Now is the Time to Visit Washington’s Vancouver
Tucked between the snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Mountains and the majestic Columbia River, Washington’s Vancouver is a Pacific Northwest destination not to be overlooked. North of weird and south of Sound, Vancouver is where being in between feels just right.
For an urban dining and sipping experience, find eight wine-tasting rooms from renowned regional wineries and several restaurants within a few blocks of one another right on the Columbia’s north shore. Sip a Cabernet Franc at Maryhill Winery’s 1885 Brunswick mahogany bar, or opt for a Runway Red Blend at the aviation-themed Airfield Estates. Enjoy Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus Panzanella alongside the suggested Oriana white at Brian Carter Cellars’ riverfront spot, or find a barrel booth near a fireplace at Willamette Valley Vineyards’ cozy second-story restaurant.
The Vancouver Waterfront is anchored by the sparkling Grant Street Pier, jutting 90 feet over the calm waters, with a walking path that follows the curves of the river. Whether you are in the mood for a glamorous Latin evening with tapas and extravagant drinks at DOSALAS latin kitchen tequila bar, or you want to feel like a kid again with over-the-top Instagram-worthy ice cream creations at The Yard Milkshake Bar, the waterfront has a place to fit any craving.
Make Vancouver your base camp and explore southwest Washington’s moderate yet distinct seasons with an outdoor adventure to Mount St. Helens or the Columbia River Gorge. One of the Pacific Northwest’s most recognizable landmarks, Mount St. Helens offers snowy hikes, cross-country skiing, and the opportunity to summit the volcano from the Marble Mountain Sno-Park in the winter (just over an hour’s drive from downtown). One of only 10 National Scenic Areas in the United States, the 80-mile Columbia River Gorge is beautiful during any season, offering panoramic views, hikes to wispy waterfalls, and a plethora of activities for any outdoor enthusiast.
Relax from your adventure with a beer on the patio from one of Vancouver’s local breweries. The close-knit community affectionately nicknamed “Brewcouver” rivals any beer scene with bold lagers, juicy IPAs, and flavorful stouts. Find Trap Door Brewing, Brothers Cascadia Brewing, and 3Peaks Public House & Taproom for a slew of food trucks outside the brewery spaces.
Within walking distance of the waterfront, downtown offers local boutiques and antique shops, intriguing art galleries, colorful murals, and events happening year-round. Find premier coffee roasters for your morning cup of joe and one-of-a-kind bakeries to satisfy that sweet tooth. Uptown Village (just north of downtown) delights with a quaint atmosphere, and is home to local favorites Bleu Door Bakery and Relevant Coffee.
Less than half a mile east of downtown, experience one of the first permanent settlements west of the Rocky Mountains at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The 191-acre area tells the story of the frontier fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company, a powerful miliary legacy at the U.S. Army’s Vancouver Barracks, and the magic of flight at the Pearson Air Museum.
Vancouver is close to everything, but far from typical – go see for yourself.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.