Things to do in Vancouver, Washington
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Cascade Mountains, the region offers the best of the Pacific Northwest with hiking, biking, and endless miles of trails. The city offers historic architecture and new structures creating an eclectic city. This scenic destination is full of year-round natural attractions, multi-use paved trails, and green space dedicated to recreation.
Experience the camp where explorers Lewis and Clark provisioned before their return trek or visit Officer’s Row which housed United States Army Officers throughout almost every major event in our country’s history. Clark County offers diverse culinary experiences from locally sourced fare to artisan bakeries. Experience the city brimming with recreational, historical, and cultural opportunities.
With so much to do in the Vancouver and Clark County area, it’s hard to narrow it down. This scenic city, nestled in the gorgeous landscape of the Pacific Northwest, offers something for everyone. Whether you’re planning on taking advantage of the landscape or wanting to indulge in the blossoming culinary scene, you’ll find it all here in Vancouver.
With luxury new home communities spanning across the Vancouver area, you’ll find the perfect community to support your wants and needs. From private communities lined with Douglas fir trees to contemporary communities in the fast-growing East Vancouver area, we will help you create a beautiful space to call home.
Starting with the region’s rich history, Fort Vancouver is a must-visit destination. Home of the Hudson Bay Company headquarters, this settlement has seen its share of history. As a fur trading settlement and army barracks, there is so much to learn. With a variety of reenactments, hands-on-activities, and trails, Fort Vancouver is a place to be experienced over and over again. Visit Fort Vancouver at 1501 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661.
For an urban outdoor experience head to the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, a 5-mile multi-use paved collection of trails winding along the banks of the Columbia River. While the Vancouver area offers 90 parks and 20 natural areas, you’ll have a natural escape close by. The Waterfront Renaissance Trail is a great place to start exploring. Along the trail you’ll find shops, restaurants, and historical attractions. While there is an ample amount of trails in the area, the Waterfront Renaissance Trail system is a great way to see the city.
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of America’s best wines. While Vancouver is bursting with delicious dining, a must-visit is English Estate Winery. Established in 1903, this winery has a history as rich as the region. The winery, boasting live music every week, grows pinot gris, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and more. Visit their historic tasting room for a glass. Visit the winery at 17806 SE 1st St, Vancouver, WA 98684.
Iconic Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver is at the center of it all. Home to a unique salmon statue bell tower, the urban park also hosts the Farmer’s Market. Experience handcrafted jewelry, local produce, and artisan foods at this nationally-recognized market. It’s also the hub for many trails and tons of family-friendly features like playgrounds, water fountain for play, and hosts a free concert series.
Stroll the Uptown Village where you’ll find one-of-a-kind trinkets and special pieces in distinct shops. Discover unique vintage shops, diverse eateries, and even a specialty comic book shop. It’s just within walking distance of downtown. Or head just outside of town to Ilani Casino Resort for even more shopping and the perfect weekend getaway.
You’ll find shopping in the Vancouver area to be just as unique as the region itself, from a the largest enclosed mall in the area to one-of-a-kind boutiques for truly unique finds. Whether you’re looking for that special vintage piece or needing a variety of shops, you’ll find it all in the Vancouver area. Distinct areas of town and nearby communities offer everything from local art for your new home to places to consign and give back to the region.
The Vancouver Mall boasts a beyond-traditional mall experience from H & M and Loft, to Michael Kors and Macy’s. With over 120 stores, 20 restaurants, play areas for children and a newly-renovated movie theater, the Vancouver Mall has everything you need for indoor activities for the whole family. At Cinetopia, a luxury theater, movie-goers can enjoy food from neighboring restaurants and relax in the Living Room Theaters. The mall is located at 8700 NE Vancouver Mall Drive, Vancouver, WA 98662.
For a selection of quaint boutiques and art galleries, head to Uptown Village. Located within walking distance of downtown, you’ll find a diverse selection of shops and eateries.Here you’ll also find a selection of speciality stores for niche shopping with shops like a magic store, comic book shop, and natural store offering high-quality herbal products.
With an emphasis on local, you’ll find small businesses like Salmon Creek Outfitters and Wild Fern Boutique offering highly-recommended embroidery services, handcrafted jewelry, and consciously designed gifts .
For an abundant array of shops, eateries, and seasonal markets, make your way to Downtown Vancouver. From Most Everything, a lifestyle boutique with it’s collection of vintage apparel and original art to a classic record shop, 1709 Records, you’ll find it all downtown. For special occasions be sure to stop at Sincerely The Bride for your dress needs and Luepke Flowers and Finds for long-lasting arrangements and local flora.
Looking for the perfect pieces for your new space? Stop at Urban Barnhouse in the historic Hidden Brick Horse Barn boasting an eclectic mix of vintage and new accessories for both your home and garden. Perhaps with your new move you’re looking to create space for new pieces.
For stylish furniture, Divine Consign Furniture gives shoppers the opportunity to give back to the Vancouver area while finding specialized treasures for their home. This expansive shop, run by volunteers, offers gently-used home furnishings while turning their profits into a way to give back to the Southwest Washington region.
Also downtown, the Vancouver Farmers Market offering local produce, handcrafted and high-end crafts, and delicious foods. You’ll find it all from artisan jewelry to the freshest produce. From March to September over 100 vendors gather at Esther Short Park along with live music to keep shoppers entertained while exploring.
Just north of Vancouver shoppers can find Battle Ground Village, a unique destination offering everything from a new community library to a vast selection of shops and eateries. Or, head east for a more historic feel. Tree-lined Downtown Camas is home to fine dining, shopping, and services. This town, originally an 1800s mill town, is home to a luxe beauty bar, numerous art galleries, and even an artisan olive oil shop.
With a booming local brewery scene, a plethora of food trucks, and award-winning restaurants, it’s safe to say that Vancouver’s dining scene is as delicious as it is diverse. With an emphasis on local, you can expect to find fresh fare to feed your appetites and quench your cravings. From chef-driven menus to budget-friendly watering holes, you’ll find it all here in Vancouver and we promise you’ll be eating, and drinking, like a local in no time!
Whether you geo-track the locations of your favorite food trucks on Twitter or find one outside of one of the local breweries, you’ll find a diverse option of quick, tasty foods. Try Mediterranean-style street food at Ingrids, or maybe you’re craving gourmet breakfast burritos at Mack Shack. There are even trucks and carts catering to health-conscious foodies with Paleo Grill and Funky Fresh Juice Co. You can find stationary “pods” at the Uptown Food Village.
Known as an up-and-coming beer town, Vancouver boasts a thriving brewery scene and even a 14-seat Couve Cycle Tour that takes on a tour of local taprooms and breweries. From seasonal saisons to rich coffee stouts, local breweries like Doomsday Brewing Safehouse and Ghost Runners Brewery, are must-visits for brew aficionados.
For those wanting to discover their new go-to brew, consider a Brewcouver Passport. As the home to one of the fastest growing wine trails, Clark County is home to multiple wineries and vineyards. In fact, Fort Vancouver is home to Washington’s first planted grapes in 1825. Be sure to mark your calendar for Vancouver’s Craft Beer and Wine Fest and other events like movies on the lawn at and the Art and Wine Fair, both at local wineries.
Several coffee roasters and artisan bakers call Vancouver home. Need a caffeine fix while shopping uptown? Check out Latte Da Coffeehouse, housed in turn-of-the-century building at 205 E 39th Street.
Or, visit Bleu Door Bakery’s drive-thru for croissants and quiches on the go. Coffee is a big part of the culture in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll even find a coffee cart in the Vancouver Library offering local roasts. If you’re still craving sugar, stop at Simply Sweets for whimsical cupcakes.
From a coffee shop that gives back to the community to a celebrated patisserie, Vancouver has your sweet tooth covered.
While the Pacific Northwest isn’t necessarily considered a barbeque powerhouse, sourcing from local farmers Chef BJ Smith from Bravo’s Top Chef has introduced Smokehouse Provisions in central Vancouver. Whether you’re downtown or on the eastside, you’ll find group-friendly options, fresh seafood, and international cuisine.
Local nightlife offers something for everyone. For the dance-all-nighters, head downtown Six West Lounge for tunes from local DJs.
For laid back and casual drinks head to Top Shelf or Brickhouse where you’ll also find live music and pool tables. Don’t skip out on the dive-bar scene with classic pub fare and stiff drinks at Tip Top Tavern, located downtown at 2100 Main Street.
Celebrated for its food scene, Vancouver has food and drink options for just about everyone. This burgeoning culinary destination pairs perfectly with its various local libations from blossoming breweries to historic vineyards.
Nestled between the scenic Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains, Vancouver offers unparalleled outdoor activities year-round for the whole family. Experience the great outdoors with unrivaled parks, trails, and activities that are unique to Vancouver and the Clark County region. With 191 parks in Vancouver and millions of miles of dedicated outdoor space in the region, it’s safe to say living in one of the new home communities, you’ll find an outdoor activity that suits you.
Following the Columbia River, the Waterfront Renaissance Trail carves a 5-mile, paved trail connecting Marine Park to Waterfront Park and Vancouver’s downtown area. Dedicated walking, running, and biking paths offer stunning natural scenery. Or check out other notable trails in the area like Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, Salmon Creek Greenway Trail, Cougar Trails, and the trails at Fort Vancouver.
Explore Vancouver by bike, this bike-friendly city boasts accessible options for road and mountain biking. Bike the city’s urban trails lined with local eateries and attractions or head out to the wooded Burnt Bridge Creek Trail. Bike Clark County, a local nonprofit, offers community education, a well-equipped bike shop, and repair center. Needing resources for where to bike? Be sure to contact Vancouver Bicycle Club for information on routes and group rides throughout Vancouver and Clark County.
From urban playgrounds to dedicated green space, Vancouver’s parks have just about everything covered. Vancouver Lake Park of Frenchman’s Bar Park offer swimming, volleyball, picnic tables, and sandy beaches perfect for swimming.
For fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, Klineline Pond at Salmon Creek Park is the stop for you. This popular park is home to a historic bathhouse, 35-acres of developed parkland, and has roped swimming areas perfect for children.
Vancouver is also a dog-friendly city with several dog parks fr your pups. A must-visit park for history buffs is the Captain William Clark Park at Cottonwood Beach. Home to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s camp and provision stop before their return trip, visitors will find multi-use trails, historic sites, and the beach itself.
Experience the Pacific Northwest in all it’s stunning beauty by hiking the numerous trails around Clark County. The Columbia River Gorge features scenic vistas, waterfalls, and winding trails begging to be explored. The activities are as exciting as they are varied with zip-lining, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboards all along the scenic backdrop of the Columbia River.
Looking for sweeping, panoramic views of nearby Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and downtown Vancouver? Trek to the top of Silver Star Mountain, with trails ranging from five to ten miles. For advanced hikers, Cape Horn offers rugged trails that boast stunning viewpoints as a payoff. Guided hikes are offered for those wanting to explore the cape’s rocky terrain for the first time. Stunning views aren’t just reserved for hikers and bikers.
Golfers have 8 courses within Clark County all with equally breathtaking views, check out some of the area courses here. From PGA designed courses to year-round public courses, Clark County is a true golfer’s paradise even offering junior golf academies for those looking to make it a family activity.
From Native American fur trading to the settlement of Fort Vancouver, there is a rich history in one of Washington’s oldest cities. Fortunately for history buffs, the Clark County area has multiple historic sites unique to the Pacific Northwest featuring reenactments, museums, and community education.
Situated on the banks of the Columbia River, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site preserves the site of the original Hudson Bay Company. Established in 1825, the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company’s operation controlled the fur trade along the coast to the Rocky Mountains making it the main colonial establishment in the region. Today there is much to see and do at the fort from experiencing the life of fur trappers in the reconstructed fort to exploring a network of walking trails.
Also on site, the Vancouver Barracks which served as the first United States Army Army post in the Pacific Northwest. The barracks were utilized in the Civil War as a supply depot, a recruitment and training facility during the Spanish-American War among multiple other foreign wars, and housed the U.S. Army Signal Corps’.
But it doesn’t stop there, the Army established Pearson Field and Vancouver Barracks also served as headquarters for the Pacific Northwest’s division of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Through hands-on activities and community education, visitors will learn about one of the nation’s most historic military outposts.
Another must-see historic site is Officer’s Row. The United States Army arrived at Fort Vancouver in 1849 and built a building that served as both their headquarters and the residence for the commanding officers. This first building is now known as the Grant House. While Ulysses S. Grant was posted at Fort Vancouver, he did not live in the Grant House though it carries his namesake. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the buildings of Officer’s Row were acquired by the city and restored. The Grant House is now the Eatery at the Grant House located at 1101 Officers Row 986661.
In the heart of downtown sits Esther Short Park, a 5-acre park claiming the title of oldest public square in Washington state. This square, created in the late 1800s, is home to a Salmon Run Bell Tower, who’s bronze bells chime throughout the day. It’s also home to the Vancouver Farmers Market hosting vendors, musicians, and activities.
Blending the regions rich Native American and European history, the Vancouver Land Bridge is an earth-covered pedestrian bridge. To learn more about the region’s Native American culture, visit the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, which is used as a community and education center as well as hosting the Chintook Indian Nation’s cultural events.
To live out history, visit both Cedar Creek Grist Mill and Pomeroy Living History Farm. The mill, built in the late 1800s creates flour, corn meal, and cider using only water while the farm depicts life on a rural 1920s farm. You can experience the region’s history without stepping back in time by taking a wine train on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad. The railroad had its first locomotive stop in Vancouver in 1888.
Vancouver’s entertainment scene is as diverse as it is historical. From an outdoor amphitheater and historical movie theater, to a art galleries and thriving nightlife, you’ll find something that suits you. Plus, with family-friendly entertainment like the largest discovery center in the nation, there’s something in the Clark County area for everyone.
From June to October enjoy concert season at the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater. This outdoor venue features 8,000 covered seats and 10,000 lawn seats, so rain or shine you’ll be able to take in acts like Coldplay, Kenny Chesney, Aerosmith, or Journey, just to name a few. Pairing with local vendors, you’ll find a variety of concessions from the Vancouver area.
For even more live music, there are several venues throughout town to hear local favorites. From Top Shelf cocktail & Martini Bar, offering an upscale atmosphere, to Brickhouse Bar & Grill, a family-friendly establishment boasting games as well as music.
You can also catch live performances at the historic Kiggins Theatre. Kiggins is a single-screen theater originally opened in 1936. Patrons can take a stroll into history with its marquee, a beacon of a bygone era. Grab a brew or glass of wine in the old smoking salon, now the Marquee Lounge.
Currently you can see stand-up comics, science lectures, theater performances, and even silent films featuring instrumental accompaniments. Movie buffs can also see the newest releases at the newly renovated theater in the Vancouver Mall offering living room style seating among other amenities. You can find Kiggins Theatre at 1011 Main St, Vancouver, WA 98660.
Walking around downtown you’ll notice a plethora of public art by local artists, with many murals depicting the history of Vancouver. The Clark County Mural Society oversees these, and the storm drain murals that line the streets. Downtown is also the home to Angst Gallery showcasing local artists’ visual, musical, and poetic art. There’s even a self-guided walking tour for art downtown with this helpful map to public art.
Situated in the heart of the city is an 83,000 square foot library. The Vancouver Community Library is named one of the Top 10 Children’s Libraries in the United States, according to Livability.com. This multi-level library has an entire children’s floor and an outdoor terrace. New luxurious and custom home communities nearby put you in the perfect location to enjoy all Vancouver has to offer.
Just a short drive north of Vancouver is the Cowlitz Tribe’s casino, Ilani Casino Resort offering everything from dancing to gaming. Entertainment at the resort will appeal to everyone whether they’re playing on one of 75 gaming tables or listening to live music at Muze. Offering world-class dining and shopping the resort, it’s the perfect weekend getaway. The casino is located at 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield, WA 98642.
There are so many ways to stay healthy in the Vancouver area. From biking and hiking the best of the Pacific Northwest to multiple different types of gyms, living in our new home communities puts you in the center of healthy activities. Whether you’re looking for a boutique fitness studio or a gym with nationwide memberships, there’s a fitness option for you in Vancouver.
Crossfit Fort Vancouver offers tough metabolic conditioning and weightlifting all with a community atmosphere. With locations across Clark County, Cascade Athletic Club is the family-friendly club with something for everyone. You’ll find ultra-modern facilities with all the amenities: multiple swimming pools, a rock wall, child care, group fitness, basketball, and a rock wall.
Boutique fitness, OrangeTheory Fitness boasts cardio conditioning classes with state-of-the-art tracking to help you be your best. There’s also several national gyms, like Anytime Fitness. Anytime Fitness clubs offer 24-hour access along with nation-wide memberships so you’ll never be without a facility. Other notable fitness options include: Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Evolve Fitness Lab, Burntown Fitness, and more.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, you may not want to be cooped up in a gym. Between the hiking trails and multi-use paved paths throughout town, you’re never far from a good workout. Bikers have paved trails, mountain paths, and even water-front routes with routes for every fitness level. Inspired by the beautiful surroundings, you’ll find windsurfing and stand-up paddleboard workouts on the Columbia River as well as guided hikes for first-timers.
Already an avid hiker? There are several challenging summit trails in Clark County. There’s also several notable trails just a short distance from Clark County from the 7-mile climb at Dog Mountain to Douglas fir-lined trails at Whipple Creek in Ridgefield. Find trail locations here.
Looking to try something new? Source Climbing Center located off of Main Street, is a full-service indoor climbing facility offering climbing classes, group fitness, youth leagues, and even has a competitive climbing team. It’s the perfect activity for the whole family, and Source gives back to the community.
Living in the Pacific Northwest also means planning for indoor activities. Another great option is Sky Zone, a trampoline park. Experience wall-to-wall action with activities for kids and adults whether it’s dodgeball or a fitness class. You’ll find Sky Zone at 5000 E 4th Plain Blvd Suite C100, Vancouver, WA 98661.
Vancouver, WA offers rich history, world-class outdoor activities, and celebrated culinary experiences. Those looking to move to Vancouver have endless opportunities to learn about the European and Native American cultural history in the Pacific Northwest.
Experience diverse dining with locally owned eateries and bakeries all throughout the Clark County area. While the region is notable for its wineries and celebrated wine trail, Vancouver is also making a name for itself when it comes to craft beer.
If your heart is set on moving to Vancouver, Generation Homes Northwest, a trusted WA homebuilder is here to help you create a beautiful home. We bring award-winning craftsmanship and expertise to each project and collaborate with you every step of the way in settling into your forever home. With new home communities throughout Clark County, including the fastest growing areas and private settings.