Vancouver, or the “Couv” is a city of about 160,000 residents, positioned just north of Portland, along the beautiful Columbia River with mild winters and superb summers.
The city maintains its own charm and identity with a lively downtown restaurant and bar scene, a local arts community, and unique shopping. There are a variety of historical and noteworthy attractions to visit. And, the area is surrounded by natural beauty in all directions from the Columbia Gorge on the East, and back to the Pacific Ocean on the West. Many residents love the simple hop skip and jump it takes to get to downtown Portland, where they can easily enjoy all the amenities of a major metropolitan city. Vancouver offers all of this, and more reasonable home prices, as compared to Portland’s now infamously hot housing market.
The Waterfront Vancouver-
Residents and investors are particularly keeping their eye on the growth happening on the Waterfront Vancouver project along the banks of the Columbia River. This major mix-use development will transform $1.3 billion dollars on 32-acres into a stylish riverfront promenade full of restaurants, specialty shops, office space, residential units, and lodging.
The centerpiece of the project will be a cutting-edge, cable suspended pier that will jut out 90 feet across the promenade and over the water, allowing visitors to stroll out and enjoy the view. This chic new Grant Street Pier will fall between blocks 9 and 12 and will be fronted by 40,000 square feet of signature restaurant space.
To give you a snapshot, just last week, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar announced that they have secured a lease at the Grant Street Pier. This trendy restaurant chain has successful locations in Utah, Oregon, and Idaho, and should make an exciting addition to the waterfront. Their 8,320 square‐foot Waterfront location is set to open in 2017. It will have a “riverfront boathouse feel, with modern lines and large sliding doors,” representatives said.
What We Can Expect:
2015: After construction, Esther and Grant streets now connect downtown Vancouver to Columbia Way and the future Waterfront Vancouver.
2016: Construction begins summer 2016 on two restaurant buildings, two apartment buildings, an office building, city park, and Grant Street Pier.
2017: Restaurants, cafes, businesses and the city park will open late 2017.
The Big Picture: The project’s master plan will utilize 5 million total developable square feet, and will likely consist of: 1,000,000 square feet of office space, approximately 3,300 residential units and a hotel. Another 250,000 square feet will be dedicated to mixed-use space, including restaurants, cafes, specialty shops and other retail.
Outdoor Space: Expect plenty of walkable pathways and a community gathering space with expansive waterfront views. New streets will be added for easy access for bicyclists and pedestrian.
This ambitious and exciting plan will, no doubt, increase the livability factor in Vancouver, attracting tourists and residents alike. And, by connecting this lively waterfront to the downtown area, the entire city will receive an invigorating boost of commerce and progress.
“Discover the Original” at First Fridays
Vancouver is currently most proud of its First Fridays art walk. Residents invite you to “Discover the Original” and visit their downtown Art District during this monthly event. Multiple businesses stay open late and display local and original art on their walls. Take a walking tour of public exhibits and stop in to one of many sophisticated galleries displaying native beadwork, photography, illustrations, headpieces, and other works.
Stationary art isn’t all you can expect on First Fridays. Be prepared to catch spoken word poetry, belly dancing, henna, glass-blowing, live music and other inspiring curiosities. This is a family friendly event.
First Fridays isn’t the only time to visit Vancouver. In 2014, the city officially designated a core chunk of downtown galleries and theaters as the “Arts District”.
Transport yourself back to 1936 by visiting the Kiggins Theatre. This movie house shows indie films, serves local brews on tap, vintage candy and “the best” popcorn in town.
Worth noting, is the world-class Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Witness the legendary Itzhak Perlman or something more mainstream like “The Godfather”. There are over 150 shows each year to choose from.
Esther Short Park
When visiting be sure to convene at Esther Short Park, the official town square of Vancouver. This 5+ acre park is the oldest public square in the West and boasts a rose garden, an old bell tower, a large fountain and playground for the kids.
Summertime at the Esther Short Park Pavilion means family fun time with their free concert series. And, in late August, the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival takes place, and is debatably the largest jazz fest in the Pacific Northwest.
The park’s shining attraction, the Vancouver Farmers Market, just happens to be the #1 visitor attraction in Southwest Washington. Over 250 vendors come to this outdoor market with artisan tastings galore from local farmers. Dip into some locally made vinegars, lemony chèvre, or hazelnuts candied with allspice.
Libations and Fare in and around Downtown Vancouver-
Many say that Beervana extends over Portland’s border to the North, as Vancouver is home to some distinguished microbrews that you can’t get anywhere else. If your curiosity remains parched, and you’re planning on taking your own “Beervana” tour, then be sure to stop into Heathen Brewing, Fortside Brewing Company, or Loowit Brewing Company.
Sample other refined liquors at the local towny favorite, The Thirsty Sasquatch. The Sasquatch offers flights of your choice of 32 prime whiskeys and a slew of pristine bourbons. Jorge’s Tequila Factory let’s you choose from a list of over 20 tequila’s and different mix-ins to create unique margaritas like the 007 Margarita Royale.
You don’t have to wait for the Waterfront Vancouver project to be complete, in order to enjoy the exceptional Columbia riverside views. McMennamins on the Columbia is a popular favorite for happy hour with friends. Try out their Brewer’s Crab Fondue Pot with an Edgefield Fizz, made with their own Edgefield Herbal Liqueur No. 7.
Lapellah practices farm to table preparation in many dishes. The 13-hour slow-roasted pork with local arugula and confit fingerling potatoes has people talking. And, La Botegga makes marks for making everything from scratch with local seasonal ingredients. They are also known for their wine pairings. Find out what delicious red would go well with their gorgonzola cheese cake and smoked oyster chowder.
For a more refined experience, drive the scenic Clark County Winery Loop through Vancouver and the fertile, rolling hills of Ridgefield and Battle Ground. This is a smaller wine scene than some of the surrounding regions, but patrons rave about the complex reds and the fragrant and blossomy tones of the whites.
Have fun exploring the wine region and/or the local brewing scene with a “Clark County Wineries Passport” or a “Brewcouver Brewery Passport”. You’ll receive information with participating vendors mapped out, along with some mouth watering descriptions.
TRAILS & PARKS-
The Waterfront Renaissance Trail is really an impressive route that combines an enjoyable river front view with a bit of local history, and even a chance to shop and dine along the way. The 5-mile on-street and off-street trail connects pedestrians and cyclists from Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver to a sandy beach at Wintler Park, where one can take in impressive views of Mount Hood.
The Discover Historic Trail Loop portion leads visitors through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Officers Row, past the Pearson Air Field and Museum. Take the 40-foot-wide, earth-covered Vancouver Land Bridge to meet back up with the main trail.
Pacific Community Park is a tremendous 56-acre area with a large dog park, basketball courts, a skate park, picnic tables and public restrooms.
Vancouver Lake Regional Park is a summertime favorite, offering 2.5 miles of shoreline for picnicking, barbecuing, hiking, swimming, windsurfing, and sand volleyball.
Surrounding Area and Other Attractions:
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Moulton Falls Park
Mount St. Helen
Columbia River Gorge
Sleep Country Amphitheater
Cedar Creek Grist Mill
C-Tran provides Clark County with bus service. They also provide an express service to downtown Portland, Lloyd District, and Marquam Hill.
Amtrak has three routes that service their Vancouver station, making travel to and from Seattle very accessible.
The annual Clark County Fair in August has been dubbed the “summer’s best party.” Get ready for 10 full days of classic carnival rides and games, animal shows, fair foods, and top-notch entertainment. Livablity.com recently dubbed the fair as one of the Top 10 in the Nation!
In the fall and winter months, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site offers their Lantern Tour Series, a story-filled, lantern-lit tour through the 1840s-era fort.
The Vancouver Brewfest happens over two days in the spring. Get your lips on the local champions of beer, cider and whiskey.
The most eco-conscious festival of the year, the Recycled Arts Festival, happens in June. Creativity never felt so satisfying!
In July the city says E komo mai, or welcome, to Three Days of Aloha in Vancouver. This annual summer event attracts hula dancers and crafters from all over to showcase their love and knowledge of Hawaii.
There is an Old Apple Tree that is thought to be not only the oldest in the Northwest, but also the matriarch to Washington’s apple industry. Every fall, locals flock to the tree to celebrate the Old Apple Tree Festival. Receive clippings from this tree planted in 1826, press your own cider, learn to make rope, and more!
Unique and on the map! – Vancouver
* The Atlantic called Vancouver (coupled with Portland) the 10th most peaceful metropolitan region in the United States. (2012)
* Money Magazine dubbed Vancouver one of America’s 100 Best Places to Live. (2005)
* There is no income tax in Washington, offering what some feel is an affordable alternative to Portland. However, while Portland has a higher income tax, there is no sales tax.
Home styles run the gamut from craftsman to ranch-style to beautiful old Victorians. Further out of town, one can find larger lots and homes.
2016 – As according to Trulia.com
Average Listing Price $339,760
Median Sales Price $250,000
Number of Sales 937
*Average price per square foot for Vancouver WA was $163, an increase of 13.2% compared to the same period last year.
Schools and Educations:
Vancouver has some top rated public schools. Here are just a few worth noting:
Fisher Academy: k-5
Chinook Elementary School: k-5
Harmony Elementary School: k-5
Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary: k-5
Shahala Middle School: 6-8
Alki Middle School: 6-8
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics: 6-12
Columbia River High School: 9-12
Skyview High School: 9-12
Clark College is a community and technical college system offering a multitude of classes.
Washington State University Vancouver offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in areas such as business, computer science and engineering.
For more information about Vancouver, Washington, available properties, or to list your home, please contact Home Sweet Home Realty via email at email@example.com or by phone at (503) 515-2986.
Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.