Vancouver, in Southwest Washington, is often unfairly overlooked, overshadowed by Portland to the south and by the more famous Canadian metropolis of the same name. The lively and historic city is, however, worthy of attention. Discover old forts, public parks and a thriving arts scene and head out into the volcanic landscape that surrounds the city.
Learn about the history of this city, which was established in 1825 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Explore Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to learn about the city’s origins as a fur trading outpost. The site includes a reconstructed fort, gardens and working trade houses.
The fort is located in Vancouver National Historic Reserve, a scenic swath of parkland that includes other museums and attractions. Trace the history of aviation in the Pearson Air Museum, which houses a wide selection of vintage planes. Step inside 19th-century homes in Officers’ Row, a collection of buildings that once served as residences for military personnel.
Relax at an open-air concert in Esther Short Park. This historic city square, established in 1853, contains water features and flowerbeds and is a quiet place to unwind. Admire a bronze statue known as the Pioneer Mother and let the children have fun in the playground.
Taste local produce at the farmers markets and microbreweries across the city. Head outside of downtown Vancouver to reach the wineries of Clark County.
On the first Friday of each month, the city of Vancouver hosts an art walk. Join locals as they stroll around some of the city’s galleries and public artworks.
Drive out of the city to see Southwest Washington’s spectacular scenery. Energetic visitors can hike up the dormant volcano of Mount St. Helens or canoe along the Columbia River.
Take a flight to Portland International Airport, which is just across the river from Vancouver. C-Tran buses run throughout downtown Vancouver and also offer services into the rest of Clark County. Summer here promises the driest weather, as well as lively county fairs and free concerts in the park.