Vancouver, located on the southwest border of Washington State, lies on the shore of Columbia River across from Portland, Oregon. Vancouver is the fourth largest city in Washington, with a population of 162,700 residents. The city is home to more than 7,000 acres of public parks and more than 44 miles of walking and biking trails, reflecting a youthful and active community. Vancouver has been rated one of America's top medium-sized cities, with easy access to Portland, Oregon, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Hood and Seattle. As a result of annexation, locals consider Vancouver to have an east side and west side. West Vancouver is home to many of the more historical parts of Downtown Vancouver, and has seen recent growth in mixed-use development. As part of the greater Portland area, residents of Vancouver have easy access to exceptional restaurants, entertainment, and Oregon's tax-free shopping.
The first permanent European settlement in the area occurred 1824, when Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1846, the U.S. Army built an outpost by Fort Vancouver to protect settlers who followed the Oregon Trail to its end on the Columbia River. The City of Vancouver was incorporated on January 23, 1857. During World War I, the city was the site of the world’s largest spruce saw mill on Vancouver Barracks, where 30,000 soldiers helped produce up to one million board feet of straight-grained spruce a day to make airplanes. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a shipyard was opened on the Columbia River to produce liberty ships, landing transports, and other military watercraft, leading to explosive population growth. Learn more about the history of Vancouver, Washington and Clark County using the following links.
Summer in Vancouver, Washington is pleasant, with mild temperatures and very little precipitation. Almost 90% of Vancouver’s annual precipitation occurs October through May. The winter season is characterized by relatively mild temperatures, cloudy skies, and rain. There are only 5 days each year with measurable snow. Check the latest forecast and get more seasonal information with these links.
C-Tran is Clark County’s public bus system. Buses run throughout Vancouver and south across the river to Portland. Amtrak’s Vancouver station is served by the Cascades, Coast Starlight, and Empire Builder lines, reaching cities up and down the west coast and east to Chicago. Vancouver is a twenty minute drive from the Portland International Airport, providing flights from sixteen airlines with non-stop destinations throughout the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska, and non-stop flights to Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt.
Cost of Living in Vancouver
Compared to the rest of the country, Vancouver’s cost of living is 9% higher than the U.S. average, but Vancouver residents enjoy a 12% lower cost of living than their neighbors across the river while still enjoying the shopping, services, and nightlife of a large metropolitan area. Calculate your budget requirements for living in Vancouver using these links.
Vancouver Public Schools is the organization responsible for providing public education in Vancouver. In addition to 21 elementary, 6 middle schools and 4 high schools, Vancouver has magnet schools, elementary language programs, college- and career-focused programs for high school students, and programs that support home schooling and on-line learning.
Vancouver PeaceHealth Medical Center is the leading hospital in Vancouver and southwest Washington State. PeaceHealth provides general medical and surgical services and is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. If you’re planning a move to Vancouver, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you:
Vancouver Real Estate
Vancouver has an active home buying market, with the median cost of a home at $212,000. The most desirable neighborhoods include Burton Ridge and Vancouver Heights. More affordable homes can be found in Hamey Heights and Bagley Downs. Explore the current properties for sale in Vancouver using these links.
With more than two dozen fine hotels in Vancouver, you will have no trouble finding a great place to stay. The Heathman Lodge is a relaxing, rustic getaway in the heart of Vancouver, offering a mountain-like retreat that couldn’t be more convenient. The Vancouver Hilton, opened in 2005, is directly across the street from the Vancouver Farmer’s Market and a few short blocks from the Columbia River. If you prefer a stay on the water’s edge, you cannot get closer than the Red Lion’s Vancouver at the Quay Hotel, perched on a former Columbia River shipping dock. See more places to stay in Vancouver using the following links.
The Vancouver and Portland area is known as a “foodie’s paradise” with many great, unique restaurants featuring some of the area’s best chefs. Roots is a recommended stop, specializing in fresh, seasonal cuisine and showcasing local farm products. Bon Apetit magazine listed Roots one of the best spots in the USA to share a romantic dinner. The Grant House, tucked away on Officers Row in Vancouver’s Historic Reserve, is a favorite among local diners and military history buffs, and for a casual, family friendly meal, Vancouver Pizza Company is hard to beat with over 25 specialty gourmet pizzas. For a change of pace, try Hudson’s Bar and Grill, located in the Heathman Lodge for hearty, well-prepared meals and a menu that features classic American dishes. Find more great places to grab a meal using these links.
Things to Do in Vancouver
You will find plenty of things to do when you visit Vancouver, Washington. Start out with Esther Short Park, where a glockenspiel plays five times daily and where the Vancouver Farmer’s Market is held every weekend from March through October. As you stroll around downtown Vancouver, you will notice a rich variety of public art, hinting at the budding art culture in the city. Fort Vancouver is a “must-see” destination, along with the adjacent Pearson Air Museum, the oldest operating airfield in the USA. Nearby Officer’s Row features many historic homes, featuring former residences of Ulysses S. Grant and George C. Marshall. Vancouver is also a great jumping off spot for trips up the west side of Columbia Gorge, to Mount Saint Helens or to explore the lava tunnels at the Ape Caves. Discover more great things to do using the following links.