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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

November 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM

3 getaways for this weekend, Vancouver yule to Portland mums

We love Seattle, but we don’t love Seattle traffic. Do you need to escape, to just about anywhere? Here are three ideas to get you out of town this weekend.

1 Start your Christmas in Vancouver, B.C.

  • Christmas Market, Nov. 22-Dec. 24, $3-$7, 6 and younger free, West Georgia and Hamilton streets.
  • CandyTown, noon-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, free, Mainland Street between Nelson and Davie streets, Vancouver, B.C.

Ride downtown Vancouver's only Christmas Carousel at the Vancouver Christmas Market.

Ride downtown Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel at the Vancouver Christmas Market.

We know, we know, it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but try holding back the holiday tsunami. In Canada, they celebrate Thanksgiving in October, so nothing’s stopping them. If you want to get in the swim, head north this weekend for the opening of the Vancouver Christmas Market, a German-style outdoor holiday market. In Queen Elizabeth Square, find traditional food, mulled wine, and vendors of wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery and other gifts. Saturday, there’s also the free CandyTown holiday festival in Vancouver’s Yaletown, with costumed characters, free horse-carriage rides, live music, art stalls and a specialty market. More Vancouver holiday ideas here.

2 Ride the Polar Express at Hood River, Ore.

Trains run various dates (including Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22-23) through Dec. 28. $20-$62 depending on age, choice of seat, peak pricing. 110 Railroad Ave., Hood River, Ore.

Santa visits with riders aboard the Polar Express.

Santa visits with riders aboard the Polar Express.

Head south to Hood River, Ore., for a ride on the Mount Hood Railroad’s Polar Express holiday train. Read along with the story as the train makes a 75-minute round trip to what is alleged to be the North Pole. (A certain suspension of disbelief is required here since the railroad is limited to 22 miles of track in the Columbia River Gorge.) Sip cocoa, munch cookies, sing carols and meet Santa. Kids encouraged to wear their jammies.

3 Enjoy 'Mum-vember' at Portland's Chinese garden

10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through November, $7-$9.50 admission; family pass $28. 239 N.W. Everett St., Portland.

McClatchy Newspapers photo

McClatchy Newspapers photo

Looking for something more autumnal than yule-themed? Portland’s Lan Su Chinese garden continues to observe Mum-vember.” Celebrate the importance in Chinese culture of the chrysanthemum, revered for its late and long-lasting blooms, characteristics likened to those of a mature scholar whose wisdom and integrity grows with each year. More than 500 potted mums decorate the garden, along with the Blossoms of Happiness Art Exhibition. Saturday, Nov. 22, the garden’s horticulturist gives a talk on  “Ornamental Pruning Demystified.”

 

Comments | More in British Columbia, List, Oregon, weekend getaways | Topics: Hood River, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Mount Hood Railroad

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