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17 Things to Know About Living in Vancouver

Moving to Vancouver, WA? “The Couve” offers affordable housing, mouth-watering cuisine, and endless opportunities for fun. Ready to relocate to this Pacific Northwest city? Here are 17 things to know about living in Vancouver!

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Budget-Friendly Living in The Couve

If you’re thinking of moving to the state of Washington, Vancouver could be just what you’re looking for! The cost of living in Vancouver is 4% lower than the rest of The Evergreen State and 12.2% less than nearby Portland, making the city a budget-friendly option for people considering moving to the Pacific Northwest. You can find affordable housing with rent averaging around $986 and the median housing cost at $217,200 if you want to buy a house in Vancouver, WA. Plus, there are plenty of free activities in Vancouver for those on a budget since there’s an abundance of nature sites and community events available to residents!

Start Your New Career

You can have peace of mind when looking for jobs in Vancouver! Salaries average $70,273 which is at least $15,000 more than the national average, and there is no income tax, making The Couve an ideal economical living choice. Clark County has seen a 6.7% increase in job creation, and unemployment has decreased to 3.8%—with top healthcare institutions like PeaceHealth, Banfield Pet Hospital, and Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center being major employers in Vancouver. Other large Vancouver employers include public school system Evergreen Public Schools, or residents can opt to work in the local start-up scene with companies like Absci, KinectAir, and RS Medical. Prefer to work from home? The Couve is a top U.S. city for remote work! Or more opportunities with global brands like Nike, Cambia Health Solutions, and Columbia Sportswear are just a short commute away in Portland.

Use Public Transit in Vancouver, WA

Even if you have a car, there is sustainable transportation in Vancouver available. Residents of Vancouver, WA, can use the C-Tran which is accessible for people with disabilities, has 27 routes, and even has stops in Portland. Don’t have a car? No problem! Vancouver is not only walkable, but it’s also bike friendly. Bike Clark County offers resources for cyclists and encourages biking as an alternative mode of transportation for the community. If you’re considering taking a trip across the river or out of the country, take the Amtrak or the Frog Ferry to Portland, and the Portland International Airport is nearby, making for easy flight travel.

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Enroll in Exceptional Higher Education

Students walking on the campus of WSU Vancouver. Photo by Instagram user @wsuvancouver.

Photo via @wsuvancouver

Are you thinking about starting your journey into higher education? There are exceptional universities in Vancouver, WA for prospective students. Enroll at Washington State University Vancouver to cheer on the Cougars and get your bachelor’s in Digital Technology and Culture, Strategic Communication, or Neuroscience. Attend Clark College which offers programs in Digital Media Arts, Early Child Education, Nursing, and more. Check out programs in Visual Arts, Music, or Theatre at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Love food? Pursue an education in culinary arts at Northwest Culinary Institute, which has programs that cover Food Preparation and Line Cooking, Baking, International and Regional Cuisines, and more. Join students at the International Air and Hospitality Academy to build the foundation for your flight attendant career through a 20-week program. Or take advantage of education at the nearby University of Portland where you can major in Environmental Ethics & Policy, Integrative Health and Wellness, and Mechanical Engineering.

See Vancouver’s Sustainability Efforts

A person picking up trash in Vancouver. Photo via Instagram user @vdausa.

Photo via @vdausa

The city of Vancouver is committed to preserving the environment and conserving resources. There’s even a Climate Action plan to combat climate change, reduce greenhouse gasses by 80%, and achieve carbon neutrality orchestrated by the Vancouver City Council! If you own a business, join the Green Business Program, an initiative that offers resources to implement green actions like food waste composting, recycling, and reducing energy consumption. Residents of Clark County can learn how to reduce waste and recycle with Green Neighbors, an organization that offers information on sustainability, community events, and volunteering opportunities.

Immerse Yourself in the History of Vancouver, USA

Vancouver, WA has plenty of history! Learn more about the area’s stories when you visit the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, where you can see the Fort Vancouver Gardens, watch a blacksmith work, or see a cooking demonstration in the Fort’s reconstructed kitchen. Check out exhibits like (Her)Story, SP&S, or History A-Brewin’ that detail the local history of Clark County at the Clark County Historical Museum. Keep your head out of the clouds when you visit the Pearson Air Museum, where they have aircraft on display and exhibits like Army Boots and Army Wings and Straight-Grained Soldiers. Tour the active mill and see how byproducts like corn meal, flour, and apple cider are made at Cedar Creek Mill.

Experience the Vancouver Land Bridge

Aerial view of the Vancouver Land Bridge. Photo by Instagram user @vancouverus.

Photo via @vancouverus

The Vancouver Land Bridge is a must-see destination—this historic site marks one of the first European trading posts in the Pacific Northwest and was a campsite for Lewis and Clark. The area was known to be an important point of contact between Europeans and local Indigenous Peoples, as well as a crossroads between other tribes of the area. When visiting the south Welcome Gate, people can view sculptures of a Chinook woman’s face by Lillian Pitt, a contemporary Native American artist of the River People. The bridge is not only lined with indigenous plants, but it also offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and river, making it a true treasure of Vancouver.

Great Weather for Year-Round Fun

The Couve may be in an area that gets quite a bit of rain, but it’s not as much as you think! Vancouver averages 42 inches of rain each year, which is only four inches more than the U.S. average. Residents enjoy a mild climate year-round with rain showers in spring. Summer temperatures average in the upper 70s, and autumn brings the fiery blaze of leaves changing color, making it the perfect time of year for leaf peeping. Have fun with your kids in the Night Time Corn Maze, Hippity Hop Races, the calf roping station, and the pumpkin patch at Bi-Zi Farms. In the winter, expect cooler temps in the 40s, so bundle up in your scarves and gloves. And enjoy local fresh fruits and vegetables from dozens of vendors once spring arrives at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market from March to December.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

There’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Vancouver to take part in. Lace up your hiking boots and make sure you packed enough snacks when you hike on the illustrious Silver Star Mountain. Check out the John Stranger House, a national historic site with beautiful flower and tree gardens as far as the eye can see at Jane Weber Evergreen Arboretum. Visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge to see wildlife like Sandhill cranes, Columbian white-tailed deer, and Canadian geese when they’re migrating in the winter months. Or visit Mount St. Helens, the infamous Cascade Mountains volcano that erupted in 1980.

Pop Goes the Easel

The arts are an important part of Vancouver’s culture. When you visit the Vancouver Arts District, you can find 24 murals on the sides of downtown buildings, like the Joyo Tribute that commemorates Vancouver and Joyo, Japan as sister cities on the back wall of the Kiggins Theatre. Not only can you visit Firehouse Glass and see their gallery of Vancouver artists, but you can also take glassblowing lessons. Stop by the Corridor Gallery, an exhibition space that features guest artists in rotating shows. Admire the pieces at Timberline Lodge, expertly restored by the Lucas Conservation Laboratory. Or take advantage of free access to The CAVE, a gallery that focuses on experimental Contemporary art from local artists.

Join In on Festive Festivals

Keep watch for the many annual festivals in Vancouver! Take action and help the Recycled Arts Festival, a community initiative teaching ways to reduce waste and recycle through art with live music and food. Join in Hawaiian-themed events like Hula & Craft Workshops, Hō’ike, or the Aloha Fun Run during the summer’s annual 4 Days of Aloha. Experience the rush of carnival rides, muddy monster trucks, or concerts at the Clark County Fair. Relax and unwind at the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival at Esther Short Park. Be loud and proud during Pride Month at the Pride Block Party with the Summer of Pride Clark County and Dandelion Teahouse during the summer.

Find Fun for the Family

Offering plenty to do with kids, Vancouver, WA is a family-friendly city. Catch both classic film viewings and brand-new blockbusters at the World War II-era Kiggins Theatre. Experience five live musicals and plays like Amelie the Musical at the Magenta Theatre. Grab the kids to play, visit the water fountain, or enjoy a nice picnic at historic Esther Short Park. Bring your A-game when you visit Fairway Village Golf Course, a hidden gem in Vancouver where you can golf on a beautiful and well-maintained nine-hole course. Read your favorite books at the Vancouver Community Library, a five-story library that has a 12,000-square-foot children’s area—one of the largest Early Learning Centers in the county—and a used bookstore called the Booknook where all books are one dollar. Or make your way to Vancouver Lake Park to enjoy amenities like volleyball courts, playgrounds, and barbecue grills for great summer fun.

Enjoy Live Music in Vancouver

Vancouver may not be as big as Seattle or Portland, but its music scene can certainly hold its own with a little something to offer everyone! Visit the largest outdoor amphitheater in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area to see touring acts at the RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater. Find musicians at the Columbia Tech Center Park each summer, where the Sunday Sounds Concert Series takes place with delicious food and drink. Take a break during the workweek to enjoy live bands during the Thursday Waterfront Concert Series July through August.

Become a Coffee Connoisseur

Coffee in Vancouver has a robust and lively culture that you’ll definitely want to be a part of. Add new drinks to your coffee arsenal like Nitro Cold Brew, Ranger Mocha, and Traditional Macchiato at Relevant Coffee, a community-focused roasting company. Try the Shaken Brown Sugar Latte, Charcoal Lavender Latte, or Salted Caramel Latte at Presso Coffee Kitchen. Find friendly baristas, cozy study spaces, and the occasional Peruvian artifact when you visit Compass Coffee Roasting for your pour-over coffee, cappuccino, or Americano. Choose between the Mexican Mocha, Golden Tumeric Latte, or Blue Matcha at Kafiex Roasters Coffee Lab, a roastery known for using diverse coffee-brewing techniques. Order a Honey Lavender Latte, Brown Sugar + Clove Latte, or Pistachio Rose Latte when you stop by Gold Cup Coffee House. Or sip great coffee at Brewed Cafe & Pub, like their V-60 Pour Over, O.M.G, Darkside, or Black Scottie Chai.

Find Exquisite Couve Eateries

There is no shortage of mouthwatering cuisine in Vancouver, USA. Check out Syrup Trap and eat a hearty breakfast like their famous liège waffles, Second Breakfast, or the Mojo Jojo. Try the King Kong’s Chicken Fried Steak, Cadillac Meatloaf, and Fish & Chip Platter at Stardust Diner. Find authentic Thai dishes like Pad Thai Lemongrass Chicken, Pumpkin Red Curry, or Evil Jungles Noodles at the Thai Orchid Vancouver. Enjoy fresh, local ingredients at La Bottega in dishes like Duck Confit & Pumpkin Gnocchi, Smoked Mushroom Ravioli, or Pan Seared Rock Fish. Or enjoy traditional, slow-cooked Japanese ramen broth when you order So-Soy Ramen, Kaizen Ramen, or the Naruto Bowl at Kenji’s Ramen & Grill.

Hop Into the Craft Beer Culture

If you’re a beer aficionado, you’ll love the craft breweries in Vancouver! Head to star-studded Loowit Brewing Company for unique flavors like Shadow Shinobi IPA, Iron Rabbit Hazy IPA, Robot Overlord Hazy IPA, and Warp Rider IPA. Explore eccentric flavors like My Milk Stout Brings All the Boys to the Bars, Pulp Fixation, or the When in Stout, Add Peanut Butter at Heathen Brewing Feral Public House. Sip iconic brews like Ultra Lite Beam, Cruise the Couve, or Some Kind of Sorcery at Trap Door Brewing, an award-winning, fourth-generation brewery. Stop by a small craft brewery in The Couve that offers beers like Skyjacker, Jetfuel, and Flight 305, Victor-23. Enjoy a chilled glass of prize-winning beers like Chasing Fluffy Pink Unicorns, Running With Scissors, or Phandom Rojo at Ghost Runner’s Brewery and Kitchen. Or buy tickets to enjoy live music, delicious food from local food trucks, and of course, craft beer tasting at the Vancouver BrewFest!

Navigate Nightlife in Vancouver

Just because the sun has slipped below the horizon doesn’t mean it’s time to wind down! Find Prohibition-inspired cocktails and weekly events like comedy nights, trivia, and even open mic nights at LGBTQ-friendly hidden gem, UnderBar. Chill out with ice-cold beers, crispy finger food, pool, or karaoke seven days a week at Orchard’s Tap! Enjoy a range of cigars or unique and rare spirits like Yamazaki 18yr whiskey, Whistlepig “The Boss Hog” V (The Spirit of Mauve) Rye, or George T. Stagg Barrel Proof bourbon at The Infirmary. Reserve a table and find authentic Latin cuisine, tequila, and signature drinks like their Guava Lavender margarita, Beautiful Pear Basil Cocktail, or the Raspberry Kamikaze Mocktail at DOSALAS Latin Kitchen + Tequila Bar. In the mood for Vancouver live music? Head toward Billy Blues Bar & Grill where you can get drinks and food to go along with live bands and musicians.

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.