Nonstop Flights Bring More Destinations Close to Home

While the South Valley does not contain a megacity with a mega airport, it is close enough to take advantage of what Fresno Yosemite Airport has to offer, with flights to 11 cities, non-stop, making them within reach for a three- or four-day mini-vacation.

Dallas, TX

American Airlines offers twice-daily flights from Fresno to Dallas, the largest metropolitan area in the south, and a city rich with history and attractions.

No trip to Dallas would be complete without a visit to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy at the place where Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president.

The “John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation” exhibits gives visitors an overview of the events leading up to, throughout, and after the assassination, including a chance to view a recreation of the “corner window” space, the scale model of Dealey Plaza created by the FBI in 1964, and cameras used by assassination eyewitnesses.

Through November 13, the museum is also hosting “A Time For Greatness: The 1960 Kennedy Campaign,” showcasing campaign materials, photographs, and movies from the museum’s collection, windows into presidential campaigning and politics from the 1960s.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am-6pm, and Monday from 12pm-6pm. Tickets for adults are $16, seniors 65+ $14, children 6-18 $13, and children up to 5 free. For more information, visit www.jfk.org.

Autumn at the Arboretum, a yearly fall event hosted by the Dallas Arboretum, is hosted through November 23, and was named the #1 “Trip to Put on Your Fall Bucket List” by travel website Orbitz.

Those traveling with children can also take part in a “Night-Time Trick or Treating” event, held in the arboretum’s children’s garden from October 28-30, and other children’s events include all-October exhibits on the Monarch Butterfly.

The Pumpkin Village at the arboretum features an arrangement of over 90,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash, bales of hay and cornstalks to create pumpkin houses. The village stands alongside blooming fall foliage including firebush, ornamental grasses and chrysanthemums.

The arboretum is open daily 9 am-5pm, with hours extended to 8pm Wednesday evenings through Oct. 26. Admission for adults 13-64 is $15, seniors 65 & over $12, children 3-12 $10, and children 2 and under are admitted for free. For more information, visit www.dallasarboretum.org.

The Frontiers of Flight Museum, located at Dallas Love Field, features a wide cross-section of aircraft on display, including a replica of the Wright Flyer. One of the museum’s key attractions is the Apollo 7 Command Module.

The museum also includes the “History of our Heart” gallery, dedicated to Southwest Airlines, the discount air carrier which is based and founded in Dallas, and has significant operations at Love Field. The gallery includes a Boeing 737-300 “Spirit of Kitty Hawk,” the first of the model that the airline flew, opened to visitors and filled with art and items from the company’s founder, Herb Kelleher, and President Emerita Colleen Barrett.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sundays 1-5pm, though it is closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65+, $7 for children 3-17, and free for children under the age of three. For more information, visit www.flightmuseum.com.

Portland, OR

Alaska Airlines offers a daily non-stop flight from Fresno to Portland — condensing a 12-hour drive down the I-5 into two hours, leaving plenty of time to explore all that the neighbor to the north has to offer.

The Pittock Mansion could be considered Portland’s down-scaled, more modest version of Hearst Castle. Commissioned by Henry Pittock, then the publisher of the Oregonian, the 16,000 sq. ft. home was built in 1914.

The mansion was saved from destruction after a community campaign led to its purchase by the City of Portland in 1964, and a renovated Pittock Mansion opened in 1965 to the public. The building was later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The mansion regularly hosts exhibitions highlighting Portland history, and yearly holiday exhibits. From November 21 to December 31, the mansion will host a “Symbols of the Season” event, adorning the home with seasonal decorations and hosting local musicians playing seasonal favorites. On November 12, visitors are given the opportunity to receive a Behind The Scenes tour for $19, offering the chance to see the mansion’s underground hallways and Pittock’s private den on the mansion’s third floor.

The mansion is open daily from 11 am to 4pm, though it will be closed November 18-20, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, and the entire month of January. Admission for adults is $10, seniors 65+ $9, and children aged 6-18 $7. Children under 6 are admitted free of charge. For more information, head to www.pittockmansion.org.

The Portland Art Museum is the seventh oldest museum in the nation, and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. Stocked with 42,000 objects across 112,000 square feet of gallery space. The expansive museum is a “must-see” for anyone headed to the city.

Current and upcoming exhibitions include “Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation,” running through January 1, containing approximately 250 Andy Warhol prints; “CCNA: Restoring the Breath—Sacred Relationship,” which runs from through February 26, an exhibit by the Center for Contemporary Native Art that showcases Coast Salish weaving, and “Corita Kent: Spiritual Pop,” running through January 29, containing 50 prints ranging the career of “Sister Corita,” a nun turned artist-activist.

On Saturday, November 5, the museum will also host the Wordstock Book Festival, featuring more than 100 authors, pop-up events, freeform readings, a book fair, and performances throughout the festival day. Advance tickets are $15, and day-of tickets are $18.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-5pm, closing at 8 pm on Thursday and Friday. Admission is $19.99 for adults, $16.99 for seniors and college students, and free for children 17 and under. For more information, head to www.portlandartmuseum.org

The 2016 Holiday Ale Festival gives drinking-age visitors the chance to take part in what organizers bill as the “premier winter beer tasting venue on the West Coast,” with more than 50 craft beers. Taking place over five days from November 30 – December 4 at Portland’s Courthouse Square, there’s no need to worry about finding a designated driver: the festival’s location is directly on Portland’s MAX regional transit line.

Advance general admission tickets are $35, and include a festival glass, 14 beer tickets, and expedited entry. Advance VIP tickets are $100, include a festival glass, 30 beer tickets, a bottle of water, and access to VIP-only beer lines and vintage bottle/draft sections. Organizers also offer the chance to take part in a Sunday Beer Brunch on Sunday, December 4 from 11am – 1pm for $75. For more information, head to www.holidayale.com.

Salt Lake City

Delta Airlines offers three daily flights from Fresno to Utah’s capital city, Salt Lake City, Sunday through Friday, and two on Saturdays.

Temple Square is Utah’s most popular tourist attraction, a 35-acre area hosting Mormon history, Salt Lake City history, and genealogy resources.

Home to the largest genealogy library in the world, the Temple Square facilities offer two free services: the FamilySearch Center, geared for dipping your feet into the genealogy waters, and the Family History Library, holding data and records on over 3 billion past ancestors.

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, the Temple Square grounds are transformed to celebrate Christmas, featuring daily concerts and decorations.

For more information, go to www.templesquare.com.

The Tracy Aviary is situated on 8 acres of land at Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park, and is America’s oldest public aviary. Get the chance to see hundreds of birds, some rare and endangered, and attend daily bird shows and pelican encounters.

Admission is $7.95 for adults and children aged 13 and older, $4.95 for children 3-12, and $6.95 for seniors 65+, students, and military. The aviary is open 9 am-4 pm, with $1 admission every Wednesday, November through March.

Booking Your Flights & Accomodations

For some of the best pricing and availability of flights, visit Google Flights at flights.google.com. To find the some of best prices on hotels and lodging, check out www.booking.com.

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