Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Vancouver, WA

Vancouver, Washington, is a vibrant city with plenty to offer visitors of all ages. Located just across the river from Portland, Oregon, Vancouver boasts a mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or foodie, there’s something for everyone in this Pacific Northwest gem.

One of the must-visit attractions in Vancouver is the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This reconstructed 19th-century fur trading post takes you back in time to the days of the Pacific Northwest’s early pioneers. Explore the fort’s buildings and exhibits, and learn about its role in shaping the region’s history. Don’t miss the annual Independence Day fireworks display, one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, head to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. This 5,300-acre sanctuary is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including migratory birds, elk, and river otters. Take a leisurely stroll along one of the refuge’s many trails, go birdwatching, or rent a kayak or canoe and explore the waterways.

For those seeking a taste of Vancouver’s vibrant arts scene, a visit to the Downtown Vancouver Arts District is a must. This eclectic neighborhood is home to galleries, studios, and theaters showcasing the works of local artists. Explore the district’s charming streets, browse art galleries, and catch a performance at the historic Kiggins Theatre.

No visit to Vancouver is complete without sampling the local cuisine. From farm-to-table restaurants to trendy food carts, the city offers a wide range of culinary options. Don’t miss the chance to taste freshly caught salmon from the nearby Columbia River, or experience the flavors of the Pacific Northwest at one of the city’s craft breweries.

Whether you’re seeking history, nature, culture, or delicious food, Vancouver, WA, has it all. Plan your visit and discover the top-rated attractions and things to do in this vibrant city.

Explore Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is a must-visit attraction when exploring Vancouver, WA. This historic site offers a glimpse into the rich history of the Pacific Northwest and the role Fort Vancouver played in shaping the region.

Visitors can explore the reconstructed fort, which accurately represents the original 19th-century fur trading post. The fort features several historic buildings, including the Chief Factor’s House, the Fur Store, and the Bakehouse. Take a step back in time as you walk through these buildings and learn about the daily lives of the Hudson’s Bay Company employees.

One of the highlights of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is the Pearson Field Aviation Museum. This museum showcases the history of aviation in the region, with a particular focus on Pearson Field, one of the oldest continually operating airfields in the United States. Visitors can view vintage aircraft, learn about the pioneers of aviation, and even take a flight in a historic biplane.

In addition to the fort and the aviation museum, the site also features beautiful gardens and walking trails. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, which feature a variety of plants and flowers that would have been common during the fort’s operational years. The walking trails provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing visitors to connect with nature and enjoy the serenity of the area.

Location Hours Admission
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Open daily from 9am to 5pm Free
Pearson Field Aviation Museum Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm Adults: $7.50, Seniors: $5.50, Children (5-12): $5.50

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for an educational and enjoyable outing, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is a must-see destination in Vancouver, WA. Don’t miss the chance to explore this fascinating piece of Pacific Northwest history.

Enjoy Nature at Esther Short Park

When exploring Vancouver, WA, be sure to make a stop at Esther Short Park. This beautiful park offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature.

With its lush green spaces, colorful flower beds, and towering trees, Esther Short Park provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with family and friends. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Esther Short Park boasts several walking paths and trails that wind through the park’s grounds. Lace up your walking shoes and explore the park’s scenic trails, where you can spot local wildlife and discover hidden gems along the way.

One of the highlights of Esther Short Park is its stunning rose garden. With a variety of rose bushes in full bloom, the garden is a sight to behold. Take your time to admire the vibrant colors and delightful fragrance as you wander through the rows of roses.

In addition to its natural beauty, Esther Short Park is also home to a number of amenities and attractions. The park features a playground for children, perfect for little ones to burn off some energy. There are also plenty of benches and picnic areas, making it a great place to enjoy a meal or simply soak up the sun.

Throughout the year, Esther Short Park hosts various events and performances, such as concerts and festivals. Check the park’s schedule to see if there are any upcoming events during your visit. Attending one of these events is a wonderful way to enhance your park experience and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Whether you are a nature lover, a family looking for a fun outing, or someone seeking tranquility in the midst of a bustling city, Esther Short Park offers something for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this urban oasis during your time in Vancouver, WA.

Discover Local History at Pearson Air Museum

If you’re interested in delving into Vancouver’s rich history, a visit to the Pearson Air Museum is a must. Located at Pearson Field, one of the oldest continuously operating airfields in the country, this museum offers a fascinating look into the region’s aviation heritage.

Step inside the museum and you’ll be transported back in time. The collection includes various aircraft, from vintage biplanes to modern jets, providing a comprehensive overview of the evolution of aviation. You can learn about the early days of flight and the groundbreaking achievements that took place right here in Vancouver.

One of the highlights of the museum is the unique opportunity to witness the restoration process of historic aircraft. Skilled craftsmen work diligently to preserve and repair these precious artifacts, allowing visitors to observe the intricate details of the restoration work firsthand. It’s truly a living museum, constantly evolving with new exhibitions and aircraft being added to the collection.

Throughout the museum, you’ll also find engaging exhibits that provide insights into the important role Pearson Field played in military training and defense during World War I and World War II. Discover the stories of brave pilots who trained at this airfield and contributed to the war efforts.

Be sure to check the museum’s schedule for special events and activities, such as guided tours and educational programs. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about aviation, the Pearson Air Museum offers a captivating experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the local history and the progress of flight.

Don’t miss: The Pearson Air Museum Gift Shop, where you can find aviation-themed souvenirs and unique gifts to commemorate your visit.

Please note: Pearson Air Museum may have specific COVID-19 safety protocols in place. It is recommended to check their website or contact the museum directly for the latest information before visiting.

Visit Officers Row for Victorian Architecture

One of the top attractions in Vancouver, WA is Officers Row, a historic district known for its beautiful Victorian architecture. Located on the grounds of the former Vancouver Barracks, Officers Row is a collection of 21 historic homes that once housed high-ranking officers of the U.S. Army.

Constructed between 1849 and 1906, these homes showcase a variety of Victorian architectural styles, including Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, and Colonial Revival. The intricate details, ornate trimmings, and vibrant colors make Officers Row a visually stunning place to explore.

Visitors to Officers Row can take a self-guided walking tour to admire the exteriors of these historic homes. The wide tree-lined streets provide a peaceful and picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the photo opportunities are plentiful.

In addition to its architectural significance, Officers Row also has a rich history. Many notable figures, including George C. Marshall, who later became the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and Nobel Peace Prize winner, resided in these homes. The area played an important role in the military history of the Pacific Northwest.

There are also several amenities in the area. You can stop by the Grant House, a historic restaurant located on the grounds, for a delicious meal. The nearby Pearson Field Education Center offers aviation-themed exhibits and activities for all ages.

Name Address Phone
Grant House 1101 Officers Row Vancouver, WA 98661 (360) 906-1101
Pearson Field Education Center 1115 E 5th St, Vancouver, WA 98661 (360) 992-1818

Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking for a pleasant place to explore, a visit to Officers Row is highly recommended. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of Victorian architecture and learn about the rich history of the area.

Note: Due to the historic nature of the homes, interior tours may not be available. However, the exteriors alone are worth the visit.

Go Shopping at Vancouver Mall

If you’re in Vancouver, WA and love to shop, a visit to Vancouver Mall is a must. With over 140 stores and a wide range of options, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for clothing, accessories, electronics, or home goods, this mall has it all.

Vancouver Mall features both popular national retailers and local boutiques, providing a diverse shopping experience. Anchor stores like JC Penney, Macy’s, and Target offer a wide selection of products, while specialty stores like Apple, H&M, and Sephora offer unique options for fashion and beauty enthusiasts. You’ll also find sporting goods stores, bookstores, and home decor shops to cater to all your needs.

In addition to shopping, Vancouver Mall provides a variety of dining options to satisfy your hunger after a long day of exploring. From popular chain restaurants to local eateries, you’ll find everything from fast food to fine dining. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal with friends and family, there’s a restaurant to suit your taste.

If you’re traveling with children, Vancouver Mall also offers a play area where kids can burn off some energy while you shop. Plus, there are often fun events and activities happening throughout the year, making the mall a great destination for the whole family.

Located conveniently off I-205, Vancouver Mall is easily accessible and offers ample parking. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, a visit to this shopping haven is sure to be a fun and rewarding experience. So grab your credit cards and get ready to shop ’til you drop at Vancouver Mall!

Store Category
JC Penney Clothing
Macy’s Clothing
Target Department Store
Apple Electronics
H&M Clothing
Sephora Beauty

Take a Stroll along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail

One of the most popular attractions in Vancouver, WA is the Waterfront Renaissance Trail. This scenic pathway stretches for over five miles along the Columbia River, offering stunning views and a refreshing outdoor experience.

Whether you enjoy walking, running, or biking, the Waterfront Renaissance Trail is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature while taking in the sights and sounds of the river. The paved trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate, making it suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.

As you stroll along the trail, you’ll encounter various points of interest, including public art installations, historic landmarks, and vibrant green spaces. Take a moment to rest on one of the benches strategically placed along the path and breathe in the fresh air.

One highlight of the Waterfront Renaissance Trail is the Grant Street Pier, a stunning architectural masterpiece that extends out over the water, providing unparalleled views of the river and the surrounding landscape. This iconic landmark is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

Throughout your walk, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the nearby parks, such as the Marine Park and the Wintler Community Park. These parks offer picnic areas, playgrounds, and direct access to the river, allowing visitors to enjoy various recreational activities.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Waterfront Renaissance Trail is a must-visit destination in Vancouver, WA. So put on your walking shoes and get ready to embark on a scenic adventure along the Columbia River.

Experience Art and Culture at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Immerse yourself in the rich world of music and culture at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. As one of the top-rated attractions in Vancouver, Washington, the orchestra offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Founded in 1978, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has been delighting audiences for over four decades with exceptional performances of classical and contemporary music. Under the direction of renowned conductors and featuring talented musicians from all over the world, the orchestra showcases the beauty and power of symphonic music.

Whether you’re a seasoned classical music enthusiast or just want to explore the world of orchestral music, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra offers something for everyone. From masterworks by Beethoven and Mozart to contemporary compositions, each performance is carefully curated to captivate and inspire.

In addition to its regular concert series, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra also hosts special events and collaborations throughout the year. These events range from educational programs for students to unique themed performances that celebrate different cultures and musical genres.

Attending a concert at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is not just about the music, but also about the experience. The beautiful and acoustically superb concert hall provides a fitting backdrop for the orchestra’s performances, ensuring a truly immersive and enchanting experience for every attendee.

If you’re visiting Vancouver, Washington, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the art and culture at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Check their website for upcoming performances and plan your visit to be a part of this extraordinary musical journey.

Sample Local Wines at English Estate Winery

If you’re a wine lover visiting Vancouver, WA, a trip to the English Estate Winery is a must. This charming family-owned winery is nestled in the heart of Clark County and offers a delightful experience for wine enthusiasts.

English Estate Winery is known for producing exceptional wines, using grapes grown in their own vineyard. Their diverse selection of varietals includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, and more. Whether you prefer red, white, or rosé, you’re sure to find a wine that pleases your palate.

When you visit English Estate Winery, you’ll have the opportunity to not only taste their wines but also learn about the winemaking process. Take a stroll through their vineyard and see the grapes up close, as you gain insights into the cultivation and harvesting techniques used by the winery.

The winery offers tastings in their cozy tasting room, where you’ll be guided through the different wines they have on offer. Knowledgeable staff members will expertly describe the flavor profiles of each wine and provide recommendations based on your preferences.

At English Estate Winery, you can also enjoy their beautiful outdoor seating area and take in the picturesque views of the surrounding vineyard. Bring a picnic and savor a glass of wine while basking in the serene countryside atmosphere.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just beginning to explore the world of wine, a visit to English Estate Winery is a great way to indulge in the local wine scene of Vancouver, WA. Don’t miss the chance to sample their superb wines and experience the warm hospitality of this wonderful winery.

Have Fun at Chuck’s Produce & Street Market

Chuck’s Produce & Street Market is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike in Vancouver, WA. This unique market offers a wide range of fresh produce, specialty foods, and unique products.

When you visit Chuck’s, you can expect to find an extensive selection of fruits, vegetables, and organic products. The market prides itself on sourcing locally grown and organic produce, so you can feel good about what you’re buying.

In addition to fresh produce, Chuck’s also offers a variety of specialty foods and products. You’ll find a range of international foods, including gourmet cheeses, imported oils and vinegars, and fresh-baked breads. The market also features a selection of natural health and beauty products, as well as a variety of unique gifts and home goods.

Aside from shopping, Chuck’s is also a great place to grab a bite to eat. The market has a deli where you can enjoy a freshly prepared sandwich or salad, as well as a bakery that offers a tempting selection of pastries and desserts.

Chuck’s is not just a market, it’s an experience. Throughout the year, the market hosts a variety of events and activities. From cooking demonstrations and wine tastings to live music and special sales, there’s always something happening at Chuck’s.

Whether you’re a foodie looking for unique ingredients or someone who enjoys exploring local markets, Chuck’s Produce & Street Market is a must-visit attraction in Vancouver, WA. Plan a trip to this vibrant market and have fun exploring all it has to offer.

Explore the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Located just a short drive east of Vancouver, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a breathtaking natural wonder that should not be missed. Spanning over 292,500 acres, this expansive area offers a multitude of outdoor activities and stunning landscapes for visitors to enjoy.

The Columbia River Gorge is known for its dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. One of the most iconic and picturesque features of the area is Multnomah Falls, which stands at an impressive 620 feet tall. Hiking to the top of the falls provides visitors with incredible panoramic views of the surrounding gorge and is a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts.

In addition to Multnomah Falls, there are numerous other waterfalls to explore in the Columbia River Gorge. Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, and Horsetail Falls are just a few of the many stunning cascades that dot the landscape. Hiking trails of varying difficulty levels are available, allowing visitors of all ages and abilities to experience the beauty of these natural wonders.

For those seeking even more adventure, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers a wide range of recreational activities. From kayaking and paddleboarding on the Columbia River to windsurfing and kiteboarding, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and take in the scenic views.

The scenic area is also home to an abundance of wildlife, making it a great destination for birdwatching and wildlife photography. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, osprey, herons, and other bird species that call the gorge home.

Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers something for everyone. Plan a day trip or spend a weekend immersed in the stunning landscapes and natural wonders that this area has to offer.

Tip: Be sure to check the current conditions and any closures before visiting the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, as weather and trail conditions can vary.

Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

Go Hiking at Lacamas Lake Regional Park

If you’re a nature enthusiast and love hiking, a visit to Lacamas Lake Regional Park is a must when you’re in Vancouver, WA. This beautiful park offers miles of scenic trails that wind through lush forests and along the shores of the picturesque Lacamas Lake.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find trails suitable for every skill level at Lacamas Lake Regional Park. The park’s well-maintained trails are perfect for leisurely strolls, brisk walks, or challenging hikes. As you explore the park, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the tranquil lake, towering trees, and an abundance of wildlife.

One of the most popular trails at Lacamas Lake Regional Park is the Lacamas Heritage Trail. This 4-mile trail takes you around the entire lake, offering breathtaking views and opportunities to spot birds and other wildlife. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a longer, more challenging hike.

If you prefer a shorter hike, the Woodburn Loop Trail is a great choice. This 2.5-mile loop trail takes you through a beautiful forested area and offers scenic views of Lacamas Creek. It’s a relatively easy hike that’s perfect for families and beginners.

Before you head out on your hike, make sure to bring water, snacks, and appropriate footwear. The trails at Lacamas Lake Regional Park can be muddy and slippery, especially during the rainy season, so be prepared with sturdy shoes or boots.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful nature walk, Lacamas Lake Regional Park has something for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this beautiful park and enjoy the natural beauty of Vancouver, WA.

Enjoy Water Activities at Vancouver Lake Regional Park

Vancouver Lake Regional Park is a popular destination for water activities in Vancouver, WA. Located just west of downtown, the lake offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages.

Those who love water sports will find plenty to do at Vancouver Lake. The lake is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. With its calm and clear waters, it’s an ideal spot for beginners to learn these activities or for experienced enthusiasts to enjoy a relaxing day on the water.

Fishing is another popular activity at Vancouver Lake. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, bass, and catfish. Anglers can cast their lines from the shore or rent a boat to explore different areas of the lake. Just be sure to have a valid fishing license before you start fishing.

If you prefer a more leisurely experience, take a walk along the trails that surround Vancouver Lake. The park has several miles of scenic trails that offer beautiful views of the lake and its surrounding natural landscape. These trails are also popular for birdwatching, so keep an eye out for osprey, bald eagles, and other bird species that are frequently spotted in the area.

Vancouver Lake Regional Park also offers picnic areas and a playground, making it a great destination for families. Pack a picnic lunch, let the kids enjoy the playground, and then spend the afternoon splashing in the water or exploring the trails.

Whether you’re an avid water sports enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful escape in nature, Vancouver Lake Regional Park has something for everyone. With its beautiful surroundings and array of activities, it’s no wonder it’s a top-rated attraction in Vancouver, WA.

Visit the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center

Located in Vancouver, Washington, the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center is a must-visit attraction for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This beautiful center offers a variety of educational programs and activities designed to promote environmental stewardship and appreciation.

One of the highlights of the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center is its extensive trail system. Visitors can explore winding paths that lead through serene forests, wetlands, and meadows. The trails provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature.

The center also features an interactive exhibit area where visitors can learn about the local ecosystems, flora, and fauna. From hands-on exhibits to informational displays, the center offers a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. Visitors can discover the importance of preserving and protecting the environment through engaging exhibits.

In addition to the trails and exhibits, the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center offers various educational programs for all ages. These programs range from guided nature hikes and wildlife observation to workshops on sustainable living practices. Visitors can learn about the local ecology and gain a better understanding of their role in environmental conservation.

If you’re looking for a unique and educational experience in Vancouver, make sure to visit the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply curious about the environment, this center offers something for everyone. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and embark on an adventure to this hidden gem.

Experience Local Cuisine at Grant House Restaurant

When it comes to experiencing the best of Vancouver, Washington, one cannot miss a visit to the Grant House Restaurant. Located in the scenic Officer’s Row, this restaurant offers a truly unique dining experience that showcases the flavors of the local cuisine.

The Grant House Restaurant has a rich history that dates back to 1849 when it was first built as a residence for officers stationed at the Vancouver Barracks. Today, it has been beautifully restored and transformed into a charming restaurant that retains its historic charm.

What sets Grant House Restaurant apart is its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients to create their dishes. From fresh seafood to seasonal produce, each plate is thoughtfully prepared to highlight the flavors of the Pacific Northwest region.

One of the signature dishes at Grant House Restaurant is their Pan Seared Pacific Halibut. This melt-in-your-mouth fish is prepared with a delicate balance of flavors and served with a side of locally grown vegetables. Every bite is a culinary delight that showcases the bounty of the region.

For those looking for a taste of the Pacific Northwest, Grant House Restaurant also offers a variety of dishes featuring wild mushrooms, local berries, and artisanal cheeses. Their menu changes seasonally to ensure that guests can always enjoy the freshest ingredients that the region has to offer.

In addition to its delicious food, Grant House Restaurant also boasts a charming ambiance with its elegant interior and outdoor patio seating. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or a fun gathering with friends, this restaurant provides the perfect setting.

So, if you’re visiting Vancouver, Washington, make sure to make a reservation at Grant House Restaurant. Indulge in the flavors of the Pacific Northwest and experience a dining experience like no other.

Question-Answer:

What are some top-rated attractions in Vancouver, WA?

Some top-rated attractions in Vancouver, WA include Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Esther Short Park, and the Pearson Field & Pearson Air Museum.

What can I do in Vancouver, WA for fun?

In Vancouver, WA, you can visit the waterfalls at the Columbia River Gorge, go hiking in the nearby forests, explore the city’s local breweries and wineries, or enjoy a picnic in one of the many parks.

Are there any family-friendly attractions in Vancouver, WA?

Yes, Vancouver, WA has several family-friendly attractions such as the Water Resources Education Center, the Vancouver Farmers Market, and the Vancouver Land Bridge.

Where can I learn about the history of Vancouver, WA?

You can learn about the history of Vancouver, WA by visiting the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which offers guided tours and interactive exhibits about the city’s past.

What are some outdoor activities to do in Vancouver, WA?

In Vancouver, WA, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing in the local rivers, biking or walking along the waterfront trails, or kayaking on the Columbia River.

Photo of author

Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

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