegas-style revue, there are dozens of choices for every night of the week and almost any budget. Travelling Broadway productions, championship boxing and frequent performances by the top comedians and musicians in the world are all just part of the Vegas experience and a must do while you are in town.
8. AdventureDome at Circus Circus

Five acres of fun are waiting for thrillseekers of all ages at the AdventureDome Theme Park at the Circus Circus Hotel. Rides like the Canyon Blaster, Rim Runner, Sling Shot, Chaos, Inverter, Lazer Blast, and the SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D Ride promise non-stop excitement and a daily free clown show is guaranteed to make you smile.
9. Touring the Hotels

Where else can you visit Rome, Venice, New York, Egypt and Paris in a single day? Each hotel in Las Vegas has its own unique character, medieval times come alive at the Excalibur, the gondolas are grand at the Venetian and the lavish Wynn is simply stunning. You must stroll the Strip to see it all for yourself. Many of the hotels expand on their themes with free shows or exhibits inside, such as the Lion Habitat at MGM Grand, the White Tigers at the Mirage, the Conservatory at the Bellagio, and the largest baseball memorabilia collection outside of Cooperstown at the Las Vegas Club Casino. Outside you can see a Volcano Eruption (also at the Mirage), the Masquerade Show in the Sky at the Rio, and the Sirens at TI show at Treasure Island all absolutely free!
10. Win!!!

There are many things to see and do in Vegas, but nothing can beat the thrill or excitement of your number coming up on the roulette wheel or the crowd that will surround you if you hit the “big one” at one of the 200,000 slot machines in the city. Whether you are a high roller or prefer the nickel machines you will find an open seat somewhere in town. Nevada is the only state in the country where sports betting is legal so if you like to place a wager on your favorite team, Vegas is the place to be. Also, every major casino hotel offers free gaming lessons, so if you are confused by Craps or want to learn to play Baccarat like Bond, there are lots of opportunities to learn. Be sure to stick to a budget, go easy on the free drinks and have fun – it’s just a game!
Been There? Done That? Tell Us in the Comments!

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About Tamar Genger MA, RD

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Tamar lives in New York and is the mother of three amazing children, a Registered Dietitian, professor of Nutrition, and as you can probably guess, a foodie! Tamar loves to travel with her family and visits kosher restaurants wherever she goes. Although she loves the sights, she spends more time talking about the restaurants and food she ate! As a mom and a nutritionist, Tamar tries to balance her passion for healthy cooking with her insatiable desire for chocolate!

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